100 Nasty Women of History

Written by Hannah Jewell
Review by Marina Maxwell

 Donald Trump calling Hillary Clinton “nasty” seems to have been the genesis for this compilation by satirist Hannah Jewell, and in it she tells stories of women who were deemed “too nasty for their times, too nasty to be recognised, too nasty to be paid for their work and sometimes too nasty to be allowed to live”.

 You’ve probably never heard of most of them, these fabulous weirdos, mystics, geniuses, revolutionaries, divas, and many others who weren’t valued by their “shrivel-souled contemporaries”. In turns hilarious and wickedly frank, and written with contemporary asides, this can only be read for its entertainment value as opposed to historical accuracy, and its feminist, anti-establishment and “badass” millennial-speak won’t appeal to all readers.

 Still, it should prove a great source of inspiration for any author’s reference shelf. I’m already looking forward to novels featuring Khutulun, the wrestling champion princess of the Mongols, or Kosem Sultan, the boss poisoner of the Topkapi Palace harem, or Pancho Barnes, the razzamatazz stunt pilot, or the Mirabel Sisters who died in the fight against Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo, or scientist Jean MacNamara who found a way of murdering millions of Australian rabbits after working on a cure for polio.