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Uppity Women in History/Herstory: Interview with Author Vicki Leon

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by Used by kind permission of Vicki Leon



Vicki León is the author of a series of inspiring books about "Uppity Women" through the ages. Engaging and humorous, as well as enlightening, the series has sold over 350,000 copies. All of the books are based on her meticulous research, yet it seems so very wrong to call them "HIS-torical."


Vicki Leon by Used by kind permission of Vicki Leon


Her newest book, 4000 Years of Uppity Women, is a "rollicking, 238-page compendium (which) contains the true tales of irrepressible women of long ago who broke all kinds of barriers. They invented. They created. They cured. They ran cities and businesses, bankrolled charities and religions. Some defied racism to become activists. Some defied society to become pirates. Chosen from the best and boldest female achievers in her four-book Uppity Women series, time-traveling author Vicki León takes you from ancient Egypt, Asia, and Europe through medieval and Renaissance times, then surveys gals in the Old and New Worlds from the colonial era through the late 1800s."


Renaissance Faire founder, Phyllis Patterson, says "The Uppity Women books have a grand sense of history -- and a grand sense of humor."

And author, Riane Eisler, who coined the term, "dominator culture," and is known for her exploration of the partnership versus domination models, notes that Vicki "brings women to life in ways that make us understand their great courage and ingenuity in a time when male dominance and barbarity were the order of the day."


Self Portrait by Artemisia Gentileschi, 1638. Royal Collection, Windsor Castle. by Public Domain via wiki



I'm not convinced that we have sufficiently ended male dominance and barbarity, but I'll have to save that question for an interview with Eisler. Meanwhile, I'm very glad to have the opportunity to interview Vicki León during Women's History Month:

Meryl Ann Butler: Vicki, you've written an impressive number of books on a variety of fascinating topics, and for a wide age range, too! I've been inspired by your books on "outrageous" and "uppity" women for well over 15 years. Can you share with us your inspiration for exploring this topic area as you endeavered to "boldly go where no man has gone before"?



Vicki Leon by Used by kind permission of Vicki Leon



Vicki Leon: My inspiration was more like "exasperation" and "frustration!" Although most of my higher education has been self-inflicted, in the 1970s I did attend community college for a couple of years in Sacramento. Had a terrific Western Civ professor (who happened to have Greek parentage) who taught me how to do primary source research -- the key for burrowing in-depth into a topic, especially obscure ones.


Illuminated image of Hildegard of Bingen and her secretary , Volmar by Public domain via wiki

I started plowing through the Loeb Classical Library (published by Harvard University Press) and its 100s of titles, bilingual editions of all of the ancient writings that have survived in Greek and Latin. I kept looking for anecdotes and facts and stories about women, but found that most mentions were of goddesses, or literary figures, such as Medea.

At a certain point, I told my professor I wanted to do an independent study quarter on the real-life women of ancient Greece and the Mediterranean world. I'll never forget what he said.

"Well, Vicki, I really don't think that you're going to find any women of note, but I guess I can authorize you to try."


The iconic bust of Nefertiti by wiki

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http://www.merylannbutler.com

Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing for over 25 years. She studied art with Harold Ransom Stevenson in Sea Cliff NY for seven years before opening her own art school. Stevenson had (more...)
 

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This was one of the most fun interviews I have con... by Meryl Ann Butler on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 10:40:45 AM
Great piece, already ordered her book on uppity R... by Robert S. Becker on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 12:58:47 PM
Thanks, Robert!  Glad you liked it, and the ... by Meryl Ann Butler on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 3:46:58 PM
Thank you for this informative interview with Vick... by Amy Schreiner on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 6:41:29 PM
Glad you liked the interview. Amy, and thanks for ... by Meryl Ann Butler on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 8:33:08 PM
What a fabulous lady and a great interview, Meryl... by Joan Brunwasser on Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 at 10:16:44 PM
Well, I assure you that it will be a tasty experie... by Meryl Ann Butler on Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 7:22:44 AM
As the child of an uppity woman myself, I've alway... by Greg Tamblyn on Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 10:26:52 AM
LOL, Greg, any progeny of an uppity woman is a fri... by Meryl Ann Butler on Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 11:21:48 AM
This book could assist many if included on the "r... by Cynthia Piano on Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 6:22:04 PM
Yes I agree that our young girls need to read thes... by Meryl Ann Butler on Friday, Mar 21, 2014 at 8:04:38 PM
Yes, both young boys and girls would benefit grea... by Cynthia Piano on Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 at 7:44:36 AM