A History of Women in 101 Objects (Hardcover)

A History of Women in 101 Objects By Annabelle Hirsch Cover Image
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Discover the hidden history of women—and the world—through this visual exploration of intimate objects and the surprising, sometimes shocking stories behind them.

“I adored this book!”—Olivia Colman

This is a neglected history. Not a sweeping, definitive, exhaustive history of the world but something quieter, more intimate and particular: a single journey, picked out in 101 objects, through the fascinating, manifold, and too often overlooked histories of women.

With engaging prose, compelling stories, and a beautiful full-page image of each object, Annabelle Hirsch’s book contains a curated and diverse compendium of women and their things, uncovering the thoughts and feelings at the heart of women’s daily lives. The result is an intimate and stirring alternative history of humans in the world. The objects date from prehistory to today and are assembled chronologically to show the evolution of how women were perceived by others, how they perceived themselves, how they fought for freedom. Some (like a sixteenth-century glass dildo) are objects of female pleasure, some (a thumbscrew) of female subjugation. These are artifacts of women celebrated by history and of women unfairly forgotten by it. With variety and nuance, A History of Women in 101 Objects cracks open the fissures of what we think we know in order to illuminate a much richer retelling: What do handprints on early cave paintings tell us about the role of women in hunting? How is a cell phone related to femicides? What does Kim Kardashian’s diamond ring have to do with Elena Ferrante?

Wide-ranging, subversive, witty, and superbly researched, this is a book that upends all our assumptions about, and presentations of, the past, proving that it has always been as complicated and fascinating as the women who peopled it.

About the Author

Annabelle Hirsch, born in 1986, has German and French roots. She studied art history, dramatics, and philosophy in Munich and Paris, and works as a cultural journalist for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and various other magazines. She writes short stories and translates French literature. She lives between Rome and Berlin.

Praise For…

“Hirsch provides a rich, subversive take on history. . . . The scope and delicious imaginative leaps of Hirsch’s work, translated from German by Eleanor Updegraff, start to work their magic. I guarantee many readers will be exposed to something new.”Financial Times

“A reminder, lest we forget, that women are and have always been, whether quietly or vociferously, on the periphery or center stage, the engine, the glue, the inspiration behind it all.”—Gillian Anderson

“An excellent reminder that women have always been there. They may be written out of texts, but the objects they leave behind reveal them in all their complexity. Women who fought, women who worked, women who wielded power and carried agency. Through these 101 objects, you can touch the hands of ancestors and understand the worlds they inhabited.”—Dr. Janina Ramirez, author of Femina

“Quirky [and] idiosyncratic . . . wide-ranging, beautifully presented book.”Herald Review

“I adored this book! Hirsch’s intimate observational gifts turn that world into a rousing, living record of all that we have wrestled with.”—Olivia Colman

“A fantastic cabinet of curiosities that rethinks the role of women in history. . . . Educational, funny—a joy!”—Leila Slimani

“I love this book. . . . A new feminist history of the world . . . stirring, provocative, and carefully researched.”—Lauren Elkin
“An ambitious project, wide in scope, idiosyncratic in approach . . . The power of this book is cumulative; read as a whole it becomes increasingly affecting. At its heart it is about female pain, female bravery, and female creativity.”Sunday Times

“Hirsch makes an engaging book debut with a feminist chronicle of women’s lives from prehistoric times to the present. . . . Filled with illuminating anecdotes, the collection is as entertaining as it is informative.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593728758
ISBN-10: 0593728750
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: March 5th, 2024
Pages: 432
Language: English