The ultimate antidote to male domination of the reference books: 450 pages of women bankers, astronomers, painters, politicians, clerics, golfers, rock stars, warriors. Plus some who don't make the usual honors lists (late bloomers, nonretirees) and some latter-day pioneers (service-academy grads, urologists, cantors); some notorious miscreants (imposters, madames, murderers) and some utter fools (e.g., the four women who killed themselves when Rudolph Valentino died). Historically, the gang's all here from Hecuba (""Mothers of Nine or More"") to Diane de Poitiers (""What They Did for Beauty"") to Jiang Xing (""In and Around Power in China""). This is also the place where you'll find not only the wives of Henry VIII but also the lovers of Catherine the Great. But the names aren't nearly all famous (see ""Special Deliverers,"" i.e. midwives),' the listings aren't all predictable or frivolous--or confined to the names of individuals (see ""Rediscovered Fiction""). There's something to interest just about everyone, in short, and something to offend just about everyone too. A silly business, but passing useful.