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Searching for the Amazons: The Real Warrior Women of the Ancient World

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Since the time of the ancient Greeks we have been fascinated by accounts of the Amazons, an elusive tribe of hard-fighting, horse-riding female warriors. Equal to men in battle, legends claimed they cut off their right breasts to improve their archery skills and routinely killed their male children to purify their ranks. For centuries people believed in their existence and Since the time of the ancient Greeks we have been fascinated by accounts of the Amazons, an elusive tribe of hard-fighting, horse-riding female warriors. Equal to men in battle, legends claimed they cut off their right breasts to improve their archery skills and routinely killed their male children to purify their ranks. For centuries people believed in their existence and attempted to trace their origins. Artists and poets celebrated their battles and wrote of Amazonia. Spanish explorers, carrying these tales to South America, thought they lived in the forests of the world’s greatest river, and named it after them. In the absence of evidence, we eventually reasoned away their existence, concluding that these powerful, sexually liberated female soldiers must have been the fantastical invention of Greek myth and storytelling. Until now. Following decades of new research and a series of groundbreaking archeological discoveries, we now know these powerful warrior queens did indeed exist. In Searching for the Amazons, John Man travels to the grasslands of Central Asia—from the edge of the ancient Greek world to the borderlands of China—to discover the truth about the truth about these women whose legend has resonated over the centuries.


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Since the time of the ancient Greeks we have been fascinated by accounts of the Amazons, an elusive tribe of hard-fighting, horse-riding female warriors. Equal to men in battle, legends claimed they cut off their right breasts to improve their archery skills and routinely killed their male children to purify their ranks. For centuries people believed in their existence and Since the time of the ancient Greeks we have been fascinated by accounts of the Amazons, an elusive tribe of hard-fighting, horse-riding female warriors. Equal to men in battle, legends claimed they cut off their right breasts to improve their archery skills and routinely killed their male children to purify their ranks. For centuries people believed in their existence and attempted to trace their origins. Artists and poets celebrated their battles and wrote of Amazonia. Spanish explorers, carrying these tales to South America, thought they lived in the forests of the world’s greatest river, and named it after them. In the absence of evidence, we eventually reasoned away their existence, concluding that these powerful, sexually liberated female soldiers must have been the fantastical invention of Greek myth and storytelling. Until now. Following decades of new research and a series of groundbreaking archeological discoveries, we now know these powerful warrior queens did indeed exist. In Searching for the Amazons, John Man travels to the grasslands of Central Asia—from the edge of the ancient Greek world to the borderlands of China—to discover the truth about the truth about these women whose legend has resonated over the centuries.

30 review for Searching for the Amazons: The Real Warrior Women of the Ancient World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Iset

    For the first few chapters of this book, I thought I would be comparing it to Adrienne Mayor’s The Amazons. It aimed to take a long hard look at the truth behind the legends, and dispel the myths. The initial chapters mimic Mayor’s first chapters, delving into the etymology of ‘Amazon’ (and why it does not mean ‘single-breasted’), the culture and society of the Scythians, and the archaeological finds of women warrior graves, the evidence of battle wounds, and the weaponry they were buried with. For the first few chapters of this book, I thought I would be comparing it to Adrienne Mayor’s The Amazons. It aimed to take a long hard look at the truth behind the legends, and dispel the myths. The initial chapters mimic Mayor’s first chapters, delving into the etymology of ‘Amazon’ (and why it does not mean ‘single-breasted’), the culture and society of the Scythians, and the archaeological finds of women warrior graves, the evidence of battle wounds, and the weaponry they were buried with. So far, so good, although John Man tends to shorter, less detailed chapters which are aimed more firmly at the layman. I was anticipating saying something in this review like ‘a well-written book all in all, but why read this simplified version when you could read Mayor’s equally engaging and more detailed one?’ Then the book took an unexpected turn. Over half of the book is devoted to later interpretations and reimaginings of the Amazons, from amazon.com, the Amazon river, other distant societies who had female fighting forces in the past 200 years which obviously has nothing to do with the Amazons (besides possibly being inspired by them), to Wonder Woman. Maybe that’s of interest to the layman that picks up this book, but it really has nothing to do with the ancient Amazons that the book’s tagline claims it examines, and I personally was disappointed. Mayor goes into the subject much more thoroughly, and keeps focus throughout. I would honestly recommend her book instead. One thing that Man’s book does have over Mayor’s is that the author does dispel Thalestris, the Amazon queen who supposedly visited Alexander. As Man points out, the story has suspicious details that just don’t fit: the travel time from the Amazon heartlands to Hyrcania, and, all too conveniently, Thalestris and any possible child from the encounter are never seen or heard of again. Not to mention, the original purveyor of the tale is suspect in his credibility. In my view this is a far more probable and realistic assessment of Thalestris than Adrienne Mayor gave the tale. All in all however, not the read I was hoping for. 6 out of 10

  2. 5 out of 5

    Anna Stephens

    A thoroughly fascinating look, not only into the myths, legends and evidence for Amazons, but also what defined them as such and then, throughout history, examples of these being shown in the centuries since. With tangents taken into art, the Renaissance, Romanticism, religion and empire-building, John Man has introduced groups of women throughout history I'd never heard of and found to be fascinating. From the Scythians to the Sarmartians, the Dahomey (now Benin) ahosi to the Russian Night Witc A thoroughly fascinating look, not only into the myths, legends and evidence for Amazons, but also what defined them as such and then, throughout history, examples of these being shown in the centuries since. With tangents taken into art, the Renaissance, Romanticism, religion and empire-building, John Man has introduced groups of women throughout history I'd never heard of and found to be fascinating. From the Scythians to the Sarmartians, the Dahomey (now Benin) ahosi to the Russian Night Witches and the Kurdish female freedom fighters, this is an exploration of what it means to be an Amazon - or perhaps just a modern woman. Sexual, political and marital revolution, freedom, idealism, patriotism and patriarchy - this book looks at all of them, how they affected women and women's roles, and how women rebelled against them. Wonder Woman of course gets a mention, but so do the modern 'sports' and 'arts' of horseback archery which the original Amazons were famous for. Hugely recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nicky

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kogiopsis

    First, let us all pause to appreciate the fact that this book about a mythical all-female society was written by John Man. Every time I remembered that, I found myself thinking 'at least it wasn't Kerklyas of Andros' and snickering immaturely. Aaaaanyhow... I think what wanted from this book was more along the lines of The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World, which is apparently way more in-depth and focused purely on the history. Searching for the Amazons feels li First, let us all pause to appreciate the fact that this book about a mythical all-female society was written by John Man. Every time I remembered that, I found myself thinking 'at least it wasn't Kerklyas of Andros' and snickering immaturely. Aaaaanyhow... I think what wanted from this book was more along the lines of The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World, which is apparently way more in-depth and focused purely on the history. Searching for the Amazons feels like a cursory overview at best, and occasionally even a patronizing summary. The latter half or so of the book, focused on the cultural impact of the Amazonian legend from plays to Amazon.com did not feel particularly relevant. It would have gotten a higher rating even so, except that Man's somewhat patronizing tone often veered into being frankly unpleasant. I could have dealt with the continuous '(more on that later)' parentheticals, which were annoying but ultimately just a stylistic quirk, but things like "As every schoolchild used to know" or describing William Marston's home life as "this odd mix of feminism and love and commitment and secrecy swirling round a massive male weighing 21 stone 6 pounds" (emphasis mine) just... grated. Why make such a point of Marston's weight ? Why turn a simple statement into a 'kids these days' gripe? Little bits like this, combined with the overall sense that this was an overview of the subject at best, just made it a less than enjoyable read. I appreciate the fact that this book has pointed me in the direction of a more promising text, but that's pretty much it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    For me, this was a good introduction to the "real" Amazons. The first half of the book concerns itself with the etymology of ‘Amazon’ (and why it does not mean ‘single-breasted’), the culture and society of the Scythians (nomads who taught all their children regardless of gender how to fight and came to dominate the entire Eurasian Steppe from the Carpathian Mountains in the west to Ordos Plateau in the east) and archaeological finds of women warrior graves (complete with evidence of battle woun For me, this was a good introduction to the "real" Amazons. The first half of the book concerns itself with the etymology of ‘Amazon’ (and why it does not mean ‘single-breasted’), the culture and society of the Scythians (nomads who taught all their children regardless of gender how to fight and came to dominate the entire Eurasian Steppe from the Carpathian Mountains in the west to Ordos Plateau in the east) and archaeological finds of women warrior graves (complete with evidence of battle wounds and weapons). The other half of the book delves into other interpretations of the myth and even some pop culture aspects of the Amazons, everything from amazon.com, the Amazon river, other distant societies who had female fighting forces in the past 200 years, to Wonder Woman. I've been told Adrienne Mayor's The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World is the next best thing so I'll look into that later.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bianca A.

    This book was a great surprise that left an impression. I daresay that John Man's genius shines in this work which in my humble beginnings as a reader I consider it to be a masterpiece among contemporary historical books. Unlike the title suggests, the topic doesn't just cover warrior women in the ancient world, but instead covers everything as much as possible within its 275 or so pages of the history of warrior women from the first recorded remnants and discovered tombs until the contemporary This book was a great surprise that left an impression. I daresay that John Man's genius shines in this work which in my humble beginnings as a reader I consider it to be a masterpiece among contemporary historical books. Unlike the title suggests, the topic doesn't just cover warrior women in the ancient world, but instead covers everything as much as possible within its 275 or so pages of the history of warrior women from the first recorded remnants and discovered tombs until the contemporary Russian fighter pilots, Wonder Woman fictional hero and the Syrian all-women liberation army. I was frankly astonished at the amount of detail that was offered while somehow woven in a pretty much clean narration that even someone like me could appreciate. I've got nothing but praise and earnest recommendation to offer. I'm grateful I got this book during one of my travels, probably at the Amsterdam airport one or two years back, and feel glad that I am ending my 2020 lectures with it among the chosen titles.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Brian Griffith

    It's an entertaining romp through history and myth that plays with our ideas about women. Maybe it could use more exploration of women's roles in conventional armies and resistance movements, where women have often played minor but important roles. It's an entertaining romp through history and myth that plays with our ideas about women. Maybe it could use more exploration of women's roles in conventional armies and resistance movements, where women have often played minor but important roles.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    I enjoyed the first half of the book wherein the author discusses the mythic Amazons of ancient Greece (from the historical writings of Herodotus) and the actual woman warriors of the Sycthian peoples of historic Central Asia. The archeological finds from Scythian burial mounds, often referred to as kurgan, sound fascinating. These finds make a good case for the warrior women on horseback who road equal to men as mounted archers, swooping down on the ancient Greek settlements around the Black Se I enjoyed the first half of the book wherein the author discusses the mythic Amazons of ancient Greece (from the historical writings of Herodotus) and the actual woman warriors of the Sycthian peoples of historic Central Asia. The archeological finds from Scythian burial mounds, often referred to as kurgan, sound fascinating. These finds make a good case for the warrior women on horseback who road equal to men as mounted archers, swooping down on the ancient Greek settlements around the Black Sea being the Amazons that have so captured the imagination of history. Even the chapter of the resurrection of mounted archery as a sport, begun in Hungary, is interesting. But after this the author reaches to make connections that just don't interest me. The author does 'Search' for the Amazons; all the way to Wonder Woman. I just wasn't interested past the Amazons of the ancient world.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Hill

    Fantastically written! This book takes on the history, or lack thereof, of the women of the Amazon. I enjoyed the read! Not only do you get the myths, the legends, and the stories passed down, but what history is there is shared. John Man did a great job with this book, and I look forward to getting a hard copy of this book, to re-read and make notes in the margins! Great jumping off book for those who are looking to do some research or wanting to gain a deeper understanding of these warrior wome Fantastically written! This book takes on the history, or lack thereof, of the women of the Amazon. I enjoyed the read! Not only do you get the myths, the legends, and the stories passed down, but what history is there is shared. John Man did a great job with this book, and I look forward to getting a hard copy of this book, to re-read and make notes in the margins! Great jumping off book for those who are looking to do some research or wanting to gain a deeper understanding of these warrior women.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    We've all heard of the Amazons, a tribe of fearless women warriors who needed no man. But did they really exist or where they simply a creation of the Ancient Greeks who needed proof of their masculinity. Man's book explores the myths that were handed down through the centuries and looks at the evidence for these female fighters. This was a good exploration of the society that created the myth, the tales of the true women warriors of ancient times and the women who followed after. We've all heard of the Amazons, a tribe of fearless women warriors who needed no man. But did they really exist or where they simply a creation of the Ancient Greeks who needed proof of their masculinity. Man's book explores the myths that were handed down through the centuries and looks at the evidence for these female fighters. This was a good exploration of the society that created the myth, the tales of the true women warriors of ancient times and the women who followed after.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jessie Scott

    Despite the subtitle, this was less about the famous Amazons of Greek legend and more about the way that the idea of an exclusively female warrior society has been interpreted and adapted by different cultures over the centuries. The narrative was informal and conversational but did feel clunky in places, with the author frequently going off on tangents. However, these threw up some really interesting tidbits - I especially liked the story of how California got its name. Worth a read for sure.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    3.5 stars. The content was great, but the writing wasn’t. This book can tell you just about everything you ever wanted to know about Amazons; it explores the myths of warrior women from Ancient Greece and after, but it also chronicles actual groups of women fighters from throughout history. It shows what was real and what wasn’t, and it offers some very detailed glimpses of a few key moments. This book is also meticulously researched. That said, the writing is difficult to follow. There are not a 3.5 stars. The content was great, but the writing wasn’t. This book can tell you just about everything you ever wanted to know about Amazons; it explores the myths of warrior women from Ancient Greece and after, but it also chronicles actual groups of women fighters from throughout history. It shows what was real and what wasn’t, and it offers some very detailed glimpses of a few key moments. This book is also meticulously researched. That said, the writing is difficult to follow. There are not a lot of dates given (possibly to make it more readable) but it just makes things more confusing. This happened, and then two months later, that happened; then some years after this, so-and-so died, but before she died, she did this, that, and the other—I’m sorry, but when are we? Things might have made more sense if it had been told chronologically. There are also a few moments of carelessness. He occasionally oversimplifies to the point of distortion. He’s not objective; he very clearly respects the people he’s writing about, and that’s a good thing. However, he has a bad habit of stating his own opinions as though they were fact. He doesn’t do it much, but he shouldn’t do it at all. This is good history, and it deserved a better book, but John Man clearly put a lot of work into his research, and this informative volume is worth reading.a

  13. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This book was more than I thought it would be! Besides just tracing the potential sources of the ancient Greek myth of the Amazons - the all-female society of warriors - this book traced the waxing and waning of the myth throughout the centuries, explained how the Amazon river got its name, how the legendary horseback archery skills of the Amazons and other horse tribes of the Steppes have made a resurgence, and explored female warrior societies/groups in the recent past (including an army of vi This book was more than I thought it would be! Besides just tracing the potential sources of the ancient Greek myth of the Amazons - the all-female society of warriors - this book traced the waxing and waning of the myth throughout the centuries, explained how the Amazon river got its name, how the legendary horseback archery skills of the Amazons and other horse tribes of the Steppes have made a resurgence, and explored female warrior societies/groups in the recent past (including an army of vicious warrior women in 1800s Africa, and the feared and famed "Night Witches" female pilots of the Soviet military during WWII). There were a few tangents and rabbit holes that took the book off course and didn't add much/weren't relevant to the purpose of the book, and some portions were pretty wordy. But overall, a really interesting read that I learned a lot from. *Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC, provided by the author and/or the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Title is a little misleading - only the first half of the book is about the ancient world, while the second half jumps around through various more modern takes on Amazons and cultural depictions of Amazons and ends with the creation of Wonder Woman. I thoroughly enjoyed the first half, as I was looking for something on antiquity, but some of the chapters in the second half were not as compelling, though it could be my own biases. The section on the Dahomey Amazons was the stand out section for t Title is a little misleading - only the first half of the book is about the ancient world, while the second half jumps around through various more modern takes on Amazons and cultural depictions of Amazons and ends with the creation of Wonder Woman. I thoroughly enjoyed the first half, as I was looking for something on antiquity, but some of the chapters in the second half were not as compelling, though it could be my own biases. The section on the Dahomey Amazons was the stand out section for the back half, and the first sections on the Scythians and Eurasian nomads were fascinating. First half is four stars, second half is three stars, so I rounded up to four.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Reading

    Not bad. Not great, but not bad. Amazons Mansplained might be a slightly more suitable title.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Steven Clark

    I have always been intrigued by Amazons, and even wrote a novel where they figured, and John man's subject and credentials made me take the book. it is a witty, erudite tale of this mythic/real tribe of warrior women, and Man uses his past experience writing about China, Mongolia, and central asia to good effect, showing their origins in Scythia, and also farther east. He has a delightful style demonstrating the mythos and recent excavations of possible tombs of Amazons, as well as deviating int I have always been intrigued by Amazons, and even wrote a novel where they figured, and John man's subject and credentials made me take the book. it is a witty, erudite tale of this mythic/real tribe of warrior women, and Man uses his past experience writing about China, Mongolia, and central asia to good effect, showing their origins in Scythia, and also farther east. He has a delightful style demonstrating the mythos and recent excavations of possible tombs of Amazons, as well as deviating into the concept of warrior women from Dahomey to the Nachthexen (A Russian all-woman bomber group), to present day Kurdish women. Also a colorful bit on modern mounted women archers. Inevitably, Man goes to Wonder Woman, and has a humorous digression on her origins. I could have wanted more (has Man never heard of Xena, Warrior Princess?), and the book has tangents, but they are all informative, delightful, and he has a certain style that can be described as Oxford puckish. The book was a quick read, and is handsomely illustrated. It was a lot of fun to read, and gives you enough information where you might want to look up more on your own.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bea Harvie

    I'm not sure what I was expecting when i first bought this book - I though it looked interesting but as I'm not a big non-fiction reader I didn't think beyond 'interesting'. This book is an exploration of myths, hearsay, assumptions, archaeology, anthropology, feminism and Greek and a myriad of other subjects. it was well written, witty and entirely suitable for a layperson who only picked the book up because the mythology behind the Amazon's sounded like it might be fun. John Man drops comments I'm not sure what I was expecting when i first bought this book - I though it looked interesting but as I'm not a big non-fiction reader I didn't think beyond 'interesting'. This book is an exploration of myths, hearsay, assumptions, archaeology, anthropology, feminism and Greek and a myriad of other subjects. it was well written, witty and entirely suitable for a layperson who only picked the book up because the mythology behind the Amazon's sounded like it might be fun. John Man drops comments and sarcastic quips the whole way through, making the text far easier to read than if it had been presented as 'serious'. In fact, I am contemplating buying one of John Man's other history books and this has definitely highlighted several texts around Wonder Woman and the Amazon's that I should keep an eye out for. I really enjoyed reading this, and I am willing to try other non-fiction pop science/history books because of this!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kinsey

    I feel like I owe an apology to the author. I must admit that when I picked this book up, it was with a slowly creeping sense of dread at a book about the sociological significance of the Amazonian legends being written by a man . However, this book was delightfully feminist (and hilarious) in everything from the threat the Amazons posed upon the Greek’s fragile masculinity in the original myth, to the way that women warriors in several Eurasian cultures baffled early archaeologists, to the way I feel like I owe an apology to the author. I must admit that when I picked this book up, it was with a slowly creeping sense of dread at a book about the sociological significance of the Amazonian legends being written by a man . However, this book was delightfully feminist (and hilarious) in everything from the threat the Amazons posed upon the Greek’s fragile masculinity in the original myth, to the way that women warriors in several Eurasian cultures baffled early archaeologists, to the way that modern day Amazons (ala Diana Prince) continue to inspire. I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a fascinating and comprehensive history into the mythos of the Amazons, in addition to highlighting several equally fascinating cultures in which women have played a large role in governance and/or war.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nita

    I got this book as a Goodread's Giveaway and I really enjoyed it. The book was easy to read and flowed well. I hope in the final version the pictures are of a better quality and it would help if they were closer to the relevant sections in the book. It was interesting to follow the path of the myth of the amazons from the Greeks to present and how it influenced culture. I got this book as a Goodread's Giveaway and I really enjoyed it. The book was easy to read and flowed well. I hope in the final version the pictures are of a better quality and it would help if they were closer to the relevant sections in the book. It was interesting to follow the path of the myth of the amazons from the Greeks to present and how it influenced culture.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    Well researched book that didn't just limit itself to the ancient legends of the tribe of Amazons - who were just a number of days ride 'thataway' or had interacted with some legendary king of Greece, Persia and even the rulers of Rome. The author does seem to jump about but in the long run, it is a coherent and orderly flow from the ancient to the more modern. He first disabuses the legend of their removing their right breast in order to make sword fighting and archery. Basically, it's all bunk. Well researched book that didn't just limit itself to the ancient legends of the tribe of Amazons - who were just a number of days ride 'thataway' or had interacted with some legendary king of Greece, Persia and even the rulers of Rome. The author does seem to jump about but in the long run, it is a coherent and orderly flow from the ancient to the more modern. He first disabuses the legend of their removing their right breast in order to make sword fighting and archery. Basically, it's all bunk. An attempt to de-feminize these people. Then the investigation focuses on the possible origin - likely some of the Scythian tribes of the Ukraine, Russia through Mongolia, Kazakhstan, altai and which eventually became the Germanic tribes that invaded and conquered Rome and Europe. The excavation of the thousands of kurgens (burial mounds) have discovered the skeletons of both sexes with weapons. That is the ones that haven't already pillaged in the past. Then the exploration of the Amazon with the total lie of Carajel - learning an isolated and non-related language of locals within weeks - to completely understand complex descriptions and culture which supposedly referred to a tribe ruled by women several days journey away. And further exploration that the Amazon warrior women were north of the Aztecs on a island in Baja California. He could have easily stopped there but continued with Amazons as the subject of various authors and painters of the age of Enlightenment. The regiment of women warrior bodyguards and fighters of Dahomey, today's Benin, in the 18th and 19th century. Russia's night witches of World War 2 that were fighter pilots and bomber pilots that harassed German forces. And the book ends with a bizarrely twisted tale (several people dealing with social mores and conventions of the early 20th century and collegiate ethics) of the origin of the comic Wonder Woman who has experienced a re-birth with her part in today's movies as well as other characters of pop culture. Overall, interesting and definitely gives a great deal of information for the reader to consider as well as several pathways to further explore. The author's sense of humor shows up in the most odd places and prevents his work from being a rather dull and dry read. 2019-023

  21. 5 out of 5

    jammaster_mom

    This is not the type of book that I usually read but I really enjoyed it! I picked this book up at my local library because the title caught my attention. I was hoping it would be somewhat factual but not so dry and boring. This book is not a dry research thesis but it also isn't a fictionalized romp either. This feels like you are sitting down with the author, for tea or a beer or wine, and asking him what he has been working on recently. That balance between academic and action packed. The book This is not the type of book that I usually read but I really enjoyed it! I picked this book up at my local library because the title caught my attention. I was hoping it would be somewhat factual but not so dry and boring. This book is not a dry research thesis but it also isn't a fictionalized romp either. This feels like you are sitting down with the author, for tea or a beer or wine, and asking him what he has been working on recently. That balance between academic and action packed. The book is set up so that Mr. Man covers each of the major mentions of Amazon's over the centuries. The mentions could be from art or poetry or even modern day women who embody the spirit. He does cover which of the widely held beliefs about the Amazons are possibly true, totally untrue or true. He also covers what archaeology has added to the texts we have. Overall I really enjoyed this book. It wasn't so in depth that I lost interest and at the same time there was some meat to the conclusions and suppositions put forth. I liked how Mr. Man put the Greek stories into context as the propaganda to promote their ideals of society and gender roles. This does greatly affect how the Amazons are portrayed in their stories as compared to the reality based on scientific evidence. This is a very interesting read that is worth making time for.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Overall, this was a bit of a frustrating read. It started off really interesting, with details of how the Greeks viewed the mythical Amazons, and the real-life warrior women in the nomadic tribes of the Eastern European steppes. However. Where the title becomes misleading, is that the rest of the book becomes a mish-mash of 'anything to do with the word Amazons, ever'. The writing style is also very hard to follow, jumping around time and geography with little structure or warning, e.g. from subh Overall, this was a bit of a frustrating read. It started off really interesting, with details of how the Greeks viewed the mythical Amazons, and the real-life warrior women in the nomadic tribes of the Eastern European steppes. However. Where the title becomes misleading, is that the rest of the book becomes a mish-mash of 'anything to do with the word Amazons, ever'. The writing style is also very hard to follow, jumping around time and geography with little structure or warning, e.g. from subheadings. You get the feeling that he read everything he could, sketched out a brief plan in main chapter titles, but apart from that just wrote it down as he remembered things. There are some extremely interesting stories in here, like the fate of the Elgin marbles, and the nomadic burial site of the 'Golden Man' who, once archaeologists had the technology, turned out to be a female priestess-warrior. But on the whole it was a difficult and long read when it shouldn't have been, due to the fractured and frenzied writing style, and over-inclusion of very tenuously linked topics. At one point there was a small biography of a classical composer, and I can't remember quite how it was relevant. If he'd stuck more to the topic of the title, it could have been a very concise, interesting read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Raye Mordon

    I started to read this book because I was studying book XI of the Aeneid and was introduced to Camilla who is compared to an Amazon by Virgil. After a lot of discussions in class I became fascinated by the myth of these women and wanted to find out more. For this purpose I would say that the first half of the book is very good and informative about the origins of this myth, however it does change angle halfway through and become more about warrior women in the world today who could potentially b I started to read this book because I was studying book XI of the Aeneid and was introduced to Camilla who is compared to an Amazon by Virgil. After a lot of discussions in class I became fascinated by the myth of these women and wanted to find out more. For this purpose I would say that the first half of the book is very good and informative about the origins of this myth, however it does change angle halfway through and become more about warrior women in the world today who could potentially be compared the Amazons. Although this was very interesting and definitely inspired me to look into mounted archery, it was not why I picked up the book in the first place and I feel like the author could have done more with the premise. I personally liked the writing style as it is much more informal than other non fiction books I have read which suits much better and allowed me to finish it quicker than usual, however I do think I will have to read other books about the topic to get a complete view of these warriors (also I found it very ironic that the author’a name is literally “ Man “ while he is writing about these famously female warriors - not that it is a bad thing)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I read Mayor’s ‘The Amazons’ back in December and found both the legends and history that shaped the story of the Amazons fascinating. Man’s record is equally informative and well written. It takes us through the sources as outlined in Mayor’s, though both seem to go off in different directions. If you’re reading both, you may end up skim reading those sections, as I did. After that’s out of the way, I really enjoyed what Man chose to focus on. He chose different warrior women in history to those I read Mayor’s ‘The Amazons’ back in December and found both the legends and history that shaped the story of the Amazons fascinating. Man’s record is equally informative and well written. It takes us through the sources as outlined in Mayor’s, though both seem to go off in different directions. If you’re reading both, you may end up skim reading those sections, as I did. After that’s out of the way, I really enjoyed what Man chose to focus on. He chose different warrior women in history to those Mayor selected, but then he’d bring much of what was discussed right up to modern day. Even devoting a whole chapter to Horseback Combat in modern times, another chapter to warrior women in modern history (eg pilots, feminists, even nurses and social workers), and then a chapter on Wonder Woman and what inspired the character, who she was based on and the life of the writers and how this shaped that particular character.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sam Siddiquie

    This guy has written some of the most fascinating books which include one on Saladin (Salahuddin Ayubi), Genghis Khan, (and a separate book on his leadership style), a book on a legendary Samurai Leader, a biography of one of the greatest warlords, Attila the Hun, and one of my ultimate favourites about the man who changed the world by his invention of the printing press, Johann Gutenberg. This one is, as the name suggests about the almost mythical, Amazons, the warrior ladies. Just reading it o This guy has written some of the most fascinating books which include one on Saladin (Salahuddin Ayubi), Genghis Khan, (and a separate book on his leadership style), a book on a legendary Samurai Leader, a biography of one of the greatest warlords, Attila the Hun, and one of my ultimate favourites about the man who changed the world by his invention of the printing press, Johann Gutenberg. This one is, as the name suggests about the almost mythical, Amazons, the warrior ladies. Just reading it out of intrigue to see how much the creator of Wonder Woman, William Marston, borrowed from the legends, and how much of it is true and how much just a story. Hoping for it to be a quick and interesting read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    JP

    An amazing book!! an entertaining! The author reveals he cannot guarantee the truth of history of Amazon women warriors But 70% of the book reveals the characters of Amazon women warriors living without men, mastering in archery and horse riding killing men's as well as male child rear only female children's and teaching them archery and horse riding Then comes the real women's living like a Amazon women's Miss Raskova an Russian women who took part in world war 2 and her team Nick named as "Night An amazing book!! an entertaining! The author reveals he cannot guarantee the truth of history of Amazon women warriors But 70% of the book reveals the characters of Amazon women warriors living without men, mastering in archery and horse riding killing men's as well as male child rear only female children's and teaching them archery and horse riding Then comes the real women's living like a Amazon women's Miss Raskova an Russian women who took part in world war 2 and her team Nick named as "Night Witches " and finally about the birth of WonderWomen comic characters About Kurdish Women just replica of Amazon women's warrior, these women changes the definition of ancient women's In short A superb book it entertain the myth of Amazon women warriors Loved it!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ana Gutierrez

    I liked parts of this book but on a whole found it rambling and disconnected from chapter to chapter. But the title is misleading because the focus on the ancient world is all of two and a half chapters at most. and the archaeological section was slap dash and horrifying. Some of the other chapters where hard to follow and the amount of rhetorical questions or notations on "more on this later" drove me up the wall. If you want to look at specific chapters and simply read them they are not bad bu I liked parts of this book but on a whole found it rambling and disconnected from chapter to chapter. But the title is misleading because the focus on the ancient world is all of two and a half chapters at most. and the archaeological section was slap dash and horrifying. Some of the other chapters where hard to follow and the amount of rhetorical questions or notations on "more on this later" drove me up the wall. If you want to look at specific chapters and simply read them they are not bad but a few of them seem to be synopsis of other books which I probably would have enjoyed reading in their entirety instead.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Le

    The book has a broad scope but lacks tonal consistency. The first half is very solid--Man does a great job tracing the myth of the Amazon back through time, using both historical and archaeological records. The second half, in which Man discusses examples of Amazon-esque society in history and pop culture, is less cohesive. It's really hard to tell where he's going, and after the buildup in the first half, it feels anticlimactic and uninteresting. Form aside, however, Man's research is solid and The book has a broad scope but lacks tonal consistency. The first half is very solid--Man does a great job tracing the myth of the Amazon back through time, using both historical and archaeological records. The second half, in which Man discusses examples of Amazon-esque society in history and pop culture, is less cohesive. It's really hard to tell where he's going, and after the buildup in the first half, it feels anticlimactic and uninteresting. Form aside, however, Man's research is solid and the facts are delivered in a conversational, accessible manner.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    3.5 stars This book was fascinating, but ultimately not what I was really looking for. Under half the book is devoted to the stories of the Scythian women which I was expecting to read about, while the rest was a mix from history’s reception of the Amazons, the resurgence in horse back archery, the Soviet Unions’ Night Witches, among others. I found all of this so interesting to read and I learned an insane amount, but I wish that the book had been marketed or lain out a little differently to ref 3.5 stars This book was fascinating, but ultimately not what I was really looking for. Under half the book is devoted to the stories of the Scythian women which I was expecting to read about, while the rest was a mix from history’s reception of the Amazons, the resurgence in horse back archery, the Soviet Unions’ Night Witches, among others. I found all of this so interesting to read and I learned an insane amount, but I wish that the book had been marketed or lain out a little differently to reflect this.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    To be honest, I'm not quite sure how I feel about this book. It's definitely not what I expected. If you're looking for a book that focuses on the history/legend of the Amazons, you won't find it here. At least I didn't. This book has plenty of interesting facts about history in general, but the Amazons seemed to be on the outer fringes of each chapter. Some sections of the book are very well done. Others are boring and I had a hard time getting through it. To be honest, I'm not quite sure how I feel about this book. It's definitely not what I expected. If you're looking for a book that focuses on the history/legend of the Amazons, you won't find it here. At least I didn't. This book has plenty of interesting facts about history in general, but the Amazons seemed to be on the outer fringes of each chapter. Some sections of the book are very well done. Others are boring and I had a hard time getting through it.

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