How women made history – and men took the credit.
(Stolen Fame: Philosophers, Scholars, Pioneers: History’s Invisible Heroines)
by Leonie Schöler
Penguin, February 2024
Muse, secretary, wife: these are some of the labels used to describe the women whose influence on history has been erased. Their achievements have brought honour and fame to the men close to them – such as Karl Marx, Bertolt Brecht and Albert Einstein, who couldn’t have done what they did without their female friends, daughters or lovers – but they themselves remain largely unknown. The list includes scientists like Rosalind Franklin and Lise Meitner, who, unlike their male colleagues, were never celebrated for their discoveries; and authors and artists like Marie Hirsch, Lou Andreas-Salomé and Hedwig Thun, who hid behind male pseudonyms all their lives in order to be taken seriously. In « Stolen Fame », Schöler tells their stories, introducing us to the women who changed human history and showing that there are still issues around participation and visibility. Behind every successful man is a system that empowers him – and that system stands in every woman’s way.
For fans of Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez, Unlearn Patriarchy by Lisa Jaspers et al., The Patriarchy of Thing » by Rebekka Endler and Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly.
Leonie Schöler is a historian, journalist and presenter. Her articles have been published in taz and Zeit Online, and she also works as an editor and online filmmaker (« Jäger und Sammler », « Y-Kollektiv » and « Auf Klo ») for various broadcasters. Her documentary exposing fraud and money laundering at Germany’s largest meat processing company came out in 2021, and she is the author and director of a 2022 online series about the infamous Wannsee Conference (both shown by ZDF). She produces popular history content for TikTok and Instagram and talks to her more than 170k followers about politics past and present. In 2022, she became presenter of ZDF’s Heureka programme (shown on YouTube).