I don't know about you, but history hasn't always been my favorite subject. There are too many dates to memorize and too many people named the same thing. But as I've gotten older and took more specialized history classes in college, I realized that there is so much more to history than dates and stuffy old white men. There are radicals, there are megalomaniacs, there are humanitarians, there are dictators: any kind of person you can imagine, has been represented in some large way in history.
But today the revolutionaries are on call with one of the newest publications from Zest Books, Rockin' the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries from Joan of Arc to Malcolm X. Written by Jeff Fleischer, Rockin' the Boat takes a look at 50 iconic revolutionaries, those regarded as villains as well as those regarded as heroes, throughout history and the world.
Rockin' the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries from Joan of Arc to Malcolm X
March 3, 2014
We love to root for the underdog, and when it comes to underdogs, few are more impressive than the world’s great revolutionaries.
After all, it’s pretty hard to find a more powerful opponent than the world’s biggest empires and emperors. And that’s part of why we’re drawn to the stories of revolutionaries. Many of these men and women were born into virtual dystopias, and they fought throughout their lives, against all odds, to forge a path to a better future. And whether they succeeded, failed, or succeeded only to become a new kind of enemy, there’s something inherently fascinating about that effort to change the world.
Rockin’ the Boat tells the stories of fifty such iconoclasts — including the gladiator Spartacus, the Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca, the inspired religious fighter Joan of Arc, the abolitionist John Brown, women’s rights icon Margaret Sanger, and Maori chief Hono Heke — from an incredibly diverse set of places and times. Each entry includes a mix of history, biography, and analysis, and is supplemented with photos, sidebars, and an incredible amount of trivia as well.
Sounds awesome right?As a result, Rockin’ the Boat provides a unique and powerful view of history — a view from the bottom up, through the eyes of people who dared to imagine a different world from the one in which they lived.
What I really liked about the book was the diversity that Fleischer presented, making sure to incorporate people of color, women, and different socioeconomic statuses. But as March is Women's History Month, I thought I would highlight the women included in this list of 50 revolutionaries.
First up we have Cleopatra
Pharaoh of Egypt, she fought for rule against her younger brother, and ultimately fought against the Roman Empire to try and keep control over Egypt.
Next is Boudica
A Queen of a Celtic tribe in Great Britain during the time of Rome, she avenged the ravage of her people by attacking the Roman overlords, and burning down what would become modern London.
Then we have Joan of Arc
One of the first women military leaders, she led part of the French force successfully against the English. She was also made a martyr, and eventually a Saint, for her conviction of faith
Next is Elizabeth Cady Stanton
She was responsible for the first American Women's Suffrage Movement, and worked tirelessly to gain equality for women.
Then here is Harriet Tubman
One of the most successful Conductors on the Underground Railroad, and an escaped slave herself, she rescued dozens of slaves, leading them to freedom and a better life.
Next is Mary Harris Jones
A dressmaker from Ireland, she devoted her adult life to changing labor practices and worked to create some of the first large unions, and was a founding member of the Industrial Workers of the World.
Here we have Liliuokalani
Last Queen of Hawaii, she worked tirelessly to stop the United States attempts to siege control of the Hawaiian Islands, but ultimately failed to regain her control of the country.
Up next is Kate Sheppard
A pivotal player in the fight for women's suffrage, she helped found the New Zealand chapter of the Women's Christian Temperance Movement and was pivotal in making her country the first to allow all women to vote.
Finally, we end with Emma Goldman
A committed Anarchist, she had a plethora of activism, including, but not limited to, the Russian Revolution, women's access to birth control, and opposition to the military draft; if there was a fight worth fighting, she took place in it.
And there you have it, 9 kick-ass female revolutionaries all waiting within the pages of Rockin' the Boat for you to discover!
Learn more about these amazing revolutionaries by grabbing your own copy of Rockin' the Boat: 50 Iconic Revolutionaries from Joan of Arc to Malcolm X at any of the below retailers:
About the author:
Jeff Fleischer is a Chicago-based journalist and author, who has written for Mother Jones, the Sydney Morning Herald, National Geographic Traveler, Mental Floss, and Chicago Magazine.
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