Thursday, March 29, 2018

Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

Today I'm looking at a book that provides brief biographies of a variety of royal women throughout history who became famous for a variety of reasons. Rodriguez McRobbie divides the the book into a variety of categories including women who were military leaders, women who seized power in their own right, and women who simply loved to party. Because the historical record doesn't favor women, it's often difficult to get information about these women and in some cases, as Rodriguez McRobbie admits most of what she has to go on is hearsay at best. However this book provides a good starting ground.

Instead of providing detailed biographies about every woman in this book, Rodriguez McRobbie provides vignettes of each woman, briefly covering main events of her life. I will admit that it is a little frustrating to see the lives of influential people summarized to a few pages or sometimes just a few paragraphs, especially when the author herself admits that the figures merit their own full-length biography. However, I choose to look at this book as a starting point rather than a be-all-end-all. Rodriguez McRobbie provides lists for additional reading in the back of the book so I think if a particular individual sounds interesting to you, there are resources available to read more about them.

Ultimately there's not a whole lot I can say about the book beyond that. There are some figures where Rodriguez McRobbie allows conjecture to overtake historical fact but in those cases there are usually too few existing facts for us to say much beyond mere conjecture anyway. Hopefully for people who read these books they'll be able to find information about historical figures who have otherwise often been ignored and do their own research. I'd say it's definitely worth the effort to check out.

- Kalpar

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