This volume, subtitled ""Great Women Through the Ages,"" offers brief biographies of 12 women who made their marks: Agnodice, Lady Murasaki Shikibu, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, Sacagawea, Harriet Tubman, Marie Curie, Anna Akhmatova, Madame Sun Yat-Sen, Amelia Earhart, and Frida Kahlo. Every heroine is covered in a few brief, occasionally superficial paragraphs: a page or two about her life, another spread covering her era and milieu, and a third covering, in one case, ""Sacagawea's World,"" and in Harriet Tubman's case, ""Ole Chariot,"" with a few more details about escapes from slavery. The chapter on Lady Murasaki Shikibu, described as the author of ""the world's first novel"" (The Tale of Genji), consists of a few sentences on her life story, some commentary on Japanese court life and courting rituals, and general notes on medieval Japanese culture in general. The accompanying map shows sites in Japan that relate to Lady Murasaki's life and Genji, but, like the other maps in the book, is superficial and so primitively rendered as to be useless. The illustrations are another weak point, derivative and sometimes poorly drafted (Sir Francis Drake suffers from this, as does Earhart). The subjects are inherently fascinating, but the presentation is too simplistic to satisfy; the book feels packaged and won't whet readers' appetites for more information.