A Mighty Girl's top picks of new biographies about Mighty Women for adult readers.
If you've been using the holidays as a chance to stock your Mighty Girl's bookshelf with books about inspiring women, don't forget the adults in the family! It's been another terrific year of exciting new releases of biographies and memoirs starring women trailblazers past and present. From compelling biographies to deeply personal memoirs of love and loss to intriguing collections of oral history, there is something for just about everyone!
To make it easier to find the perfect title for someone (including yourself!) we've collected our top picks of adult book releases from 2022. These books offer unique perspectives on historical events, unveil little-known figures who changed history, and provide a diverse look at today's women — and how they're leading the way for a new generation of Mighty Girls. Whether you're looking for an empowering gift or a thought-provoking book to tackle in the new year, this list will provide plenty of ideas! And don't forget to check out last year's 2021 Mighty Women Reading List for even more possibilities.
New Books about Mighty Women
In sixth-century Merovingian France, two very different women claimed power — and fought one another. Brunhild was married off to Sigebert I as part of an alliance, the culmination of a childhood where she was groomed to help her father cement political power. Fredegund was a low-born slave who caught the eye of Chilperic I, becoming his Queen Consort — and earning the ire of her sister-in-law. In a time when neither could officially be part of noble succession, each woman ruled and commanded... and fought a decades-long civil war against one another. After their deaths, their stories were turned into cautionary tales about the dangers of women in power... but in this compelling book, award-winning author Shelley Puhak unveils the truth about each and captures a portrait of two women who defied expectation more than 1300 years ago.
Agatha Christie was known as the Queen of Mystery, but perhaps she was the greatest mystery of all. Despite her modern behavior and attitudes — surfing in Hawaii, driving fast cars, and writing scintillating stories inspired by the new science of psychology — she presented herself as a humble, retiring lady of leisure, once saying, "Nobody in the world was more inadequate to act the heroine than I was." She also battled severe mental illness to become a worldwide success. Literary and cultural historian Lucy Worsley draws on personal letters and papers to create an authoritative biography of Christie and captures her true role as a pioneer for modern women.
In her memoir Becoming, Michelle Obama gave the world a peek at the experiences and philosophies that have encouraged her to "become" over and over again. Now, in The Light We Carry, she explores what we can do when the obstacles in front of us make us wonder if we can keep going on. With a new series of stories and reflections, Obama sheds light on how she's found ways forward during the toughest of times, from her enduring belief in starting kind and going high, to her trusted "kitchen table" of friends, mentors, and other people she trusts. Her thoughtful and practical tips on adapting to change, building community, and living with courage will remind everyone that "When we are able to recognize our own light, we become empowered to use it."
Mila Pavlichenko wanted a quiet life in her Kiev home, working as a librarian and tending to her young son. But then, Hitler invades Ukraine and Russia, and everyone must join the fight. Mila discovers a gift for marksmanship and transforms into a deadly sniper known as Lady Death; her 300th kill turns her in to a national heroine, and top brass pull her from the battlefield and send her on a goodwill tour to America. Struggling with the physical and emotional wounds of war, Mila discovers unexpected friendship with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt... and even the hope for happiness with a fellow sniper. But when an old enemy and a new threat join forces, Lady Death faces the most dangerous fight of her life. The bestselling author of The Huntress and The Rose Code has crafted a suspenseful novel, based on a true story, of a woman who, forced to become a hero, finds her place in history.
Elizabeth Windsor's childhood dream was to live quietly in the country, but when her uncle abdicated the throne, she became the new heir — and she was resolved to do her duty. She was crowned at the young age of 25, and faced everything from political challenges to family scandal over the course of 70 years as England's Queen. Throughout it all, she strove to be the person and ruler that everyone needed, while also claiming moments in which she could truly be herself. In this definitive account by best-selling biographer Andrew Morton, readers get a comprehensive look at both the public and private life of this enduring ruler: a woman determined to be stalwart against the challenges that faced her, and a sovereign and icon of the 20th century.
Mala Szorer's peaceful life in the village of Tarnogrod, Poland changed forever when the German invasion began when she was 12. With the village declared a ghetto and everyone she knows slowly starting to starve, Mala took the brave step of removing her yellow star and sneaking to nearby villages to barter for food. But on her way back, she discovers that her family is being rounded up for deportation — and a letter from her sister tells her to hide. In the forest outside the village, she conceals herself... with the help of a stray cat who seems to be at her side exactly when she needs him. "Malach" would not only warn her of danger, but also help her stave off loneliness and keep her full of hope until she could be free. This powerful story of animal friendship and the horrors of war through the eyes of a child is a tribute to optimism and love in dark times.
Maggie Doyne grew up in a comfortable New Jersey family, who encouraged her to take a gap year to travel. She never expected a chance encounter on the trip would change her life forever. While traveling through Nepal, Maggie met a Nepali girl breaking rocks in a quarry, and discovered how many children were struggling to survive after being orphaned by the Nepalese Civil War. Her life savings of $5,000 allowed her to open a children's home, and before long, her nonprofit, the BlinkNow Foundation, also opened a tuition-free school. In this book, Maggie explores the life-altering moments of joy, loss, and healing that led her to become an adoptive mother to hundreds of children — and shows readers how we each have the power to change the world.
After World War II, America knew it needed a new organization and new tactics for espionage — and four women were at the forefront of the development of what would become the CIA. Adelaide Hawkins, Mary Hutchison, Eloise Page, and Elizabeth Sudmeier — called the "wise gals" by their male colleagues — broke through the "male, pale, and Yale" boundaries to establish innovative techniques, demanding credit along the way. Throughout the Cold War, Hawkins developed cryptosystems to help spies communicate; Hutchison built partnerships and allies in Europe and Asia; Page risked her life in the Middle East, seeking information about Soviet weapons; and Sudmeier helped expose terrorist threats worldwide. Holt, author of Rise of the Rocket Girls, draws on meticulous research to create a thrilling and inspirational group biography that celebrates these security pioneers.
Laurie Zaleski's mother Annie always dreamed of running an animal rescue — and she started gathering an oddball group of animals, from pets like dogs and cats to farm animals like horses and pigs, early on. Laurie always hoped to make her mother's dream come true, so as an adult, she managed to buy a 15-acre farm as a surprise for her mom. Then tragedy struck: Annie died just two weeks before moving day. To pay tribute to her mother, Laurie decided to continue the work. This is the story of the Funny Farm Animal Rescue in New Jersey, which takes in abused and neglected animals — but it's also the story of Annie, a woman who fled an abusive marriage, hoping for a better life for herself and her children, and about the animals she set her sights on rescuing. At times both funny and heartbreaking, this poignant book is a reminder of everything animals can teach us.
Empathy Economics: Janet Yellen’s Remarkable Rise to Power and Her Drive to Spread Prosperity to All
Empathy Economics: Janet Yellen’s Remarkable Rise to Power and Her Drive to Spread Prosperity to All
Janet Yellen grew up in Brooklyn, the daughter of a doctor whose "pay what you can" philosophy taught her the importance of caring for the people in need in your community. As she rose through the male-dominated ranks of economics, that lesson stuck with her, and she focused on how economic policy that benefits those low on the ladder also improves the prospects of the entire nation. She's been chair of the Federal Reserve and of the President's Council of Economic Advisors, and with President Biden's appointment to the role of secretary of the treasury, she became both the first person to hold all three top economic policy jobs in the US, and the first woman in the history of the office. In Owen Ullmann compelling portrait, we learn how the "Ruth Bader Ginsburg of economics" used her outsider's perspective to help us envision economics as a tool to help everyone.
During her childhood in the Great Depression, Constance Baker Motley's family thought she'd be aiming high to find a career as a hairdresser. Instead, she fought prejudice based on both her race and her gender to become the first black woman to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court! In the first biography of Motley — who would also become the first black woman elected to the state Senate in New York and the first black woman appointed to the federal judiciary, Civil Rights historian Tomiko Brown-Nagin provides a meticulously researched look at an astonishing American life. She captures how Motley argued key cases like Brown vs. The Board of Education, playing a critical role in eliminating Jim Crow laws. Compelling and timely, this book introduces us to an inspiring woman of history while inviting us to ask how marginalized people can access the halls of power.
Long before Nina Totenberg became a prizewinning reporter — and even longer before Ruth Bader Ginsburg became a Supreme Court justice — Nina and Ruth became the best of friends. It all started with Nina's phone call, asking Ruth to explain her legal brief arguing that a law that discriminated "on the basis of sex" was unconstitutional. Before long, the pair were meeting for regular dinners, sharing their love of opera and shopping, and supporting one another through both triumphs and heartache. Dinners with Ruth is Totenberg's story of their decades-long friendship: how they witnessed both big victories and frustratingly slow change in women's rights, and how their friendship sustained them through it all.
When Josephine Baker was inducted into the French Panthéon, becoming the first Black woman included, those who knew her only for her entertainment career were perplexed. But the music-hall diva is a hero to the French people: when the Nazis captured her adopted city of Paris — her refuge from the racism she had faced in her home country of America — she was banned from the stage because of her race again... but vowed to stay and fight. Baker took advantage of her fame to become a capable and effective spy, using her tours as a cover for smuggling information across border and her fame to gain access to critical information. In this meticulously researched book, which draws on newly available material, bestselling author Damien Lewis captures a nuanced portrait of Baker that reveals her legendary place in history.
For a dozen years, the World Economic Forum has listed Iceland as number one for countries closing the gender gap — but why? Eliza Reid, an immigrant from small-town Canada who unexpectedly found herself Iceland's First Lady, explores what has driven so much progress in her adopted country (and what they still have to do.) She looks at factors from historical role models to the Icelandic ideal of fairness to the legislation Iceland passed to level the playing field. Through interviews with sprakkar, or extraordinary women, and an eye for the cultural and historical factors that determine what a community considers "equal," Reid examines the lessons that Iceland has learned from its past — and how those lessons could help other countries find a more equitable future.
Amy Bloom and her husband, Brian, had plans for their future — but then Brian seemed to change. He withdrew from both friendship and a job he loved, and he spoke mainly about the past. Eventually, the changes couldn't be ignored, and an MRI confirmed that Brian had Alzheimer's disease. Suddenly, the couple had to wrestle with how Brian wanted the end of his life to look... and together, they decided to go to Switzerland to work with Dignitas, an organization devoted to medical assistance in dying. In her poignant memoir, Bloom explores Brian's diagnosis, its effect on her marriage, and why we avoid talking about the inevitable end of the people we love — as well as the power of choosing your own path for your last days.
When General John Pershing arrived in France to lead American forces in 1917, one of his first problems was communication: with so many troops in the field, operators needed to be fast, accurate even under fire, and fluent in French and English. In America, almost all trained telephone operators were women — and women were not allowed to enlist. But when the U.S. Army Signal Corps called for help, over 7,600 women responded, including Grace Baker, a switchboard instructor; Marie Miossec, an aspiring opera singer from France; and Valerie DeSmedt, Belgian-born and determined to do what she could for her native country. Male soldiers needed a minute to connect calls; the Switchboard Soldiers could do it in ten seconds. But as the war goes on, the women face many dangers, including the violence of war and a terrifying new disease: the Spanish flu. Best-selling author Jennifer Chiaverini captures a little-known true Great War story about the women who helped lead the Allies to victory — and broke gender barriers along the way.
Stephanie Foo was a success story: she had overcome years of abuse and neglect by her parents, and become an award-winning radio producer with a loving partner. So why was she having panic attacks and sobbing at her desk? After years of searching, she was finally diagnosed with complex PTSD, a condition caused by continuous trauma rather than a single incident. But there wasn't much guidance to help someone like her — so she went looking. In this poignant memoir, Foo interviews psychologists, explores innovative therapies, and even investigates immigrant and generational trauma in her hometown. She realizes that there is no "cure" to be found, but that you can learn to move forward, even while the pain remains part of you. This is a stunning exploration of one woman's quest to reclaim her life — and learn to understand herself.
In the late 19th century, the small town of Sioux Falls, South Dakota developed a scandalous reputation. It was easily accessible by rail, it offered a fine hotel... and the frontier state's laws allowed women to easily divorce. Unhappy women from across the country traveled there, and soon it was known as The Divorce Colony. In this compelling story, author and historian April White explores how Sioux Falls became the center of a national debate about marriage and women's rights. Through the stories of four famous women who came to Sioux Falls seeking divorces, she explores their determination to control their own lives — and how their fight helped change the lives of millions of American women.
The public face of the early American space program was male — but behind the scenes, there were trailblazing women getting the job done. And as time passed, and fields like the astronaut corps and flight control opened to women, the careers available to women at NASA exploded! In this empowering book, author Jennifer M. Ross-Nazzal draws on 21 interviews from the NASA Oral History Projects, including those by Natalie V. Saiz, first female director of the Human Resource Office; Kathryn Sullivan, the first American woman to walk in space; Estella Hernández Gillette, the deputy director of the center’s External Relations Office; and Carolyn Huntoon, the first woman director of the Johnson Space Center. Their stories highlight how far NASA has come in fifty years — and promise a bright future for women in space in the years to come.
When Silvia Vasquez-Lavado started mountain climbing, it was an outlet for pain she was concealing from everyone: although she had succeeded as a Latina in macho Silicon Valley, she was fighting alcoholism, concealing her sexuality, and repressing childhood abuse. The combination of risk and strength climbing offered helped her start her recovery — and she knew it could do the same for others. So when she decided to climb Everest, a dangerous climb even at the best of times, she also chose to bring a group of young female survivors and guide them to base camp. As she struggled with nerves about summiting, this newfound community also helped propel her forward — and all of them found moments of joy and healing. This powerful memoir celebrates personal heroism, the quest for adventure, and our ability to recover and move forward after even the worst tragedies.
Margaret Sullivan has spent her career in what she calls the "reality-based press" — working her way up from summer intern at the Buffalo News to eventually become the first woman public editor of The New York Times, and then taking a role as media columnist for The Washington Post. In that time, she's seen just how competitive the newsroom can get (and how sexism adds an extra layer of challenge for women journalists.) She's also seen how that environment can lead to shoddy reporting, unethical practices, and more. She's stood up against controversies and she's kept an unflinching eye on the changes in American media — including the rise of Donald Trump and his disdain for "fake news." Newsroom Confidential is both a memoir of what it takes to bring journalism to the people and an incisive examination of what it will take for America to trust its news outlets again.
Kathryn Schulz knows first hand how joy and sorrow can collide: a year and a half after meeting the woman she married, her beloved father died. In this powerful memoir, Schulz — a staff writer at The New Yorker and winner of the Pulitzer Prize — explores the stories of the three families that mean so much to her: her father's Jewish refugee family, her partner's Christian farming family; and the family she and her partner made together. But she also examine how personal happiness can happen even as the devastation of wars, pandemics, and natural disasters rage around us... and how love and loss are tied together. Poignant and unforgettable, this book highlights how these common experiences connect humans around the world.
The name "Rothschild" conjures up images of wealth, power, and privilege — but the women of the family have their own story to tell. They were outsiders both inside and outside the family: inside because of the Rothschilds' patriarchal attitudes, outside because they were Jews in a Christian-dominated society. But they found their own ways to seek power: they wined and dined the wealthy, advised the influential, and used their money to invest, while also advocating for social reform and sponsoring cutting edge artists. In this compelling book, Natalie Livingstone follows the Rothschilds from the early 1800s to the early 2000s, exploring the complicated lives and legacies of these remarkable women.
When Lindsey Vonn retired in 2019, she was the most decorated American skier of all time and an icon of women's sports, with a trophy case full of medals. But in her new, intimate memoir, Vonn acknowledges that these high achievements came at a cost. Her aggressive drive to push herself past her limits caused her multiple injuries — even as that same determination helped her overcome them — but she also faced a decades-long fight with depression and self-doubt. In this candid book, Vonn explores everything behind her many successes, including the sacrifices she made along the way, and examines what we give up to win... and what we achieve when we do.
When Lorraine Hansberry wrote A Raising in the Sun at the age of 28, she had no ideas that she would become the first Black woman to have a play performed on Broadway — or that her play would be listed one of the 100 most important works of her century. In this authoritative biography, Charles J. Shield unveils some of the little-known elements of Hansberry's life: her upper-class childhood, her activism for peace and her belief in Communism, and the role of her white husband, who was both her promoter and her best friend. Drawing on previously unpublished interviews and correspondence, Shield captures how the issues about class, sexuality, and race that Hansberry explored in her writing emerged from her own life, and creates a full portrait of a remarkable playwright and pioneer.
When Tati and Andra Bucci — then only six and four years old — were arrested with their mother, Mira, and deported to Auschwitz, they had no idea what kind of evil they would face. Their mother was determined that they would be together again, so after they were tattooed with their numbers, she made them memorize her own number and made them promise: "always remember your name." Separated from her, Tati and Andra endured experimentation by infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, but both sisters would be among the few dozen children who survived... and their mother's promise allowed them to reunite their family after the war was over. This stunning memoir of sisterhood, motherhood, and love in the midst of the Holocaust is a tribute to the power of hope — and a reminder of the horrors we must ensure we never repeat.
For many, the name Elizabeth Taylor conjures up images of Hollywood glamour and celebrity scandal. As the last major star of old Hollywood, with nearly 60 films to her name, Taylor was known as intelligent, shrewd, and tenacious about her career, even becoming the first actor to negotiate a million-dollar salary. Her tumultuous private life was also a constant source of news, including eight marriages to seven different men. And then there was her business career as the first celebrity perfumer, and her legacy as the first major celebrity activist to raise awareness the HIV/AIDS epidemic, collecting over $100 million for research and patient care. In Taylor's first authorized biography, author Kate Anderson Brower delves into unpublished letters and diaries, as well as interviews with 250 friends and family, to tell the complex, intriguing, and captivating story of this unforgettable star.
When Mildred Dresselhaus was a child in 1940s New York City, there were three career options for women: secretary, nurse, and teacher. She chose a fourth option: science. But it wasn't easy. Her family was desperately poor, and her first graduate advisor believed that educating women was a waste. However, Dresselhaus' brilliance and curiosity won her allies, including Nobel Prize–winning physicists Rosalyn Yalow and Enrico Fermi. She would go on to become one of MIT's first female professors, and her work on carbon forms like graphite, graphene, nanotubes, and buckyballs have changed fields ranging from electronics to aviation to medicine. Science writer Maia Weinstock has penned a loving tribute to this trailblazer for women in STEM and beloved educator, mentor, and colleague.
When journalist Florence Williams' marriage of 25 years broke up, she was shocked to discover that she wasn't just experiencing emotional pain: she was also physically sick. The experience sent her on a quest to understand the science behind "social pain" and its effects on our bodies. On the way, she explored unexpected places — from neurogenomic research labs to divorce workshops to wilderness excursions — and discovered that what we believe will help a heartbroken person is often completely wrong. This compelling book, which uniquely combines scientific discovery and personal exploration, is a fascinating look at how our minds and bodies interact, and how love and its loss can affect both.
If you watched Roseanne Barr's hit show Roseanne, some of the storylines felt real... because they were. Jenny Pentland, Barr's daughter, knew that her family's early life in working-class Denver was inspiration for the show — but the show's success had launched the family into Hollywood life, a transition that was almost impossible for a school-aged child to navigate. By her teens, struggling with anxiety and eating disorders and trying every self-help movement available, Pentland's knew that she wanted to create the stable family life she never had, even if that meant her mother thought she was limiting herself. Funny, emotional, and scathing, this memoir explores Pentland's experience with celebrity and how she found a way to define her own path.
As long as she can remember, people have confessed unexpected, personal things to Erika Krouse — so in 2002, the opportunity to work as a private investigator seemed natural, even if she had no idea how to do the job. When a lawyer assigns her to investigate the sexual assault of a college student who was attacked by football players, the case is personal for Erika: she's a sexual violence survivor herself. But she believes taking the case to court could help change things, so over five years, she honed her P.I. technique digging into a culture of sexual assault deeply ingrained in a college football program. When the story becomes a national scandal, though, Erika has to figure out how to prevent it from consuming her. Raw and compelling, this book — part true crime, part memoir — captures the turmoil of one woman in the midst of a landmark sexual assault investigation.
Jamie Fiore Higgins was determined to make it big, and when she won a position at Goldman Sachs, it seemed like that was exactly what she'd done. Goldman Sachs said all the right things about gender and racial equity, and seemed to have the statistics to prove it. But as she rose up the ranks, she saw the truth: the culture was deeply misogynistic and discriminatory, and she faced everything from bosses using racial epithets with no repercussions to coworkers moo-ing at her when she chose to pump milk for her child. In this revealing book, she tells both her own story and shines a light on the reality of these big money corporations and their exclusionary behavior. She also lays out a pathway for change, showing that a fairer workplace and a more just financial industry is possible — if we demand it.
As an 11-year-old, Lea Ypi saw Albania's socialist regime fall — after years of trying to understand why comments from her radical father and anti-socialist mother about relatives going to university could be so dangerous. But the end of communism didn't bring utopia either; the transition to the "free market" caused chaos and brought everything from pyramid schemes to organized crime to her neighborhood. In this remarkable memoir, Ypi describes what it was like to watch the change from communism to capitalism unfold — and what she learned along the way from her free-thinking, intellectual family. Bold, invigorating, and thought provoking, her story will get readers contemplating the cost of freedom and the relationship between what we value and who we are.
Architect Julia Morgan blazed trails for women in architecture, becoming the first woman admitted to the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and the first licensed woman architect in California. A prolific designer — with 700 creations to her name — she is most famous for the iconic Hearst Castle, an opulent estate she spent 30 years constructing for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who would become both her creative partner and her friend. In this meticulously researched and beautiful new biography — which features over 150 archival images and full-color photographs — author Victoria Kastner draws on interviews, letters, and Morgan's diaries to capture this extraordinary woman's inner life. This revelatory biography is a unique look at a pioneering and brilliant artist.
Italian dictator Benito Mussolini had family at his side — including his beloved daughter, Edda. After marrying Count Galleazzo Ciano, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, at the age of 19, Edda Mussolini had astounding influence, including the ability to promote Fascism to both the aristocrats of Italy and the international community. She was driven, conniving, and eager for power, but when Ciano came into conflict with Il Duce himself, even his love for his daughter wouldn't protect her husband. Drawing on archival material, including newly released documents, memoirs, and personal papers, Caroline Moore captures an astonishing portrait of a young woman who grabbed at unheard of control, only to lose what mattered to her most.
Beatrix Potter grew up in a wealthy home, where she had the opportunity to pursue her love of nature — she and her brother delighted in sketching the plants and animals they saw around them, and even kept many of them as pets! Her scientific observations and illustrations of fungi should have earned her respect as a mycologist, but instead she was disdained because she was female. Then, in 1893, she improvised a story about four little rabbits for a friend's son... and The Tale of Peter Rabbit was born. Potter's creations would delight generations of children — and enable her to protect the natural world that she loved. This stunning illustrated biography explores Potter's journey from a sheltered daughter to an astute businesswoman and early conservationist, providing a personal look at one of the English language's most beloved authors.
Growing up with parents who survived both Nazi and Soviet regimes, Marie Yovanovitch was familiar with how corruption could destroy a nation. By the time she became US Ambassador to Ukraine, she had seen even more first hand. But then in early 2019, she was recalled from her post — the victim of a smear campaign by President Trump's associates. She refused to be swayed, though, and her courage and dignity under presidential attack, and while testifying at the impeachment inquiry, impressed a nation. In Lessons from the Edge Yovanovitch tells her story in her own words, exploring why it's more critical than ever to fight for democracy and speak truth to power.
The Inspiring Memoir of Two Sisters' Survival, Devotion and Triumph as told by Manci Grunberger Beran & Ruth Grunberger Mermelstein
The Inspiring Memoir of Two Sisters' Survival, Devotion and Triumph as told by Manci Grunberger Beran & Ruth Grunberger Mermelstein
Manci and Ruth Grunberger grew up in a loving Jewish family in Czechoslovakia, but when the Nazis start taking over Europe, their home becomes the focus of the infamous Final Solution, the extermination of Jews. Their family of ten is sent to Auschwitz, where the sisters are chosen to live — and their mother, father, and siblings are sent to the gas chambers. Clinging to one another, Manci and Ruth manage to survive seven months in the notorious camp, and another five on a brutal march through the Sudeten Mountains, until they are finally rescued near the Danish border. And a new chapter of their lives begins: family in Philadelphia find the girls, and they become some of the first Jewish refugees brought to America. This dual memoir, which includes additional historical details, captures the incredible resilience and love of these sisters, whose bond sustained them through all the trials of their lives.
When Harriet Quimby was growing up as a poor farm girl, flight in anything other than a balloon was the stuff of imagination and fiction. As an adult, in a time that headlines proclaimed "the era of women," she defied expectation and sought out a career as a journalist... and a pilot's license. She was the first American woman to receive one, at a time when flight records were still mere minutes in the air. Her daring feats made her a global celebrity, but one of her greatest accomplishments, becoming the first woman to fly solo over the English Channel, was overshadowed by the sinking of Titanic. And after her tragic death shortly afterward, her legacy was almost forgotten. This is the definitive biography of a courageous woman who helped redefine womanhood for the 20th century — on land and in the sky.
In 1940, two very different women face the rise of the Nazis. Former American socialite Virginia d’Albert-Lake has been enjoying life in France with her French husband; although her parents try to convince her to leave Europe, she's planning to keep her head down.... until her conscience directs her otherwise. 19-year-old Violette Szabo knows full well just how vicious the Nazis can be, and after tragedy upon tragedy, she finds her way to the Special Operations Executive, where she finally gets the chance to fight back. Their acts of resistance land both women in Ravensbrück concentration camp — where the real battle for survival begins. This suspenseful novel by the author of The Invisible Woman draws on these incredible true stories to create a portrait of courage in the face of evil.
Today, Lindy Elkins-Tanton is hailed as a gifted scientist, whose work on the massive asteroid called (16) Psyche could explain how planets form — including the Earth. But to get here, she had to fight untold obstacles. During her traumatic childhood, she found solace in science, but was taught to doubt whether she "belonged" in science. On her journey to find out, she raveled to the Siberian tundra, peeked at the depths of outer space, and fought to heal her own body from ovarian cancer even as she was writing her proposal for the Psyche project. In her stunning memoir, she explores how scientific thinking can help us build a life full of meaning and wonder.
Liz Scheier grew up knowing that her mother Judith's mental illness made her volatile: one day she was a devoted, almost obsessed, single mother, and the next she could be violent, abusive, and disconnected from reality. Never was that more clear than when she told 18-year-old Scheier that she'd made up the man she'd claimed was Scheier's father. But no lie that big can live on its own, and there were many more behind it... and Scheier discovered twenty years later, when Adult Protective Services calls to say that Judith is not paying rent, but is refusing all offers of help. In this powerful memoir of life with a complicated parent, Scheier explores what it took to survive her mother... and what it took to try to save her.
Architects design the spaces where we live, work, and play — and since the 19th century, groundbreaking female architects have helped shape those spaces. In The Women Who Changed Architecture, you'll learn about over 100 women, past and present, who have driven change in their field! From Marion Mahony Griffin, who passed the licensing exam in 1898 and whose drawings help buoy Frank Lloyd Wright's reputation, to MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, who is considered one of the most prominent architects of her generation, these inspiring women have spearheaded new design initiatives, improved equity in public spaces, and much more. With detailed profiles and stunning images and photographs, this is a must-read celebration of the women who've changed the way we build.
When Katharine Clark became the first American woman wire reporter behind the Iron Curtain in 1955, she had no idea she'd change the face of the Cold War. She befriended Milovan Djilas in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, looking past the reasons he was supposed to be her enemy to recognize how he was questioning the Communist ideology he himself had helped establish. As she covered Polish protests and the Hungarian revolution, she also smuggled Djilas' anti-Communist manifesto, The New Class, past Yugoslavian secret police and into the hands of American publishers... where it would become a best-selling and be used by the CIA as part of a covert book program. Clark's great-niece, Katharine Gregorio, tells a high-stakes story of an independent woman behind enemy lines who risked her life to help truth come to light.
After the end of World War II, the true potential in computers had come to light — and America knew that achieving technological supremacy was critical. American engineers created ENIAC, the first general-purpose, programmable, all-electronic computer; now they needed someone to operate it. Betty Holberton, Jean Jennings Bartik, Kay McNulty, Marlyn Wescoff Meltzer, Ruth Lichterman, and Frances Bilas Spence — today known as the ENIAC 6 — had to learn how to use this innovative machine, without instruction manuals, programming languages, or anything other than their knowledge of math and their own ingenuity. Author Kathy Kleimen met with four of the original ENIAC 6 for extensive interviews over a decade to create this powerful tribute to these nearly forgotten pioneers of the computer age.
Amanda Held Opelt was hit by multiple losses in quick succession, including three miscarriages and the tragic death of her sister, New York Times bestselling writer Rachel Held Evans. But despite a long history of faith, she didn't feel she had the tools to face the grief that suddenly surrounded her. In this poignant memoir, Opelt explores the mourning rituals that have been cast off as "old fashioned" in today's world which turns its face away from difficult moments. She discovers practices, from Irish keening to Victorian post-mortem photographs to the wearing of mourning clothing, that gave past generations a way to express their grief and receive comfort, both from the ritual and from their community. Both raw and hopeful, this is a powerful examination of how we understand loss... and how we heal.
After a loveless marriage and a scandalous divorce in 1917, Elsie Robinson thought she might have to give up her lifelong dream of becoming a writer — she had a chronically ill child to care for and few people wanted to read a woman's writing, particularly opinion pieces. But after working in a gold mine to pay the bills, she moved to the Bay Area, where she went to the Oakland Tribune and demanded a chance to prove herself. She became a columnist, and in 1921, her column commenting on current events called "Listen, World!" became a national success! But even though she was once America's most-read woman, today few know her name. Bestselling author Julia Scheeres and award-winning journalist Allison Gilbert bring Robinson's daring personality to life in this biography that casts a spotlight on a pioneer of journalism.
Maria Ressa knows the power of journalism — and she knows that telling the truth can put a target on your back. Her decades of activism and her incisive reporting once earned her praise, but when she critiqued the government in her homeland of the Philippines, she became the enemy of President Duterte and anyone who wanted to curry favor with him. But her story is not just a personal one: it's the story of how social media, which she used to increase voter knowledge and harness collective action with her innovative online news organization, Rappler, has also contributed to the worrisome rise of authoritarianism around the world... including in North America. In How to Stand Up to a Dictator, Ressa challenges her readers: don't take democracy for granted, demand to know who benefits from conflict, and ask yourself just how much you would give up for the truth.