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:
- Pamela D. Toler’s Women Warriors: An Unexpected History
- Read an excerpt about the Russian First Women’s Battalion of Death
- Read Toler’s piece for us on Peggy Hull, the first woman accredited as a war correspondent by the U.S. military
- Learn about the lady pirates time forgot, including one who gave birth in the middle of a sea battle (and still won) and Cheng I Sao, who negotiated a sweet retirement package with the Chinese government when the Navy couldn’t take her out
- And meet Njinga, the West African queen who fended off the Portuguese (start at minute 21:30)
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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