87 books like Women Warriors

By Pamela D. Toler,

Here are 87 books that Women Warriors fans have personally recommended if you like Women Warriors. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper

Sarah Horowitz Author Of The Red Widow: The Scandal that Shook Paris and the Woman Behind it All

From my list on scandalous women you’ve never heard of.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved reading about women who lived in earlier eras, whether that was through nonfiction or historical fiction. Books gave me access to worlds beyond my own and I loved thinking about what I would do in a particular situation, whether I would have made the same choices as the women I was reading about. I suppose it’s no surprise that I have a Ph.D. in history and teach European history. I love sharing my passion for the past and I hope you love the books I recommended as much as I do!

Sarah's book list on scandalous women you’ve never heard of

Sarah Horowitz Why did Sarah love this book?

Ok, so I’m cheating a little bit here. A lot of people have heard of the women Rubenhold writes about because they’re famous for being Jack the Ripper’s victims.

And for many of the women, what they did was not particularly scandalous, since Rubenhold goes a long way to show that not all of them were streetwalkers. But this book is such a beautiful and heartbreaking read. It’s a meticulous and gripping reconstruction of the lives of women we thought we knew but don’t. She brings nineteenth-century London alive in a way that few authors have – when I read the book, I felt like I was there.

By Hallie Rubenhold,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE #1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NONFICTION 2019
'An angry and important work of historical detection, calling time on the misogyny that has fed the Ripper myth. Powerful and shaming' GUARDIAN

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.

What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888.

Their murderer was never identified, but…


Book cover of The Lost: The Search for Six of Six Million

Shelley Puhak Author Of The Dark Queens: The Bloody Rivalry That Forged the Medieval World

From my list on nonfiction about overlooked historical figures.

Who am I?

As a child, I was drawn to the silences in family stories and as a young adult, the gaps in official records. Now I’m a former English professor turned full-time writer who is fascinated with who gets written out of history, and why. I love exploring overlooked lives, especially women’s lives—from Stalin’s female relatives to nineteenth-century shopgirls, and most recently, a pair of early medieval queens.

Shelley's book list on nonfiction about overlooked historical figures

Shelley Puhak Why did Shelley love this book?

If you’ve ever found yourself obsessed with a family mystery, you’ll be captivated by The Lost. Mendelsohn had always wondered what happened to his great-uncle and aunt, and their four daughters, during the Holocaust. His search starts with ordinary genealogical curiosity but quickly spirals into an epic quest. I admire Mendelsohn’s elegant, lyrical prose and was swept up in his ruminations on what we owe the past. His discoveries are heartbreaking but they also spark hope—by rescuing one ordinary family from oblivion.

By Daniel Mendelsohn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A writer's search for his family's tragic past in World War II becomes a remarkably original and riveting epic, brilliantly exploring the nature of time and memory.

'The Lost' begins as the story of a boy who grew up in a family haunted by the disappearance of six relatives during the Holocaust - an unmentionable subject that gripped his imagination from earliest childhood. Decades later, spurred by the discovery of a cache of desperate letters written to his grandfather in 1939, Daniel Mendelsohn sets out to find the remaining eyewitnesses to his relative's fates. The quest takes him to a…


Book cover of Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts

John Wood Sweet Author Of The Sewing Girl's Tale: A Story of Crime and Consequences in Revolutionary America

From my list on Revolutionary America focus on the lives of women.

Who am I?

I'm an American historian and former director of UNC-Chapel Hill's Program in Sexuality Studies—and former pizza maker, gas pumper, park ranger, and tour guide at the house in which Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women. As a historian, I've spent my career trying to understand the lives of people in early American history who weren't well known at the time. In writing the Sewing Girl's Tale, which focuses on a survivor of a sexual assault, it was especially important to keep her at the center of the story. Ultimately, I wanted to know: What was life in the aftermath of the American Revolution like—not for some Founding Father—but for an ordinary young woman.

John's book list on Revolutionary America focus on the lives of women

John Wood Sweet Why did John love this book?

This book brings the format of a graphic novel to the subject of women's resistance during enslavement and the trans-Altantic slave trade—and the result is fresh and compelling. As a historian myself, I appreciated the interwtined narratives of Hall's own research quest as a historian following the documentary record—and her reconstruction of the extraordinary revolt of the women held captive in 1772 on the slave-ship Unity. Both the search for truth and the dramatic uprising are conveyed with great skill and emotional power. The account of the Unity revolt calls attention to what we know, how we know it, and what we don't know. But Hall refuses to stop there. Instead, carefully marking speculation as such, Hall offers a fascinating, well-informed, effort to imagine a fuller account of what might have actually happened. We are left with a powerful sense of why this history matters two and a half…

By Rebecca Hall, Hugo Martínez (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A must-read graphic history. . . an inspired and inspiring defence of heroic women whose struggles could be fuel for a more just future' Guardian

'Not only a riveting tale of Black women's leadership of slave revolts but an equally dramatic story of the engaged scholarship that enabled its discovery' Angela Y. Davis

Women warriors planned and led slave revolts on slave ships during the passage across the Atlantic. They fought their enslavers throughout the Americas. And then they were erased from history.

In Wake Rebecca Hall, a historian, a granddaughter of slaves, and a woman haunted by the legacy…


Book cover of The Perfect Prince: The Mystery of Perkin Warbeck and His Quest for the Throne of England

Shelley Puhak Author Of The Dark Queens: The Bloody Rivalry That Forged the Medieval World

From my list on nonfiction about overlooked historical figures.

Who am I?

As a child, I was drawn to the silences in family stories and as a young adult, the gaps in official records. Now I’m a former English professor turned full-time writer who is fascinated with who gets written out of history, and why. I love exploring overlooked lives, especially women’s lives—from Stalin’s female relatives to nineteenth-century shopgirls, and most recently, a pair of early medieval queens.

Shelley's book list on nonfiction about overlooked historical figures

Shelley Puhak Why did Shelley love this book?

I love gorgeous sentences alongside a good mystery, and Wroe expertly crafts both. A decade after the Princes in the Tower were presumed murdered, a charismatic young man appeared, claiming to be the younger of the two princes—Richard, Duke of York. His enemies, though, said he was a boatman’s son named Perkin Warbeck. So who was he really? Wroe’s meditation on appearance and identity has even more resonance in the Instagram-era than it did when it was first published. What does it mean to “look the part”? And what matters most—who we think we are, or who others think we might be? 

By Ann Wroe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1491, as Machiavelli advised popes and princes and Leonardo da Vinci astonished the art world, a young man boarded a ship in Portugal bound for Ireland. He would be greeted upon arrival as the rightful heir to the throne of England. The trouble was, England already had a king.

The most intriguing and ambitious pretender in history, this elegant young man was celebrated throughout Europe as the prince he claimed to be: Richard, Duke of York, the younger of the “Princes in the Tower” who were presumed to have been murdered almost a decade earlier. Handsome, well-mannered, and charismatic,…


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 Women and the First World War

Alison Fell Author Of Women as Veterans in Britain and France After the First World War

From my list on women and the First World War.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by the First World War ever since I read Vera Brittain’s Testament of Youth at the age of 19. When I lived in France in my twenties I started to read French nurses’ memoirs and diaries, and for the last fifteen years or so have continued to read and write about women’s experiences during and after the war as a university academic researcher, often from a comparative perspective. Men’s stories and memories of the First World War still dominate our understanding of it, but I believe that women’s perspectives give us a vital and often overlooked insight into the war and its consequences.

Alison's book list on women and the First World War

Alison Fell Why did Alison love this book?

This is an excellent introduction to the varied experiences of women in the war, both those on active service as workers or volunteers, those who were victims of the war, fleeing their homes as refugees, and those who remained at home, carrying out domestic roles as wives and mothers in what were often difficult circumstances. It is a book I regularly recommend to my students. Although no book could cover all nations and contexts in a four-year global war, it shows not only how the war had an impact on millions of women’s lives, but also how women’s actions had significant impacts on the war and its legacies. It has a useful chronology of the war, and a good bibliography for further reading.

By Susan R. Grayzel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Women and the First World War provides an introduction to the experiences and contributions of women during this important turning point in history. In addition to exploring women's relationship to the war in each of the main protagonist states, the book also looks at the wide-ranging effects of the war on women in Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and North America. Topical in its approach, the book highlights: The heated public debates about women's social. cultural and political roles that the war inspired Thier varied experiences of war Women's representation in propaganda Their roles in peace movements and revolutionary activity…


Book cover of Our Fighting Sisters: Nation, Memory and Gender in Algeria, 1954-2012

Jessica Ayesha Northey Author Of Civil Society in Algeria: Activism, Identity and the Democratic Process

From my list on understanding the importance of Algerian History.

Who am I?

I have loved Algeria since I lived there for 3 years from 2007. The experiences of the 20th century, particularly the War of Independence, make Algeria such an important country. The anti-colonial War overturned an entrenched colonialism, not only in Algeria, but set in train a movement for freedom across an entire continent. I have written extensively on the growth of civil society associations and how these helped people recover from tragedies; and more recently, the developments that sprung from the Algerian Hirak of 2019. This saw millions of protesters march peacefully, for over a year, to bring about significant changes and new understandings of citizenship in the 21st century.

Jessica's book list on understanding the importance of Algerian History

Jessica Ayesha Northey Why did Jessica love this book?

Our Fighting Sisters is a wonderful, inspiring, and stylishly written book, drawing on in-depth interviews with celebrated women fighters from the liberation struggle in Algeria.

It is one of the first books to fully engage with the experiences of women who lived through the struggles of the Independence War. It documents the roles women played, both as intellectuals and combatants, in overturning the brutal colonial rule, thus liberating Algeria and in many ways, the African continent.

It still has implications for the future of resistance movements in Algeria and beyond. 

By Natalya Vince,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Between 1954 and 1962, Algerian women played a major role in the struggle to end French rule in one of the twentieth century's most violent wars of decolonisation. This is the first in-depth exploration of what happened to these women after independence in 1962. Based on new oral history interviews with women who participated in the war in a wide range of roles, from urban bombers to members of the rural guerrilla support network, it explores how female veterans viewed the post-independence state and its multiple discourses on 'the Algerian woman' in the fifty years following 1962. It also examines…


Book cover of The Women's Fight: The Civil War's Battles for Home, Freedom, and Nation

Nancy A. Hewitt Author Of Radical Friend: Amy Kirby Post and Her Activist Worlds

From my list on racial politics and women’s activism in the US.

Who am I?

In Rochester, New York, where I was raised, Susan Anthony and Frederick Douglass are local heroes. But in the late 1960s, I was drawn more to grassroots movements than charismatic leaders. Despite dropping out of college—twice—I completed a B.A. in 1974 and then pursued a PhD in History. My 1981 dissertation and first book focused on three networks of mainly white female activists in nineteenth-century Rochester. Of the dozens of women I studied, Amy Post most clearly epitomized the power of interracial, mixed-sex, and cross-class movements for social justice. After years of inserting Post in articles, textbooks, and websites, I finally published Radical Friend in hopes of inspiring scholars and activists to follow her lead. 

Nancy's book list on racial politics and women’s activism in the US

Nancy A. Hewitt Why did Nancy love this book?

Thavolia Glymph analyzes the many ways that women—white and Black, enslaved and free, North and South—sought to promote or constrain the radical transformations promised by the Civil War. She interweaves well-known stories of white nurses and teachers and northern white feminists who labored to expand their claims on the nation with the lesser-known efforts of free, fugitive, and self-emancipated Black women and poor and working-class white women to ensure that the war led to greater liberty. Even some plantation mistresses became more politically active in efforts to impede Union military campaigns. This powerful book expands our concept of activism, forcing us to rethink its many meanings, sites, and goals in times of crisis. 

By Thavolia Glymph,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Historians of the Civil War often speak of "wars within a war--the military fight, wartime struggles on the home front, and the political and moral battle to preserve the Union and end slavery. In this broadly conceived book, Thavolia Glymph provides a comprehensive new history of women's roles and lives in the Civil War--North and South, white and black, slave and free--showing how women were essentially and fully engaged in all three arenas. Glymph focuses on the ideas and ideologies that drove women's actions, allegiances, and politics. We encounter women as they stood their ground, moved into each other's territory,…


Book cover of Sex and World Peace

Lyla Bashan Author Of Global: An Extraordinary Guide for Ordinary Heroes

From my list on becoming a global citizen and ordinary hero.

Who am I?

In 6th grade I did a report about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, which manifested in a career spanning more than 20 years where I’ve worked for NGOs, the State Department, and the United States Agency for International Development to help make the world a better place. I’ve lived in Guatemala, Tajikistan, Armenia, and Jordan, and travelled throughout Sub-Saharan Africa working on conflict prevention, democracy, governance, and human rights. I’m a firm believer that, no matter your profession, everyone can help make the world a better place – and that’s why I wrote my book and why I read the books on my list – to help make this a reality. 

Lyla's book list on becoming a global citizen and ordinary hero

Lyla Bashan Why did Lyla love this book?

After spending more than 20 years working in the field of international development, I’ve come to the conclusion that gender equality is the key to creating a more peaceful, prosperous, and stable world.

Sex and World Peace affirms my conclusion through in-depth analysis clearly articulating it with hard data - and in an interesting way. The book shows the direct line between gender inequality and state-level conflict, inequality, and suffering.

Even though my experience had led me to this understanding, the book’s ability to explain it backed up by so much statistical analysis blew my mind…in a good way!

By Valerie Hudson, Mary Caprioli, Rose McDermott , Donna Lee Bowen

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sex and World Peace is a groundbreaking demonstration that the security of women is a vital factor in the occurrence of conflict and war, unsettling a wide range of assumptions in political and security discourse. Harnessing an immense amount of data, it relates microlevel violence against women and macrolevel state peacefulness across global settings.

The authors find that the treatment of women informs human interaction at all levels of society. They call attention to the adverse effects on state security of sex-based inequities such as sex ratios favoring males, the practice of polygamy, and lax enforcement of national laws protecting…


Book cover of A Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to Be a Woman

Kathleen Stauffer Author Of Thou Shalt Not

From my list on women’s rights, roles, and limitations over time.

Who am I?

I grew up with five brothers in the 1950-60s and never felt that I could not do whatever they desired to do. Later, I developed a heart for women and children’s rights and a desire for real-life stories about authentic people and their struggles. As I watch the news, television, and observe my daughters and granddaughters, I am intrigued by women’s ever-evolving roles and the courage and perseverance it took for progress. Mary Meier, in Thou Shalt Not, did not  change the world; however, she did give her community much to think about when only the town blacksmith seemed to take an interest in her dire situation—which ultimately leads to a murder.

Kathleen's book list on women’s rights, roles, and limitations over time

Kathleen Stauffer Why did Kathleen love this book?

Inspired by an Oprah episode, Lisa Shannon starts to run for Congo Women—literally. Beginning with a 30-mile run and a deep desire to make a difference, it’s an inspiration as to women’s ever-changing roles, and how one person can start a movement that can impact many. In the Congo, she learns it is the worst place on earth for women to live. Instead of driving her away, her life evolves into something bigger than she could have imagined. My daughter, who had been to Africa herself many years ago, recommended this book. The stamina and courage it took to survive was beyond admiration; it was miraculous. I, at times, wonder how God’s divine plan will playout when I read of such circumstances. But when I read of Lisa’s calling, I am reminded that we are each called to be the hands and feet of Jesus—something bigger than who we are…

By Lisa Shannon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Lisa J. Shannon had a good life-a successful business, a fiance, a home, and security. Then, one day in 2005, an episode of Oprah changed all that. The show focused on women in Congo, the worst place on earth to be a woman. She was awakened to the atrocities there-millions dead, women raped and tortured daily, and children dying in shocking numbers. Shannon felt called to do something. And she did. A Thousand Sisters is her inspiring memoir. She raised money to sponsor Congolese women, beginning with one solo 30-mile run, and then founded a national organization, Run for Congo…


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