Women at War

The fight for a spot on the frontlines (and in the history books)

A 1903 engraving of Joan of Arc by Albert Lynch featured in the <em>Figaro Illustre</em> magazine (Wikimedia Commons)
A 1903 engraving of Joan of Arc by Albert Lynch featured in the Figaro Illustre magazine (Wikimedia Commons)

Women in wars on land and sea, whether queens or foot soldiers, rarely get their due—yet their lives are at least as interesting as their male counterparts’, not least because they had to leap through so many hoops to fight. Historian Pamela Toler wants us to know their names, and her book Women Warriors is a global history covering everyone from the Trung sisters, who led an untrained, 80,000-strong Vietnamese army against the Chinese Empire, to Cheyenne warriors like Buffalo Calf Road Woman, who knocked General Custer off his horse. There are at least a hundred killer screenplay ideas lurking in the history books—if only we bothered to look. This episode originally aired in 2019.

Go beyond the episode:

Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.

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Stephanie Bastek is the senior editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.


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