dr-amanda-foreman-leads-us-on-the-journey-of-women-through-the-ages_712041“Powerful, inspiring, and important” states Telegraph, of four-part series by Dr. Amanda ForemanDr. Amanda Foreman leads us on the journey of women through the ages. Dr. Amanda Foreman leads us on the journey of women through the ages.

It strikes me as odd that The Times described this innovative and fascinating chronicle of women’s history as “ballsy”. Actually, it’s more than that. I imagine a few “old boys” sitting around the newsroom tossing out descriptors for Dr. Amanda Foreman’s study and guffawing when they came up with this one. The irony is not lost. Continue reading…

The Times: A Life in the Day: Amanda Foreman, historian




By Sarah Maber

Words of wisdom

  • Best advice I was given: “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything”
  • Advice I’d give: “Be kind”
  • What I wish I’d known: “As a teenager, I wish I’d know that I wouldn’t always feel as lonely as I did at that age”

Born in London, Dr Amanda Foreman, 47, went to several boarding schools, then to the US to study at the Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University, before returning to the UK for her doctorate at Oxford. Her first book, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, later became a film starring Keira Knightley. A mother of five, Foreman is also a TV documentary-maker. Continue reading…

The Times: TV review: The Ascent of Woman

TV review The Ascent of WomanBy Andrew Billen

The Ascent of Woman

Even the most overpaid enemy of wimmin’s herstory will earn his money if he manages to ridicule Dr Amanda Foreman’s The Ascent of Woman. Here, last night, was Foreman on Assyrian law in the 12th century BC. “In my opinion,” she said, “this is a harsh society where the law has become a charter for male oppression.” She had just told us that among the 112 laws recorded on a surviving tablet were death penalties for abortion and adultery, and permission for the wife of a rapist herself to be raped in punishment.

I loved “in my opinion”, not because it was a rhetorical flourish but because other evidence indeed suggested Assyrian women enjoyed rather more freedom than the tablet’s engravers would have liked. Although the first part of this new history of women strove to counter existing narratives of incessant female oppression or, perhaps worse, female irrelevance, it was never strident itself. “It is important not to prejudge the veil”, Foreman even said, having traced the headscarf, the wimple and the nun’s habit back to the Assyrians too (2,000 years before Islam). It gave, she pointed out, Assyrian women the chance to be in public. Repack episode one and you have a show called The Veil Unveiled.

Continue reading…