Warrior Women

Posted by barb on Aug 3, 2003 in Books |

The Amazons of Dahomey and the Nature of War
by Robert B. Edgerton

The Amazons of Dahomey were the elite army of the Aftrican republic of Dahomey from early 1700s (?) to nearly 1900 when the French took over Dahomey. They fought more fiercely than the men to protect their king and his interests. They were women.

Edgerton explores the origins of these Amazons, their rise and their fall. They represent an enigma in World warfare history, since war has almost exclusively been the realm of men. While women have gone to fight in wars in other cultures and societies, never before or since have they formed the elite army of a society.

Unfortunately, I rediscovered that scholars are generally not great writers with this book. Edgerton bounces around with is subject and repeats points and even anecdotes frequently, making the book a slog. Perhaps the most interesting chapter was the last one where he explores the history of women in warfare across the globe throughout history — though this certainly could have been a book all its own.

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