Lives of Extraordinary Women

Women’s History Month is a good time to be reminded of the powerful effect some women have had on world history. Author Kathleen Krull’s latest offering in her “Extraordinary Lives” series is written with her usual amusing and penetrating style, while Hewitt’s caricatures humorously bring these extraordinary women to life.

Krull’s book turns the spotlight on some familiar faces as well as a surprising number of overlooked, truly fascinating and sometimes notorious women. She warns us that “not all of these women are role models,” although they all “wielded significant power.” Bits of interesting trivia bordering on gossip are peppered throughout the book and provide an added incentive for further, in-depth exploration.

One of my favorites, British born Gertrude Bell (1860-1918), spent most of her adult life in the Middle East. She became so respected and knowledgeable that she drew the boundaries for what was then a new country, Iraq, helped to choose its first ruler, Prince Faisal, and became his closest adviser.

Each biography ends with an "Ever After" segment discussing the lasting effects each woman may have had. This book is a fabulous introduction to some larger-than-life women for both younger readers and most adults.