"Well behaved women rarely make history"

The Woman with the Whip was really the first major biography to be published about Evita outside of Argentina. Many Evitists deny there is any truth in this biography, and have rightly stated that Mary Main writes about Evita as though she personally knew her on  an intimate level. Indeed, at times it reads as more of a tabloid than a biography. At one point, Main writes ‘perhaps the only real emotion she could feel was hate.’ Was Eva vengeful? You bet! Was she ruthless? Absolutely. But to work 18 hours a day at her Foundation– you cannot do that and wear yourself to death if you do not truly care about the people she cared about. Some have said the poor were props to Eva, and there are rumors that Eva did not truly use some of the schools she built. However, this cannot be proven because the Anti Peronist government that rose after Peron fell from power in 1955 destroyed most of her works. With that said though, if Argentina did not maintain those hospitals or schools and allowed them to rot,  Eva cannot be blamed.
 
Mary Main describes also the Anglo Argentine culture which she was from in the beginning of the book and from this extent, her anger is justified since the Peronists were committing atrocities against the upper and middle classes simply because she happened to have money.  The police likely did step out of their bounds. Was Evita involved? The records are sketchy, but– even while Main states ‘there is no proof’ – the idea that Eva was ignorant of the disappearences of her enemies is not possible. Mary Main is right here, for once.
 
In general, this is a quick read, as many tabloids are. It has had many editions and the Evita in this biography is the basis for the Evita in the musical– complete with Eva running off with Magaldi. (Sometimes the tango singer is differently named in biographies based on the Black Myth.) If you can get the 1980 edition, since this book was first published when Eva was still alive, I recommend it,  although this book is not so much about Evita as it is about Mary Main’s reaction to Peronism and Evita as the figurehead. However I still recommend it so one can understand the Anti-Peronist view of Evita as well as to peek in on some nastier aspects of Peronism. But take this with a grain of salt, as Miss Main uses no reference materials in her work and it is now a known fact she talked only to the Opposition about her book. 
 
Tim Rice called Main’s work ‘superb’ and wished he could have had a copy while he was writing the musical. He also writes that many people who write about Evita become fascinated with her and ‘I plead guilty to this charge too.’ As a writer of either fiction or music, this is a normal reaction and a normal part of the creative process. But ignorance is not bliss and neither is hate. Sadly I have to say this book, at the end of the day, is an example of both.

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