Nov. 14th, 2014

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Cover for The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore, showing a vintage comic picture of Wonder Woman

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 had 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.
(...)
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.

Wonder Woman has been fighting for women’s rights for a very long time, battles hard fought but never won. This is the story of her origins—the stuff of wonders, and of lies.
Before I start telling you about Jill Lepore’s The Secret History of Wonder Woman, I need to tell you a little bit about myself: my history as a reader has undoubtedly influenced my experience with this book, and so it seems reasonable to talk about it.Read more... )

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