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Review: Tough Mothers: Amazing Stories of History’s Mightiest Matriarchs

Mothers are the first gatekeepers to the world that most of us know. They are the ones who we hold close to us when we are first born and who we miss most soon after they leave this earth. We usually celebrate them on their birthday and today, Mother’s Day, but the truth is , what they do is really superhuman. The fact that most women who work, are also mothers and wives, and excel in all three areas, without blinking.

In Jason Porath’s sequel to his acclaimed Rejected Princesses, the appropriately named Tough Mothers: Amazing Stories of History’s Mightiest Matriarchs, he introduces readers to real life heroes that some may have heard but most should know. In “the Mother Who Bought Back her Country”, we meet Labotsibeni Gwamile La Mdluli, a shrewd regent whose negotiation skills lead her winning her country, Swaziland from England through measured indifference. In “The Mother of Modern Mastectomy”, we meet Vera Peters, a doctor who previously shown that Hodgkin’s lymphoma is treatable but then through the misogynistic “boys club” that occupied medicine then, that there was a more humane surgical procedure to treat women. In “The Mom Who Went to Washington”, we meet Bella Abzug, a woman who pushed through legislation in the US Congress, for the fair treatment of women in education and banks, bills for child care and LGBT rights, and was one of the frontrunners in ending the war in Vietnam and asking for President Nixon’s impeachment, a firebrand whose legacy runs deep in Washington D.C.

As infamous the name of Hannibal is, there was once a ruler named Anamirenas, as some would know as “The Mother Who Invaded Rome”, the fierce one eyed queen of Kush, who did not cower despite Rome’s defeat of Egypt, but instead rose to the occasion, and whose tactics proved too much for Augustus as it lead him to reach out for permanent peace. In “The Mother Who Made Her Own Fortune”. We meet Madame CJ Walker, a child of ex-slaves, who rose from poverty to become one of America’s first millionaires. In “The Mom Who Became Shogun,” we meet Masako Hojo, a woman who did not take any of her husband’s cheating antic slightly, and when her son proved to be an equally incompetent ruler, she became shogunate, quickly bringing order to a messy government. In the last heroine I will highlight, titled “The Mothers who Toppled a Dictatorship” we meet the Mirabel Sisters, as the advances of a deranged ruler in the Dominican Republic, became a living nightmare for one family, but their story helped turned a nation against the tyranny.

Overall, an essential book in everyone’s personal library, as it shows that women have been more than equals to men, they are superior in many ways. The stories by Paroth are each brilliant, well written and sprinkled with modern colloquialisms . The art by Paroth is gorgeous, as each panel captures these women in action, in the most gorgeous colors and vivid light. Altogether, a great book that will have the reader looking up these heroes, as all these women should be celebrated.

Story: Jason Porath Art: Jason Porath
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy