Extraordinary Women of History: Pirates, Psychics, Priestesses and Princess Spies

Maria Pettersson

Original title: Historian jännät naiset

Author: Maria Pettersson

Published: 2020

Publisher: Atena

Genres: Memories & Biographies, History & Politics

Pages: 502

Reading material:

English sample

German edition

Extraordinary, “bad-ass” women of history - meet pirates, psychics, priestesses, princess spies and dozens of other women whose stories your history teacher never told you

The captain who ruled the biggest pirate fleet in history. The scientist who changed our understanding of physics, while taking the most famous geniuses of her time as her lovers, and getting in trouble for gambling. The con artist who could fool any jeweler in Europe. The baseball star who played wearing a fake beard. Teenagers recruited by the Resistance because of their innocent looks, who learned to blow up railways and shoot Nazis from their bicycles. The master of Jujutsu who taught the Suffragettes to fight back. The cult leader who made her followers undergo cosmetic surgery to look more like her. The kidnapped girl who ended up ruling the biggest empire that had ever existed, with her female lover as her queen.

Extraordinary Women of History introduces over a hundred exceptional women from different periods of history and from all corners of the world. It is a veritable treasury of captivating stories and unsung ballads about the exciting women in history. Outrageous, amazing, terrible, heroic, thrilling and above all extraordinary; their life stories make the reader gasp and ask: “Why haven’t I heard of them before?”


For a lover of unusual life stories, this book is a real treasure chest. Atena also deserves praise for the book’s excellent layout. The bound and bookmarked work has been tastefully executed, right down to the paper selection. This is a very excellent book, which really forces you to look for more to read about the women introduced. I highly recommend! – Titta Lindström, Book Tips blog

Suitable for serious consumption as well as a literary snack. The chapters are perfect length and encourages you to devour more. – Bibliofiilin päiväunia blog

The Extraordinary Women of History is a big package, but remains interesting throughout, and is excellently written. The dry humor is delightful. – Pasi Huttunen, Kultturitoimitus magazine

Empowering and enlightening! – Kiljusten blog

Inspiring book! It is well written and made me want to learn more. I have found myself googling many of these women afterwards. This book can really be recommended to anyone. Personally I read it in two days. Please, read it! – Anikó Lehtinen, journalist

Hopefully many history teachers will pick this book up. – Torsti Luotonen, Twitter

Pettersson is a splendid storyteller. As a professional writer Pettersson tells her stories well. She has the talent to create varying beginnings that pique one’s interest in reading each lady’s story til the end. The narration is alive and colourful, but simultaneously very informative. The author has gone to great lengths to acquire information from sometimes very scarce and challenging sources.

Aki Alanko, Ilkka-Pohjalainen

Download reading materials

Rights sold:
FINLAND: Atena (orig)
ESTONIA: Äripäev
GERMANY: Droemer Knaur
HUNGARY: Corvina


About author

Maria Pettersson

As a child, Maria Pettersson’s dream job was to be an international adventurer. Instead, she became an award-winning journalist, the editor-in-chief of several magazines and a serious history geek. She has worked for the biggest newspapers, radio stations and TV channels in Finland. She has travelled in over 70 countries, got married in Vegas and spent her honeymoon in North Korea. Her hobbies include games and roleplaying, observing big machines, studying small Slavic languages and visiting dead dictators. She currently lives in Helsinki, Finland.


2020, Memories & Biographies, History & Politics

Maria Pettersson

Extraordinary Women of History: Pirates, Psychics, Priestesses and Princess Spies