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Women's History Month 2023
NONFICTION. Young climate activist Greta Thunberg has gathered the wisdom of over one hundred experts - geophysicists, oceanographers and meteorologists; engineers, economists and mathematicians; historians, philosophers and indigenous leaders - to equip us all with the knowledge we need to combat climate disaster. Throughout, illuminating and often shocking grayscale charts, graphs, diagrams, photographs, and illustrations underscore their research and their arguments. Alongside them, she shares her own stories of demonstrating and uncovering greenwashing around the world, revealing how much we have been kept in the dark.
The Confidante: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Helped Win WWII and Shape Modern America (Hardcover)
HISTORY. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s special envoy to Europe in World War II, Anna Marie Rosenberg went where the president couldn’t go. She was among the first Allied women to enter a liberated concentration camp, and stood in the Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s mountain retreat, days after its capture. She guided the direction of the G.I. Bill of Rights and the Manhattan Project. Though Anna Rosenberg emerged from modest immigrant beginnings, equipped with only a high school education, she was the real power behind national policies critical to America winning the war and prospering afterward. Astonishingly, her story remains largely forgotten.
HISTORY. The Correspondents follows six remarkable women as their lives and careers intertwined: Martha Gellhorn, who got the scoop on Ernest Hemingway on D-Day by traveling to Normandy as a stowaway on a Red Cross ship; Lee Miller, who went from being a Vogue cover model to the magazine’s official war correspondent; Sigrid Schultz, who hid her Jewish identity and risked her life by reporting on the Nazi regime; Virginia Cowles, a “society girl columnist” turned combat reporter; Clare Hollingworth, the first English journalist to break the news of World War II; and Helen Kirkpatrick, the first woman to report from an Allied war zone with equal privileges to men.
Empress of the Nile: The Daredevil Archaeologist Who Saved Egypt's Ancient Temples from Destruction (Hardcover)
HISTORY. In the 1960s, the world’s attention was focused on a nail-biting race against time: Fifty countries contributed nearly a billion dollars to save a dozen ancient Egyptian temples, built during the height of the pharaohs’ rule, from drowning in the floodwaters of the massive new Aswan High Dam. But the extensive press coverage at the time overlooked the gutsy French archaeologist who made it all happen. Without the intervention of Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt, the temples would now be at the bottom of a vast reservoir. It was an unimaginably large and complex project that required the fragile sandstone temples to be dismantled, stone by stone, and rebuilt on higher ground.
HISTORY. In 1999, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology admitted to discriminating against women on its faculty, forcing institutions across the country to confront a problem they had long ignored: the need for more women at the top levels of science. Written by the journalist who broke the story for The Boston Globe, The Exceptions is the untold story of how sixteen highly accomplished women on the MIT faculty came together to do the work that triggered the historic admission.
The Middle Ages are seen as a bloodthirsty time of Vikings, saints and kings; a patriarchal society that oppressed and excluded women. But when we dig a little deeper into the truth, we can see that the "Dark" Ages were anything but.
Oxford and BBC historian Janina Ramirez has uncovered countless influential women's names struck out of historical records, with the word FEMINA annotated beside them. As gatekeepers of the past ordered books to be burned, artworks to be destroyed, and new versions of myths, legends and historical documents to be produced, our view of history has been manipulated. Only now, through a careful examination of the artifacts, writings and possessions they left behind, are the influential and multifaceted lives of women emerging. Femina goes beyond the official records to uncover the true impact of women.
The Great Stewardess Rebellion: How Women Launched a Workplace Revolution at 30,000 Feet (Paperback)
NONFICTION. As flying boomed in the 1960s, women from across America applied for jobs as stewardesses. They were drawn to the promise of glamour, the chance to travel, and an alternative to traditional occupations like homemaking, nursing, and teaching. But as the number of “stews” grew, so did their suspicion that the job was not as picture-perfect as the ads would have them believe. “Sky girls” had to adhere to strict weight limits at all times; gain a few extra pounds and they’d be suspended from work. They couldn’t marry or have children; their makeup, hair, and teeth had to be just so. Girdles were mandatory on the clock. And, most important, stewardesses had to resign at 32.
Eventually the stewardesses began to push back and it’s thanks in part to their trailblazing efforts that working women have gotten closer to workplace equality today. Nell McShane Wulfhart crafts a rousing narrative of female empowerment, the paradigm-shifting ’60s and ’70s, the labor movement, and the cadre of gutsy women who fought for their rights—and won.
Madame Restell: The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Old New York’s Most Fabulous, Fearless, and Infamous Abortionist (Hardcover)
HISTORY. An industrious immigrant who built her business from the ground up, Madame Restell was a self-taught surgeon on the cutting edge of healthcare in pre-Gilded Age New York, and her bustling “boarding house” provided birth control, abortions, and medical assistance to thousands of women—rich and poor alike. As her practice expanded, her notoriety swelled, and Restell established her-self as a prime target for tabloids, threats, and lawsuits galore. But far from fading into the background, she defiantly flaunted her wealth, parading across the city in designer clothes, expensive jewelry, and bejeweled carriages, rubbing her success in the faces of the many politicians, publishers, fellow physicians, and religious figures determined to bring her down.
The New Guys: The Historic Class of Astronauts That Broke Barriers and Changed the Face of Space Travel (Hardcover)
HISTORY. The never-before-told story of NASA’s 1978 astronaut class, which included the first American women, the first African Americans, the first Asian American, and the first gay person to fly to space. With the exclusive participation of the astronauts who were there, this is the thrilling, behind-the-scenes saga of a new generation that transformed space exploration
The story of NASA’s Astronaut Class 8, or “The F*cking New Guys,” as their military predecessors nicknamed them, is an unprecedented look at these extraordinary explorers who broke barriers and blasted through glass ceilings. Egos clashed, ambitions flared, and romances bloomed as the New Guys competed with one another and navigated the cutthroat internal politics at NASA for a chance to rocket to the stars.
NONFICTION. For centuries, societies have treated male domination as natural to the human species. But how would our understanding of gender inequality—our imagined past and contested present— look if we didn’t assume that men have always ruled over women? If we saw inequality as something more fragile that has had to be constantly remade and reasserted?
In this bold and radical book, award-winning science journalist Angela Saini explores the roots of what we call patriarchy, uncovering a complex history of how it first became embedded in societies and spread across the globe from prehistory into the present. She travels to the world’s earliest known human settlements, analyzes the latest research findings in science and archaeology, and traces cultural and political histories from the Americas to Asia.
HISTORY. When America became a nation, a woman had no legal existence beyond her husband. If he abused her, she couldn't leave without abandoning her children. Abigail Adams tried to change this, reminding her husband John to "remember the ladies" when he wrote the Constitution. He simply laughed--and women have been fighting for their rights ever since.
Fearless Women tells the story of women who dared to take destiny into their own hands. They were feminists and antifeminists, activists and homemakers, victims of abuse and pathbreaking professionals. Inspired by the nation's ideals and fueled by an unshakeable sense of right and wrong, they wouldn't take no for an answer. In time, they carried the country with them.
NONFICTION. What does it mean to be a “woman” in America? Award-winning gender and sexuality scholar Lillian Faderman traces the evolution of the meaning from Puritan ideas of God’s plan for women to the sexual revolution of the 1960s and its reversals to the impact of such recent events as #metoo, the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, the election of Kamala Harris as vice president, and the transgender movement.
This wide-ranging 400-year history chronicles conflicts, retreats, defeats, and hard-won victories in both the private and the public sectors and shines a light on the often-overlooked battles of enslaved women and women leaders in tribal nations. Noting that every attempt to cement a particular definition of “woman” has been met with resistance, Faderman also shows that successful challenges to the status quo are often short-lived. As she underlines, the idea of womanhood in America continues to be contested.
NONFICTION. Bringing together medical history, scientific discoveries, and journalistic exploration, Leah Hazard embarks on a journey in search of answers about the body’s most miraculous and contentious organ. We meet the people who have shaped our relationship with the uterus: doctors and doulas, yoni steamers and fibroid-tea hawkers, legislators who would regulate the organ’s very existence, and boundary-breaking researchers on the frontiers of the field.
With a midwife’s warmth and humor, Hazard tackles pressing questions: Is the womb connected to the brain? Can cervical crypts store sperm? Do hysterectomies affect sexual pleasure? How can smart tampons help health care? Why does endometriosis take so long to be diagnosed? Will external gestation be possible in our lifetime? How does gender-affirming hormone therapy affect the uterus? Why does medical racism impact reproductive healthcare?
YOUNG READERS. Back in the days of long skirts and afternoon teas, young Joan Procter entertained the most unusual party guests: slithery and scaly ones, who turned over teacups and crawled past the crumpets.... While other girls played with dolls, Joan preferred the company of reptiles. She carried her favorite lizard with her everywhere--she even brought a crocodile to school!
When Joan grew older, she became the Curator of Reptiles at the British Museum. She went on to design the Reptile House at the London Zoo, including a home for the rumored-to-be-vicious komodo dragons. There, just like when she was a little girl, Joan hosted children's tea parties--with her komodo dragon as the guest of honor.
With a lively text and vibrant illustrations, scientist and writer Patricia Valdez and illustrator Felicita Sala bring to life Joan Procter's inspiring story of passion and determination in the picture book for young readers. Also available in hardcover.
YOUNG READERS. Growing up as a Black girl in the 1920s and 1930s, Dorothy Height was denied access to a local swimming pool as well as admission to Barnard College because of her race. But she persisted in pushing for change, and became a seminal figure in both the civil rights and women's rights movements. She went on to be awarded the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In this chapter book biography for young readers by award-winning author Kelly Starling Lyons, readers learn about the amazing life of Dorothy Height--and how she persisted.
YOUNG READERS. From the time their daughter was born, Ketanji Brown’s parents taught her that if she worked hard and believed in herself, she could do anything. As a child, Ketanji focused on her studies and excelled, eventually graduating from Harvard Law School.
Years later, in 2016, when she was a federal judge, a seat opened on the United States Supreme Court. In a letter to then-President Barack Obama, Leila Jackson made a case for her mother—Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Although the timing didn’t work out then, it did in 2022, when President Joe Biden nominated her. At her confirmation, Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black female Supreme Court justice in the United States.
YOUNG READERS. In the 1920s, when young women had limited opportunities, Lotte Reiniger used her curiosity and ingenuity to change the landscape of animation forever. Inspired by the films of her youth, and encouraged by teachers and mentors working in film at the time, Lotte Reiniger honed her skills in cutting out paper silhouettes to use in stop-motion animation.
Eventually, her talent and her drive led her to invent the multiplane camera, which allowed her to give her animation depth of field. With her small team, Lotte designed and directed the oldest full-length animated film in existence.
Acclaimed author C. E. Winters and debut artist Matt Schu expertly introduce young readers to Lotte Reiniger, a remarkable and often overshadowed historical figure. Balancing biographical information with a compelling story, Cut! follows Lotte Reiniger from childhood to her first groundbreaking accomplishments.
Proving Ground: The Untold Story of the Six Women Who Programmed the World’s First Modern Computer (Hardcover)
HISTORY. After the end of World War II, the race for technological supremacy sped on. Top-secret research into ballistics and computing, begun during the war to aid those on the front lines, continued across the United States as engineers and programmers rushed to complete their confidential assignments. Among them were six pioneering women, tasked with figuring out how to program the world's first general-purpose, programmable, all-electronic computer--better known as the ENIAC— even though there were no instruction codes or programming languages in existence. While most students of computer history are aware of this innovative machine, the great contributions of the women who programmed it were never told -- until now.
HISTORY. Enshrined medieval thinkers, almost always male, subscribed to a blend of classical Greek and Roman philosophy and Christian theology for their concepts of the sexes. For the height of female attractiveness, they chose the mythical Helen of Troy, whose imagined pear shape, small breasts, and golden hair served as beauty’s epitome. Casting Eve’s shadow over medieval women, they derided them as oversexed sinners, inherently lustful, insatiable, and weak. And, unless a nun, a woman was to be the embodiment of perfect motherhood.
In contrast, drawing on accounts of remarkable and subversive medieval women like Eleanor of Aquitaine and Hildegard of Bingen, along with others hidden in documents and court cases, Janega shows us how real women of the era lived. While often mothers, they were industrious farmers, brewers, textile workers, artists, and artisans and paved the way for new ideas about women’s nature, intellect, and ability. In The Once and Future Sex, Janega unravels the restricting expectations on medieval women and the ones on women today. She boldly questions why, if our ideas of women have changed drastically over time, we cannot reimagine them now to create a more equitable future.
Queens and Prophets: How Arabian Noblewomen and Holy Men Shaped Paganism, Christianity and Islam (Hardcover)
HISTORY. Arab noblewomen of late antiquity were instrumental in shaping the history of the world. Between Rome’s intervention in the Arabian Peninsula and the Arab conquests, they ruled independently, conducting trade and making war. Their power was celebrated as queen, priestess and goddess. With time some even delegated authority to the most important holy men of their age, influencing Arabian paganism, Christianity and Islam.
Empress Zenobia and Queen Mavia supported bishops Paul of Samosata and Moses of Sinai. Paul was declared a heretic by the Roman church, while Moses began the process of mass Arab conversion. The teachings of these men survived under their queens, setting in motion seismic debates that fractured the early churches and laid the groundwork for the rise of Islam. In sixth-century Mecca, Lady Khadijah used her wealth and political influence to employ a younger man then marry him against the wishes of dissenting noblemen. Her husband, whose religious and political career she influenced, was the Prophet Muhammad. A landmark exploration of the legacy of female power in late antique Arabia, Queens and Prophets is a corrective that is long overdue.
NONFICTION. In this urgent book, Jane Goodall, the world's most famous living naturalist, and Douglas Abrams, the internationally bestselling co-author of The Book of Joy, explore through intimate and thought-provoking dialogue one of the most sought after and least understood elements of human nature: hope. In The Book of Hope, Jane focuses on her "Four Reasons for Hope": The Amazing Human Intellect, The Resilience of Nature, The Power of Young People, and The Indomitable Human Spirit.
Drawing on decades of work that has helped expand our understanding of what it means to be human and what we all need to do to help build a better world, The Book of Hope touches on vital questions, including: How do we stay hopeful when everything seems hopeless? How do we cultivate hope in our children? What is the relationship between hope and action? Filled with moving and inspirational stories and photographs from Jane’s remarkable career, The Book of Hope is a deeply personal conversation with one of the most beloved figures in the world today.
While discussing the experiences that shaped her discoveries and beliefs, Jane tells the story of how she became a messenger of hope, from living through World War II to her years in Gombe to realizing she had to leave the forest to travel the world in her role as an advocate for environmental justice. And for the first time, she shares her profound revelations about her next, and perhaps final, adventure.
YOUNG READERS. A powerful picture book biography about Maryam Faruqi, the founder of the Happy Home Schools, which provided education to thousands of girls across Pakistan at a time when girls weren't encouraged to go to school. Milloo lives in a time when school is considered unnecessary for girls. But to Milloo, education is essential. When Milloo reads, her thoughts dance. Milloo courageously dreams of becoming a teacher, but in fifth grade her parents tell her she has had enough school. Milloo is heartbroken but finds a way to achieve her educational goals, graduating high school and college with honors. When she's married, Milloo's husband tells her to stay home, but she does not let that stop her. She decides to open a school in her house and later opens more schools around Karachi, Pakistan, fulfilling her dreams.
YOUNG READERS. A picture book biography about M.S. Subbulakshmi, a powerful Indian singer who advocated for justice and peace through song.
Before M.S. Subbulakshmi was a famous Carnatic singer and the first Indian woman to perform at the United Nations, she was a young girl with a prodigious voice.
But Subbulakshmi was not free to sing everywhere. In early 1900s India, girls were not allowed to perform for the public. So Subbulakshmi busted barriers to sing at small festivals. Eventually, she broke tradition to record her first album. She did not stop here. At Gandhi's request, Subbulakshmi sang for India’s freedom. Her fascinating odyssey stretched across borders, and soon she was no longer just a young prodigy. She was a woman who changed the world.
NONFICTION. What explains the insistent pull of Roe v. Wade? Abortion law expert Mary Ziegler argues that the U.S. Supreme Court decision, which decriminalized abortion in 1973 and was overturned in 2022, had a hold on us that was not simply the result of polarized abortion politics. Rather, Roe took on meanings far beyond its original purpose of protecting the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship. It forced us to confront questions about sexual violence, judicial activism and restraint, racial justice, religious liberty, the role of science in politics, and much more.
In this history of what the Supreme Court’s best-known decision has meant, Ziegler identifies the inconsistencies and unsettled issues in our abortion politics. She urges us to rediscover the nuance that has long resided where we would least expect to find it—in the meaning of Roe itself.
FICTION. A riveting debut that explores witchcraft and female intuitive powers, told over five centuries through three connected women
YOUNG READERS. Jovita dreamed of wearing pants! She hated the big skirts Abuela made her wear. She wanted to scale the tallest mesquite tree on her rancho, ride her horse, and feel the wind curl her face into a smile
When her father and brothers joined the Cristero War to fight for religious freedom, Jovita wanted to go, too. Forbidden, she defied her father’s rules – and society’s – and found a clever way to become a trailblazing revolutionary, wearing pants!
This remarkable true story about a little-known maverick Mexican heroine is brought vividly to life by her great-niece and Américas Award–winner Aida Salazar, and Eisner Award–honoree Molly Mendoza.
The Odyssey of Phillis Wheatley: A Poet's Journeys Through American Slavery and Independence (Hardcover)
HISTORY. In this new biography, the historian David Waldstreicher offers the fullest account to date of Wheatley’s life and works, correcting myths, reconstructing intimate friendships, and deepening our understanding of her verse and the revolutionary era.
Admired by George Washington, ridiculed by Thomas Jefferson, published in London, and read far and wide, Phillis Wheatley led one of the most extraordinary American lives. Seized in West Africa and forced into slavery as a child, she was sold to a merchant family in Boston, where she became a noted poet at a young age. Mastering the Bible, Greek and Latin translations, and the works of Pope and Milton, she composed elegies for local elites, celebrated political events, praised warriors, and used her verse to variously lampoon, question, and assert the injustice of her enslaved condition. “Can I then but pray / Others may never feel tyrannic sway?” By doing so, she added her voice to a vibrant, multisided conversation about race, slavery, and discontent with British rule; before and after her emancipation, her verses shook up racial etiquette and used familiar forms to create bold new meanings. She demonstrated a complex but crucial fact of the times: that the American Revolution both strengthened and limited Black slavery.
HISTORY. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s final book offers an intimate look at her extraordinary life and details her lifelong pursuit for gender equality and a “more perfect Union.”
In the fall of 2019, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg visited the University of California, Berkeley School of Law to honor her friend, the late Herma Hill Kay, with whom Ginsburg had coauthored the very first casebook on sex-based discrimination in 1974. During Justice Ginsburg’s visit, she shared her life story with Amanda L. Tyler, a Berkeley Law professor and former Ginsburg law clerk.
Their intimate conversation is recorded here in Justice, Justice Thou Shalt Pursue, along with previously unpublished materials that detail Ginsburg’s long career. These include notable briefs and oral arguments, Ginsburg’s last speeches, and her favorite opinions that she wrote as a Supreme Court Justice (many in dissent), along with the statements that she read from the bench in those important cases. Each document was carefully chosen by Ginsburg and Tyler to tell the litigation strategy at the heart of Ginsburg’s unwavering commitment to achieve “a more perfect Union.”
Flowers of Fire: The Inside Story of South Korea's Feminist Movement and What It Means for Women' s Rights Worldwide (Paperback)
NONFICTION. Since the beginning of the #MeToo movement, tens of thousands of people in South Korea have taken to the street, and many more brave individuals took a stand, to end a decades-long abortion ban and bring down powerful men accused of sexual misconduct—including a popular presidential contender. South Korean feminists know that the revolution has been a long time coming, between battles against its own patriarchal society as well as challenging stereotypes of docile Asian women in the Western imagination. In Flowers of Fire, Jung illuminates the strength and tenacity of these women, too often sidelined in global conversations about feminism and gender equality.