100 books like They Didn't See Us Coming

By Lisa Levenstein,

Here are 100 books that They Didn't See Us Coming fans have personally recommended if you like They Didn't See Us Coming. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Groundswell: Grassroots Feminist Activism in Postwar America

Melissa Estes Blair Author Of Revolutionizing Expectations: Women's Organizations, Feminism, and American Politics, 1965-1980

From my list on U.S. grassroots feminism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved history since I was a girl, visiting my grandparents in Virginia and reading American Girl books. I began to focus on women’s history when I learned in college just how much the women’s movement of the generation before mine had made my life possible. So much changed for American women in the ten years before I was born, and I wanted to know how that happened and how it fit into the broader political changes. That connection, between women making change and the bigger political scene, remains the core of my research. I have a B.A. in history and English from the University of Kentucky, and a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Virginia.

Melissa's book list on U.S. grassroots feminism

Melissa Estes Blair Why did Melissa love this book?

By looking at three local NOW chapters around the country, Gilmore shows that the leading organization of 1960s feminism wasn’t nearly as centralized as people think. Memphis NOW, for example, was a radical feminist group simply by being a feminist group in the South. San Francisco NOW, by contrast, made coalitions with many more radical groups as they worked together to make change. A great read and an important insight into how NOW actually worked as an organization.

By Stephanie Gilmore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Groundswell: Grassroots Feminist Activism in Postwar America offers an essential perspective on the post-1960 movement for women's equality and liberation. Tracing the histories of feminist activism, through the National Organization of Women (NOW) chapters in three different locations: Memphis, Tennessee, Columbus, Ohio, and San Francisco, California, Gilmore explores how feminist identity, strategies, and goals were shaped by geographic location.

Departing from the usual conversation about the national icons and events of second wave feminism, this book concentrates on local histories, and asks the questions that must be answered on the micro level: Who joined? Who did not? What did they…


Book cover of Living for the Revolution: Black Feminist Organizations, 1968-1980

Melissa Estes Blair Author Of Revolutionizing Expectations: Women's Organizations, Feminism, and American Politics, 1965-1980

From my list on U.S. grassroots feminism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved history since I was a girl, visiting my grandparents in Virginia and reading American Girl books. I began to focus on women’s history when I learned in college just how much the women’s movement of the generation before mine had made my life possible. So much changed for American women in the ten years before I was born, and I wanted to know how that happened and how it fit into the broader political changes. That connection, between women making change and the bigger political scene, remains the core of my research. I have a B.A. in history and English from the University of Kentucky, and a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Virginia.

Melissa's book list on U.S. grassroots feminism

Melissa Estes Blair Why did Melissa love this book?

Springer’s book was one of the first to outline the multiple Black women’s feminist organizations that developed in the late 1960s and 1970s. Situating now fairly well-known groups like the Combahee River Collective alongside lesser-known organizations like the Third World Women’s Alliance, Springer’s brief book is a fabulous primer to Black women’s feminism in an era when many people still think such a thing didn’t exist.

By Kimberly Springer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Living for the Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first in-depth analysis of the black feminist movement, Living for the Revolution fills in a crucial but overlooked chapter in African American, women's, and social movement history. Through original oral history interviews with key activists and analysis of previously unexamined organizational records, Kimberly Springer traces the emergence, life, and decline of several black feminist organizations: the Third World Women's Alliance, Black Women Organized for Action, the National Black Feminist Organization, the National Alliance of Black Feminists, and the Combahee River Collective. The first of these to form was founded in 1968; all five were defunct by 1980. Springer demonstrates…


Book cover of Chicana Power!: Contested Histories of Feminism in the Chicano Movement

Melissa Estes Blair Author Of Revolutionizing Expectations: Women's Organizations, Feminism, and American Politics, 1965-1980

From my list on U.S. grassroots feminism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved history since I was a girl, visiting my grandparents in Virginia and reading American Girl books. I began to focus on women’s history when I learned in college just how much the women’s movement of the generation before mine had made my life possible. So much changed for American women in the ten years before I was born, and I wanted to know how that happened and how it fit into the broader political changes. That connection, between women making change and the bigger political scene, remains the core of my research. I have a B.A. in history and English from the University of Kentucky, and a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Virginia.

Melissa's book list on U.S. grassroots feminism

Melissa Estes Blair Why did Melissa love this book?

Blackwell’s book is very different from Springer’s, and that difference is my favorite part. Instead of giving an overview of several Chicana feminist groups, as Springer does with Black feminists, Blackwell dives deep into one major ones, Las Hijas, in Los Angeles. Oral history is a major source for Blackwell, and the way she includes some of her major characters not only talking about their historical actions but reflecting on them several decades later makes this a great read.

By Maylei Blackwell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first book-length study of women's involvement in the Chicano Movement of the late 1960s and 1970s, !Chicana Power! tells the powerful story of the emergence of Chicana feminism within student and community-based organizations throughout southern California and the Southwest. As Chicanos engaged in widespread protest in their struggle for social justice, civil rights, and self-determination, women in el movimiento became increasingly militant about the gap between the rhetoric of equality and the organizational culture that suppressed women's leadership and subjected women to chauvinism, discrimination, and sexual harassment. Based on rich oral histories and extensive archival research, Maylei Blackwell analyzes…


Book cover of To Live Here, You Have to Fight: How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice

Melissa Estes Blair Author Of Revolutionizing Expectations: Women's Organizations, Feminism, and American Politics, 1965-1980

From my list on U.S. grassroots feminism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved history since I was a girl, visiting my grandparents in Virginia and reading American Girl books. I began to focus on women’s history when I learned in college just how much the women’s movement of the generation before mine had made my life possible. So much changed for American women in the ten years before I was born, and I wanted to know how that happened and how it fit into the broader political changes. That connection, between women making change and the bigger political scene, remains the core of my research. I have a B.A. in history and English from the University of Kentucky, and a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Virginia.

Melissa's book list on U.S. grassroots feminism

Melissa Estes Blair Why did Melissa love this book?

Wilkerson finds feminists everywhere in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, which makes this the most geographically unexpected book on this list. By showing how women were central to many social justice movements – not only feminism but environmental justice, health care, and welfare rights – Wilkerson shows us how women truly did lead in the 1970s, in parts of the country where stereotypes suggest they shouldn’t be active at all.

By Jessica Wilkerson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To Live Here, You Have to Fight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Launched in 1964, the War on Poverty quickly took aim at the coalfields of southern Appalachia. There, the federal government found unexpected allies among working-class white women devoted to a local tradition of citizen caregiving and seasoned by decades of activism and community service.

Jessica Wilkerson tells their stories within the larger drama of efforts to enact change in the 1960s and 1970s. She shows white Appalachian women acting as leaders and soldiers in a grassroots war on poverty--shaping and sustaining programs, engaging in ideological debates, offering fresh visions of democratic participation, and facing personal political struggles. Their insistence that…


Book cover of The Duke Who Didn't

Katherine Grant Author Of The Viscount Without Virtue

From my list on historical romances for intersectional feminists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a historical romance reader, I’m a sucker for stories about the glamorous aristocracy falling in love. While Regency and Victorian romances have explored feminism for at least the last two decades, the genre often falls short of asking more of itself. Of course the debutante shouldn’t need a man – but while the story liberates her, it doesn’t take any notice of the non-aristocratic,  non-Anglican, non-White, less-abled, and/or non-cishet straight characters around her. I yearned for stories that required my favorite aristocrats to acknowledge, examine, and leverage their privilege. All five of these authors deliver – without forgetting our favorite tropes and genre conventions!

Katherine's book list on historical romances for intersectional feminists

Katherine Grant Why did Katherine love this book?

When I pick up a Courtney Milan historical romance, I know I will be hit in the heart with a story that is as insightful as it is moving.

The only question was which of her books to include in this list!

I chose The Duke Who Didn’t because it explores class, race, and gender roles in the delightful setting of a small town in the English countryside hosting an annual sports festival.

The plot reckons with the aristocrat’s responsibility to his people, the challenges and joys of a working-class community, and the exploitation of non-British identities for profit.

And because it is a Courtney Milan novel, it does so with plenty of clever tropes and swoon-worthy romance!

Book cover of Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower

Kim Imas Author Of Beast Mom

From my list on women and anger.

Why am I passionate about this?

We talk a lot about the big public events that expanded the #MeToo movement so astronomically, like the election to the US presidency of a man who bragged about assaulting women, and the allegations made against Harvey Weinstein. But I think most American women have other, more personal beefs that originate from their being a woman. I, for one, was shocked at how unnecessarily difficult it was to be a new mother in the US. Other places support this vulnerable group much more than we do here, and living that disparity angered me—like, for example, when my husband exhausted what little parental leave he had available before our twins were even released from the NICU.

Kim's book list on women and anger

Kim Imas Why did Kim love this book?

Cooper details the unique experiences that Black women have when feeling and expressing their anger.

I found this not only an indispensable resource for expanding my understanding of intersectional feminism but also an indispensable examination of the ways that white women like myself exacerbate the challenges faced by Cooper and other Black women.

By Brittney Cooper,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Far too often, Black women's anger has been caricatured into an ugly and destructive force that threatens the civility and social fabric of American democracy. But Cooper shows us that there is more to the story than that. Black women's eloquent rage is what makes Serena Williams such a powerful tennis player. It's what makes Beyonce's girl power anthems resonate so hard. It's what makes Michelle Obama an icon. Eloquent rage keeps us all honest and accountable. It reminds women that they don't have to settle for less. When Cooper learned of her grandmother's eloquent rage about love, sex, and…


Book cover of Anarchafeminism

Jesse Cohn Author Of Underground Passages: Anarchist Resistance Culture, 1848-2011

From my list on how might one live an anarchist life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I knew I was an anti-authoritarian before I had words for it, and my education in social justice has been long and slow. I have been researching and writing about anarchism for the better part of three decades, and am now a board member of the Institute for Anarchist Studies. Anarchy is a subject that engages me both at the level of intellectual passion, what lights up my mind, and on a visceral level, in my revulsion at the inequalities and iniquities in this world and my yearning for a fully emancipated way of life.

Jesse's book list on how might one live an anarchist life

Jesse Cohn Why did Jesse love this book?

Bottici is another such friend at first reading, another partisan of the Spinozan current, but one deeply immersed in the feminist thought that Colson regrettably ignores. Hers is a fully intersectional feminism, attending especially to the margins of society, where its freaks and pariahs live. Like Colson, she offers opportunities for difficult thinking that reward us with new vistas, new possibilities for life.

By Chiara Bottici,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How can we be sure the oppressed do not become oppressors in their turn? How can we create a feminism that doesn't turn into yet another tool for oppression? It has become commonplace to argue that, in order to fight the subjugation of women, we have to unpack the ways different forms of oppression intersect with one another: class, race, gender, sexuality, disability, and ecology, to name only a few. By arguing that there is no single factor, or arche, explaining the oppression of women, Chiara Bottici proposes a radical anarchafeminist philosophy inspired by two major claims: that there is…


Book cover of Western Women and Imperialism: Complicity and Resistance

Tracey Jean Boisseau Author Of White Queen: May French-Sheldon and the Imperial Origins of American Feminist Identity

From my list on the history of feminism and imperialism.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a historian of feminism, I have been trying for decades to understand how gender, race, class, and nationality are knotted together in ways that are not always obvious or trackable in our personal experience. The books I recommend here have served as brilliant lanterns for me—not simply pointing out the flawed history of western feminism but instead explaining the complicated effects of whiteness and imperialism in the development of today’s feminist identities, ideologies, and consciousness. For me, these histories offer intersectional keys decoding the map of the world we’ve been dropped into and offering a path leading to a more justly feminist future….I hope they do for you too!

Tracey's book list on the history of feminism and imperialism

Tracey Jean Boisseau Why did Tracey love this book?

A collection of very short but incredibly interesting and illuminating essays, this book inaugurated the field of study we might call “feminism and empire.” Strobel and Chaudhuri gathered up the most important histories written to that date that explained how nineteenth and twentieth-century feminism emerged from colonialist contexts all over the world. Asking the question “what difference does gender make?” each author teases out the importance of gender for colonial travel and politics in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Reading this book made me want to contribute to that kind of historical understanding of gender, modeling for me what an “intersectional feminist” method of historical investigation might look like.

By Nupur Chaudhuri (editor), Margaret Strobel (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"[Western Women and Imperialism] provides fascinating insights into interactions and attitudes between western and non-western women, mainly in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It is an important contribution to the field of women's studies and (primarily British) imperial history, in that many of the essays explore problems of cross-cultural interaction that have been heretofore ignored." -Nancy Fix Anderson

"A challenging anthology in which a multiplicity of authors sheds new light on the waves of missionaries, 'memsahibs,' nurses-and feminists." -Ms.

". . . a long-overdue engagement with colonial discourse and feminism. . . . excellent essays . . ." -The…


Book cover of Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made World

Leah Modigliani Author Of Counter Revanchist Art in the Global City: Walls, Blockades, and Barricades as Repertoires of Creative Action

From my list on moving through the city with newly critical eyes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since the age of seven, I've been conscious of the need to bypass how one is supposed to do things. I realized then that my grandmother could not pursue a writing career because she was also a woman and a wife; a cautionary tale I took to heart since I was already beginning to identify as an artist. I'm driven to uncover how we recognize what we see, and how forces beyond our control engender or foreclose upon new ways of being in the world. A professional life lived in the arts has allowed the fullest flexibility for exploring these ideas as one is generally encouraged to think differently.

Leah's book list on moving through the city with newly critical eyes

Leah Modigliani Why did Leah love this book?

Through the skillful interweaving of personal experiences mixed with scholarly observations and references, Kern catalogs all the ways that cities have historically been designed for men by men.

Stories all women recognize, like the extra costs of keeping oneself safe in the city, or the boundaries imposed on women with young children who can’t get strollers up staircases or into trolley cars, or the discomfort with dining alone at restaurants, remind readers of how urban planners could and must do better.

Kern is attentive to race, ability, and gender in her observations and references as she seeks to balance the here-and-now with pragmatic solutions for future feminist cities capable of serving everyone equally. 

By Leslie Kern,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What should a metropolis for working women look like? A city of friendships beyond Sex and the City. A transit system that accommodates mothers with strollers on the school run. A public space with enough toilets. A place where women can walk without harassment.

Through history, personal experience and popular culture Leslie Kern exposes what is hidden in plain sight: the social inequalities are built into our cities, homes, and neighbourhoods. She maps the city from new vantage points, laying out a feminist intersectional approach to urban histories and proposes that the city is perhaps also our best hope for…


Book cover of Women, Art, and Society

Celia Stahr Author Of Frida in America: The Creative Awakening of a Great Artist

From my list on overviews and individual lives of women artists.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a teenager, I found the layered poetry of Sylvia Plath as riveting as an impasto-layered canvas by Vincent Van Gogh. A love for the rhythm of words and paint, as well as the power of art to tell stories and critique history led me to study art history. Influential college professors opened my eyes to the systematic exclusion of women from art and history. Today, I’m a professor at the University of San Francisco, where I specialize in modern, contemporary, and African art, with an emphasis upon issues of gender, race, ethnicity, and class. I’m particularly interested in women artists and artists who cross cultural boundaries. 

Celia's book list on overviews and individual lives of women artists

Celia Stahr Why did Celia love this book?

As an undergrad, I was blessed to have two professors who changed the course of my life: Angela Davis and Whitney Chadwick. Both of these professors discussed the intersectionality of gender, race, and class. Women, Art, and Society was published in 1990, and in 2020, the sixth edition was released. Although women artists’ representation in art history pedagogy has improved since 1990, the art world in general still favors men over women, making Chadwick’s book a relevant read. It provides a historical and critical look at women artists from the Middle Ages to the present, covering a range of media and artists from various cultural and geographical backgrounds. It challenges the assumption that great women artists are the exception to the rule and charts the evolution of feminist art history. 

By Whitney Chadwick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Whitney Chadwick's acclaimed study challenges the assumption that great women artists are exceptions to the rule, who 'transcended' their sex to produce major works of art. While acknowledging the many women whose contribution to visual culture since the Middle Ages have often been neglected, Chadwick's survey amounts to much more than an alternative canon of women artists: it re-examines the works themselves and the ways in which they have been perceived as marginal, often in direct reference to gender. In her disussion of feminism and its influence on such a reappraisal, the author also addresses the closely related issues of…


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