Skip to main content

Bygone Badass Broads: 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World

Review

Bygone Badass Broads: 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World

If you’re looking to read about diverse, impactful women you never learned about in school, BYGONE BADASS BROADS by Mackenzi Lee is the book for you. Lee, curator of the Twitter series of the same name and bestselling author of THIS MONSTROUS THING and the acclaimed THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE, takes readers on a journey through the centuries, bringing to light stories of forgotten women who changed the world. Petra Eriksson’s gorgeous illustrations combined with Lee’s conversational yet powerful voice make for a quick read that is unlike anything you’ve seen before.

"Petra Eriksson’s gorgeous illustrations combined with Lee’s conversational yet powerful voice make for a quick read that is unlike anything you’ve seen before."

There is so much to love about this book. First of all, it’s beautiful. Eriksson’s illustrations strike a balance between quirky and serious that perfectly complements Lee’s storytelling style and add depth to Lee’s biographies that could easily be lost were the book just text.

This isn’t to say that Lee’s writing is dull; far from it. The vignettes dazzle, popping of the page with such life and clarity that readers will forget that these are women they have only just learned about. The brevity of the biographies is also part of the charm. You can read just a few and come back later, or you can devour it in one sitting. The women Lee has chosen to write about are fascinating, and I loved learning about people from all over the world and all walks of life. These are not the women we learned about in school --- formal, respectable bringers of calm reform. They are firebrands, revolutionaries and advocates.

Lee doesn’t just stick to traditionally morally good characters, either. Rather, she delves into the intricacies of humanity, reaffirming the fact that flaws make us human, and that even a flawed person can change the world. That Lee is able to accomplish this with levity and humor is a feat, and it makes BYGONE BADASS BROADS an absorbing and compelling read that you will have you clamoring for a follow-up.

If you have any interest in history/historical fiction or activism, I cannot recommend BYGONE BADASS BROADS enough. When I read the last page, I flipped right back to the first.

Reviewed by Maggie Dow on February 27, 2018

Bygone Badass Broads: 52 Forgotten Women Who Changed the World
by Mackenzi Lee and Ms. Petra Eriksson