The Missing Thread

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781474615617

Price: £25

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‘A brilliant concept, executed with enviable elegance’ Lucy Worsley

Spanning 3,000 years, from the birth of Minoan Crete to the death of the Julio-Claudian dynasty in Rome, a magisterial new history of the ancient world told, for the very first time, through women.

For centuries, men have been writing histories of antiquity filled with warlords, emperors and kings. But when it comes to incorporating women aside from Cleopatra and Boudica, writers have been more comfortable describing mythical heroines than real ones. While Penelope and Helen of Troy live on in the imagination, their real-life counterparts have been relegated to the margins. In The Missing Thread, Daisy Dunn inverts this tradition and puts the women of history at the centre of the narrative.

These pages present Enheduanna, the earliest named author, the poet Sappho and Telesilla, who defended her city from attack. Here is Artemisia, sole female commander in the Graeco-Persian Wars, and Cynisca, the first female victor at the Olympic Games. Cleopatra may be the more famous, but Fulvia, Mark Antony’s wife, fought a war on his behalf. Many other women remain nameless but integral. Through new examination of the sources combined with vivid storytelling Daisy Dunn shows us the ancient world through fresh eyes, and introduces us to an incredible cast of ancient women, weavers of an entire world.

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Reviews

A beautiful, gloriously intricate tapestry, full of fresh faces and revitalised tales, woven with all the artistry and wit we've come to expect from Daisy Dunn. A stunning tribute to the women of the ancient world.
Jessie Childs, author of God's Traitors
A brilliant concept, executed with enviable elegance. People will go to college to study the ancient world because of this book. Brava, Daisy Dunn!
Lucy Worsley, author of Agatha Christie
Daisy Dunn is the real deal. No thread is left hanging, let alone missing, in her closely woven tapestry of ancient women's history. Brilliantly conceived and written, The Missing Thread unerringly fingers the (chiefly male) ancients' inability to understand women and view them in the round.
Paul Cartledge, author of Thebes: The Forgotten City of Ancient Greece
I loved this radical new take on the familiar stories of the ancient world we all think we know but clearly only know the half. Dunn succeeds magnificently not in erasing men but in bringing out of the shadows some extraordinary women and giving them much more than merely reflected glory. The book sparkles with fresh ideas.
Anne Sebba, author of Ethel Rosenberg
Beautifully written, witty and wry, this is a great his - and her - story of the ancient past, carefully sifting the evidence to shine light on the power and influence women have wielded through the ages.
Michael Scott, author of X Marks the Spot
With wonderful lightness of touch, Daisy Dunn has rewritten the history of the ancient world. Coming out of the shadows, so many human faces, from Homer to Agrippina, from Lucretia to Cleopatra. Our vision of antiquity will never be quite the same again. As with all her previous books, Daisy Dunn has constructed an utterly compelling narrative. The men are not neglected, but they stand aside to reveal the neglected other half of the human race.
AN Wilson
Daisy Dunn is a wonderful writer and The Missing Thread is a wonderful book: rich, immersive, breathtaking in its authority and scope. This is a history of the ancient world which puts women where they belong - at the heart of the narrative - and the result is both deeply absorbing and urgently timely.
Helen Castor, author of She-Wolves