The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore
(Alfred A. Knopf, 2014, 410 pages)
There’s no question that this book sounds like it would be an interesting read. Lepore presents the truth behind Wonder Woman’s creation – not just how the comic came to be, but the unique circumstances of her creator(s). I’d read two of Lepore’s previous titles (Book of Ages and The Mansion of Happiness) and came away with some unique insights so I had an idea of what kind of book to expect. That being said, Lepore’s writing style leaves something to be desired. While she makes “hidden” history accessible, she isn’t necessarily engaging in her writing style. I think it might be that she can allow herself to get bogged down in some of the details that she uncovers in her research.
The Secret History of Wonder Woman offers up a biography of the comic’s primary creator, Charles Moulten Marston, while also shining a light on the women who inspired him. He was a unique man who was ahead of his time in his appreciation and support for women. He also had a unique family life that existed outside the norm for most American households.
In addition to providing the Wonder Woman backstory, Lepore provides a history of the feminist movement in America. If you’re a fan of comics (especially Wonder Woman), history, and/or enjoy reading about the progress of women’s rights in America this would be a book that would most likely have some appeal for you.