Well-behaved women don't make history: difficult women do.
'This is the antidote to saccharine you-go-girl fluff. Effortlessly erudite and funny' Caroline Criado-Perez
Strikers in saris. Bomb-throwing suffragettes. The pioneer of the refuge movement who became a men's rights activist.
Forget feel-good heroines: meet the feminist trailblazers who have been airbrushed from history for being 'difficult' - and discover how they made a difference.
Here are their stories in all their shocking, funny and unvarnished glory.
** Shortlisted in the 2020 Parliamentary Book Awards **
'All the history you need to understand why you're so furious, angry and still hopeful about being a woman now. A book that is part intellectual weapon in your handbag, part cocktail with a friend' Caitlin Moran
'Compulsive, rigorous, unforgettable, hilarious and devastating' Hadley Freeman
'A great manifesto for all those women who have never been very good at being well-behaved.' Mary Beard
'Difficult Women is full of vivid detail, jam-packed with research and fizzing with provocation' Sunday Times
Whoever said feminists lack a sense of humour has not read enough Lewis... A funny, sparky, wide-ranging account... Her book isn’t at all a conventional history. It’s a collection of powerful personal essays on the gnarly issues that women continue to face... I read Difficult Women with gratitude. It’s an authoritative benchmark of modern feminism, written by someone on top of her game... Hooray for a great book by a clever, clear-sighted, straight-talking, difficult young woman.
Difficult Women was a joy to read... I learned so many delicious facts about women whom I thought I knew. In fact, reading Difficult Women felt like sitting down with a friend and gossiping about other women in our circle... It has some howl-out-loud funny moments... Helen Lewis does more than just tell their stories – she allows them to be complicated, something that women are so rarely permitted to be.
Difficult Women is smart, thoughtful and rich in detail... Lewis proves an excellent storyteller who seamlessly blends scholarly inquiry and journalistic investigation with autobiographical titbits and flashes of caustic wit (her footnotes are a hoot).
A sparkling history of feminism in 11 fights… The book is full of Lewis’ short, sharp political observations…almost always as funny as they are informative… It proves her point; that we all have something to learn from each other, if we can open our minds to the true, complicated nature of humanity.
Difficult Women is full of vivid detail, jam-packed with research and fizzing with provocation.
A new book tells the story of feminism through its complicated – and not always agreeable – pioneers. It may make the perfect accompaniment to Misbehaviour, the film about the 1970 Miss World protests which opens in cinemas this weekend.
Over the next six months, we are publishing a brilliant range of debut authors, who are covering everything from the science of listening to fighting feminists to djinns and disappearing children. Then there's the secret world of fungi and a mystical realm accessed through modern Beijing. Anna Fielding talks to the writers to learn more about their upcoming releases.