The second and final installment of an ambitious project chronicling women's history in Europe from prehistorical times to the present, with the 15th through 20th centuries covered here. As the time span suggests, this is a mammoth survey crowded with the exploits of noted female rulers, writers, and rebels, as well as with the humble doings of everyday women. Arranged more thematically than chronologically (""Women of the Courts,"" ""Women of the Cities""), the work cries out for a historical framework to contain the legion of people and events recounted; it concentrates too much on daily experience, ignoring broader social, political, and religious issues affecting women. While Anderson and Zinsser stress that gender is the determining factor in the lives of European women, this premise is rarely glimpsed in the guts of the text, which at times amounts to a piling up of details and anecdotes without sufficient analytical gusto. Nonetheless, the authors have plainly done their homework. They are at their most engaging and confident when charting the burgeoning independence of women in 19th-century Europe--and most useful when tracing the roots of the feminist movement in this century. A much-needed and exhaustive account of women's history that paves the way for future, hopefully more focused, work.