Derek Roebuck

Susanna Hoe

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Last Updated: 03/05/2023

HOLO Books

Womens History Press - Catalogue 

About the series 'OF ISLANDS AND WOMEN'

The author's proposition is this: the most rewarding way for a woman to visit an island is to read books by women who have travelled there, or by or about women who have been part of its history, and to visit the places they describe or where they had their being. Each livret will give hints about which books to read, as well as a flavour of them, and where to go. Itineraries are included, as well as historical background. Most of the information comes from women's writing or the experiences of the author and her husband.


TitleSeries 'Of Islands And Women' Livret 5 - SARDINIA: WOMEN, HISTORY, BOOKS AND PLACES (March 2022)
AuthorSusanna Hoe
AbstractMarianna Bussalai, the poet and anti-Fascist activist of the Barbagia region, wrote that she felt humiliated at school 'wondering why, in the history of Italy, Sardinia was never mentioned. I deduced that Sardinia was not Italy, and had to have a separate history'. It is not surprising that islands tend to be different from the country to which they are in some way attached. But Sardinia's personality differs even more from that of Italy than one might expect. This book explores that difference through the island's women.

Sardinia has been inhabited for longer than many European countries; of its earlier peoples, the best-known are the pre-historic Nuraghic. The hundreds of tall and mysterious megalithic towers which still grace the landscape are the most distinctive remains of their civilisation. But it is from the myriad and tantalising clay statuettes found in ritual wells that it is possible to suggest aspects of women's lives. These are now in archaeological museums, such as that of Cagliari; many of the wells still exist.

There followed invasions, colonisations and settlements - often bringing women exiles or landowners - by Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Muslims, Catalans, Genoese, Pisans, Spaniards and Savoyards, until finally the island became part of a united Italy. But, as the Swede Amelie Posse- Brázdová, sentenced to exile in Alghero during the First World War, was to write, 'For many centuries the Sardinians had been so fooled and exploited by the Italians, especially the Genoese merchants, that in the end they began to look upon them as their worst enemies.'

Such enmity may now be less evident, but Sardinia is still very much its own place, with its own languages. This is true of Alghero with its distinctive aura of Catalan occupation, of Marianna Bussalai's always intransigent Barbagia, and of Oristano where perhaps Sardinia's only well-known historical woman, Eleanora d'Arborea, ruled as Giudicessa in the fourteenth century. Although still particularly revered, she epitomised the strong and independent women, from peasants to political activists, who emerge here from those often turbulent centuries.
Reviews'I have immensely enjoyed reading this book about women from a wide range of backgrounds who might otherwise have remained unknown to history' Owain Wright, Leeds Beckett University
NotesPaperback, 368pp
Price£20 Retail; £15 Web UK; £18 Web orders from outside the UK
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AuthorSusanna Hoe and Derek Roebuck
AbstractFrom Homer to Jane Austen, storytellers have entertained their audiences with tales of women in disputes, as parties and peacemakers. This is our attempt to write their history, relying as far as possible on primary sources, documents which have survived by chance, never intended for our eyes by those who created and preserved them.

In 534AD, the Roman emperor Justinian expressly forbade women to act as arbitrators. In the thirteenth century Saint Thomas Aquinas stated that 'woman is naturally subject to man, because in man the discretion of reason predominates'.

Many have assumed that what was laid down as law or proclaimed as authority represented the reality. But women do not always do what men tell them they should. We have set out to find what has happened in practice over four thousand years, at least in Europe, beginning in the Bible and Ancient Greece and Rome, but thereafter concentrating on England, with regular references to the Continent.

A chapter on Anglo-Saxon England shows the inextricable ties with the Continent among women of the highest rank, as do two of the four that follow on the Middle Ages. Those women often mediated and arbitrated, but they also resolved disputes by a number of other ways. Then we show how common it was for titled women in England to resolve disputes. A chapter on 'untitled women' provides plenty of evidence of the regular resolution of their disputes. There is a digression then to Malta, to the records of a fifteenth-century notary, which tell the stories of women of every station and their disputes.

England's greatest monarch, Elizabeth I, supported women with free legal aid and her own personal interventions, in ways never since matched. The practice of submitting women's disputes to mediation and arbitration survived through the seventeenth century, despite revolution, regicide, fire and plague. A tailpiece tells how a dispute concerning the will of Temperance Flowerdew, one of the earliest European settlers in the 'New World', was resolved by the English Privy Council. A chapter on the eighteenth century emphasises the English Government's encouragement of mediation and arbitration, ending with how Mary Musgrove's mediation helped to establish the colony of Georgia, and two sections on France, one pre-Revolution, one Revolutionary. They challenge others to explore developments in the North American colonies and France. The Conclusion widens that challenge.

Lady Anne Clifford, a woman of infinite strength of will, has demanded the last word. She simply refused a royal command to submit to an arbitration which would have robbed her of the vast landholdings she held in her own right.
NotesPaperback, 288 pages
PriceRetail price £20, Website price for UK: £15 for Overseas: £18
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TitleSeries 'Of Islands And Women' Livret 4 - MALTA: WOMEN, HISTORY, BOOKS AND PLACES
AuthorSusanna Hoe
AbstractA crater on the planet Mercury is named Maria de Dominici. Born in 1645, she was the first established Maltese woman artist. She, and other women in Maltese history, are little known about. But Malta is much more than Knights of St John and Second World War courage. This book tells their story through the waves of women who arrived in the archipelago of Malta and Gozo, starting with Sicilian farmers 7,000 years ago, and ranging through Phoenician, Roman, and Arab times, until women of European extraction, but speaking an Arabic-influenced language, established a Maltese identity. Best known of those who have made their mark are, perhaps, Mabel Strickland, newspaper proprietor, and Agatha Barbara, in 1982 first woman president of the independent Republic of Malta. But the lives of less-known women of all classes who flourished in the islands over the centuries have also been reconstructed here, from Betta Caloiro, accused of witchcraft, who died aged 89 in the Inquisitor's prison, to the Marchesa Bettina Dorell, with her grand palazzo at Gudja. Itineraries take the reader to those places. British women, such as Emma Hamilton, Hester Stanhope, Florence Nightingale and Vera Brittain, began arriving in Malta in 1800, during and after French Revolutionary occupation; and many settled there temporarily or permanently, from governors' wives to shopkeepers, hoteliers and teachers. As often as possible, the history of women in Malta and the places in which they had their being are told and described through the writing of women: archaeology, history, travel, memoirs and literature.
NotesPaperback, 450pp, 2 maps, 58 illustrations, Royal 8vo format (230X150); Now available in Kindle & e-Book format.
Price£19.99 Retail; £15 Web UK; £18 Web orders from outside the UK
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TitleTRAVELS IN TANDEM: The Writing of Women and Men Who Travelled Together
AuthorSusanna Hoe
Abstract'The book grew out of a habit, early adopted when on her travels ... of writing ... an unpretending narrative of the previous day's proceedings to be sent home to her father.' Thus wrote Thomas Brassey of his wife Annie. As for his own account of their travels, Susanna Hoe describes it as 'full of reports of experts... and often about exports.' And she explores the question, are women travel companions' accounts more generally 'unpretending narratives', and men's the opposite? The theme expanded when the author was asked, 'Do women write with more immediacy, with more colour, more empathy and more attention to detail?'

Using extensive quotations, the author pursues those and other questions through the relations and accounts of couples visiting or living in foreign places, from Liberia to Siberia, from Vanuatu to Chinese Turkestan, between 1664 and 1973.
Reviews"'Graham found the idea of your book very amusing' (Barbara Greene Strachwitz to the author about her cousin, 13/1/1988)"
NotesPaperback, 248pp, 10maps, 30 illustrations, Royal 8vo format (230X150mm). See updates/in progress here for update on chapter 1 - 'A Little Streak of Wilfulness'. Now available in Kindle & e-Book format.
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TitleSeries 'Of Islands And Women' Livret 3 - TASMANIA: WOMEN, HISTORY, BOOKS AND PLACES
AuthorSusanna Hoe
AbstractIn 1792 Louise Girardin - disguised as a French sailor - was the first white woman in the waters of Van Diemens Land (Tasmania). She was followed by Martha Hayes who stepped ashore in 1803 among the first British settlers and convicts; she was the pregnant 16 year-old mistress of their leader. But Aboriginal women had already lived there for perhaps 40,000 years. The first to be named in exploration literature is Ouray-Ouray; the best known is Truganini, erroneously called the last Tasmanian when she died in 1876. In the 1960s, Aboriginal rights became a live issue, often with women in the forefront, as they were, too, in conservation. This book gathers together these strands, and that of a vibrant women's literature, linking them to place - an island of still unspoilt beauty and unique flora and fauna.
Notes440 pages, paperback, 2 maps, 52 illustrations, 230x150mm
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AuthorSusanna Hoe
AbstractAt midnight on 30 June 1997 Hong Kong reverted to Chinese sovereignty after 150 years of British rule. The moment when the British flag came down was dramatic enough but the ten years leading up to it were full of surprising incident and change. These ĎLetters from Hong Kong', written by an Englishwoman who was involved in those events from 1987, are both an unusual historical record and a heartwarming account of women's domestic, intellectual and political activity. An epilogue brings Hong Kong up to date ten years after the Handover.
NotesPaperback 256 Pages, 1 Map
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TitleSeries 'Of Islands And Women' Livret 2 - CRETE: WOMEN, HISTORY, BOOKS AND PLACES
AuthorSusanna Hoe
AbstractOnce upon a time, Europa emerged from the waves at Matala on the back of a bull - the god Zeus in disguise. There, too, the author broke her ankle as she followed Europa to nearby Gortyn - whose famous law code has much to say about women. Europa was the mother of Minos, of the Minoans, (and of the concept of 'Europe'). Millennia later, Harriet Boyd was the first woman archaeologist to discover and direct her own dig, at Gournia - a perfect Minoan town. This livret links legend and archaeology by writing and place, but does not neglect the island's other women. Over the centuries they were subject to numerous violent changes of overlord - Mycenean, Roman, Byzantine (twice), Saracen, Venetian, Ottoman, German - but somehow have emerged as Cretans.
NotesPaperback, 400 Pages, Maps and Illustrations
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TitleSeries 'Of Islands And Women' Livret 1 - MADEIRA: WOMEN, HISTORY, BOOKS AND PLACES
AuthorSusanna Hoe
AbstractIn the 19th century, many people visited Madeira in the hopes that the dry, warm winter might help them recover from illness - usually consumption (tuberculosis). Today, travellers still go for the winter sun and for the magnificent walking, tropical and temperate gardens a hundred or more years old, glorious wild flowers and trees and distinctive mountain views. Less well known are the history of Madeira's women - from slaves and lepers to privileged British expatriates and Portuguese noblewomen - and the writing of women travellers. This livret combines a flavour of all these elements for the visitor or the armchair traveller.
NotesPaperback, 200 Pages, Maps and Illustrations
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AuthorSusanna Hoe
AbstractHow would Margaret have written her story if she had been able to? I tried to help her to learn to read and write but I could never see into her mind - there was too much that divided us, in spite of all that drew us together. But sometimes, and once in particular, I felt that she knew I was recording everything she told me. This is how the author introduces us to the family's cleaner in her diary of a stay in Papua New Guinea - home of the bird of paradise. Through the gradual accumulation of detail, the reader gets to know Margaret, her extended family, her unreliable husbands and her independent spirit. Then there is Kaman, the outrageous gardener, who has to be prised away from his creation so that his employers can enjoy planting and tending, as well as admiring and eating its produce. There is endless scope for misunderstanding and enlightenment as the tropical seasons come and go and relationships develop.
NotesPaperback, 208 Pages, 1 Map . Now available in Kindle & e-Book format.
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AuthorNan Hodges & Arthur W. Hummel (eds)
AbstractLights and Shadows of a Macao Life, the title chosen by Harriett Low for her journal, aptly describes the conflicting emotions of the first American woman to live in China. Making a rude transition from the tranquillity of Salem, Massachusetts into a world of sampans and sedan chairs, women with bound feet and men with queues, the lively young American records a detailed portrait of her life in Macao from 1829-1834. In these diaries, published for the first time as a complete edition, Harriett Low displays wit and courage as she metamorphoses from a socially naive girl into a mature, independent woman. This is an important addition to the historiography of the China Coast.
NotesPublished By Bear Creek Books, Distributed By HOLO Books, 2 Vols, Paperback, 833 Pages, 10 Illustrations
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AuthorSusanna Hoe
AbstractThe Boxer uprising; the siege of the legations; 55 days in Peking; foreign troops looting China's capital; these are images from books and films over the past 100 years. Now the story is told from the women's point of view, using their previously neglected writings and giving a new dimension.
NotesPaperback, 430 Pages, 4 Maps, 44 Illustrations
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AuthorSusanna Hoe
AbstractThis book is as much about the author's task of historical re-creation as it is about the lives, loves and struggles of women such as the 1930s civil rights campaigners Shi Liang, Agnes Smedley and Stella Benson; autobiographical writer Xiao Hong; Olympic sportswoman, traveller and writer Ella Maillart; icon of revolutionary China Soong Ching Ling; philanthropist Clara Ho Tung; and Clara Elliot, who lived in Macau at the time of Hong Kong's cession to Britain.
NotesPublished By Roundhouse Publications (Asia), Distributed By HOLO Books, Paperback, 351 Pages, 41 Illustrations
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