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About the Author

Includes the name: Janet Wallach

Obras de Janet Wallach


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
Local de nascimento
New York, New York, USA
New York University
Wallach, John (husband)



biography - b. 1834 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Hetty would grow up to own properties in New York, Chicago, plus major shares in railroads in several other states.

interesting to learn about such an eminent, famous woman that has never been mentioned in my history books, and also interesting to learn that in many ways she was exactly the sort of woman that certain politicians would not feel threatened by (she didn't support the cause of women's suffrage, perhaps because she had enough influence already, and did support certain causes in moderation-- the creation of jobs, etc. without mistreating workers the way other moguls migt).

However, there were a few statements that would have benefited from some context or background:

Th. Jefferson wishing that the practice of slavery would die out (mentioned on p. 45) -- Jefferson's involvement with the practice has been fairly well documented and is "complicated" to say the least, so I think a footnote on the topic at the very least would be worthwhile here. Even if he was unable to free all the enslaved people connected to his estate in his will because they would still be seized by debtors to settle outstanding debts after his death, there were plenty of questionable decisions he made apart from that (and apart from what became of his children with Sally Hemings--some of whom he did free, though not all?), including some very detailed records of the severe beatings received by the enslaved on his estate, presumably on his orders.

"With 60 percent of the electoral college but less than 40 percent of the popular vote, in November 1860 Abraham Lincoln won the election for President of the United States." (p.50) -- this is not inaccurate (see https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/statistics/elections/1860) but again I feel some context would be valuable here. He had the highest share of the popular vote that year (closer to 39.9%), easily eclipsing Democrat Stephen Douglas' 29.5% and Southern Democrat John Breckenridge's 18.1% (as well as John Bell's 12.6%). This is one of those odd factoids apparently (mis)quoted often and as such requires a more exacting look.

The pirates faced by Edward Green in the south China seas were described as "the ugliest ruffians they had ever encountered" (pp 62-63) which, hyperbole or no, would be more meaningful if the text provided the exact quote (as in Edward's letters or other primary source). It's hard to know what the author meant -- are they missing teeth from scurvy, bearing lots of scars from sea battles, or are they maybe just swarthy/brown/darker-skinned? This is perhaps a relatively minor detail compared to the others but it did make me wonder. As before, I checked the end notes for some source info but came up empty.

Tldr: it was overall fairly interesting (and not by any means an easy task to write such a book when so many of the newspaper articles about her were inaccurate), but would definitely benefit from much more thorough source notes.
… (mais)
reader1009 | outras 15 resenhas | Feb 16, 2024 |
This book was barely OK, almost, "I hated it." The author seemed to believe she was writing a romance, and a biography slithered in. She writes a tremendous amount about the clothing the protagonist/subject wore; she makes amazing leaps to conclusions about what she felt. I could not get through the book, although I understand that the subject was a fascinating and extraordinary person.
RickGeissal | outras 22 resenhas | Aug 16, 2023 |
espionage, double-agent, biography, historical-places-events, historical-research, historical-setting, history-and-culture, historical-figures, 20th-century, widow, wealthy, Europe, Mid-East, journalist, linguist, explorers, riveting, misogynistic-era, feminist*****

Born an American socialite, widowed at 37, became the first female foreign intelligence agent for the United States government in 1918. As a wealthy socialite/journalist/linguist fluent in several European languages she had access to many political arenas and became a spy and later a double agent. She even became a writer/director/producer of a silent film and wrote her autobiography. Fantastic recounting of an amazing woman who defied the norms of her time.
I requested and received an EARC from Doubleday Books via NetGalley. Thank you
… (mais)
jetangen4571 | Jul 21, 2023 |
Gertrude Bell was amazing. In a day when women were expected to be “politely educated,” married, and subservient, Bell was single, Oxford-educated, a mountain climber, and a desert explorer.

After teaching herself Arabic, she braved the deserts of pre-World War I Mesopotamia and Arabia with a few servants and her guns. She dined with sheiks and caliphs who normally would not discourse with a woman. She even earned their respect.

During and after the Great War, she was a champion of self-government by Arab people. She worked with her friend, Lawrence of Arabia, to further the Arab voice in the region. Ultimately, their efforts led to a newly formed country of Iraq with an Arab, Faisal I, on the throne.

While her story is amazing, Wallach doesn’t present her as Wonder Woman. Rather, Bell is described as a human with flaws who wants to be a Person, to be someone of consequence. She succeeds in some areas, like politics, more than others, like romance.

I found the book fascinating and truly difficult to put down. Learning from the books I read is important to me. Here I learned a lot about Arab culture and the history of Western interference in the modern Middle East. While I doubt I would have been friends with Bell if I had known her, I found much to admire and astonish. The end of Bell's life was disappointing and surprising.
… (mais)
Library_Lin | outras 22 resenhas | Dec 26, 2022 |



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