100 books like Shoot Like a Girl

By Mary Jennings Hegar,

Here are 100 books that Shoot Like a Girl fans have personally recommended if you like Shoot Like a Girl. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women

Patricia Bracewell Author Of The Steel Beneath the Silk

From my list on early Medieval England and Scandinavia.

Who am I?

Ever since childhood I’ve been fascinated by the history of England, and fifteen years ago I made the decision to write a series of novels set before the Norman Conquest. Since then I’ve immersed myself in the history of that period and made numerous visits to the locations where I set my novels. I’ve been frustrated though by the enormous gaps in the historical records of that time, in particular the lack of information about the women. Because of that I am drawn to the work of authors who, like me, are attempting to resurrect and retell the lost stories of those remarkable women. 

Patricia's book list on early Medieval England and Scandinavia

Patricia Bracewell Why did Patricia love this book?

Recent genetic research on the human remains of a 10th-century Viking grave excavated in 1878 in Birka, Sweden, rocked the world of Viking studies when it determined that the warrior buried with numerous weapons and two horses was not male, but female. I loved how this author imagines what that woman’s life might have been like. She also suggests that the woman buried in the Birka grave was merely one of many female Viking warriors, offering data drawn from archaeological finds, from historical accounts, from language studies, and from the sagas to support the theory that ‘shield maids’ really did exist. I had been dubious about the possibility of female Vikings, but the arguments presented in this book are too compelling. Reading it changed my mind. Now I’m a believer.

By Nancy Marie Brown,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Real Valkyrie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the tradition of Stacy Schiff’s Cleopatra, Brown lays to rest the hoary myth that Viking society was ruled by men and celebrates the dramatic lives of female Viking warriors

“Once again, Brown brings Viking history to vivid, unexpected life―and in the process, turns what we thought we knew about Norse culture on its head. Superb.” ―Scott Weidensaul, author of New York Times bestselling A World on the Wing

"Magnificent. It captured me from the very first page." ―Pat Shipman, author of The Invaders

In 2017, DNA tests revealed to the collective shock of many scholars that a Viking warrior…

Book cover of Warrior Queens: The Legends and the Lives of the Women Who Have Led Their Nations to War

Pamela D. Toler Author Of Women Warriors: An Unexpected History

From my list on women in war.

Who am I?

I've been fascinated by the concept of women warriors ever since I was a nerdy kid who read every biography of famous women I could get my hands—and I've been collecting their stories almost as long. Today I write historical non-fiction that puts women back into the story, whether it's women warriors, civil war nurses, or groundbreaking journalists. The impact of this can be profound. When we re-introduce overlooked populations into history, we get a very different story.

Pamela's book list on women in war

Pamela D. Toler Why did Pamela love this book?

In many ways, Antonia Fraser's Warrior Queens spurred my long-term interest in women warriors. Fraser not only introduced me to historical women I had never heard of, but to the idea that women had fought as a normal part of the army in far more epochs and far more civilizations than is normally appreciated. Fraser looks at her warring queens as a group as well as individually, trying to understand the tropes that (mostly male) historians have used both to make them bigger than life and to demean them as women. A fascinating read that has held up well over time.

By Antonia Fraser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Warrior Queens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this panoramic work of history, Lady Antonia Fraser looks at women who led armies and empires: Cleopatra, Isabella of Spain, Jinga Mbandi, Margaret Thatcher, and Indira Gandhi, among others.

Book cover of The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World

William Hansen Author Of The Book of Greek and Roman Folktales, Legends, and Myths

From my list on classical mythology and folklore.

Who am I?

I grew up loving fairytales and still do. In college, my love for folktales grew into a passion for mythology. I pursued these interests at the University of California, Berkeley, received my PhD, and became a classicist and folklorist with a special interest in traditional stories. This interest was the foundation for several books, including Ariadne’s Thread: A Guide to International Stories Found in Classical Literature and Classical Mythology: A Guide to the Mythical World of the Greeks and Romans. My work in traditional stories led me to explore the neighboring topic of popular literature, which resulted in my Anthology of Ancient Greek Popular Literature.  

William's book list on classical mythology and folklore

William Hansen Why did William love this book?

In this fascinating book, which combines flowing prose, a lively and engaging presentation, and wonderful illustrations, Adrienne Mayor brings the reader into the excitement of discovering the historical truth about the mysterious Amazons of Greek mythology. 

Mayor demonstrates that the Amazon traditions derive from the undeniable fact that nomadic, armed horsewomen existed on the fringes of the ancient Greek world. The author, who describes herself as a classical folklorist, is the first to examine the intriguing evidence systematically and in detail.

By Adrienne Mayor,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Amazons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Amazons--fierce warrior women dwelling on the fringes of the known world--were the mythic archenemies of the ancient Greeks. Heracles and Achilles displayed their valor in duels with Amazon queens, and the Athenians reveled in their victory over a powerful Amazon army. In historical times, Cyrus of Persia, Alexander the Great, and the Roman general Pompey tangled with Amazons. But just who were these bold barbarian archers on horseback who gloried in fighting, hunting, and sexual freedom? Were Amazons real? In this deeply researched, wide-ranging, and lavishly illustrated book, National Book Award finalist Adrienne Mayor presents the Amazons as they have…

Book cover of Women, Armies, and Warfare in Early Modern Europe

Laurence W. Marvin Author Of The Occitan War: A Military and Political History of the Albigensian Crusade, 1209–1218

From my list on premodern western warfare.

Who am I?

From my earliest memories I’ve always been interested in military history, and as a young man I served in the U.S. Navy on a nuclear submarine. As an ardent bibliophile, my home and office overflows with books. As a professor, for the past 25 years I’ve been fortunate enough to teach a broad survey on western military history, which gives me the opportunity to experiment with many books for my own and the students’ enjoyment. The books on this list are perennial favorites of the traditional-age undergraduates (18-22) I teach, but will appeal to any reader interested in premodern military history. 

Laurence's book list on premodern western warfare

Laurence W. Marvin Why did Laurence love this book?

Lynn was one of my graduate advisors decades ago, but he wrote this long after I finished.

A highly respected military historian, Lynn did a remarkably sympathetic and nuanced job of explaining the vital role women played in early modern warfare. No, he doesn’t concentrate on the few who took on male garb and actually fought, but rather the tens of thousands of mostly nameless “camp followers” who provided essential services: food and fodder, as sutlers, and yes, as prostitutes. Quite simply, an early modern army couldn’t function without its extensive “tail.” 

One of the salient characteristics separating premodern and modern armies is how governments eventually, over a long period of time, froze out women from participating in any aspects of warfare by bringing under their aegis all the services (save prostitution) that women had heretofore provided.

By John A. Lynn II,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Women, Armies, and Warfare in Early Modern Europe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Women, Armies, and Warfare in Early Modern Europe examines the important roles of women who campaigned with armies from 1500 to 1815. This included those notable female individuals who assumed male identities to serve in the ranks, but far more numerous and essential were the formidable women who, as women, marched in the train of armies. While some worked as full-time or part-time prostitutes, they more generally performed a variety of necessary gendered tasks, including laundering, sewing, cooking, and nursing. Early modern armies were always accompanied by women and regarded them as essential to the well-being of the troops. Lynn…

Book cover of Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield

Ryan Leigh Dostie Author Of Formation: A Woman's Memoir of Stepping Out of Line

From my list on women in the United States military.

Who am I?

The relationship between servicewomen and the US military is a complicated one. It’s love, strength, comradery, and also abuse, manipulation, sexual harassment, and soul-crushing institutional betrayal. After leaving the military, I found most books or movies didn’t adequately represent this complex relationship, either ignoring the abuse altogether, or focusing too much on it and erasing the bravery and resilience of women service members. I strive to write books that better represent this conflicting relationship, and I hope this book list helps better reflect women’s experiences in the US military.  

Ryan's book list on women in the United States military

Ryan Leigh Dostie Why did Ryan love this book?

There is a very good reason this book has been adapted into a movie—it tells the very real story of women who circumvent Congressional law to fight alongside Army Rangers, Navy SEALS, and other special operations teams in Afghanistan. Female Engagement Teams (FET) take part in secret missions, under the dark of night, “attached” to special ops and not only proving they can keep up, but they are mission essential. It’s about friendship, loss, the bonds made in war, and a march towards equality, as combat roles weren’t open to women at the time—but these women did it anyway. Great to counter those people want to lavish praise on Rangers, SEALs, or Special Ops because they’re “the best of the best” and “only men.” Surprise! Women do it, too. 

By Gayle Tzemach Lemmon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ashley's War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 2010, the Army created Cultural Support Teams, a secret pilot program to insert women alongside Special Operations soldiers battling in Afghanistan. The Army reasoned that women could play a unique role on Special Ops teams: accompanying their male colleagues on raids and, while those soldiers were searching for insurgents, questioning the mothers, sisters, daughters and wives living at the compound. Their presence had a calming effect on enemy households, but more importantly, the CSTs were able to search adult women for weapons and gather crucial intelligence. They could build relationships-woman to woman-in ways that male soldiers in an Islamic…

Book cover of American Cipher: Bowe Bergdahl and the U.S. Tragedy in Afghanistan

Mark Jabbour Author Of Election 2016: The Great Divide, the Great Debate

From my list on understand personality and who you are.

Who am I?

I’ve always been a talker. In the fourth grade my teacher, L. Wood, wrote on my report card, “Mark is a good worker. He is well adjusted and is well-liked in the classroom and on the playground. Mark needs to control himself when he likes to speak out too frequently.” Some things (personality) never change. Now, sixty years later with the help of my doctor, I’m working on it. I've been trying to understand myself, and others for most of my life. Using Nettle's descriptors I could be called a confident, callous, Poet Wanderer. Now, in my seventies, and having written three books about it - I'm beginning to get it.

Mark's book list on understand personality and who you are

Mark Jabbour Why did Mark love this book?

I like this book because it's a case study of what can go wrong. If one doesn't know who they are. The consequences can have harmful effects. Not only for the person but for others as well. That is the definition of pathology - having a harmful impact.

The authors do a masterful job of explaining Bergdahl's personality. He was diagnosed as having a schizotypal personality disorder and never sought treatment. Using Daniel Nettle's Big Five personality indicators descriptors, Bergdahl can be described as a Worried, out-of-control, Wanderer.

By Matt Farwell, Michael Ames,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked American Cipher as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The explosive narrative of the life, captivity, and trial of Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier who was abducted by the Taliban and whose story has served as a symbol for America's foundering war in Afghanistan

"An unsettling and riveting book filled with the mysteries of human nature." -Kirkus

Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl left his platoon's base in eastern Afghanistan in the early hours of June 30, 2009. Since that day, easy answers to the many questions surrounding his case-why did he leave his post? What kinds of efforts were made to recover him from the Taliban? And why, facing a…

Book cover of Among You: The Extraordinary True Story of a Soldier Broken By War

Joe Talon Author Of Counting Crows

From my list on spooky minds and old soldiers who never give up.

Who am I?

I’ve written about war for years. To be honest, it all began in school when we studied the terrible events of The Great War. Hearing the hearts shatter of men on the frontline never left me. I wanted to understand. I needed to understand. PTSD is something I’m familiar with, even if I’ve never been on the front line in battle. I’m also obsessed with myths, legends, ghost stories, and mysteries. My Lorne Turner series combines my passions and the books shine a light, in fiction, on what happens to old soldiers when they come home.

Joe's book list on spooky minds and old soldiers who never give up

Joe Talon Why did Joe love this book?

This is a story that deals with old soldiers who never give up. It’s the story of Jake surviving Afghanistan as a serving soldier. I write about soldiers with PTSD, so it’s important I study the area, and it can be tough. Really tough. Heartbreaking to read about the effects of war on the mind of a soldier. I’ve read several, but this one really knocked me for six. It’s an educated, intelligent narrative about a young life full of honour, duty, passion, and hope. Then he goes to war. If we are ever to understand why war is so terrible, then we need to listen to those on the front line. Highly recommended for those brave enough.

By Jake Wood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Among You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Among You is the gripping real-life story of a soldier serving on the front line in Iraq and Afghanistan, and an unforgettable, unflinching account of the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Jake Wood lives parallel lives: encased in the glass tower of an international investment bank by day, he is also a dedicated TA soldier who serves on the front line during the invasion of Iraq, later returning to the war zone to conduct surveillance on insurgents. Disillusioned with the dullness and amorality of the banking world, he escapes back to the army for a third tour of duty. But…

Book cover of War

Ryan Smithson Author Of Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI

From my list on turning PTSD into post-traumatic growth.

Who am I?

As an equipment operator for the Army Corps of Engineers, I didn’t serve in a “combat” role, per se, but the engineers go wherever the military needs things built, so we were often repairing IED damage, hauling supplies outside the wire, or fortifying bases so the infantry, cavalry, etc. could do their job effectively. Coming home, I owe a lot of my successful reintegration to my writing and the many people who encouraged me to share it with the world. Now with my Master of Arts in English, I’ve taught college courses on military culture, and I present for veteran art groups, writing workshops, and high schools and colleges around the country.

Ryan's book list on turning PTSD into post-traumatic growth

Ryan Smithson Why did Ryan love this book?

Junger has worked as an imbedded journalist for decades, and he’s one of those rare nonfiction storytellers whose keen observations collide with simple, elegant prose to illuminate truths in a profound way. War is his account of his many months spent with a leading infantry unit in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom immediately following 9/11. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the current conflicts in the Middle East and the effects of combat on soldiers and civilians alike. His perspective truly humanizes the combat experience and helped me understand that I was far from alone in my own struggles with post-traumatic stress.

By Sebastian Junger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the author of The Perfect Storm, a gripping book about Sebastian Junger's almost fatal year with the 2nd battalion of the American Army.

For 15 months, Sebastian Junger accompanied a single platoon of thirty men from the celebrated 2nd battalion of the U.S. Army, as they fought their way through a remote valley in Eastern Afghanistan. Over the course of five trips, Junger was in more firefights than he could count, men he knew were killed or wounded, and he himself was almost killed. His relationship with these soldiers grew so close that they considered him part of the…

Book cover of Rain

Simon Akam Author Of The Changing of the Guard: the British army since 9/11

From my list on the British Army.

Who am I?

In 2003-4 I spent a year in the British Army between school and university. Ten years later, having become a journalist, I returned to investigate what a decade of war had done to the institution I knew as an adolescent. In the years I spent researching and writing The Changing of the Guard I read reams of non-fiction. However, novels retain an ability to hit wider – or harder truths – and some of our greatest writers have fictionalised British Army life. Here is a selection of British Army novels, well-known and less so. They take in conflicts ranging from the First and Second World Wars through to Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. 

Simon's book list on the British Army

Simon Akam Why did Simon love this book?

In the interests of full disclosure, I knew Campbell at university so my judgment on this novel of the Afghan war cannot be fully impartial.

I found it powerful though. There are obvious overlays between the experience of Campbell himself and his central protagonist Tom Chamberlain – both serve in high-period Afghanistan as officers with cavalry units. (Campbell was in the Blues and Royals). That overlap grants the novel its authenticity – from its dissection of 'ally,’ British army slang for cool, to “rock star” bomb disposal officers capable of “squaring up to colonels” and coffins of blast victims reduced to a few scraps of ruined flesh subsequently weighed down with sandbags.

Campbell’s next novel, The Fires of Gallipoli, set in the First World War, will be out next year.  

By Barney Campbell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Barney Campbell's Rain is a searingly powerful debut that reads like a British Matterhorn

'A wonderfully achieved, enthralling and moving novel of war. Its authenticity is as telling as it is terrifying' William Boyd

'No better on-the-ground description of Britain's war will ever be written. Rain is what Chickenhawk or, more recently, Matterhorn was to Vietnam. It's unputdownable, except for when the reader needs to draw breath or battle a lump in the throat' Evening Strandard

Corporal Thomas (my acting sergeant since Adams died) and I have to go…

Book cover of Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10

Andrew Mann Author Of Such Unfortunates

From my list on stories so powerful you have to read them twice.

Who am I?

I have expertise and a passion for this topic because I suffered from a terrible addiction to drugs for many years and was considered a hopeless case. If I can beat my addiction then anyone can!

Andrew's book list on stories so powerful you have to read them twice

Andrew Mann Why did Andrew love this book?

I enjoyed this because it was a true story of a Navy Seal that went through a horrible life & death struggle and came through the other side of it to be an inspiration for many. Marcus Luttrell tells his story so honestly and in such detail that you feel you are there with him. It also shows us the worst in humanity but also the best in humanity. How he ends up surviving this experience will amaze you and stay with you. I loved the fact that an Afghan citizen who was a complete stranger to him was one of the people who helped save his life. This is a book that inspires me to never give up and I think it will do the same for you!

By Marcus Luttrell, Patrick Robinson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lone Survivor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Four US Navy SEALS departed one clear night in early July, 2005 for the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border for a reconnaissance mission. Their task was to document the activity of an al Qaeda leader rumoured to have a small army in a Taliban stronghold. Five days later, only one of those Navy SEALS made it out alive. This is the story of the only survivor of Operation Redwing, SEAL team leader Marcus Luttrell and the extraordinary firefight that led to the largest loss of life in American Navy SEAL history. His squadmates fought valiantly beside him until he was the only…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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