Title: Women Warriors
Author: Pamela D. Toler
Format: Hardcover, eBook, 240 pages
Expected publication: Feb. 26th 2019 Beacon Press
Links: Goodreads | Amazon |B&N
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Who says women don't go to war? From Vikings and African queens to cross-dressing military doctors and WWII Russian fighter pilots, these are the stories of women for whom battle was not a metaphor.
The woman warrior is always cast as an anomaly--Joan of Arc, not G.I. Jane. But women, it turns out, have always gone to war. In this fascinating, lively, and wide-ranging book, historian Pamela Toler draws from a lifetime of scouring books for mentions of women warriors to tell their stories and to consider why women go to war.
Tomyris, ruler of the hard-riding Massagetae, and her warriors killed Cyrus the Great of Persia when he sought to invade her lands. She herself hacked off his head in revenge for the death of her son. The West African ruler Amina of Hausa, a contemporary of Elizabeth I, led her fierce warriors in a campaign of territorial expansion for more than thirty years. Like Elizabeth, she refused to marry; unlike Elizabeth, she never claimed to be a Virgin Queen. Contemporary accounts of medieval sieges in Europe describe women using firearms, participating in night raids, joining in the defense of breaches in the walls, and fighting hand-to-hand at the improvised barricades that often provided a last line of defense. Among the examples of female samurai in Japan are the Joshigun, a group of thirty seriously combat-trained women who fought against the forces of the Meiji emperor in the late 19th century.
These are the stories of those who commanded from the rear and those who fought in the front lines, those who fought because they wanted to, because they had to, or because they could. Considering the ways in which their presence has been erased from history, Toler concludes that women have always fought: not in spite of being women but because they are women.
In fact, women have always gone to war: fighting to avenge their families, defend their homes (or cities or nation), win independence from a foreign power, expand their kingdom's boundaries, or satisfy their ambition.