Women & Power

A Manifesto
Narrated by: Mary Beard
Length: 1 hr and 35 mins
Categories: History, Ancient History
4.6 out of 5 stars (88 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A New York Times Best Seller

One of the Guardian's "100 Best Books of the 21st Century": "A modern feminist classic."

From the internationally acclaimed classicist and New York Times best-selling author comes this timely manifesto on women and power.  

At long last, Mary Beard addresses in one brave book the misogynists and trolls who mercilessly attack and demean women the world over, including, very often, Mary herself. In Women & Power, she traces the origins of this misogyny to its ancient roots, examining the pitfalls of gender and the ways that history has mistreated strong women since time immemorial. 

As far back as Homer’s Odyssey, Beard shows, women have been prohibited from leadership roles in civic life, public speech being defined as inherently male. From Medusa to Philomela (whose tongue was cut out), from Hillary Clinton to Elizabeth Warren (who was told to sit down), Beard draws illuminating parallels between our cultural assumptions about women’s relationship to power - and how powerful women provide a necessary example for all women who must resist being vacuumed into a male template. 

With personal reflections on her own online experiences with sexism, Beard asks: If women aren’t perceived to be within the structure of power, isn’t it power itself we need to redefine? And how many more centuries should we be expected to wait?

©2017 Mary Beard (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"[A] sparkling and forceful manifesto... The book is a straight shot of adrenaline." (Parul Sehgal, New York Times)

"Beard's thrilling manifesto turns to ancient times to find the seeds of misogyny, beginning with Homer's Odyssey (the first instance of a woman told to shut up) and continuing through Elizabeth Warren's 2017 silencing in the Senate. An irresistible call for women to speak up, act and redefine their power." (People)

"Beard is our most famous classicist, with a gift for bringing ancient Greece and Rome alive on the page like no one else. She is a writer of exceptional erudition and biting wit, and reading her is always a pleasure. This latest manifesto...is no exception... Beard has written an indictment, perhaps her most uncompromising to date, of an ancient past that she is hardly asking us - has never unequivocally asked us - to celebrate. As far as women are concerned, in relation to this ancestral legacy, there is very little to be proud about... The question I finally take from this brilliant book is: what would such power - no rape, no guns, no shutting up of women - look like?" (The Guardian)

A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Selection 

What listeners say about Women & Power

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Not an Historical Account

This book was recommended to me as a history of women's voices and how we've changed the world. Although there are bits of history sprinkled in for examples, these are twisted accounts only used to back up the author's opinion. If you are looking for an OpEd with far leftist overtones of feminism to back up your own small ideas on women in power, this story of victimhood is the perfect text.

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I learned some things

Not what I expected. Didn't like the narrator. Glsd it was short. READ IT AS PART OF A READING CHALLENGE

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Short and fabulous

This book is based on Mary Beard's lecture, and leaves you wanting more! Thoroughly enjoyed it.