I hadn’t heard of Harriet Martineau until someone in my Victorian Literature study group announced she wanted to do a presentation on her – so in the interests of being prepared (I am still reeling from knowing nothing about Jane Austen’s military brothers and being put on the spot to lead that session) I decided to read something. I searched on my Kindle and this book came up and it was a good choice – well written, easy to read and containing a huge amount of research.
Harriet Martineau was a woman ahead of her time who has largely been forgotten by history because she was writing in time that was dominated by white christian men. She believed in universal human suffrage, education and evidence based science. She knew and influenced an enormous number of Victorian era luminaries – Charles Darwin, Florence Nightingale, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell …
She was out-spoken and radical and investigated things for her self – slavery in the US, religion in the middle east, etc.
We need an amazing historical novelist – Hilary Mantel perhaps? – to write about her and bring her to the world’s attention.
I haven’t been able to find any reviews of this book, but you can read more about it at Unbound