Wonder Woman, created in 1941, is the most popular female superhero of all time. This book uncovers a trove of documents, including the private papers of William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman's creator.
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Like every other superhero, Wonder Woman has a secret identity. Unlike every other superhero, she also has a secret history. Drawing from an astonishing trove of documents, including never-before-seen private papers, Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore reveals the fascinating family story that sparked the invention of the most popular female superhero of all time. Delving into the life of Wonder Woman's eccentric creator, psychologist William Moulton Marston, Lepore uncovers her feminist origins: from the warrior princesses of the Amazon, to suffragists including Emmeline Pankhurst, and the women Marston shared his life with - his wife and his mistress. The Secret History of Wonder Woman is at once a riveting work of pop-culture history, and a crucial insight into the struggle for women's rights in the twentieth century and the troubled place of feminism today.
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fully tells Marston's history for the first time, as well as the complete history of how so many crisp feminist ideas made their way into Wonder Woman comics. It's complicated material that she capably explores.' New York Times 'An astonishing story told extremely well.' -- Tim Arnold-Forster Daily Beast 'A fascinating and eclectic study ... Lepore has added to our understanding of an iconic literary character ensconced deep within the mythology of our modern society; but more importantly she has used this character to shape a new understanding of that society's own history ... Her research is surprising not only because it reveals what we did not know about Wonder Woman, but because it underscores what we did not know about our own history.' Pop Matters 'This wham-bang-thank-you-superma'am book is thrilling, amazing, unexpectedly weird and right-on righteous!' -- Iain Finlayson Saga Magazine NPR's Best Books of 2014 Entertainment Weekly Best Nonfiction Books of the Year 2014 Barnes and Noble's Top Books for the Holiday Season Amazon's Best Books of the Month 'Lepore's study of Wonder Woman, feminism and the strange Marston is riveting.' The Telegraph 'A spectacularly detailed biography of both the comic book superhero and her creator, psychologist and inventor of the lie detector, William Moulton Marston ... Both have riveting stories which Lepore tells with the same effusive energy and excitement of the comic strip.' Daily Mail 'A fascinating foray into American popular culture.' -- Simon Shaw Mail on Sunday 'Lepore meticulously unpicks Wonder Woman's origins to reveal there's more to her backstory than an Amazonian creation myth ... Underneath the intriguing social history, this is a story of human flaws and foibles, with Wonder Woman standing as testament to the pitfalls and pleasures of chasing a dream.' -- Victoria Segal The Guardian