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Informative,
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The Secret History of Wonder Woman
by Jill Lepore

Published: 2014-10-28
Hardcover : 432 pages
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Recommended to book clubs by 2 of 2 members
A riveting work of historical detection revealing that the origin of one of the world’s most iconic superheroes hides within it a fascinating family story—and a crucial history of twentieth-century feminism

Wonder Woman, created in 1941, is the most popular female superhero of all ...
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Introduction

A riveting work of historical detection revealing that the origin of one of the world’s most iconic superheroes hides within it a fascinating family story—and a crucial history of twentieth-century feminism

Wonder Woman, created in 1941, is the most popular female superhero of all time. Aside from Superman and Batman, no superhero has lasted as long or commanded so vast and wildly passionate a following. Like every other superhero, Wonder Woman has a secret identity. Unlike every other superhero, she has also has a secret history.

Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore has uncovered an astonishing trove of documents, including the never-before-seen private papers of William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman’s creator. Beginning in his undergraduate years at Harvard, Marston was influenced by early suffragists and feminists, starting with Emmeline Pankhurst, who was banned from speaking on campus in 1911, when Marston was a freshman. In the 1920s, Marston and his wife, Sadie Elizabeth Holloway, brought into their home Olive Byrne, the niece of Margaret Sanger, one of the most influential feminists of the twentieth century. The Marston family story is a tale of drama, intrigue, and irony. In the 1930s, Marston and Byrne wrote a regular column for Family Circle celebrating conventional family life, even as they themselves pursued lives of extraordinary nonconformity. Marston, internationally known as an expert on truth—he invented the lie detector test—lived a life of secrets, only to spill them on the pages of Wonder Woman.

The Secret History of Wonder Woman
is a tour de force of intellectual and cultural history. Wonder Woman, Lepore argues, is the missing link in the history of the struggle for women’s rights—a chain of events that begins with the women’s suffrage campaigns of the early 1900s and ends with the troubled place of feminism a century later.

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Member Reviews

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  "Lots of History"by kentuckmn (see profile) 05/13/16

A good topic, but the author included too much information, unnecessary information. Half the book was footnotes. But worth the time for the history and women's rights.

 
  "The Secret History of Wonder Woman"by rosebud13 (see profile) 02/19/15

I loved reading the true back story to Wonder Woman and learning about the comic strips authors, his views on feminism, and how that played out in his professional and personal life. its interesting to... (read more)

 
  "Loved this book!"by RockitGirl (see profile) 11/09/14

I've never been a comic book reader, but I was a Wonder Woman fan as a young girl. I was completely unaware of the connection of Wonder Woman to early 20th century feminism. It's interesting to read... (read more)

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