On the Trail of the Women Warriors (History and Politics)

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9780094780804: On the Trail of the Women Warriors (History and Politics)

The quest to discover whether the mythical Amazons actually existed, or whether they were creatures of myth, takes Lyn Webster Wilde to the Turkish coast of the Black Sea and the Amazon city of Themiscyra. Wilde delves into archaeology, gender, ideology, into the depths of the literature and academic minds.

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Review:

Readers who associate "Amazon" primarily with a South American River or an online retailer are in for a big surprise. In On the Trail of the Women Warriors, Lyn Webster Wilde investigates the original Amazons, independent women warriors who lived without men. First mentioned by Homer, who considered them "women the equal of men," Amazon women fought bravely and ruthlessly in the Bronze and Iron Ages (2000 BC-300 BC), and sought out masculine society only once a year to conceive.

Webster Wilde concentrates her study on the Amazons of Greek mythology, and with clarity, wit, and detail, she examines various possibilities as to what the source of their images and myth may have been. Unlike most scholars, she examined--firsthand--Amazon remains: she traveled to the Ukraine, Russia, and the shores of the Black Sea to investigate graves of Scythian women warriors and the lost city of Themiscyra. Her findings reveal fascinating information about not only the Amazons and the societies that validated their myth, but also "our understanding of what women and men are, and what they can be, if we remove our ideas of what they should be." For example, in Classical Greece, women were utterly suppressed and misogyny was rife, while democracy ironically evolved. In the powerful myth of the Amazon and the subliminal recognition of female power as expressed in religious rites, however, women experienced the liberation denied them by society at large.

A glossary, maps, footnotes, photos, and timeline make her already accessible results even more relevant and coherent. So, did the Amazons exist as portrayed in Greek mythology? Probably not, the author concludes, but all the components of the myth most likely existed in different times and places, and "pieced together, they make an image close to the Amazon archetype." On the Trail of the Women Warriors allows readers to draw their own conclusions. --Bertina Loeffler Sedlack

About the Author:

Lyn Webster Wilde is a broadcaster and filmmaker with a degree in English Literature from Cambridge University. She is married and lives in London. This is her third book.

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Wilde, Lyn Webster
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