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12 Kickass Books to Read for Women’s History Month

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12 Books to Read for Women's HIstory Month From the rebels, activists, and pioneers to lesser known gamechangers and unsung heroes, we rounded up 12 inspiring reads to celebrate Women’s History Month.

 

America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines by Gail Collins // Women's History Month Books America’s Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines
by Gail Collins
From the quotidian (laundry, hair and makeup) to the heroic (Seneca Falls, Rosa Parks), Collins covers a lot of territory (Colonial settlers through N.O.W.-angled ’70s) in this wide-reaching traverse through American history via a female lens.

Patently Female: From AZT to TV Dinners, Stories of Women Inventors and Their Breakthrough Ideas by Ethlie Vare and Greg Ptacek Women's History Month Books Patently Female: From AZT to TV Dinners, Stories of Women Inventors and Their Breakthrough Ideas
by Ethlie Vare and Greg Ptacek 
Who invented disposable diapers? A woman, naturally. Marion Donovan – and other pioneers like Stephanie Kwolak (Kevlar), Dona Bailey (Centipede video game), and Dr. Gertrude Elion (immunosuppressants) – are profiled in this fascinating, “who knew!” sequel to Mothers of Invention.

Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire by Julia Baird// 12 Kickass Books to Read for Women’s History Month Victoria: The Queen: An Intimate Biography of the Woman Who Ruled an Empire
by Julia Baird
So, you devoured The Crown and Masterpiece Theatre’s Victoria is up next? First dig into this exhaustive look at one of Britain’s longest reigning and most forthright monarchs, from her royal upbringing to her accession at 18 years old through her insular widowhood.

Who Cooked the Last Supper: The Women’s History of the World by Rosalind Miles // 12 Kickass Books to Read for Women’s History Month Who Cooked the Last Supper: The Women’s History of the World
by Rosalind Miles
Miles cuts a wide swath – from early goddess history to prehistoric times up through 20th-century activism – and unearths little known historical contributions from the XX side of the genome spectrum.

Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero by Kate Clifford Larson // 12 Kickass Books to Read for Women’s History Month Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero
by Kate Clifford Larson
Nicknamed Moses for her daring sherpaing on the Underground Railroad, Tubman’s life – from escaped slave to abolitionist and women’s rights powerhouse – is outlined in inspiring detail.

The Brontes: Wild Genius on the Moors by Juliet Barker / 12 Kickass Books to Read for Women’s History Month The Brontes: Wild Genius on the Moors
by Juliet Barker
Rife with premature death, mental illness, raging alcoholism, drug addiction, and myriad other tragedies, the Bronte sisters’ upbringing sounds like a made-for-TV movie (don’t worry – PBS is on it). And the three pen-wielding sisters Charlotte, Emily, and Anne turned much of that dramatic grist and angst into the groundbreaking, proto-feminist novels we know so well (originally released under – insert eye roll here – male pseudonyms).

The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II by Denise Kiernan / 12 Kickass Books to Read for Women’s History Month The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II
by Denise Kiernan
Part oral history, part spy thriller, this entertaining read shares the stories of nine women who worked at Oak Ridge Labs in Tennessee – aka Atomic City, the Manhattan Project’s secrecy-cloaked uranium development site.

The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore / 12 Kickass Books to Read for Women’s History Month The Secret History of Wonder Woman
by Jill Lepore
Before Linda Carter and Gal Gadot, there was Elizabeth Holloway and Olive Byrne. Lepore’s fascinating book, both dishy and heady, uncovers the very, very secret life of William Moulton Marston and his wife and (shhhhh) partner, both of whom greatly influenced the gold bracelet-clad superhero.

A Woman’s Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot by Mary Walton / 12 Kickass Books to Read for Women’s History Month A Woman’s Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot
by Mary Walton
Are you a woman? Did you vote in the last election? You can thank Alice Paul and her fellow suffrage activists Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton for forcing the hand of Woodrow Wilson and Congress – via (pre-pink hat) protests, demonstrations, and rallies – to pass the 19th amendment in 1920.

The Essential Feminist Reader by Estelle Freedman / 12 Kickass Books to Read for Women’s History Month The Essential Feminist Reader
by Estelle Freedman
Essays, speeches, poems, and play excerpts by the likes of Margaret Sanger, WEB DuBois, Christine de Pizan, Virginia Wolff, Emma Goldman, and Henrik Isben’s Nora Helmer dot this must-read compendium.

This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa / 12 Kickass Books to Read for Women’s History Month This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color
by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa
Originally released in 1981 and long out of print, this essential Second Wave anthology – featuring creed- and orientation-bent essays, poems, and letters by Audre Lorde, Barbara Smith, Barbara Cameron, Naomi Littlebear Morena, and more – gets a 35th anniversary rerelease inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings and Black Lives Matter movement.

Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History
by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
You know the phrase – you’ve seen it on bumper stickers and thumbs-up memes – now read the book. Ulrich, who coined the co-opted phrase in a 1976 scholarly article, later responded with this examination of “good girl/bad girl” stereotypes and expectations, using Christine de Pizan, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Virginia Woolf’s lives and work as foundational inspiration.

What have you read for Women’s History Month or what are your favorite women’s history books? Let us know over on Facebook.



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