In the first decades of the 20th century, five women - Katherine Routledge, Maria Czaplicka, Winifred Blackman, Beatrice Blackwood and Barbara Freire-Marreco - arrived at Oxford to take the newly created Masters in Anthropology. Though their circumstances differed radically, all were intent on visiting and studying remote communities a world away from their own. Through their work, they resisted the prejudices of the male establishment, proving that women could be explorers and scientists, too. In the wastes of Siberia; in the villages and pueblos of the Nile and New Mexico; on Easter Island; and in the uncharted interior of New Guinea, they found new freedoms - yet when they returned to England, loss, madness and self-doubt awaited them. Frances Larson's masterful group biography is a revelatory portrait of five hidden heroines of British scholarship.