A Mighty Girl's top picks of new biographies about Mighty Women for adult readers.
It's been another incredible year of books celebrating mighty women! From a fascinating biography of the woman leading today's new scientific revolution to gripping accounts of clever spies who outwitted the Nazis to powerful memoirs by women grappling with grief to upbeat autobiographies by beloved popular figures, this year has seen a diverse range of new biographies for adult readers about extraordinary women. And, just as our Mighty Girls love reading books about smart, confident, and courageous girls and women, we know that our adult supporters love their stories too!
In this blog post, we're featuring our favorite biographies and memoirs for adult readers about remarkable women of the past and present which were released in either hardcover or paperback in 2021. These captivating titles provide a unique perspective on events that we often think we know and invite us to think about how our history is affected by whose stories are told. Whether you're looking for an empowering last-minute Christmas present or a thought-provoking book to tackle in the new year, these women's stories are sure to inspire!
New Biographies and Memoirs For Adult Readers
Jennifer Doudna discovered the wonders and mysteries of DNA in sixth grade after reading The Double Helix and she was eager to learn more. More importantly, she wanted to turn discoveries into practical inventions that could make the world better. As an adult, she and her collaborators learned how to use a bacteria's immune defense mechanism to create "genetic scissors" that could edit genes: CRISPR. Their discovery changed science forever, earning Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier a Nobel Prize, but it also opened up many moral questions — and Doudna was more than willing to grapple with them. This thrilling biography explores the life and mind of a brilliant woman who has launched a new scientific revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, have healthier babies, fend off viruses, and possibly transform the future in unimaginable ways.
From a child prodigy and "daddy's girl" growing up in West Virginia, to NASA's "human computers," to the international stage as the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Katherine Johnson's life has been a journey that few could have predicted. Now, in this posthumously published memoir for adult readers, she shares both her own story and the values that drove her through her entire life — particularly the belief that education is paramount. Johnson pays homage to her family, her mentor, and to the determination of her fellow trailblazing women who changed the world, both for themselves and for the generations that followed. Warm and wise, this is an inspiring look at the life of a brilliant woman who made history.
When Elizabeth Blackwell decided to study medicine, she was defying stereotypes about what women were capable of in the mid-1800s — but her determination and intelligence won out, and she became the first woman in America to receive an M.D. in 1849. Shortly afterward, her sister Emily followed in her footsteps. The two Blackwell doctors founded the first hospital staffed entirely by women, the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children, but while the success of the hospital was largely due to Emily's brilliance and hard work, Elizabeth's strong personality often overshadowed her. In this fascinating dual biography, Janice P. Nimura explores a story about breaking barriers and a sisterhood that changed the field of medicine forever.
When Hitler's Nazis threatened the world, every person was needed to help the war effort — and the women stepped up! In this fascinating book, U.S. Army Major General Mari K. Eder tells the story of fifteen little-known heroes of the Greatest Generation: resistance fighters, pioneering pilots, rescuers, and spies. Each of them defied expectation in service of their country and people in need, not because they would be acclaimed for it but because it was the right thing to do. From Ola Mildred Rexroat, the only Native American pilot in the WASP, to sisters Ida and Louise Cook who smuggled Jews out of Germany while wearing jewelry and furs, to Hilda Eisen who was captured by the Nazis and escaped — twice — these are stories to inspire future generations with the courage of women who step out of line.
Elizabeth Packard's independence and intellect offended her husband — and in 1860, the solution was simple: he had her committed to an insane asylum in Jacksonville, Illinois. Inside the asylum, Elizabeth discovered horrifying conditions — and many more women like her, committed not because they are in need of medical care, but because they defied the men in their lives. When her adult children managed to free her, Elizabeth knew she had to fight back... and she not only won a court case that ensured no women could be imprisoned solely on the word of her husband again, but she also fought for the rights of women and people with mental illness across the country. Kate Moore, author of The Radium Girls, captures a stunning portrait of a woman who fought for both her own freedom and for the rights of millions who couldn't raise their own voices.
Eileen Collins was a shy, quiet child; her family escaped her alcoholic father but her single mother struggled. Although she was a very average student, she secretly dreamed of becoming an astronaut. When she joined the first class of women pilots at Vance Air Force Base, she had no idea it would be the start of her path to that dream! Collins became Vance's first female instructor pilot, and the second women ever to join the Air Force's elite Test Pilot Program. Then, with NASA, she soared over and over again, becoming the first woman to pilot the space shuttle and the first woman to command an American space mission. In her first ever book, Collins shares her story with the world, showing how determination, courage, and grit can help you smash glass ceilings everywhere.
In the midst of the Polish ghettos of World War II, a Jewish resistance movement was growing — and it was led by women. Pushed to their limits by the destruction of their homes and the violence against their families, the "ghetto girls" united Jewish youth groups as resistance cells, paid off (or killed) Gestapo guards, transported weapons hidden in loaves of bread, and much more. In this searing account, Judy Batalion, the granddaughter of Polish Holocaust survivors, tells the story of these courageous women for the first time, from their determination to fight the Nazis to their capture and internment in prisons or concentration camps. This dramatic account, which has also been adapted into a Young Readers Edition, chronicles their courage and cleverness for the first time, celebrating the women who survived to tell the story — and those who gave their lives.
Follow the long and dramatic 72-year fight for women's right to vote with this thrilling and deeply-researched account of the Women's Suffrage Movement by distinguished historian Carol DuBois! Beginning with the Women's Rights Movement's early years, and bold activists like Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Sojourner Truth, DuBois explores how the movement rose and fell; how the crushing disappointment of women being denied the vote with the 15th Amendment led to a schism between many people who had long worked shoulder to shoulder as abolitionists against slavery; and then introduces a new generation of champions like Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul who helped make the 19th Amendment a reality fifty years later. This authoritative history, released for the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment's ratification, is a stirring account of one of the most important movements in American history.
Carly Findlay lives with Icthyosis, a rare skin condition that results in a visible facial difference and disability — but that doesn't mean you shouldn't say hello. In fact, she's on a quest to get the world to challenge their assumptions about bodies, appearance, and disability! Findlay explores what it's been like to live with a condition that draws stares and rude comments every day of her life... and what it's like to be an activist for acceptance, whether she's actively participating in a Reddit "WTF?" comment thread that started with her picture or traveling the world as a public speaker. Both funny and heartfelt, this irrepressible memoir will get you thinking about appearance diversity in a whole new way.
Alexi Pappas has been searching for female role models since her mother died by suicide when she was four — and she found many of them during her time in sports. She dreamed of being an Olympian — but also of writing, making movies, and more. Determined and persistent, she refused to give up any of her dreams, and in 2016, she made her Olympic debut in long distance running, and wrote, directed, and starred in her first feature film. In Bravey, she talks not just about her path to that incredible year, but also the after — including post-Olympic depression — and uses stories from her life to illuminate how all of us can find ways to overcome obstacles, work through challenges, and find joy in unexpected places.
In the early 1800s, many women avoided medical care. Male doctors were often rough and demeaning with female patients; they were ignorant about women's biology; and the stigma of a diagnosis could hold them back from marriage, jobs, and more. As a result, women often died of preventable, treatable illness. Three women — Elizabeth Blackwell, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Sophia Jex-Blake — decided to demand the right to become doctors themselves. Not only would they earn medical degrees, paving the way for other women to do the same, but they would also create women-run facilities and colleges that changed the way women receive medical care. This book, perfect for fans of Hidden Figures and The Radium Girls, celebrates three women who changed medicine forever.
Across World War II France, nine women — all under 30 — had joined the resistance against the Nazis. Each of them helped however they could, whether they were smuggling weapons, harboring spies and Jewish fugitives, or coordinating communication. And each of them was caught by French police and interrogated and tortured by the Gestapo before being deported to Germany for imprisonment. Along the way, these nine women met, becoming close friends, even as they faced the infamous Ravensbrück concentration camp and forced labor. And when they were forced onto a death march in the final days of the war, one of the women, Hélène Podliasky, led the nine in a daring and heart-stopping escape. Told by Podliasky's grandniece, author Gwen Strauss, this is a stunning story of resistance, friendship, and the will to survive.
As a student, Meg Lowman was the only girl at the science fair; as a graduate student, she realized she'd have to climb to the canopies of Australia's rainforests to effectively study the leaves she was researching. Forty years later, she's one of the world's best-known arbornauts, nicknamed the "real-life Lorax" for her exuberant efforts to promote protection of the "eighth continent": the world's treetops. Combining fieldwork notes and memoir, The Arbornaut is a celebration of the wonder of trees and the thrill of scientific discovery, plus a call to action to take steps against climate change. Inspiring, uplifting, and full of hope, this book is sure to inspire you to take a new look at the trees outside your window.
Susie Petruccelli's star was on the rise: her talent and drive at soccer had earned her a place on the soccer team at Harvard University. But a combination of injuries and health problems pulled her off the field — and tanked her sense of self. And at the same time, she was beginning to understand all the inequities that faced female athletes, from unequal pay to dramatically different training conditions, coaching support, and more. In this memoir, which is part personal story, part examination of sexism in the athletic world, Petruccelli explores the perseverance that helped her get back on to the soccer field — and that stands her in good stead now as she continues to fight alongside other activists for women athletes.
It's easy to feel hopeless looking at today's headlines, but primatologist, conservationist, and activist Jane Goodall argues that hope has never been more necessary! With best-selling author Douglas Abrams, Goodall lays out her Four Reasons for Hope: The Amazing Human Intellect, The Resilience of Nature, The Power of Young People, and The Indomitable Human Spirit. Full of stories from her career — including insights and plans she's never before shared — this timely and important book is a reminder from Goodall to the world that we have the power to make change as long as we keep hope alive.
In the midst of the Vietnam war, three very different women arrived to cover the story of the war: Australian Kate Webb, French Catherine Leroy, and American Frances FitzGerald. They faced peers who thought they were unfit to be foreign correspondents, and sexist rules imposed by the military. But they were determined to unveil the true story of Vietnam — and do it on their own terms. Author Elizabeth Becker, who herself arrived in Vietnam during the last years of the war, explores the buildup, conflict, and aftermath through the eyes of these women and their work, capturing the sacrifices they made as they fought for their place... and how they changed war reporting forever.
At 26, Mildred Harnack went to Germany to enroll in a PhD program — and got a front seat to the rise of the Nazi party. By 1932, she started holding secret meetings for anti-Hitler activists in her apartment; by 1940, her cadre was the largest underground resistance group in Berlin. She recruited, sabotaged, helped Jewish refugees escape, and when the war began, spied for the Allies. When she was caught by the Gestapo the night before she was due to flee the country, German military judges sentenced her to six years in prison camp; Hitler overruled them and ordered her executed. Now, Harnack's great-great-niece Rebecca Donner draws on archival research and family documents to create a narrative non-fiction account of the only American in the leadership of the German resistance — a woman who was almost forgotten.
Melissa Gould and her husband Joel had a plan for their lives, one that took into account his multiple sclerosis — but it was suddenly derailed when a mosquito bite resulted in Joel being hospitalized with West Nile Virus. Suddenly, Melissa found herself trying to cope with his rapidly deteriorating condition... and then with his death. As she strove to keep herself together for their young daughter, though, she realized that she didn't fit people's ideas of a widow: she was young, she went for hikes rather than collapsing in grief, and she even wanted to date again. In her memoir, Gould explores the many dimensions of mourning, how help can come from unexpected places — whether it's an evangelical preacher or the Real Housewives — and how to rebuild your life when it falls apart.
"I am sick and tired of being sick and tired." Fannie Lou Hamer grew up at a time when a Black woman like her wasn't supposed to speak up. She left school at 12 to pick cotton, was sterilized without her consent, and was denied the right to vote. But in the early 1960s, she refused to remain silent. Hamer became one of the Civil Rights Movement's most powerful voices. She worked with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and co-founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. And when she spoke on television about her beating at the hands of Mississippi police — in a speech that even President Lyndon Johnson tried desperately to block — she captured the nation's attention. Drawing on newly declassified sources and interviews with Hamer's family and friends, this is the definitive biography of one of America's greatest fighters for equality.
In the early 1900s, women doctors in Britain were only permitted to treat women and children — they certainly weren't allowed to operate on men. But two of them — Flora Murray and Louisa Garrett Anderson — were determined to prove they were just as capable as their male colleagues, and World War I gave them the chance to do it. A month after the war began, Murray and Anderson were in Paris, opening a hospital in a former luxury hotel where they treated thousands of war wounded. They were so successful that the British Army asked them to set up a hospital on Endell Street in London. This lively telling of the women who founded the "Suffragettes' Hospital," and how they proved women doctors deserved equality, is an exciting reminder of how women's wartime service changed the world.
By the the Catherine Raven was done her PhD, she felt alone in more ways than one. The tiny cottage she built in Montana kept her both physically and emotionally isolated, but she hoped it would provide a restful place to apply for a "real" job. And then, a fox started showing up, every day at 4:15 pm. Her unexpected visitor turned out to be a pleasure: she would read to him from The Little Prince, he grew comfortable being near her, and they became friends... but even their friendship could not shield them from the forces of nature and inevitable loss. This stunning memoir explores how recognizing ourselves as just one of many creatures that live upon this planet can provide even the loneliest person with a sense of connection, belonging, and community.
Shugri Said Salh was born in Somalia, and her large family sent her to live with her nomadic grandmother at the age of 6. In her grandmother's nomadic desert community, the young Sufi girl found harshness and danger — the search for water, threats from enemy clans, and more — but also beauty and a place where she could find courage and a sense of self. At the same time, she resented the impositions and violence of her patriarchal culture, including her forced female genital mutilation. And when her father took her back from the desert, only for her to become ones of millions of refugees during the Somali Civil War, she had to draw on what her grandmother taught her to find the courage to build another new life in North America. This stunning memoir is an exploration of identity, survival, and finding yourself wherever you are.
The story of Eleanor Roosevelt is more complex than most people know. After a childhood of insecurity, denial, and loneliness, her marriage to Franklin D. Roosevelt took her into the halls of power — but left her feeling more alone than ever as he pursued affairs with other women. Instead of collapsing, she decided to explore her own self and devoted herself to being a voice for the voiceless, first in the White House, and then around the world. Drawing on new research, acclaimed biographer David Michaelis creates the first single-volume cradle-to-grave portrait of this remarkable woman and how her life changed the world.
In 1995, the U.S. military still insisted that women were not suitable for combat: they just weren't strong enough. But 45 civilian women were determined to prove them wrong. The band of Massachusetts women had little in common except for a belief that they could prove they were up to the challenge of ruck marches, trailer pulls, and much more. Sara Hammel was a reporter and one of the subjects of the study, and now, in the The Strong Ones, she explores how the women persevered through the obstacles they faced, what happened to them afterward, and how their work changed military policy forever. Part memoir and part military history, this empowering story is perfect for fans of Ashley's War.
When dark times surround us — bad news, personal crises, and more — how do we cope? Bestselling author Anne Lamott argues that we do so by embracing what makes us human... and recognizing that the dark must end. Telling her own stories — including the story of marrying for the first time after she already had a grown son and a grandson — she describes how her optimistic outlook led to the good things she enjoys today. With her trademark honesty and humor, Lamott encourages readers to contemplate life, faith, and how we can find joy in unexpected times and places.
Nice Leng'ete and her older sister Soila's paths diverged on the day that they climbed a tree, hoping to escape "the cut" — female genital mutilation. The two girls had been orphaned young, and their uncle didn't think girls were worth more than a dowry. Soila realized that it would be impossible for both of them to avoid the cut... but agreed to submit in exchange for sparing her younger sister. Soila married, left school, and started bearing children, while Nice became the first in her family to attend college. But her example provided the opportunity to change the minds of both the elders and the women who supported the practice. Today, Nice's village has ended FGM — and Nice is devoted to stopping the practice around the world. Heartbreaking but hopeful, this is a powerful story of the change that can come from one girl when she's given the chance to succeed.
For the public, Cokie Roberts was a journalist, an advocate, an author, and a historian, and a familiar face and voice on national television and radio for over 40 years. For her friends and family, though, she was a woman who cared deeply about both the people she loved and the world around her. In this powerful and personal book, Roberts' co-author and husband of 53 years, Steve Roberts, reflects on her life, her accomplishments, and her zest for living. He captures memories from the people who knew her best, from family jokes to glass-breaking moments from her journalism career. And he urges readers to ask themselves the same question he still asks: "What would Cokie do?"
Deborah Copaken should have had it all: she's written best-selling books, contributed to TV, magazines, and newspapers, and much more. And yet two decades after her breakthrough memoir Shutterbabe, she found herself fighting her own body, the health care system, and the politics of being a woman in America. After seven medical crises — which form the framework for her story — and life as a single mother dealing with unaffordable childcare when her children were little and the rising cost of college tuition when they were grown, she grew to understand what it truly means to live life without a safety net... something she had never experienced before. At turns both blackly funny and utterly harrowing, this is a hard-hitting exploration of keeping things together when literally everything is falling apart.
When Ly Tran's family immigrates from a small town in Vietnam to an apartment in Queen's in 1993, it's supposed to be a new start, especially for her father, a former lieutenant who spent almost a decade as a POW. But it's not easy to navigate a new country, especially when the whole family — including preschooler Ly — have to sew ties and cummerbunds to make ends meet. As expected, Ly contributes to her family and follows her parent's Buddhist faith, but she also wants to blend in at school, something made every more difficult when her father believes her increasingly poor vision is a government conspiracy. House of Sticks is the chronicle of a girl coming of age between two worlds, trying to find where she belongs — and who she is — when she doesn't feel like she fits in either of them.
As a young adult, Carrot Quinn finally escaped a childhood of neglect and poverty — and a mother struggling with mental illness — and she was eager to get as far away as possible. She found a group that taught her how to live on her own: riding freight trains from place to place, sleeping under the stars, and finding food by foraging (in the wild or through the trash.) As she rode the rails and found sanctuary in low-income apartments and crowded punk houses, though, she realized that the trauma of her past couldn't be left behind... but that her adventures could give her time to heal herself and find the person she wanted to be. Part memoir, part meditation on finding spiritual comfort in the world around you, this is a poignant look at the power of freedom, forgiveness, and self-love.
Angela Merkel should not have been the sort of person who became one of the most powerful leaders in Europe: raised in Soviet-controlled East Germany, and with an early career as a research chemist, she somehow had the intelligence and courage to confront Russian aggression, house over one million refugees, and help unify Europe. She did so with political strategies that combined the humility of giving credit to others with the canniness of enacting her rivals' policies so they had no platform to run against her. Acclaimed biography Kati Marton has created a fascinating portrait — part biography, part morality tale — which shows how this gifted politician managed to compromise while holding on to her convictions, and how her leadership has benefited Germany and the world.
On the front lines of World War II, women journalists had their own battle to fight — and they were determined to win. Women journalists were not allowed to report from the war zone, while male journalists were given press credentials... but six women refused to give up. These daring pioneers — Martha Gellhorn, Lee Miller, Sigrid Schultz, Virginia Cowles, Clare Hollingworth, and Helen Kirkpatrick — faced all the dangers of the war zone so that they could track down sources and scoop breaking news, and by the end of the war, they had even ensured women reporters could receive equal privileges to men. At the same time, their convention-defying ways led to complex and tumultuous personal lives. Author Judith Mackrell has created an intriguing portrait of all six women, capturing the courage and grit it took for these women to risk everything to report from the front lines of one of the most significant conflicts in human history.
When Laura Galloway took an ancestry test and discovered she had DNA in common with the Sámi, an Arctic tundra indigenous group, her curiosity was piqued. After falling in love with a Sámi reindeer herder, she decided to leave New York City for Kautokeino, Norway, a tiny town far in the north. The relationship didn't last, but her time in the Arctic did. As Galloway worked to learn the language — and the skills she needed to live in a reindeer-herding village — she also began to recognize how her emotionally abusive and lonely childhood had affected her.... and feel like she could find a place to belong. Dálvi is a tribute to the beauty of the Arctic and to the strength of the people who make it home.
Senator Tammy Duckworth knows what it means to serve your country. While serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, as one of only a handful of female helicopter pilots there, an RPG downed her Black Hawk and left her with brutal injuries. She spent thirteen months recovering and learning to walk on prosthetic legs. Then, she found a new mission: serving in the halls of power, first in Congress, then in the Senate. In this compelling memoir, she reflects on her childhood — during which she faced discrimination because of her biracial family, poverty, and war — and the resilience that allowed her to make it through all the trials ahead of her. This is Duckworth in her own words, capturing why it's always worth pushing forward — and pushing for a better life for those who come after you.
Before Laura Coleman became a writer and activist, she was a directionless twenty-something who decided to quit her job and backpack across Bolivia. She ended up in Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi, a wildlife sanctuary at the edge of the Amazon jungle, where she was assigned to work with a beautiful and traumatized puma named Wayra. As she learned to care for the many other animals in the sanctuary, and found her way into the community of staff and volunteers — from animal whisperers to a prom queen with a machete — she developed a deep bond with Wayra, and a full understanding of just how much was at risk as the Amazon was being destroyed, piece by piece. Full of hilarious and heartbreaking moments, this memoir of personal turmoil and discovery is a celebration of the power of connecting with another creature.
Like many girls, 11-year-old Melissa Febos recognized her body's changes as a signal that her meaning to society changed to. She learned that there were different expectations for girls and women; that she should define herself by romantic relationships; and that it was her job to make people happy, even when she wasn't. And then, over time, she learned to question all of those assumptions, moving towards a world in which she could be her fully authentic self. Part memoir, part investigative reporting, Girlhood in an examination of what our society teaches girls, and how we can reframe their world so that they can prioritize their own happiness, safety, and freedom.
Carmen Best spent 28 years as a police officer, defying obstacles based on both her race and her gender to become the first Black woman to lead the Seattle Police Department. But as protests rose against police violence, and the city council cut her budget, she stepped down, arguing she couldn't change the status quo from within without the support of the city's government and people. In this memoir, she explores the lessons she learned during her bath to becoming chief, how you can persevere when the culture of an organization needs to be challenged, and how one dedicated person can prompt change from within. This insightful and personal insider story is a thought-provoking look at both policing and how to serve one's community.
15-year-old Elizabeth Gilpin was an honor student and a rising star athlete in multiple sports, but when her undiagnosed depression drove her to skip practice and self-medicate with alcohol, an educational consultant recommended she be enrolled in a "behavioral modification program." Abducted from her bed in the middle of the night, Elizabeth was caught in a nightmare of strip-searches, force-feeding, and physical survival in the woods of Appalachia, then transferred to a "boarding school" that used psychological abuse as a form of therapy. It took two years for her to convince them she was "rehabilitated," but the scars will last a lifetime. In this timely and unflinching memoir Elizabeth unveils the terrible truth about the abuse at many "therapeutic" boarding schools, exploring the aftermath (including multiple friends lost to suicide and addiction) and what it's taken for her to rebuild herself in the years since.
In 1916, the elite of Denver were certain to have several "girls" in their households — hired women helpers, who were worked hard, paid poorly, and had little protection. One courageous woman, Jane Street, decided to stand up for change. Street, who had long worked with the Industrial Workers of the World, helped organize the "housemaid rebellion," battle for fairness for domestic laborers — and her work made national news. But the IWW wasn't interested in supporting a women's issue, and Street was an easy target. And when the first Red Scare arose — and labor organizers were deemed suspicious — Street's struggles mounted ever higher. Drawing on case histories, existing research, and even Street's own writings, Jane Little Botkin draws a captivating portrait of a woman who risked everything to fight for equality.
For generations, readers of The Secret Garden have marveled at the vibrant descriptions of the garden. Now, bestselling author Marta McDowell explores the life of Frances Hodgson Burnett — and the plants and places that inspired her. From her childhood, with its combination of a love of gardening and a love of writing, to details of three gardens Burnett created in Kent, Long Island, and Bermuda — and with stunning period photographs and illustrations to complement the tale — this is a vibrant portrait of a beloved author and the botanical world in which she lived.
Twins Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando have loved hockey since they started playing with their four older brothers on a North Dakota pond. They played on boys teams when they had to, and then as they proved their mettle on the national and international stage, they got to win World Championship and Olympic medals. But they also had to fight USA Hockey over gender inequities — a fight that nearly threatened their ability to play at the 2018 Olympics. In this memoir, the Lamoureux twins talk about their lives — everything from the joy of being role models to the challenges of returning to training after giving birth — providing a reminder that fighting for justice is always something to be proud of.
Sutton Foster has appeared on Broadway and television, but if you asked her the secret to her success, she might tell you it's crafting! Foster picked up cross stitching as a child to escape from bullying chorus girls, and was instantly hooked. Soon she was crocheting, doing collage, drawing, and more. Crafting provided a way to process the emotions that came from her difficult relationship with her agoraphobic mother as a child — and as an adult, the things she made helped her get through the lows of a messy and public divorce, and the highs of stage and TV successes and adopting her daughter. Honest and witty, and packed with crochet patterns, recipes, and other inspiration for beginning crafters, Hooked is a celebration of the joys of making things by hand.
During her childhood in America's heartland of Kansas, Sarah Smarsh saw the women around her — women who struggled with poverty, early pregnancy, and stigma of being "trailer trash" — as the strength that held their community together. And country songs by female artists paid tribute to those ignored women — especially songs by Dolly Parton. In this book, which is part biography and part examination of how our culture dismisses the contributions of those from the "wrong" gender and class, the best-selling author of Heartland pays tribute to Parton's remarkable life, her philanthropy, and the spirit of feminism that she embodies in both her actions and her music.
Psychologist Jessica Zucker's career was devoted to reproductive and maternal health — and when she had a miscarriage sixteen weeks into her second pregnancy, that work suddenly became even more real. The experience brought home the stigma directed at pregnancy loss, as well as the expectation that parents would silence their grief and hide their experiences. In her book, she draws on both her own journey and the stories of other women into a thought-provoking look at how miscarriage affects us, why we need to speak up, and how our society can better support people through the emotional and physical pain of miscarriage.
Susan Fowler fought her way out of poverty to get to an Ivy League school, and by age 25, she had won a position at Uber, one of the most valuable companies in Silicon Valley's history. And there she faced a toxic and pervasive culture: sexist, racist, and permeated with harassment and abuse. She took the courageous step of writing a blog post about her experiences, riveting the nation and resulting in Uber's CEO getting ousted — but it also brought retaliation, investigations and threats. She's been honored as one of the people who drove the #MeToo movement, but she's also paid a price. In Whistleblower, Fowler tells her own story, never shying away from the cost of standing up to those in power, but reminding everyone that we can reclaim our power and fight for a fair world.
In the midst of the Holocaust, 25 women — mostly Jewish women and girls — were pulled out of the worst hell of Auschwitz-Berkenau concentration camp. They might be spared from the gas chambers, but in exchange, they had to design and sew dresses for elite Nazi women, wives of the camp commandant, SS guards, and officers. Their support the dressmakers gave to one another helped them endure the persecution and oppression they faced, but it also gave them the opportunity to help during rare moments of resistance in the camp. Historian Lucy Adlington draws on multiple sources, including interviews with the last surviving dressmakers, to create this book that's part examination of the hypocrisy of the Third Reich and part celebration of female friendship in the midst of horror.
In 1945, Elizabeth O. Hays, a doctor for the coal company that owned the town of Force, Pennsylvania, publicly resigned. "Dr. Betty" was protesting the horrible living conditions in the town, which included sewage-contaminated drinking water and unpaved roads with mud so deep ambulances got stuck. 350 miners went on strike in support of her, and the whole country heard the news. As news outlets both large and small recorded every detail of the 33-year-old doctor's battle with the corrupt managers of the town, soldiers wrote fan letters to her and Woody Guthrie paid tribute to her with a song. Finally, President Truman directed the justice department to investigate her claims — and Dr. Betty won. Author Marcia Biederman tells a powerful story of a determined woman on a public health mission, and how her fight captured the attention of a nation.
Niloofar Rahmani always dreamed of being a military pilot, but in her home country of Afghanistan, women weren't allowed to join the armed forces. But in 2010, for the first time since the Soviets had invaded, that policy was changed. When Niloofar went to the military academy, she faced prejudice and skepticism, but she was determined to prove herself. She became the first person in her class, male or female, to conduct a solo flight, and in 2013 she officially became Afghanistan's first woman fixed-wing air force pilot. Niloofar was honored internationally, but at home in Kabul, her defiance of social norms drew threats and danger. This inspiring true story celebrates a determined woman who never gave up on her dream of flight.
When the television industry began, the men of the Golden Age of radio had no interest — why would they, when they were making millions in ad revenue already? But four visionary women saw promise in the new medium. Irna Phillips created daytime serials (with mostly female casts); Gertrude Berg took her radio show and turned it into a Jewish family comedy that led to multiple spinoffs; Hazel Scott became the first African American to host a national evening variety program; and Betty White became one of the first women to produce, write, and star in her own show. And then, as TV became more lucrative, they were sidelined — but their legacies still influence the industry today. Bestselling author Jennifer Keishin Armstrong captures the story of these four women and how they shaped the shows we know and love in this sometimes infuriating, often inspiring history.
As children, Elizabeth and Margaret were sisters and friends — until the woman Margaret fondly called "Lillibet" became Queen. Suddenly, their roles changed: now Elizabeth was the one who had to address Margaret's frustrations with the royal system, including giving her the ultimatum that marrying a divorced man would force her to give up her title and royal allowances. In this fascinating biography, Andrew Morton explores the lives of these two sisters and how they diverged when Elizabeth took the throne. Perfect for fans of The Crown, this is an intriguing look at navigating family relationships while under the spotlight of royalty.
When people talk about great First Ladies, it's easy to forget Lady Bird Johnson — but her work had an enormous impact! She was her husband's most trusted political strategist; her memo when he ran for president highlights her incredible political talent. She ran the East Wing like a professional office, and took on issues like environmentalism, women's liberation, and more. And during a time of turmoil, including the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, she projected a sense of calm when the country needed it most. Author Julia Sweig draws on Lady Bird's White House diaries to capture the previously hidden side of this little-appreciated woman, creating a portrait of a gift, complex woman whose story deserves to be told.
The idea of "home economics" sounds dated and perhaps even sexist today — but as Danielle Dreilinger points out in this intriguing history, the development of the field provided surprising opportunities for women across America! Under the umbrella of home economics, women could become engineers, chemists, and entrepreneurs — and professors, teaching this new subject at colleges. They made groundbreaking discoveries about nutrition (even helping to create food for astronauts) and developed labor-saving methods that freed women up to consider work outside the domestic sphere. This eye-opening history of a much-maligned subject is a reminder of the skills home economics fostered... ones which helped women both inside and outside the home.
Eartha Kitt was a beloved celebrity, adored for her starring roles — and for her groundbreaking positions on racial equality, women's rights, and LGBTQ rights — but she was also a doting mother to her adored biological daughter, Kitt. Born in extreme poverty in South Carolina, and from a mix of Black, Cherokee, and White heritage, Eartha read as Black, while Kitt is blonde and light skinned. They went everywhere together for decades, and even after Kitt got married and had a family of their own, Eartha and Kitt were as close as could be. In this poignant and personal book, which places Eartha's story in the context of a rapidly shifting 20th century America, Kitt gives us a peek at what it was like to know the real Eartha Kitt, with all of her love and wisdom.
To be a Pan Am stewardess in the late 1960s and early 1970s, you had to fit their very specific job description: under 26 years old, between 5'3" and 5'9", between 105 and 140 pounds. Oh, and have a college education and speak at least two languages. But for the women who fit the criteria, Pan Am offered an unexpected life of both glamour and independence. And then, in the Vietnam War, they not only ferried soldiers on R&R from Saigon to Hong Kong, but they also played a critical role in Operation Babylift, the evacuation of 2,000 children when Saigon fell. Author Julia Cooke explores the real-life stories of the Pan Am stewardesses and how their jet-set lives offered the chance for a life lived on their own terms.
When Vera Rubin died in 2016, she was considered one of the most influential astronomers of her day for her observations that confirmed the existence of dark matter — the mysterious substance that affects the universe but can't be seen by a telescope. But it wasn't just her research that changed the world: it was also her tireless work to mentor women scientists, and change attitudes to women in STEM. In this first ever biography of Rubin, Jacqueline Mitton and Simon Mitton draw from Rubin's correspondence and papers to describe both her groundbreaking research and her activism for women researchers, capturing a portrait of a woman driven by a deep desire to learn more about the universe.
In 2014, the Islamic State had swept across Syria, leaving devastation — and raping, kidnapping, and selling women — as it went. But in a small town called Kobani, one group of women was determined to fight back. This small Kurdish militia helped fight off the insurgents, and grew into a serious fighting force... but they also started advocating for equal rights for women, not just in times of war but afterward. Based on hundreds of hours of interviews and years of on-the-ground reporting, this powerful book is a celebration of a courageous group of women who are winning victories both on the battlefield and in the minds of people throughout the Middle East.
In 2008, Mallory Weggemann went in for a routine medical procedure — and a complication paralyzed her from the waist down. But the dedicated athlete was determined to keep competing; by the 2021 Paralympic Games, she held fifteen world records. Then, another setback: after a fall, she severely injured her left arm. After two more surgeries and extensive rehabilitation, she returned to the international athletic stage and won three medals at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships. In this empowering book, Mallory shares her own story and explores how we can all redefine our limitations and embrace our comebacks — even if they look different than we expected.
Isabel Sun grew up in 1930s and '40s Shanghai, in a life of privilege and wealth provided by her family's position — granted generations past by China's empress dowager. She remained blissfully unaware of the civil war and the Japanese occupation, but the family could no longer protect her once Mao came to power. By then 18 years old, Isabel traveled to Hong Kong; she never saw her scholar father again. Five decades later, she and her daughter, Claire, returned to Shanghai to explore the untold story of their family — as full of glamour and danger as any epic movie, and with lavish illustrations and photographs to accompany this stunning journey. Claire Chao follows five generations of the Sun family from a tiny village to the big city, telling a sweeping tale of love, betrayal, and redemption.
As an adult, Julianna Margulies is an award-winning actress, perhaps best-known for her Emmy Award-winning performance as Carol Hathaway on ER. But as a child, her family nicknamed her "Sunshine Girl" for her bubbly, optimistic nature. Splitting her time between divorced parents — often on different continents — she spent her days in Paris, New York, England, and New Hampshire, and realized that, wherever she went, she was the one who brought calm to turmoil and organization to chaos. And when she entered the world of acting, she put those skills to good use as she dealt with difficult relationships, painful rejections, and finally the triumphs she'd been dreaming of. Intimate and honest, this memoir is a tale of resilience and optimism that reminds readers to bring a little sunshine to their own lives.
Aline Griffith was a young college graduate when the US entered World War II, and she was eager to help the war effort. By chance, she met Frank Ryan at a dinner party, who saw her potential and helped her join the Office of Strategic Services — the forerunner to today's CIA. Griffith was sent to Spain to be a coder, but as her talents became obvious, she was given an additional task: infiltrate high society — officials, diplomats, and nobles — to track down enemy agents, recruit intelligence assets, and counter Nazi tactics. She even married the Count of Romanones, one of Spain's richest men, and still continued her espionage work. This real-life spy story, better than any Hollywood film, chronicles the dazzling glamor and risky maneuvers of this incredible American spy.
Fans of Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken will know the story of Doc Carver's High Diving Horses, who plunged forty feet into a tank of water with a diving girl on their backs to entertain the crowd. In May 1980, Cynthia Branigan — who had been haunted by the show after seeing it as a child — was sent on a mission: rescuing the last Atlantic City Steel Pier diving horse, who was up for auction. After outbidding slaughterhouses and collectors, she succeeded... and had to begin the process of learning how to care for Gamal when she knew almost nothing about horses. Over time, Gamal rescued her as much as she rescued him, and set her on a new passion: saving other animals in need. This is a heartwarming story that celebrates how the animals we love can give us purpose and meaning when we need it most.
When Kathy Stearman entered the FBI Academy in 1987, she was one of 600 women — in a force of 10,000 agents. For 26 years, she rose through the ranks, but to do so, she had to "prove" she was strong enough by hiding her feelings, cultivating an emotionless persona that the men around her accepted. She eventually became FBI Legal Attaché, the most senior FBI representative in a foreign office. But after she retired, an article about a group of women who were suing the FBI for discrimination at the academy prompted her to share her experiences. In It's Not About the Gun, Stearman explores how her own perceptions of both the FBI and her country have changed over time — and how changing the system to welcome varying strengths and opinions, would not only foster women in the FBI, but also a better path for the Bureau itself.
To the world, Natalie Wood was a glamorous movie star they admired in Splendor in the Grass and West Side Story. But to Natasha Gregson Wagner, she was Mom — and when Natalie drowned at the age of 43, setting off rumors full of scandal and making Wagner's stepfather, Robert Wagner, the suspect in a murder, that side of her was lost. In this poignant book, Wagner tells the story of her mother through her own eyes for the first time, exploring the woman she knew and how she differed from the Hollywood image. This is a heartfelt story of a daughter cutting through grief and revealing the true person behind the media stories.
As a child, Isabel Allende saw her mother provide for her and her siblings after her father abandoned the family — and she saw the obstacles she faced just because she was a woman. As an adult journalist and author, in the 1960s, she took that nascent feminism and used her voice to fight for women's issues. In this stunning new book, Allende explores what feeds women's souls today: what they need, what they're fighting for, and what they hope for the future. Part memoir, part meditation on what it means to be a woman, this is a powerful and poetic work that is sure to inspire.
Sara Seager is an MIT astrophysicist who was used to scanning the sky for exoplanets — tiny, distant worlds that might offer the promise of life. But when her husband died unexpectedly, leaving her a single mother with two young boys, she felt alone for the first time. She found comfort in her work, focusing on the challenges of identifying tiny hints of a planet's presence, and on Earth, where she received support from both expected and unexpected quarters. This is a stunning look at grief and life after loss, as well as the one-in-a-billion chances that happen in every life.
At the end of the 19th century, publishers like Hearst and Pulitzer were battling it out for readers — and when Nellie Bly stunned the nation by going undercover at an insane asylum to reveal the conditions there, the world of the "girl stunt reporters" was born. These women used disguises to expose everything from child labor to corrupt politicians to inequities in medical treatment — and they sold thousands of papers. They also championed labor and women's rights and redefined journalism. Then, just as suddenly, backlash turned "stunt reporter" into a shameful term... but their influence lingered. This powerful social history of these trailblazing women journalists pays tribute to how they changed journalism — and their country — forever.
Vanessa O'Brien was used to overcoming incredible obstacles: first she struggled her way to survival as a Detroit teenager when her family imploded, and then she found new goals after losing a high-powered corporate career to the 2009 economic crisis. O'Brien started climbing the world's most infamous mountains, achieving record after record as she climbed the Seven Summits, the highest peaks on each continent, and skiied to both the North and South Poles. But her story isn't just one of outdoor adventure: it's also one about having the courage to keep going when your world is falling apart. At times both funny and tense, and always inspiring, this is a powerful look at how these physical challenges helped O'Brien find purpose and resilience.
When Perdita Felicien ran the biggest race of her life in the 2004 Olympics, she was running for herself, her nation... and her mother, Catherine. Catherine had dared to leave St. Lucia, where she was barely surviving, in 1974, traveling to Canada as a nanny for a wealthy family. In her new country, she had Perdita, her third child, and together the family struggled with racism, domestic abuse, poverty, and homelessness. But they also discovered Perdita's incredible athleticism — and Catherine was determined to support her. Together, mother and daughter drew on love and faith — and a believe that you can always stand back up if you fall — until Perdita became a World Champion. This memoir celebrates the love of mother and daughter, and how the people who raise us can shape us into our best selves.
From the time it was built in 1927 — at the height of the Roaring Twenties, with newly liberated "Modern Women" eager to forge their own paths — the Barbizon offered something special: a residential hotel, exclusive to women, that offered a safe haven and a comfortable space to live for women who wanted a room of their own. From famous names like Titanic survivor Molly Brown and actresses like Grace Kelly, Liza Minnelli, and Phylicia Rashad, to interns at Mademoiselle and young models from the Ford Modeling Agency, generations of women dreaming of careers in the arts found their homes at the Barbizon. In this fascinating and impeccably researched book, author Paulina Bren pays tribute to a unique space that helped set women free.
Erin French and The Lost Kitchen seem like a fairytale success story: a restaurant that's become a world-famous destination, where you have to call the day the reservation book opens if you hope to get a seat. But behind that story was a life of challenge and struggles with mental illness and addiction, with abuse, and with poverty. Her son became a touchstone and helped her rebuild her life... and seek out a way to bring goodness into the world through the food that she loved. This poignant and personal memoir is a powerful story about cooking, freedom, and finding your place.
In the shadow of their father, Winston Churchill — often called "the greatest Englishman" — and their golden boy brother, Randolph, the Churchill sisters often faded into the background. And yet these bright and well-connected women were determined to live their own lives — and to try to do their part for their country. In this powerful yet intimate account, which draws on previously unpublished family letters, Dr. Rachel Trethewey tells the stories of Diana, Sarah, and Mary (and their sister Marigold, who died young): women who witnessed some of the most important events in world history... and who supported and challenged their more famous father, helping him shape the 20th century.
Today Mazie Hirono — the first Asian-American woman and the only immigrant serving in the U.S. Senate — is known for her fiery, outspoken service — but her journey to the seat of power was a long one. She was only seven years old when her mother, Laura, took her two oldest children away from her abusive husband, traveling across the Pacific to start a new life in America. Hirono was raised in the non-confrontational cultures of Japan and Hawaii, but as an adult, she became a ferocious advocate for the vulnerable, drawing on her own experiences with poverty to fight for others. Heart of Fire tells both Hirono's story and the story of the mother who bravely stepped into the unknown to make Hirono's life possible — a journey that celebrates the best of what America can be.
The Howe brothers are renowned in history for some of Britain's most notable military campaigns of the late 18th century — but the women of the family played an equally important role, one which has largely been ignored. Historian Julie Flavell draws on letters by Caroline Howe to unveil how aristocratic women's maneuverings put their nephews and brothers into the seats of power they needed to make history — and spent their days in drawing rooms and social events fighting gossip and scandal. And in one little-known moment in 1774, Caroline herself sat down with Benjamin Franklin for "half a dozen Games of Chess" — a cover for a last-ditch negotiation attempting to avoid the American War of Independence. Suspenseful and meticulously researched, this is a unique look at Revolutionary War history — one which highlights the neglected role of women in the politics before the battles.
Women have been involved in the sciences since ancient times — but their stories were often ignored, dismissed, or even suppressed. And the same problem exists to this day; even in the 21st century, few women win Nobel Prizes in science. Forces of Nature sets the record straight with a thoroughly researched work at the women from ancient Greece to modern day who changed the way the scientific world thinks. From royal physicians to astronomers and mathematicians to physicists and more, these women defied norms and fought male-dominated fields to advance human knowledge. This is a celebration of clever, curious, and determined scientific women whose work has explored everything from the depths of the oceans to the far reaches of outer space.
Wayétu Moore celebrated her 5th birthday in Liberia without her mother, who was studying in New York. She was looking forward to a happy reunion — and then civil war broke out. After being forced to flee her home with her father and grandfather, and getting smuggled across the border to Sierra Leone, she got the reunion she wanted, but also found herself a new immigrant in the US. In this moving memoir about her journey away from, and then back to, her home country, Moore explores both her emotional life as she adjusted to life in Texas and the political forces that affect millions of migrants around the world.
When 7-year-old Raye Montague saw a captured Germans submarine during World War II, she wanted to learn how it worked — but everyone told her an African American woman couldn't be an engineer. She started out as a typist for the Navy, but she was determined to achieve her dream, so she took night classes in engineering and in early computer programming. She not only proved her ability and became a Navy engineer, but when someone challenged her to figure out how to design a ship on a computer, she did it: instead of the usual two years, her rough draft for a ship design took 18 hours and 56 minutes. This true story about a woman who overcame prejudice to achieve her dream is an empowering reflection on the power of education.
As a child, Nancy Pelosi got an inside peek at politics thanks to her big-city mayor father — and while her mother was his political organizer, Pelosi thought it would be more interesting to be the one in the seat of power. At the age of 46, after her five children were almost grown, she entered politics herself, and became renowned for her ferocious determination and her political acumen. She became the first female Speaker of the House, and then — just as she privately planned to retire — she found herself going head to head with Donald Trump, vowing to stand up to his disruption and protect democracy. This definitive biography, which draws on over 150 interviews — including many with Pelosi herself — is a deep and nuanced look at one of the most powerful women of American politics.
When Maria Theresa inherited her father's vast Habsburg Empire at the age of 23, she faced attacks on all sides from foreign powers convinced a woman ruler would be a pushover. Instead, she proved herself fit to rule, and passed her determination on to her three daughters. Maria Christina would become governor-general of the Austrian Netherlands, and a gifted artist who married for love. Clever Maria Carolina led Naples into a golden age until they came face to face with Napoleon. And Marie Antoinette's story is often misunderstood and dismissed as an example of royal excess or tragic naivete. This vibrant and meticulously researched family saga examines how these four women rode the tumult of the 18th century — or sank beneath its storm.
When Anita Hill testified against Clarence Thomas in 1991, she was taking only the first step towards a still-unfinished battle to end gender violence. In her new book Believing, she explores what has — and hasn't — changed in the thirty years since her groundbreaking testimony. Hill draws on her own stories as well as those from thousands of others, showing how gender-based violence, from "harmless" harassment to assault and murder, affects every aspect of a woman's life, from her personal well-being to whether she can participate in the political process. Part memoir, part searing call to action, this is a powerful examination of why we must demand an end to gender-based violence.
In the midst of World War II, a little over 1,100 women made their way through the U.S. Army's selection process — and became part of a landmark in aviation history. The Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP, program drew female pilots from across the country, eager to prove their mettle. Led by trailblazing pilots Nancy Love and Jacqueline Cochran, these women were never authorized to serve in combat, but they performed other critical (and dangerous) missions, from delivering planes to training male pilots. And then, just as quickly, the program was disbanded, leaving the women fighting for recognition for their military service. Author Katherine Sharp Landdeck's soaring account of the WASP program is a fitting tribute to these bold women, their dedication to their country, and their determination to make their place in history.
Natalie Warren and Ann Raiho set themselves a challenge: follow the 2,000-mile route from Eric Sevareid's 1935 classic Canoeing with the Cree. If they achieved it, they would be the first women to make the expedition. But in addition to all the physical challenges they faced — from weather and hunger to snake nests and polar bears — they also faced the emotional strain, at one point communicating only by written notes. Still, the beauties of the wilderness and the strength of their friendship helped see them through. Warren tells this story with verve, capturing the highs and lows of their historic trip, in a tribute to the power of friends to get through just about any challenge.
Judy Heumann fought polio at 18 months of age — but her bigger battle would be against a world that didn't want to allow her in. As a child, her family had to argue for her right to go to grade school, where one objection was that she might be a "fire hazard." She had to take the New York City school system to court because they wouldn't give her a teacher's license because she was paralyzed. These experiences convinced her that Americans with disabilities deserved better: they deserved legislation that would explicitly protect them. In this stirring memoir, Heumann describes her leadership for the Section 504 Sit-In, the longest takeover of a government building in American history, and of her lobbying for the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act. Heumann's story is also available in a young reader's edition, Rolling Warrior: The Incredible, Sometimes Awkward, True Story of a Rebel Girl on Wheels Who Helped Spark a Revolution for ages 10 to 14.
In 1954, 63-year-old Annie Wilkins, a farmer in Maine, was facing a devastating future. She had lost her farm, had no family to lean on, and the doctor said she had two years to live. So she latched onto a dream to see the Pacific Ocean, bought an ex-racehorse, and set off with her dog by her side and faith that the neighborliness of other Americans would see her through. From 1954 to 1956, she rode over 4,000 miles — through big cities and small towns, and through a country that was being transformed by the modern highway system and by a gradual drop in trust in strangers. This inspiring tale of a woman determined to make her own way is a unique look at how the 1950s, with its car ownership, TV shows, and growing population, changed American culture... and how one woman believed she could still lean on kindness.
Sarah Sentilles and her husband, Eric, decided not to have a biological child, but to adopt via the foster care system instead — despite knowing that the goal of the system was to reunite the child with birth family. After a gauntlet of social worker inspections, they finally get the call that Coco, a 3-day-old girl, needed a foster family. Sarah welcomed Coco into their home, but now she had to discover what it meant to mother this child, to care for the birth mother who desperately wanted her back, and to find her place in Coco's life. This powerful memoir explores not just the foster care system, with all its problems, but also what it means to be family and how we can draw on our connection with others — even if we're not related — to create a kinder world.
The Bush family is one of America's political dynasties — and while many people are familiar with First Ladies Barbara and Laura Bush, there were many other women in the family who deserve their due! In this book by bestselling author J. Randy Taraborrelli, readers will learn about the lesser-known women of the Bush family: Dorothy Bush, Barbara's mother-in-law; Laura's daughters, Jenna and Barbara; the reserved Columba Bush, who quietly supported the arts, addiction recovery, and domestic violence shelters; and Sharon Bush, who fought back during an ugly divorce. This hidden history of the Bush women is a powerful story of determination, equality, and carving your own path.
In her hometown of Peace River, Alberta, Trina Moyles knew about the Lookout Observers, who spent five months every summer alone, watching for signs of fire in the boreal forest. What kind of person could do that job? After a decade in global humanitarian work, she returned home with a plan to sponsor her fiance's immigration to Canada... and applied for a seasonal lookout position to help her do it. But she soon started to discover both the challenges and the joys of solitude: a deteriorating long-distance relationship on the one hand, a new sense of freedom on the other. And in the midst of it all, she found a new awareness of how climate change is threatening the boreal forest — and everything that lives there. Part environmental story, part self-discovery, this is a powerful account of finding yourself even when everything is burning down.
For a woman in the workplace in the 1960s and 70s, it was hard to break out of secretarial roles, no matter what the law said — and that was particularly true in journalism, where the old boys club kept women relegated to the "women's pages." Then came a pioneering nonprofit, National Public Radio, and four women determined to make a difference. Cokie Roberts brought a spirit of public service; Susan Stamberg pushed for work-life balance; Linda Wertheimer fought for her spot on-air like she fought for her education; and Nina Totenberg provided unique Supreme Court coverage the world had never seen. Based on extensive interviews with these pioneering women and people who know them, Susan, Linda, Nina, and Cokie is a powerful portrait of four women who changed the news forever.
When Lacy Crawford was 15, she was sexually assaulted by two senior athletes at St. Paul's School — but she was told that there was nothing that could be done. Years later, when St. Paul's came under state investigation for reports of sexual abuse, she finally got to look at her criminal case file, and found proof that her case had been deliberately silenced. In this heartrending memoir, Crawford explores how institutions — including, but certainly not limited to, St. Paul's — sacrifice the safety of girls for the reputation of the powerful and privileged. Her searing account asks readers what it will take before we finally help survivors overcome shame and silencing — and demand they be given justice.
World-renowned artist and feminist Judy Chicago reflects on her life and impact in this revealing memoir, complete with 90 color illustrations of some of her most famous works! Throughout her career, Chicago has challenged an art world that long dismissed creators who weren't male, and created thought-provoking artwork ranging from massive installations to pyrotechnics to the Judy Chicago Portal, which places her archives with multiple institutions to avoid the erasure that's too common for women artists. In this intriguing book, her personal narrative explores her journey as a woman artist, along with the specifics behind the creation of some of her most famous works including the groundbreaking Birth Project and the iconic The Dinner Party.
When Harriet Tubman served as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, she depended on two other women: Martha Wright, Quaker mother of seven, and Frances Seward, wife of William H. Seward — who was first a Governor, then a Senator, then Secretary of State. These three unexpected friends formed a bond based on their mutual desire to fight for the abolition of slavery and the establishment of women's rights. In this remarkable book, drawn from the letters the three wrote to one another, acclaimed author Dorothy Wickenden explores how these women's lives changed — and how their country changed around them.
As the space age dawned, two bold female pilots wrestled with how best to push forward the idea of women in the space program. Jackie Cochran held fistfuls of flying records and had led the Women's Auxiliary Service Pilots during World War II. Jerrie Cobb, 25 years Cochran's junior, took the same medical tests as the Mercury astronauts but was ultimately rejected along with the other women of the Mercury 13 program. Each woman had plans for women in space — plans that didn't necessarily agree. In this exciting dual biography, spaceflight historian Amy Shira Teitel explores the lives of two daring women, each of whom dreamed of being the first woman in space.
When Diana Kupershmit learned that her daughter, Emma, had been born with a rare genetic disorder, she believed she wasn't up to the task of raising a child with profound physical and intellectual disabilities. Surely, she thought, the best course would be to allow someone else to adopt her. But when Emma found her way back to Diana instead, Diana realized that living with a child with disabilities didn't mean loneliness and sadness; instead, it meant casting aside preconceptions, following Emma's lead, and discovering the love, strength, and joy that both of them possessed. In this poignant memoir, Diana tells the story of Emma's all too short 18 years — and the way her warrior daughter changed her life forever.
Sharon Stone survived a childhood of violence to achieve success in Hollywood — where she found many similar abuses, hidden under the glamour. And then, she had a stroke which took everything away. In this powerful memoir, Stone opens up about her lives before and after the medical crisis that changed everything for her. She explores the friendships that supported her, the roles she loved to play, and the humanitarian work that gave her purpose in the most difficult times. And she describes the long road she's been walking back to a new life in the aftermath of her health crisis. Candid, courageous, and meaningful, this is a memoir that will inspire readers to use their lives to the fullest.
When Hayley Wickenheiser started playing hockey, she had to change in boiler rooms because the rinks didn't have girls' dressing rooms. She would go on to become a Hockey Hall of Famer, with 13 World Championship appearances and 6 Olympic Games — all without receiving the sort of financial support and stability male players are used to. And after retiring from sport, she wasn't done: she started a brand new career in medicine. In this personal and honest memoir, Wickenheiser passes on the lessons she learned on the ice — both the ones that game from her victories and the painful things she learned when everything fell apart. Throughout, she reminds her readers to ignore the naysayers and carve their own ice... wherever that takes them.
When N. West Moss started bleeding uncontrollably, doctors were baffled until they finally diagnosed her with a uterine hemangioma. The treatment was "simple" — a hysterectomy. But the journey was complex: Moss, who had already struggling with infertility, suddenly found herself thinking about the incredible women of her family, and how her line would end with her. And at the same time, her life was about much more than her uterus: her curious mind flitted from cocktail recipes to New Orleans history to the praying mantis in her sunroom. This powerful memoir presents grief not as an obstacle, but as a companion on your travels, and explores the many ways that a person can leave a legacy.
As hundreds of thousands of men and women traveled into the American West between 1840 and 1910, a social shift was happening too. On the frontier, women couldn't be passive partners; they had to be co-providers, town mothers, and leaders in their own right. And these capable women quickly proved that they were just as essential as the men were in the constant drive to push further west. Best-selling author Winifred Gallagher explores the roles of women in the American West — both the White, Black, and Asian settlers, and the Native American and Hispanic communities they displaced — and shows how these women transformed both their own lives, becoming some of the first American women granted the right to vote, and eventually the American women's rights movement.
Annabel Abbs was raised in the Welsh countryside, an "experiment" by her poet father, and it instilled a love of the outdoors in her early. As an adult, she was inspired to walk the paths that had previously been trod by groundbreaking women of history: women like Georgia O’Keeffe, Nan Shepherd, Gwen John, Daphne du Maurier, and Simone de Beauvoir. As she traveled through multiple continents and many, many footsteps' worth of paths, she felt a connection with these women of the past — and realized how, just as walking gave these women the chance to reimagine their lives and futures, it was doing the same for her in the present. Part travelogue and part historical investigation, this is a captivating account that will make you eager to lace up your own shoes for a walk.
The Remarkable Story of Three Dutch Teenagers Who Became Spies, Saboteurs, Nazi Assassins and WWII Heroes
The Remarkable Story of Three Dutch Teenagers Who Became Spies, Saboteurs, Nazi Assassins and WWII Heroes
When the Nazis invaded the Netherlands in 1940, three teenage girls were determined to resist. Hannie Schaft, and sisters Truus and Freddie Oversteegen, formed their own, all-female underground squad in Haarlem, and they resolved to fight the occupying forces in any way they could. They sheltered fugitives; sabotaged bridges; secretly transported weapons; and lured both German soldiers and Dutch sympathizers and traitors, then assassinated them. Historian Tim Brady captures the stunning story of these three girls who fought and spied like seasoned agents, no matter the risks — and no matter the cost.
Elizabeth Berg's father was a tough-as-nails Army veteran who adored his wife: for nearly seventy years, he devoted himself to her, and they spent as little time as possible apart. But when he developed Alzheimer's disease, the couple had to leave their home and move into a facility that could provide the care he needed. Suddenly, she and her siblings had to provide the advice, support, and direction that their parents had always given them. How could they know what was the right thing to do? Though challenges and missteps, but also through laughter and joy, they found a way to make the transition work. In this heartfelt memoir, Berg chronicles what it's like to watch someone you love on a journey you can't make easier — and how love can still help heal.
Dr. Cassandra Quave knows that plants are behind some of the most important medicines humanity has ever known — and they may be the key to the new challenge facing medicine: antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The leading ethnobotanist — a scientist who identifies and studies plants for possible medicines — Quave travels around the world to some of the most remote places — by canoe, by ATV, and even on foot, even though her multiple congenital skeletal defects mean she has only one leg. In The Plant Hunter, she takes readers along on her research adventures, capturing both the importance of her work and the sense of wonder and curiosity that drives her to seek out nature's secrets.
Ten years ago, Jenny Doan was running a corner shop with one quilting machine and a few bolts of fabric for sale. She and her husband Ron had seven kids, a crumbling farmhouse, and a shoestring budget — but she also had big dreams. With determination and heart, she grew her business into the Missouri Star Quilt Company, the largest supplier of pre-cut quilting fabric and the hub for Doan's world-famous YouTube tutorials. In her memoir, Doan talks about her journey from homeschooling mom to savvy businesswoman, and celebrates how her successes have helped her give back to her beloved small town. This is a warm, conversational book that celebrates family, faith, and the courage to try something new.
When Elizabeth Nyamayaro was only 8, a bowl of warm porridge saved her life — one carried by a United Nations aid worker. She survived the severe drought in her Zimbabwe village, and determined that she wanted to be one of the people who gave back, saving others like her. Since then, she has fought for justice around the world, and as a senior advisor at the UN, she launched HeForShe, one of the world's largest global solidarity movements for women's rights. Driven by the concept of ubuntu taught by her grandmother — "I am because we are" — she has found her calling... and now, in this memoir, she shares her message about the importance of community support and the power of hope.
In 1866, 20-year-old Anna Snitkina finally met her idol, author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. An "emancipated girl," as she called herself, she had been impressed by his novels, but was shocked to discover the writer himself sick, addicted to gambling, and within a hair of falling apart. She became his employee, then his wife, and then his business manager — saving not only Dostoyevsky's career, but also launching her own. In this compelling re-examination of her role, Andrew Kaufman draws on diaries and little-known letters to show how Anna juggled finances and Dostoyevsky's fragile state of mind, and even founded her own publishing house to keep him free of predatory contracts — making her Russia's first ever solo female publisher. This is a remarkable portrait of an independent-minded woman who left her mark on literary history.
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey was 19 when her former stepfather shot her mother; the trauma helped shape her writing as she struggled to understand grief and hope in the aftermath. Now, in this stunning memoir, she explores the "before": her mother's childhood in the segregated South, her own experiences as a "child of miscegenation" in Mississippi, and the struggles with domestic violence that would eventually explode on Memorial Drive in Atlanta in 1985. Both harrowing and compelling, this powerful book encourages readers to understand how racism, abuse, and violence ripple outward, creating both the tragic and the sublime.
Rachael Cerrotti's grandmother, Hana, was open about her experiences as a Holocaust survivor, who escaped the Nazis only thanks to the kindness of strangers, even as the rest of her family died. Together, they began documenting her story — and when Hana died in 2010, Rachael discovered she had begun to assemble an archive of her life, full of photographs, letters, diaries, immigration papers, and more. As Rachael followed her grandmother's story from Central Europe to the US — and even met descendants of some of the people who saved her — she also found that Hana's story gave her the strength to keep living despite her grief. This poignant parallel story of a grandmother's survival and a granddaughter's journey of discovery is a bittersweet look at how family stories change us all.
The Untold Story of the Globetrotting Women Who Trekked, Flew, and Fought Their Way Around the World
The Untold Story of the Globetrotting Women Who Trekked, Flew, and Fought Their Way Around the World
"Women are not adapted to exploration," claimed the president of the male-only Explorers Club in 1932 — but the female students he was speaking to at Barnard College knew he was wrong! In The Girl Explorers, author Jayne Zanglein chronicles the founding and work of the Society of Women Geographers. Its members were determined to show that women were capable of discovering the world, just like men: they climbed mountains, sailed treacherous oceans, and more, all while recording their travels. And in addition to their daring feats, they advocated for women's rights, proving that they could go where no one (man or woman) had gone before. This is an inspiring story of the women who showed that a woman's place is wherever she chooses to go.
For millennia, brewing has been "women's work" — part of the litany of tasks that fell under the category of managing a household. So why is brewing often male-dominated today? In this intriguing book, author Tara Nurin shows how whenever brewing became profitable — when it became a business instead of a chore — men would take control, pushing women out of roles that gave them independence and economic power. But today, women are starting to take back the brewing industry, with over 1,000 American brewers where women serve as founder, CEO, or head brewer. This insightful and empowering book will make you look at a frosty bottle of beer in a whole new way.
Cicely Tyson was a pioneering actress, famous for her stunning portrayals of both real and fictional African American women: abolitionist Harriet Tubman, civil rights activist Coretta Scott King, the fictional Jane Pittman from The Autobiography of Jane Pittman, the mother of Kunta Kinte in Roots. She frequently rejected stereotypical roles so that she could be true to her vision of Black women on screen — often not working for months or years as a result. Now, in her own words, she gets to tell her story, creating an authentic and vibrant portrait of a trailblazing woman who brought nobility and strength to every character she played.
When complications from a surgery left Edith Widder temporarily blind, her dream of becoming a marine biologist almost vanished into darkness. Instead, the experience lead her to a new passion: studying oceanic bioluminescence. On her first deep dive, in a suit that felt like armor, all she wanted to know was Why was there so much light down there? In Below the Edge of Darkness, she reveals the hidden lives of the deep ocean's bioluminescent organisms — from microbes to giant squid — and unveils the dangers of exploring their world. This is a tribute to curiosity, wonder, and the magic of light in dark places.
A young Amy McGrath was furious when she learned that federal law prohibited women from flying in combat — something directly at odds with her dreams of piloting fighter jets. She was determined to prove that she — and many other American women — had the right stuff for military service. After becoming a Marine Corps pilot, she spent a full career on combat deployments, working as an Air Combat Tactics instructor, and flying some of the most intense aircraft America has. Then, after retiring from military service, she took on a new challenge: politics. So far, she's run for Congress once, losing by only three percentage points, and she's even taken on a high-stakes campaign against the five-term leader of the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell. In her own words, this is McGrath's story of what it means to swear to defend the American Constitution — in the air or in the seats of power.
For much of the 19th century, if an American woman (or many American men) wanted to know how to conduct themselves — including what to believe about issues like women's rights — they looked to Godey's Lady's Book and the writing of Sarah Josepha Hale. For decades, Hale was the most influential woman in America; she helped make the careers of American authors like Edgar Allan Poe and Harriet Beecher Stowe; she compiled the first women's history book; she wrote "Mary Had A Little Lamb"; and it was her campaign that finally convinced President Abraham Lincoln to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. This remarkable book explores Hale's life and career, highlighting how her ideals and forward-thinking principles shaped her nation — both while she was alive and long afterward.
At the beginning of the 20th century, if you wanted to cross the Atlantic, you were going to be riding an ocean liner. Those mighty ships provided opportunities — both at the end of the journey and during it — for thousands of women: immigrants, refugees, and wealthy travelers who would board for a single trip, and the hard-working crew members who kept the luxuries flowing for the first class passengers and the travel functional for those in steerage. In this fascinating social history, Siân Evans explores their stories, from the A-listers like Marlene Dietrich and Josephine Baker, to "The Unsinkable Stewardess" violet Jessop, who survived the loss of the Titanic. It's a unique peek at these floating cities — and at the women aboard them who changed the world.
Ruth Coker Burks was 26 years old when she saw a hospital room that none of the nurses wanted to enter: the room of an AIDS patient. It was 1986, and stigma against both homosexuality and the disease itself was raging. As she sat with the man as he died, calling out for her mother, she found a new calling. Over years, she would nurse thousands of men, sometimes burying them herself when she couldn't find a funeral home willing to take their bodies. The gay community rallied around her, helping fundraise and spreading the word: there is a woman who will help when everyone else abandons you. This deeply moving memoir is a tribute to Burks' compassion and to the lives she fought for when no one else would.
When most people think of Billie Jean King, they remember the famous "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match, where she defeated Bobby Riggs — and changed the way America looked at women's sports. But in her autobiography, King reveals greater details of her story. While she was setting tennis records, including 20 Wimbledon championships and 39 grand-slam titles, she was facing challenges including sexism, an eating disorder, and the violation and near financial disaster that came from being publicly outed as a lesbian in the early 1980s. Today, though, she's proud to live her life honestly and openly — and to fight for the rights of others who have been oppressed by society. Spirited and poignant, this is a must-read memoir that highlights King's enduring influence and her undefeatable will.
When Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in September 2020, America lost a pioneer in law and a fierce advocate for equality: someone who was determined to ensure the law allowed everyone the chance to succeed. In this powerful collection, Ginsburg and Berkeley Law professor Amanda L. Tyler (one of Ginsburg's former law clerks) share both conversations and historical documents that capture Ginsburg's life, career, and influence. From notable briefs to her favorite speeches, this is a unique and personal look at this trailblazer which celebrates her enduring optimism: the belief that America could become "a more perfect Union."