Review by Sarah Barton:
In her book Ms Cameron gives us interesting insights into the lives of women philosphers of bygone eras who were only too aware of the injustices of living in a world dominated by men. Thinkers like de Gournay and Wollstonecraft were early feminists, demanding that women should have access to education and equality. Wollstonecraft even stated that if men were treated as demi-gods then the inequality would result in women becoming 'cunning, mean and selfish'.
Ms Cameron combines a brief biography of each of her candidates with a summary and an analysis of the main thrusts of their arguments, making us wish for more so it is excellent that there is a useful bibliography at the end.
The work of some of these women may be new to us even if we have vaguely heard of them before. An example is Ada Lovelace - the illegitimate daughter of Byron - whose amazing work with Babbage and prescience in the field of Mathematics led to developments in software in modern computing.
We must be grateful for the independence of thought of these philosophers, many of whom had troubled personal lives, in some cases lives that were all too brief. They committed themselves to political and social activism, to Ethics and Morality. The final chapters deal with more contemporary thinkers like Iris Murdoch and Simone de Beauvoir, famous for other aspects of their work. Mary Warnock is known for her skilful contributions to the Ethics Committee on Human Embryology and Cloning and Mary Beard the Oxford academic has been attacked on Twitter for her views and it is this that has made them household names.
The irony of Simone de Beauvoir having a modest cycle and footbridge named after her is not lost on me. No grand edifices or vast boulevards?
This book will be an eye opener for all right-thinking modern feminists who will undoubtedly wish to find out more. Well done Ms Cameron.