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Daisy Dunn Rethinks History

The dazzling new book from award-winning author and classicist Dr Daisy Dunn, Class of 2005, reveals the history of the ancient world told, for the very first time, through the women who shaped it.

Published next month (May 2024) The Missing Thread utilises a new examination of the sources, combined with vivid storytelling, to show us the ancient world through fresh eyes, introducing us to an incredible cast of ancient women, weavers of an entire world, illuminating the stories of those who have been so often pushed to history’s sidelines.

Daisy says: “I wanted to write this book because I've been interested in women's history for a long time. It struck me as strange that, while the book market has been flooded in recent years by fiction titles retelling the stories of mythical women, there has so far been no equivalent on the non-fiction side for the real women of the ancient world.

“The history of that period has been written so many times through the politicians of Athens and emperors of Rome that the rather male-heavy version of events has become canonical. Rather than select a dozen or so women from antiquity and tell their stories, I wanted to rewrite the history of the ancient world, from the birth of Minoan Crete in the Bronze Age to the death of the Julio-Claudian dynasty in Rome, by bringing hundreds of women to the fore.

“Women were pivotal to shaping the course of ancient history. I really hope to have gone some way towards establishing that fact and bringing the women out of the shadows. Once we've looked at history in this way, I would hope we could reassess our own world to better appreciate the roles today's women play in shaping events, while understanding the prejudices we still face.”

The Missing Thread is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson on 23 May 2024 in hardback at £25, eBook £12.99 ans audio £24.99.

Daisy’s previous book, Not Far From Brideshead: Oxford Between the Wars (2022), was selected for Radio 4’s Open Book and longlisted for the Runciman Award. Her In The Shadow of Vesuvius: A Life of Pliny was an Editor’s Choice in the New York Times and a book of the year in several outlets. The publication of her debut books, Catullus’ Bedspread: The Life of Rome’s Most Erotic Poet and The Poems of Catullus: A New Translation, earned her a place in The Guardian’s list of leading female historians in 2016.

Daisy is an experienced critic and cultural commentator, with columns in The Spectator and Spear’s, and regular bylines across the press. She has consulted and participated in interviews for the BBC, Channel 5 and Sky, among others, and has contributed to Radio 4, the World Service and Times Radio. She is Editor of ARGO: A Hellenic Review.

Daisy read Classics at the University of Oxford before winning a scholarship to the Courtauld Institute to complete an MA in History of Art. She received her PhD in Classics from UCL in 2013. In 2015 she was longlisted for the international Notting Hill Editions Essay Prize and in 2020 she won the Classical Association Prize. You can read more about her here: http://www.daisydunn.co.uk/

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