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Good Reads  Natural History  General Natural History

Wild Girls How the Outdoors Shaped the Women Who Challenged a Nation

New
By: Tiya Miles(Author)
192 pages, 11 illustrations
Wild Girls
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  • Wild Girls ISBN: 9781324076155 Paperback Sep 2024 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 6 days
    £9.99
    #264002
  • Wild Girls ISBN: 9781324020875 Hardback Oct 2023 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 6 days
    £17.99
    #264001
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About this book

An award-winning historian shows how girls who found self-understanding in the natural world became women who changed America.

Harriet Tubman, forced to labour outdoors on a Maryland plantation, learned from the land a terrain for escape. Louisa May Alcott ran wild, eluding gendered expectations in New England. The Indigenous women's basketball team from Fort Shaw, Montana, recaptured a sense of pride in physical prowess as they trounced the white teams of the 1904 World's Fair. Celebrating women like these who acted on their confidence outdoors, Wild Girls brings new context to misunderstood icons like Sacagawea and Pocahontas, and to underappreciated figures like Native American activist writer Zitkála-Šá, also known as Gertrude Bonnin, farmworkers' champion Dolores Huerta, and labor and Civil Rights organizer Grace Lee Boggs.

This beautiful, meditative work of history puts girls of all races – and the landscapes they loved – at centre stage and reveals the impact of the outdoors on women's independence, resourcefulness, and vision. For these trailblazing women of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, navigating the woods, following the stars, playing sports, and taking to the streets in peaceful protest were not only joyful pursuits, but also techniques to resist assimilation, racism, and sexism. Lyrically written and full of archival discoveries, Wild Girls evokes landscapes as richly as the girls who roamed in them – and argues for equal access to outdoor spaces for young women of every race and class today.

Customer Reviews

Biography

Tiya Miles is the Michael Garvey Professor of History at Harvard University, the author of five prize-winning works on the history of slavery and early American race relations, and a 2011 MacArthur Fellowship recipient. She was the founder and director of the Michigan-based ECO Girls program, and she is the author of the National Book Award-winning, New York Times best-selling All That She Carried. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

New
By: Tiya Miles(Author)
192 pages, 11 illustrations
Media reviews

– A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
– A Publishers Weekly and New York Public Library Best Book of 2023

"With delights and surprises at every turn, [this book] has given me a new pantheon of heroes to admire and emulate."
– Elizabeth Fenn, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Encounters at the Heart of the World

"A moving meditation on race, history, and possibility; an enticing invitation to seek renewal in green spaces; a rousing exhortation to women and girls to claim freedom in the wild; Tiya Miles offers us a rhapsodic account of nature as a respite from, and remedy for, the failings of society and culture."
– Nicole Eustace, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Covered with Night

"Wild Girls invites readers on a crucial journey of insight and humanity, reminding us how each life – whether enslaved or dispossessed, marginalized or privileged – takes place on this Earth. In centering the formative ties with nature of remarkable girls-to-women – Harriet Tubman, Zitkala-Sa, and Louisa May Alcott among them – Tiya Miles shows how all claimed "wild" as elemental to their lives and their power to oppose racism and sexism. This reckoning with their pasts illuminates possibilities for our future."
– Lauret Savoy, author of Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape

"How did women, especially African-American and Indigenous women in the US, find freedom in the face of slavery, repression, domesticity, assimilation, trauma and fear? Through incredible storytelling and study, Miles uncovers how girls and women learned new skills and, ultimately, empowerment and peace through their experiences in the natural world."
– Brenda Child, author of My Grandfather's Knocking Sticks

"These stories are a call to action, a reminder that if we lose our way, Nature is a bridge. I, for one, am rejuvenated. What a gift."
– Carolyn Finney, author of Black Faces, White Spaces

"Tiya Miles' Wild Girls is a thoroughly absorbing exploration of the formative role that nature has played in American women's lives. A beautiful synthesis of diverse women's experiences, combining history with memoir and a call to action, this brisk, elegant study – the first in a new series of "short" nonfiction books from Norton – demonstrates how the natural world functioned as a girlhood training ground for adult resistance to the country's confining gender roles."
– Jill Watts, The New York Times Book Review

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