A History of Women in 101 Objects

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
March 2024
13 hours 8 minutes
Discover the hidden history of women—and the world—through this visual exploration of intimate objects and the surprising, sometimes shocking stories behind them.

“I adored this book!”—Olivia Colman

This is a neglected history. Not a sweeping, definitive, exhaustive history of the world but something quieter, more intimate and particular: a single journey, picked out in 101 objects, through the fascinating, manifold, and too often overlooked histories of women.

With engaging prose and compelling stories, Annabelle Hirsch’s book contains a curated and diverse compendium of women and their things, uncovering the thoughts and feelings at the heart of women’s daily lives. The result is an intimate and stirring alternative history of humans in the world. The objects date from prehistory to today and are assembled chronologically to show the evolution of how women were perceived by others, how they perceived themselves, how they fought for freedom. Some (like a sixteenth-century glass dildo) are objects of female pleasure, some (a thumbscrew) of female subjugation. These are artifacts of women celebrated by history and of women unfairly forgotten by it. With variety and nuance, A History of Women in 101 Objects cracks open the fissures of what we think we know in order to illuminate a much richer retelling: What do handprints on early cave paintings tell us about the role of women in hunting? How is a cell phone related to femicides? What does Kim Kardashian’s diamond ring have to do with Elena Ferrante?

Wide-ranging, subversive, witty, and superbly researched, this is a book that upends all our assumptions about, and presentations of, the past, proving that it has always been as complicated and fascinating as the women who peopled it.

Read by Gillian Anderson, Katy Hessel, Anita Rani, Jackie Kay, Len Pennie, Annabelle Hirsch, Shirley Manson, Rebecca Solnit, Sandi Toksvig, Marina Hyde, Naomi Shimada, Harriet Walter, Celia Imrie, Kate Manne, Margaret Atwood, Janina Ramirez, Doon Mackichan, Helen Mirren, Elif Shafak, Kathryn Hunter, Kate Mosse, Miriam Margolyes, Val McDermid, Caitlin Moran, Dolly Alderton, Georgia Byng, Olivia Colman, Sasha Lane, Adjoa Andoh, Elizabeth Acevedo, Sue Perkins, Ece Temelkuran, Mary Ann Sieghart, Alison Steadman, Daisy Ridley, Rebecca Hall, Krista Tippett, Patience Agbabi, Michelle Newell, Jeanette Winterson, Geraldine James, Sinead Cusack, Tiya Miles, Crystal Clarke, Louise Brealey, Leila Slimani, Helena Kennedy, Samin Nosrat, Anna Holmes, Michelle Gomez, India Knight, Natascha McElhone, Lauren Elkin,Kate Winslet, Helena Bonham Carter, Sylvia Whitman, Noma Dumezweni, Meera Syal, Niamh McGrady, Denise Gough, Jacqueline Wilson, Siri Hustvedt, Gaby Wood, Sophie Hunter, Lisa Kainde Diaz, Annabel Mullion, Sharleen Spiteri, Jennifer Clement, Julia Gillard, Christiane Amanpour, Jude Kelly, Kerry Fox, Ruthie Rogers, Maggie Smith, Hanna Schygulla, Kübra Gümüsay, Erica Wagner, Sandra Huller, Jodie Whittaker, Virginie Efira, Nicola Sturgeon, Juno Dawson, Juliet Stevenson, Sally Phillips, Anjelica Huston, Lisa Dwan, Ruth Ozeki, Joanna Lumley, Cynthia Erivo, Martha Wainwright, Eleanor Updegraff, Sinéad Gleeson, Salena Godden, Lili Taylor, Mariella Frostrup, Rakie Ayola, Katie Kitamura, Saffron Hocking, Tahmina Anam, Vivian Oparah, and Shirin Neshat
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