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TEN QUEENS by Milton Meltzer Kirkus Star


Portraits of Women of Power

by Milton Meltzer & illustrated by Bethanne Anderson

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: May 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-525-45643-0
Publisher: Dutton

Meltzer (Weapons and Warfare, 1996, etc.) pulls together what is known and what might be inferred about ten women who held power and used it. He doesn’t shirk from the apochryphal origins of Queen Esther, Catherine the Great’s probable promiscuity, or Eleanor of Aquitaine’s desire for control. Instead, he delineates well and clearly what these women accomplished, and how they changed the course of history for good and ill. He makes Boudicca and Elizabeth of England vividly real, and does a fine job of placing Isabella of Spain at a complicated historical nexus: She brought the horrors of the Inquisition to Spain and drove out the Moors, but united her country and funded Columbus. Meltzer also illuminates some lesser-known queens, such as Zenobia of Syria and Christina of Sweden. Anderson’s dramatic paintings serve the text well; neither she nor the author condescend to their readers by prettifying or simplifying the real, sometimes ruthless power these rulers wielded. Already a great read, this is destined to be a favorite resource.  (Biography. 10-14)