Short form: this book is awesome and every home and classroom should have a copy.
Long form: This was a whim. I just picked it up because it had a fun cover and title, but once I started reading it I couldn’t bear to put it down. The introduction is amusing, the art is spot on, and the stories are delightful. Well, many of them have violence and heinous cruelty, or just plain gore, but Porath forewarns the reader with some very specific codes. And when he’s writing about the evil that is lynching he doesn’t shrink from sharing the horror. But also, whenever there is a specific named villain in the piece, he comes up with some amusing expletives. Somehow he manages to hit a sweet spot between maintaining a light tone and historical accuracy, and he manages to do it in both the text and the art. Even when he gives these women enormous Disney eyes he makes sure to get the period details right: you know he isn’t mocking these women, he’s taking them seriously but not striving for an imagined objectivity. And then there are art notes on many of the illustrations, which explain details one might miss and their significance. Dude has found his calling and I hope he sells beaucoup books and can continue to devote his time and energy to the project. I love this like I haven’t loved any history since <i>Lies My Teacher Told Me</i>.
It only just hit me that the reason I loved this book so much was that I really needed to read about kick-ass women who got shit done and had fun and/or really improved their world.