Saturday, October 31, 2009

Emily Hahn--A Wonder Woman, For Sure!

Emily “Mickie” Hahn was my kind of woman (aside from her dabble in adultery, that is). Born in 1905, she was absolutely determined to break down the thick-high barriers keeping women from, well, just about everything! She was, unequivocally, a “Wonder Woman,” if there ever was one.

Ken Cuthbertson has written a book on Hahn’s life, Nobody Said Not to Go, that I found fascinating. It made me wonder if there was any way—on God’s green earth—that I could have found the courage to tackle the exploits that Hahn did. Cuthbertson records Hahn’s amazing, cram-packed life that includes:
Gaining a college degree in mining—unheard of (often not allowed) for women in the 1920’s;

Traveling—alone!!—in 1930 through the Congo. She went halfway across the continent to visit a “friend” at a Red Cross outpost, where she stayed two years. When he went a little crazy, she left. But, did she go back the way she came? Oh, Noooo!!! She’d seen that half the continent! She gathered a little contingent of native porters and trekked across the other half, earning food and provisions by deciding legal disputes by sitting as a “great white judge” for villages along the way! Who’da thought…?

She became the first woman writer for the New Yorker magazine, and continued to write well into her 80’s.

She spent some of WWII in Shanghai and Hong Kong, basically living by her wits. (Would’ve scared the wits outta me!). The title of the book, “Nobody Said Not to Go” refers to her trip to Nanking at a time when it was being ravaged savagely by the Japanese—no place to be at the time!

Her life includes meeting with many, many famous people.
I could go on and on. Her exploits border on the unbelievable, but Cuthbertson writes well, holds attention and convinces that his research has proven out the remarkable tales of Emily Hahn.

I’ve purchased several copies of this book to hand to young women at graduation. I want them to grasp just a scintilla of Emily’s determination that nothing could stand in the way of her dreams and ambition—not even her gender!! C


  1. Incredible woman, absolutely adventurous and courageous. I am so happy to have learned bout her existence.;)
    Thank you so much for stopping by my place, what a lovely blog.;)

  2. Fascinating woman. But I also found the word "scintilla" fascinating. If I'm going to continue to read your very interesting reviews I'm going to have to ask you to only use words I'm familiar with. The unfamiliar ones make my brain hurt. ;)