4 of the best women’s history books for your TBR

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This list of women’s history books originally appeared in our nonfiction newsletter, True Story. Sign up here to get non-fiction news, reviews, deals and more!


That’s right! More women’s history books! Because I can! And because it’s the very end of Women’s History Month, TBH is more of a year-round thing to me, but I love a themed month/week/day/party. So we’re going to take the opportunity to look at some women’s history books. Which is really one of the biggest topics imaginable since it’s half the population of the globe, and yet NOT a field of study until the last 50 years. Hmm.

Lower: How Science Fooled Women and New Research Rewriting History by Angela Saini

Of course, the second science started being the “it”, the guys decided to start using it to prove they were awesome. Well, their science was bad and they should feel bad. This book explains why it all made no sense and what contemporary science actually tells us about how things work.

Book cover Ivory Vikings - The mystery of the world's most famous chess pieces and the woman who made them

Ivory Vikings: The Mystery of the World’s Most Famous Chess Pieces and the Woman Who Made Them by Nancy Marie Brown

Lewis’ chess pieces are impressive. Ninety-three separate pieces carved from walrus ivory, found on a beach in Scotland in the early 1800s. Really distinctive and so cool to look at. And apparently made not only by a woman in the 12th century, but also by a woman named “Margret l’Adroite”. From Iceland! I had never heard of this book or Margret and it sounds so interesting.

medical bondage

Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology by Deirdre Cooper Owens

We have some more nonsensical science! Including the idea that real doctors believed that black women could feel less pain than white women. For this reason, black women have been used as test subjects for procedures such as experimental Caesarean sections, ovariotomies, and obstetric fistula repairs. In the midst of some real advances in medicine, “these physicians legitimized, for decades to come, baseless theories related to whiteness and blackness, men and women, and the inferiority of other races or nationalities. “.

Cover A History of Islam in 21 Women

A History of Islam in 21 Women by Hossein Kamaly

I love a profile series book. From Mecca in the 600s to Europe and America today, Kamaly tells the stories of 21 Muslim women and their impact on society, including the “first believer” Khadija, Mughal Empress Nur Jahan and famed architect Zaha Hadid, who “liberated architectural geometry,” which is a pretty cool thing to say about yourself.

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