Friday, September 16, 2016

The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore

Unabridged Audio Version from Audible
Growing up in the 1970s, I loved watching the television series Wonder Woman starring Lynda Carter. 

I loved watching this television series so much that my mother made me a Wonder Woman costume for Halloween one year, which was a labor of true love on my mother's part as she can barely sew anything to save her life!! The costume turned out great and I wore it with pride for Halloween that year. I don't remember what ever became of the Wonder Woman costume my mother made for me... I wish we had it stowed away somewhere for posterity. And, I really don't remember much of the Wonder Woman television series other than Lynda Carter starred as Wonder Woman and her costume + a few additional minor details.

When I came across the unabridged audio version of The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore and narrated by the author on Audible, I couldn't resist buying and listening to this nonfiction book. Listening time for The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore is 9 hours, 5 minutes.

Whoa, this book is packed with lots of information!! It was kind of overwhelming how much information was shared with readers. I wasn't expecting so much information about the history of William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman's creator. Not only was William Moulton Marston the creator of Wonder Woman, but he was the inventor of the lie detector, a psychologist, and an attorney. 
William Moulton Marston also lived a very unconventional life with women and he was also influenced by feminism. 

There is a lot of history about feminism is The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore in addition to the life and times of William Moulton Marston.

I felt like the majority of The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore focused on the history of William Moulton Marston's life, his family, the women in his life & his relationship with them, and feminism. Yes, Wonder Woman is discussed in this novel quite a bit, but I wish more of Wonder Woman was discussed than she.

The following is a summary for The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore from Audible:
A riveting work of historical detection revealing that the origins of one of the world’s most iconic superheroes hides within it a fascinating family story - and a crucial history of 20th-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 20th 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 of 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.
I am giving The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

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