The War Queens: Extraordinary Women Who Ruled the Battlefield

Jonathan W. Jordan, Emily Anne Jordan

Diversion Books, 2020

Agent: Suzy Evans

Father-daughter duo Jonathan and Emily Jordan uncover the ingenious wartime tactics of some of history’s most powerful female leaders across millennia and continents, from the stifling battlefields of ancient Egypt to the frigid waters off the Falkland Islands.

History’s killer queens come in all colors, ages, and leadership styles. Elizabeth Tudor and Golda Meir played the roles of high-stakes gamblers who studied maps with an unblinking, calculating eye. Angola’s Queen Njinga was willing to shed (and occasionally drink) blood to establish a stable kingdom in an Africa ravaged by the slave trade. Caterina Sforza defended her Italian holdings with cannon and scimitar, and Indira Gandhi launched a war to solve a refugee crisis.

From ancient Persia to modern-day Britain, the daunting thresholds these exceptional women had to cross?and the clever, sometimes violent ways in which they overcame them?are evoked in vivid detail by Jordan and Jordan. The narrative sidles up to these war queens in the most dire, tumultuous moments of their reigns and examines the brilliant methods and maneuvers they each used to defend themselves and their people from enemy forces. In the end, we come away with a new awareness of the extraordinary power and potential of women in history who walked through war’s kiln and emerged from the other side?some burnished to greatness, others burned to cinders.


"Where the Jordans’ book differs is in its jaunty, often clamorous, language and in its mission to make these stories come rousingly to life. In an age when cosmopolitan learning is valued so much less than it used to be, there is merit in a popular-history book whose characters come from around the globe."
Wall Street Journal

"The War Queens reminds us intelligently, entertainingly and powerfully that strong-willed women have always been the equal and very often the superior of their male counterparts, even in the field historically most jealously reserved for men: warfare. Rarely has Rudyard Kipling’s incisive truth been better proven in book form, that ‘the female of the species is more deadly than the male.’”
—Andrew Roberts, international bestselling author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny and Napoleon: A Life

"The War Queens triumphantly tells the story of the astonishing women who fiercely led their nations into combat from Egypt's Queen Hatshepsut and Russia's Catherine the Great to Israel’s Golda Meir. With impeccable research and gripping prose, Jonathan and Emily Jordan bring to life these powerful war queens and the many obstacles they faced while reminding us that whether they won or lost in battle, these extraordinary women earned their place in history as legends.”
Cate Lineberry, author of The Secret Rescue and Be Free or Die

“A sweeping history that ranges across several millennia and continents, The War Queens takes readers from the stifling battlefields of ancient Egypt to the frigid waters off the Falkland Islands. Along the way readers meet a diverse cast of historical figures, from Cleopatra and Catherine the Great to Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher. This book should be required reading for anyone who loves history.”
—James M. Scott, Pulitzer Prize Finalist and bestselling author of Rampage and Target Tokyo

"The War Queens masterfully captures the largely forgotten saga of warrior queens through the ages. With crackling prose, Jordan brilliantly engages the readers by putting them on the throne of a gender-bending pharaoh or in blood-soaked fields of battle. The legacy of history’s killer queens is drenched with pathos and drama. Jordan, who is emerging as one of America’s finest authors and historians, narrates an epic filled with victory, defeat, and legendary women. Appealing to a wide audience, this book is a must-read for anyone who loves a gripping story. It’s a sweeping, single-volume history filled with page-turning action and insightful, thought-provoking commentary."
Patrick K. O’Donnell, bestselling author of The Unknowns and Washington’s Immortals