This reading list will celebrate something that should be admired and discussed daily; Women's History. Our world is full of leading ladies, from the beginning of time to today. Their history deserves to be read and enjoyed as anyone else's. This reading list crosses a broad spectrum of leading ladies, from one of the most well known names, to a simple woman who kept a diary in the early years of American colonization. Please celebrate Women's History Month by reading up on one of these leading ladies.
This website is a great addendum to the reading list, and is beautifully designed:
By, Amanda Mackenzie Stuart
When Consuelo Vanderbilt's grandfather died, he was the richest man in America. Her father soon started to spend the family fortune, enthusiastically supported by Consuelo's mother, Alva, who was determined to take the family to the top of New York society—forcing a heartbroken Consuelo into a marriage she did not want with the underfunded Duke of Marlborough. But the story of Consuelo and Alva is more than a tale of enterprising social ambition, Gilded Age glamour, and the emptiness of wealth. It is a fascinating account of two extraordinary women who struggled to break free from the world into which they were born—a world of materialistic concerns and shallow elitism in which females were voiceless and powerless—and of their lifelong dedication to noble and dangerous causes and the battle for women's rights.
By, Lenore Skomal
The first woman to be awarded the American Cross of Honor for her heroic effort in saving lives, the 103-pound Lewis (1849-1911) repeatedly braved the waters to rescue the unfortunate souls 18 in all, plus one sheep who foundered off Narragansett Harbor, where her family kept the lighthouse. Connecticut Post columnist Skomal (Heroes) offers an intelligent and concise biography of the pioneering woman, whose work was commended by Ulysses S. Grant and Susan B. Anthony, among others. The lighthouse-keeping post was officially her father's, but after suffering a stroke he relinquished most of the duties to his wife, son and especially his daughter, whose rescues were widely reported across the country, making her a bona fide celebrity and drawing curious tourists to the lighthouse. The locals in her hometown celebrated Ida Lewis Day instead of Independence Day, much to the shy girl's chagrin. Filled with fascinating stories of Lewis's rescues, the book also places her work in historical context, focusing especially on the burgeoning women's rights movement that held up Lewis's work as an example of women's superior abilities. For her part, Lewis shied away from any comparisons between the genders and was ambivalent about the movement and the well-publicized visit she received from Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The book will appeal to readers who enjoy a good sea story as well as those who simply want to read about an unusual and brave woman.
By, Carl Bernstein
The nuanced, definitive biography of one of the most controversial and widely misunderstood figures of our time: the woman running a historic campaign as the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee—Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Drawing on hundreds of interviews with colleagues and friends and with unique access to campaign records, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author Carl Bernstein has given us a book that enables us, at last, to address the questions Americans are insistently—even obsessively—asking: Who is she? What is her character? What is her political philosophy? And, what can we expect from Hillary if we elect her President of the United States?
By, Eleanor Clift
After seventy-two arduous years, the fate of the suffrage movement and its masterwork, the Nineteenth Amendment, rested not only on one state, Tennessee, but on the shoulders of a single man: twenty-four-year-old legislator Harry Burn. Burn had previously voted with the antisuffrage forces. If he did so again, the vote would be tied and the amendment would fall one state short of the thirty-six necessary for ratification. At the last minute, though, Harry Burn’s mother convinced him to vote in favor of the suffragist, and American history was forever changed.
In this riveting account, political analyst Eleanor Clift chronicles the many thrilling twists and turns of the suffrage struggle and shows how the issues and arguments that surrounded the movement still reverberate today. Beginning with the Seneca Falls Woman’s Rights Convention of 1848, Clift introduces the movement’s leaders, recounts the marches and demonstrations, and profiles the opposition–antisuffragists, both men and women, who would do anything to stop women from getting the vote.
By, Lynn Sherr
Juxtaposed with contemporary reports and biographical essays, the words of this legendary suffragist reveal Susan B. Anthony as a loyal, caring friend, and an eloquent, humorous crusader. "More than a collection of well-arranged quotations, the work informs, inspires, and gives historical perspective."
By, Jan Pottker
We think we know the story of Eleanor Roosevelt--the shy, awkward girl who would redefine the role of First Lady, becoming a civil rights activist and an inspiration to generations of young women. As legend has it, the bane of Eleanor's life was her demanding and domineering mother-in-law, Sara Delano Roosevelt. Biographers have overlooked the complexity of a relationship that had, over the years, been reinterpreted and embellished by Eleanor herself.
Through diaries, letters, and interviews with Roosevelt family and friends, Jan Pottker uncovers a story never before told. The result is a triumphant blend of social history and psychological insight--a revealing look at Eleanor Roosevelt and the woman who made her historic achievements possible.
By, Cokie Roberts
Cokie Roberts's number one New York Times bestseller, We Are Our Mothers' Daughters, examined the nature of women's roles throughout history and led USA Today to praise her as a "custodian of time-honored values." Her second bestseller, From This Day Forward, written with her husband, Steve Roberts, described American marriages throughout history, including the romance of John and Abigail Adams. Now Roberts returns with Founding Mothers, an intimate and illuminating look at the fervently patriotic and passionate women whose tireless pursuits on behalf of their families -- and their country -- proved just as crucial to the forging of a new nation as the rebellion that established it. While much has been written about the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, battled the British, and framed the Constitution, the wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters they left behind have been little noticed by history. Roberts brings us the women who fought the Revolution as valiantly as the men, often defending their very doorsteps. While the men went off to war or to Congress, the women managed their businesses, raised their children, provided them with political advice, and made it possible for the men to do what they did. The behind-the-scenes influence of these women -- and their sometimes very public activities -- was intelligent and pervasive. Drawing upon personal correspondence, private journals, and even favored recipes, Roberts reveals the often surprising stories of these fascinating women, bringing to life the everyday trials and extraordinary triumphs of individuals like Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Deborah Read Franklin, Eliza Pinckney, Catherine Littlefield Green, Esther DeBerdt Reed, and Martha Washington -- proving that without our exemplary women, the new country might never have survived. Social history at its best, Founding Mothers unveils the drive, determination, creative insight, and passion of the other patriots, the women who raised our nation. Roberts proves beyond a doubt that like every generation of American women that has followed, the founding mothers used the unique gifts of their gender -- courage, pluck, sadness, joy, energy, grace, sensitivity, and humor -- to do what women do best, put one foot in front of the other in remarkable circumstances and carry on.
By, Jason Fagone
Joining the ranks of Hidden Figures and In the Garden of Beasts, the incredible true story of the greatest codebreaking duo that ever lived, an American woman and her husband who invented the modern science of cryptology together and used it to confront the evils of their time, solving puzzles that unmasked Nazi spies and helped win World War II.
In 1916, at the height of World War I, brilliant Shakespeare expert Elizebeth Smith went to work for an eccentric tycoon on his estate outside Chicago. The tycoon had close ties to the U.S. government, and he soon asked Elizebeth to apply her language skills to an exciting new venture: code-breaking. There she met the man who would become her husband, groundbreaking cryptologist William Friedman. Though she and Friedman are in many ways the "Adam and Eve" of the NSA, Elizebeth’s story, incredibly, has never been told.
In The Woman Who Smashed Codes, Jason Fagone chronicles the life of this extraordinary woman, who played an integral role in our nation’s history for forty years. After World War I, Smith used her talents to catch gangsters and smugglers during Prohibition, then accepted a covert mission to discover and expose Nazi spy rings that were spreading like wildfire across South America, advancing ever closer to the United States. As World War II raged, Elizebeth fought a highly classified battle of wits against Hitler’s Reich, cracking multiple versions of the Enigma machine used by German spies. Meanwhile, inside an Army vault in Washington, William worked furiously to break Purple, the Japanese version of Enigma—and eventually succeeded, at a terrible cost to his personal life.
Fagone unveils America’s code-breaking history through the prism of Smith’s life, bringing into focus the unforgettable events and colorful personalities that would help shape modern intelligence. Blending the lively pace and compelling detail that are the hallmarks of Erik Larson’s bestsellers with the atmosphere and intensity of The Imitation Game, The Woman Who Smashed Codes is page-turning popular history at its finest.
By, Andrew Morton
Before she became known as the woman who enticed a king from his throne and birthright, Bessie Wallis Warfield was a prudish and particular girl from Baltimore. At turns imaginative, ambitious, and spoiled, Wallis's first words as recalled by her family were "me, me." From that young age, she was in want of nothing but stability, status, and social acceptance as she fought to climb the social ladder and take her place in London society. As irony would have it, she would gain the love and devotion of a king, but only at the cost of his throne and her reputation.
In WALLIS IN LOVE, acclaimed biographer Andrew Morton offers a fresh portrait of Wallis Simpson in all her vibrancy and brazenness as she transformed from a hard-nosed gold-digger to charming chatelaine. Using diary entries, letters, and other never-before-seen records, Morton takes us through Wallis's romantic adventures in Washington, China, and her entrance into the strange wonderland that is London society. During her journey, we meet an extraordinary array of characters, many of whom smoothed the way for her dalliance with the king of England, Edward VIII.
WALLIS IN LOVE goes beyond Wallis's infamous persona and reveals a complex, domineering woman striving to determine her own fate and grapple with matters of the heart.
By, Julia Baird
When Victoria was born, in 1819, the world was a very different place. Revolution would threaten many of Europe’s monarchies in the coming decades. In Britain, a generation of royals had indulged their whims at the public’s expense, and republican sentiment was growing. The Industrial Revolution was transforming the landscape, and the British Empire was commanding ever larger tracts of the globe. In a world where women were often powerless, during a century roiling with change, Victoria went on to rule the most powerful country on earth with a decisive hand.
Fifth in line to the throne at the time of her birth, Victoria was an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary role. As a girl, she defied her mother’s meddling and an adviser’s bullying, forging an iron will of her own. As a teenage queen, she eagerly grasped the crown and relished the freedom it brought her. At twenty, she fell passionately in love with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, eventually giving birth to nine children. She loved sex and delighted in power. She was outspoken with her ministers, overstepping conventional boundaries and asserting her opinions. After the death of her adored Albert, she began a controversial, intimate relationship with her servant John Brown. She survived eight assassination attempts over the course of her lifetime. And as science, technology, and democracy were dramatically reshaping the world, Victoria was a symbol of steadfastness and security—queen of a quarter of the world’s population at the height of the British Empire’s reach.
Drawing on sources that include fresh revelations about Victoria’s relationship with John Brown, Julia Baird brings vividly to life the fascinating story of a woman who struggled with so many of the things we do today: balancing work and family, raising children, navigating marital strife, losing parents, combating anxiety and self-doubt, finding an identity, searching for meaning.