100 books like Warrior Queens

By Antonia Fraser,

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

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The Real Valkyrie

By Nancy Marie Brown,

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

Patricia Bracewell Author Of The Steel Beneath the Silk

From the 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

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…

The Amazons

By Adrienne Mayor,

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 the 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

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…

Shoot Like a Girl

By Mary Jennings Hegar,

Book cover of Shoot Like a Girl: One Woman's Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front

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

From the 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

Why did Pamela love this book?

In 2012, former Air National Guard pilot and Purple Heart recipient Mary Jennings Hegar joined forces with the ACLU to challenge the ban that kept American women out of ground combat units. In Shoot Like A Girl, Hegar tells the story of the career that led her to that point.

Hegar’s love for flying, her commitment to her job, and her bonds with teammates are vividly portrayed. The incident for which she received the Purple Heart–her helicopter shot down in Afghanistan with wounded men aboard—is gripping. But the heart of the book is the systemic sexism Hegar faced throughout her career. This is a powerful account of one woman's determination to serve in the face of acts of casual prejudice, active hazing, sexual assault—and institutional cover-ups.

By Mary Jennings Hegar,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shoot Like a Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On July 29, 2009, Air National Guard major Mary Jennings 'MJ' Hegar was shot down while on a Medevac mission on her third tour in Afghanistan. Despite being wounded, she continued to fight and saved the lives of her crew and their patients. But soon she would face a new battle: to give women who serve on the front lines the credit they deserve.

After being commissioned into the U.S. Air Force, MJ Hegar was selected for pilot training by the Air National Guard, finished at the top of her class, then served three tours in Afghanistan, flying combat search-and-rescue…

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 the 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

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 Gender, Politics, and Democracy: Women's Suffrage in China

Mona L. Siegel Author Of Peace on Our Terms: The Global Battle for Women's Rights After the First World War

From the list on feminism is a century-old global phenomenon.

Who am I?

When I was at university in the 1980s, I thought I wanted to become the ambassador to France. Then one of my roommates made me promise to take a women’s studies class—any class—before I graduated. I opted for “The History of Women’s Peace Movements.” Descending into historical archives for the first time, I held in my hands crumbling, 100-year-old letters of World War I-era feminists who audaciously insisted that for a peaceful world to flourish, women must participate in its construction. My life changed course. I became a professor and a historian, and I have been following the trail of feminist, internationalist, social justice pioneers ever since.  

Mona's book list on feminism is a century-old global phenomenon

Why did Mona love this book?

One of the shocking discoveries I made while researching my book was that China was the only Allied power to appoint a female delegate to the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Readers of Edwards’s book will be less surprised. While British suffragists of the early twentieth century were busy planting bombs in postboxes, Chinese women were taking up arms to overthrow the Qing dynasty and smashing the windows of the newly opened parliamentary chambers to demand their nation codify citizens’ political rights “regardless of sex.” This book tells their story and puts the lie to the myth that women’s rights only became a priority in China decades later, when Mao Zedong proclaimed that women “hold up half the sky.”

By Louise Edwards,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the first exploration of women's campaigns to gain equal rights to political participation in China. The dynamic and successful struggle for suffrage rights waged by Chinese women activists through the first half of the twentieth century challenged fundamental and centuries-old principles of political power. By demanding a public political voice for women, the activists promoted new conceptions of democratic representation for the entire political structure, not simply for women. Their movement created the space in which gendered codes of virtue would be radically transformed for both men and women.

Daring to Hope

By Violet Bonham Carter, Mark Pottle,

Book cover of Daring to Hope: The Diaries and Letters of Violet Bonham Carter, 1946-1969

Richard Toye Author Of Winston Churchill: A Life in the News

From the list on sidelights on British politics.

Who am I?

Richard Toye is a Professor of Modern History at the University of Exeter. He has published 19 non-fiction books on historical topics and was the co-presenter of the 2018 Channel 4 documentary Churchill's Secret Affair. In 2007 he won the Times Higher Education Young Academic of the Year Award for his book Lloyd George and Churchill: Rivals for Greatness

Richard's book list on sidelights on British politics

Why did Richard love this book?

This is the third and final volume of the set, and it’s hard to choose between them. Bonham Carter was the daughter of Prime Minister H.H. Asquith, but also a significant public figure in her own right. She never became an MP, in spite of her efforts, but did eventually join the House of Lords. The book is worth reading both for its acute observations of major political events and for the light it casts on Bonham Carter’s determined personality.

By Violet Bonham Carter, Mark Pottle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Lady Violet Bonham Carter, daughter of the Liberal prime minister H. H. Asquith, and herself a leading Liberal, was described by Winston Churchill in 1951 as 'one of the very best speakers, male or female'. She was also a writer of distinction, Clement Attlee praising her 1965 biography of Churchill: 'Amazing that her first book, at 78, should be so good.' Its intended sequel was never written, but here, is the raw material for a worthy successor. 'Winston has many faults but he is the one great forest tree that still stands' she wrote in 1950. 'When I am with…

Desert Flower

By Waris Dirie, Cathleen Miller,

Book cover of Desert Flower

Martin Fletcher Author Of Promised Land: A Novel of Israel

From the list on the refugee experience.

Who am I?

In my work as a news reporter and war correspondent, I met people on the worst day of their lives. I always wondered: What now? How will they get on with life? My own parents faced that dreadful dilemma. Penniless refugees, their families murdered in the Holocaust, unemployed in London, how on earth did they find the strength to carry on? One day at a time, they just did what they had to do. That is the subject of my fiction, always trying to answer that existential question: How do we live with trauma, and still find love and happiness?

Martin's book list on the refugee experience

Why did Martin love this book?

It isn’t the best-written book but Waris Dirie’s account of her escape from Somalia, her life as a domestic servant in London, her marriages of convenience, and her ultimate triumph in New York’s world of fashion, haunted me for years.

A frank, intimate account of a beautiful woman’s escape from a nomadic tribal life of female abuse to scaling the heights of western fashion modeling.

By Waris Dirie, Cathleen Miller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Waris Dirie (the name means desert flower) lives a double life - by day she is a famous model and UN spokeswoman on women's rights in Africa, at night she dreams of her native Somalia. Waris, one of 12 children, was born into a traditional family of desert nomads in East Africa. She remembers her early childhood as carefree- racing camels and moving on with her family to the next grazing spot - until it came her turn to meet the old woman who administered the ancient custom imposed on most Somalian girls: circumcision. Waris suffered this torture when she…

Parlor Politics

By Catherine Allgor,

Book cover of Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and a Government

Lindsay M. Chervinsky Author Of The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution

From the list on American presidents who left their mark on history.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by power and how people use it. From the time I was tiny, I’ve loved reading about how people left their fingerprint on history, and boy, do presidents leave their mark. Given these interests, it’s unsurprising that I’ve been my career this far examining how early presidents crafted the executive branch. The president’s oversized role in American life is also at the heart of my podcast work (I cohost The Past, The Promise, The Presidency with the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. Each season we explore a different element of the presidency and its relationship to history). In my future scholarship, I plan to continue this exploration long after George Washington left office. Stay tuned for more, and in the meantime enjoy these great reads!

Lindsay's book list on American presidents who left their mark on history

Why did Lindsay love this book?

So much of the early presidency took place out of “office hours.” Social events where women were present were considered apolitical and non-partisan, but of course, women had just as many opinions about politics back in the Early Republic as they do today! Instead, these events served as helpful venues for brokering deals, arranging political marriages, and securing appointments for friends and family members. Wives were also essential partners in campaigns and coalition-building once politicians were in office. You can’t understand the early presidents without understanding the broader social context as well.

By Catherine Allgor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Catherine Allgor describes the various ways genteel elite women during the first decades of the 19th century used ""social events"" and the ""private sphere"" to establish the national capital and to build the extraofficial structures so sorely needed in the infant federal government.

Book cover of Women Build the Welfare State: Performing Charity and Creating Rights in Argentina, 1880-1955

Ángela Vergara Author Of Fighting Unemployment in Twentieth-Century Chile

From the list on the history of the welfare state.

Who am I?

I’m a historian of Latin America and a professor at California State University, Los Angeles. I write about Chile’s labor and social history in the twentieth century. As a historian, I am especially interested in understanding how working people relate with public institutions and authorities, what they expect from the state, and how they have organized and expanded social and economic rights. While my research centers in Chile and Latin America, I also look to place regional debates in a transnational framework and see how ideas and people have moved across borders. I like books that bring working people’s diverse voices and experiences. 

Ángela's book list on the history of the welfare state

Why did Ángela love this book?

My first choice is a book about the origins of the welfare state. If many see the Great Depression as the catalyst of the welfare state, Donna Guy traces it back to the social policies and institutions of the nineteenth century. Looking at the case of Argentina, she tells the story of how philanthropic, immigrant, and women groups assisted the needy, especially children and mothers.

By Donna J. Guy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women Build the Welfare State as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this pathbreaking history, Donna J. Guy shows how feminists, social workers, and female philanthropists contributed to the emergence of the Argentine welfare state through their advocacy of child welfare and family-law reform. From the creation of the government-subsidized Society of Beneficence in 1823, women were at the forefront of the child-focused philanthropic and municipal groups that proliferated first to address the impact of urbanization, European immigration, and high infant mortality rates, and later to meet the needs of wayward, abandoned, and delinquent children. Women staffed child-centered organizations that received subsidies from all levels of government. Their interest in children…

Book cover of The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued His Empire

Oyungerel Tsedevdamba Author Of The Green Eyed Lama

From the list on banned or forbidden stories to be told.

Who am I?

I'm a Mongolian woman deeply interested and engaged in politics, human rights and history. Until I reached 25, my country was a communist state and I wasn't allowed to learn many things including foreign language other than Russian. Life, school, and books surrounding me had not only legal but also very strong ideological restrictions dictated by communism. As the most attractive melodies were ‘banned music’ and most beautiful love songs were ‘banned songs’, I grew up hungry to learn the true stories hidden behind all the bans. Later, I decided to write historic fiction on the important stories that were not taught to us in schools but necessary for Mongolians and the world to understand. 

Oyungerel's book list on banned or forbidden stories to be told

Why did Oyungerel love this book?

I couldn’t put it down when I read it, maybe because I am a woman. The most famous 13th century tale about Genghis Khan and his creation of Mongolia doesn’t mention women’s involvement in the creation of Mongolia. Jack Weatherford, a famous writer and historian, noticed a line in the Secret History of the Mongols which might have indicated a censorship in the story. He further explores the censored parts of the Secret History only to find fascinating and active involvement of women in Mongolian history. Anyone who is interested in history, truth, and women’s empowerment will find this book amazing. Jack writes so well and his books are always a fast read.  

By Jack Weatherford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Secret History of the Mongol Queens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A fascinating romp through the feminine side of the infamous Khan clan” (Booklist) by the author featured in Echoes of the Empire: Beyond Genghis Khan

“Enticing . . . hard to put down.”—Associated Press

The Mongol queens of the thirteenth century ruled the largest empire the world has ever known. The daughters of the Silk Route turned their father’s conquests into the first truly international empire, fostering trade, education, and religion throughout their territories and creating an economic system that stretched from the Pacific to the Mediterranean.

Yet sometime near the end of the century, censors cut a section about…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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