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A History of Women in 101 Objects cover art

A History of Women in 101 Objects

By: Annabelle Hirsch, Eleanor Updegraff - translator
Narrated by: Gillian Anderson, Katy Hessel, Anita Rani, Jackie Kay, Len Pennie, Shirley Manson, Rebecca Solnit, Sandi Toksvig, Marina Hyde, Naomi Shimada
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Summary

This is a neglected history. No attempt at a sweeping, definitive, exhaustive history of the world but something quieter, more intimate and particular, told by Annabelle Hirsch through her selection of 101 objects, and now brought thrillingly alive for you by a chorus of 101 remarkable women in this ground-breaking audio release.

Open up this cabinet of curiosities and you’ll discover objects that have been highly esteemed and others that are humble and domestic. Some (like a sixteenth-century glass dildo, as read by Miriam Margolyes) are objects of female pleasure, some (a thumbscrew, as read by Val McDermid) of female subjugation. There are artefacts of women celebrated by history (The Brontë Sisters’ miniature books, as read by Rebecca Hall) and of women unfairly forgotten by it (a dish with the likeness of Roxelana, as read by Elif Shafak); examples of female rebellion (a bunch of hair, as read by Shirin Neshat) and of self-revelation (an unusual portrait, as read by Daisy Ridley); objects that are inspiring (Aretha Franklin’s song ‘Respect’, as read by Cynthia Erivo), curious (George Sand’s right arm, as read by Jeanette Winterson) or just fundamentally ill-conceived (like radium-laced chocolate, as read by Meera Syal).

This highly acclaimed and very overdue corrective reveals what a healed femur (Gillian Anderson) says about civilisation, what men have to fear from hat pins (Helena Bonham Carter), and it shows that the past has always been as complicated and fascinating as the women that peopled it.

Refuge UK, is a registered charity in the UK with charity nos. 277424. 25% percent of the proceeds* received by Canongate Books from this audiobook will be made available to the charity for their work empowering women and children experiencing domestic violence. This donation has been made possible by Canongate Books, Annabelle Hirsch, Eleanor Updegraff and Kein und Aber.

*Proceeds means the cash-price or cash-equivalent price less sales taxes.

The readers, in order of appearance:

Gillian Anderson, Katy Hessel, Anita Rani, Jackie Kay, Len Pennie, Annabelle Hirsch, Shirley Manson, Rebecca Solnit, Sandi Toksvig, Marina Hyde, Naomi Shimada, Harriet Walter, Celia Imrie, Kate Manne, Margaret Atwood, Janina Ramirez, Doon Mackichan, Helen Mirren, Elif Shafak, Kathryn Hunter, Kate Mosse, Miriam Margolyes, Val McDermid, Caitlin Moran, Dolly Alderton, Georgia Byng, Olivia Colman, Sasha Lane, Adjoa Andoh, Elizabeth Acevedo, Sue Perkins, Ece Temelkuran, Mary Ann Sieghart, Alison Steadman, Daisy Ridley, Rebecca Hall, Krista Tippett, Patience Agbabi, Michelle Newell, Jeanette Winterson, Geraldine James, Sinead Cusack, Tiya Miles, Crystal Clarke, Louise Brealey, Leïla Slimani, Helena Kennedy, Samin Nosrat, Anna Holmes, Michelle Gomez, India Knight, Natascha McElhone, Lauren Elkin, Kate Winslet, Helena Bonham Carter, Sylvia Whitman, Noma Dumezweni, Meera Syal, Niamh McGrady, Denise Gough, Jacqueline Wilson, Siri Hustvedt, Gaby Wood, Sophie Hunter, Lisa-Kaindé Diaz, Annabel Mullion, Sharleen Spiteri, Jennifer Clement, Julia Gillard, Christiane Amanpour, Jude Kelly, Kerry Fox, Ruth Rogers, Maggie Smith, Hanna Schygulla, Kübra Gümüşay, Erica Wagner, Sandra Hüller, Jodie Whittaker, Virginie Efira, Nicola Sturgeon, Juno Dawson, Juliet Stevenson, Sally Phillips, Anjelica Huston, Lisa Dwan, Ruth Ozeki, Joanna Lumley, Cynthia Erivo, Martha Wainwright, Eleanor Updegraff, Sinéad Gleeson, Salena Godden, Lili Taylor, Mariella Frostrup, Rakie Ayola, Katie Kitamura, Saffron Hocking, Tahmima Anam, Vivian Oparah, Shirin Neshat.

©2023 Annabelle Hirsch and Eleanor Updegraff (P)2024 Canongate Books
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic reviews

'Whimsical, fun and witty. Annabelle Hirsch's book is a like a treasure hunt through history, culture, politics, fashion and art - from cave paintings and bikinis to menstruation cups and Madame Pompadour's sealing stamp.' (ANDREA WULF)

'Such a satisfying and educational insight into the minds and activities of our united ancestors and a reminder, lest we forget, that women are and have always been, whether quietly or vociferously, on the periphery or centre stage, the engine, the glue, the inspiration behind it all.' (GILLIAN ANDERSON)

.I adored this book! Our history and our power are not just ideas, but play out in the ways we interact with the physical world. Hirsch's intimate observational gifts turn that world into a rousing, living record of all that we have wrestled with.' (OLIVIA COLMAN)

What listeners say about A History of Women in 101 Objects

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Really interesting, dip in and out

Overall really good. I would have liked more on the objects themselves, by describing them in more detail it would have made the history more alive to me. It’s interesting and ususal and it’s cool hearing a famous voice. Got slightly monotonous to listen to in one go, but def dip in and out!

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Fascinating

It would be useful if the chapter names state the objects covered.
Some chapter beginnings cut off the object they cover.

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Brilliant

I’m really enjoying this book so much info contained in it. Well narrated too. My only gripe is the chapters I wish they were headed by the item being described. It’s difficult if you lose your place to find your starting point. It’s a minor gripe. I’ve laughed at some of the descriptions and been generally shocked at others. There’s been a few no way moments as well…I’m generally saddened it’s finished. So worth a credit.

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Inspiring!

Incredible stories read by interesting women. I can’t stop recommending this book to everyone, I love it

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Great One To Choose As Audiobook

Informative, accessible, and engaging. Read by a diverse and exciting cast, I really enjoyed this and learned a lot. The focus is Western, which the author admits as a limitation - would be lovely to see a similar more global project some day.

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