100 books like Women's Sports

By Jaime Schultz,

Here are 100 books that Women's Sports fans have personally recommended if you like Women's Sports. 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 Sport: A Very Short Introduction

Wray Vamplew Author Of Games People Played: A Global History of Sports

From my list on history books to find out why sport matters.

Who am I?

I love sport. I played my last game of cricket when I was 69 and, as I approach my eightieth year, I continue to play golf, confusing my partners by switching from right to left hand when chipping and putting. I like watching sport but prefer to spectate via television rather than being there. I confess I do not fully understand American sports: I cannot fathom why a hit over the fence in baseball can score 1, 2, 3, or 4 rather than the undisputed 6 of cricket; and, while I admire the strategies of American football, I wonder why a ‘touchdown’ does not actually involve touching down.

Wray's book list on history books to find out why sport matters

Wray Vamplew Why did Wray love this book?

In the late 1990s I asked Mike Cronin to join me in the International Centre for Sports History and Culture that I had set up at De Montfort University. Initially he was wary. He later told me that, although he saw me as a leader in the development of sports history, he also viewed me as a strange, perhaps outdated creature: the economic historian. I welcomed him to Jurassic Park. I admire this book because Mike covers world sporting development in just 40,000 words, a task that took me over 100,000 more (but mine is cheaper by the page!). More significantly it was the starting point for my own global venture and it stimulated me to take off my economic blinkers and consider social, cultural, and political issues.

By Mike Cronin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Sport is big business; international in nature and the focus of much media and cultural attention. In this Very Short Introduction, Mike Cronin charts the history of sport, from its traditional origins in folk football and cock fighting to its position as a global phenomenon today. Looking at a variety of sports from team games such as rugby, cricket, and football to games for individuals such as golf, tennis, and skiing, he considers how these first emerged
and captivated the interest of ordinary people, and how sport has been transformed within our daily lives.

Exploring the relationship between sport and…


Book cover of The 1972 Munich Olympics

Wray Vamplew Author Of Games People Played: A Global History of Sports

From my list on history books to find out why sport matters.

Who am I?

I love sport. I played my last game of cricket when I was 69 and, as I approach my eightieth year, I continue to play golf, confusing my partners by switching from right to left hand when chipping and putting. I like watching sport but prefer to spectate via television rather than being there. I confess I do not fully understand American sports: I cannot fathom why a hit over the fence in baseball can score 1, 2, 3, or 4 rather than the undisputed 6 of cricket; and, while I admire the strategies of American football, I wonder why a ‘touchdown’ does not actually involve touching down.

Wray's book list on history books to find out why sport matters

Wray Vamplew Why did Wray love this book?

In this narrative of the Munich Olympic Games the authors demonstrate that sport and politics were closely intertwined. Much of the planning for the event was based on that of the 1936 Nazi extravaganza but aimed at promoting a different international image, that of German post-war modernity: this at a time when Cold War tensions were easing, with neighbouring East Germany receiving IOC recognition and entering a team under its own flag. The Black September terrorist attack is dealt with briefly and more time is spent discussing the political aftermath, both short and long-term. The book supports my belief that sport is intensely political: sometimes even picking a team is a political act and claiming that sport and politics do not mix is actually a political statement.

By Kay Schiller, Christopher Young,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 1972 Munich Olympics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 1972 Munich Olympics - remembered almost exclusively for the devastating terrorist attack on the Israeli team - were intended to showcase the New Germany and replace lingering memories of the Third Reich. That hope was all but obliterated in the early hours of September 5, when gun-wielding Palestinians murdered 11 members of the Israeli team. In the first cultural and political history of the Munich Olympics, Kay Schiller and Christopher Young set these Games into both the context of 1972 and the history of the modern Olympiad. Delving into newly available documents, Schiller and Young chronicle the impact of…


Book cover of Match Fixing and Sport: Historical Perspectives

Wray Vamplew Author Of Games People Played: A Global History of Sports

From my list on history books to find out why sport matters.

Who am I?

I love sport. I played my last game of cricket when I was 69 and, as I approach my eightieth year, I continue to play golf, confusing my partners by switching from right to left hand when chipping and putting. I like watching sport but prefer to spectate via television rather than being there. I confess I do not fully understand American sports: I cannot fathom why a hit over the fence in baseball can score 1, 2, 3, or 4 rather than the undisputed 6 of cricket; and, while I admire the strategies of American football, I wonder why a ‘touchdown’ does not actually involve touching down.

Wray's book list on history books to find out why sport matters

Wray Vamplew Why did Wray love this book?

The uncertainty of the result is a bedrock of sport. Yet, although it should not be pre-determined, it does happen. Gambling interests, the very people who developed rules for many early sports, can persuade competitors (by threats or bribes) not to perform to the best of their abilities. The book shows that cheating to lose has a long history dating back to Antiquity, when fines on cheating competitors paid for statues to commemorate the gods. I have never believed in the purity of sport and its participants. Sport may well breed character, a mantra of the sports lobby, but, I suggest, not necessarily good character. The book appeals to me as it shows how historians can dig out evidence on activities which, to be successful, must be covert.

By Mike Huggins (editor), Rob Hess (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Match-Fixing and Sport studies match-fixing in historical perspective, revealing how match-fixing has always been a major sporting continuity, alongside another longstanding continuity, a widely-held belief in a mythical recent past of pristine purity.

The volume begins with a brief overview of match-fixing's global contemporary contexts, the broad range of sports where it now surfaces, increased recognition of its moral, social, and economic threat, and the varied responses of leading sports organizations, legal gambling operators, police forces, governmental departments, and regulators. The following chapters explore the challenges of finding any reliable evidence of match-fixing in the past. An overview shows that…


Book cover of Aboriginal People and Australian Football in the Nineteenth Century: They Did Not Come from Nowhere

Wray Vamplew Author Of Games People Played: A Global History of Sports

From my list on history books to find out why sport matters.

Who am I?

I love sport. I played my last game of cricket when I was 69 and, as I approach my eightieth year, I continue to play golf, confusing my partners by switching from right to left hand when chipping and putting. I like watching sport but prefer to spectate via television rather than being there. I confess I do not fully understand American sports: I cannot fathom why a hit over the fence in baseball can score 1, 2, 3, or 4 rather than the undisputed 6 of cricket; and, while I admire the strategies of American football, I wonder why a ‘touchdown’ does not actually involve touching down.

Wray's book list on history books to find out why sport matters

Wray Vamplew Why did Wray love this book?

Indigenous populations too have had a raw deal: from settlers who took their land and from those who felt they knew what was best for them. Although among the lesser sinners, sports historians have disregarded their traditional sports and focussed on their participation in sports imposed on them by invading powers. In contrast, Australian Aborigines feature in Roy Hay’s book as sportspersons in their own right. Hay shows that they were human beings who performed a constructive role in Australia’s sporting history. He does this not as a woke, bleeding heart academic but as a historian determined to unearth the ‘true’ story of Aboriginal participation in Australian Rules Football. As an Australian citizen I wanted to read this story.

By Roy Hay,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aboriginal People and Australian Football in the Nineteenth Century as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book will revolutionise the history of Indigenous involvement in Australian football in the second half of the nineteenth century. It collects new evidence to show how Aboriginal people saw the cricket and football played by those who had taken their land and resources and forced their way into them in the missions and stations around the peripheries of Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. They learned the game and brought their own skills to it, eventually winning local leagues and earning the respect of their contemporaries. They were prevented from reaching higher levels by the gatekeepers of the domestic…


Book cover of Biology at Work: Rethinking Sexual Equality

Stephen K. Sanderson Author Of Human Nature and the Evolution of Society

From my list on understanding the biological basis of social life.

Who am I?

I have a PhD in sociology but know almost as much about anthropology. I am a comparative sociologist specializing in the study of the entire range of human societies. This gives me an advantage in knowing which social practices are universal, which are only common, and which are uncommon or not found at all. This is critical in being able to assess the basic features of human nature. For over thirty years I have been studying the literature on Darwinian approaches to human behavior, especially sociobiology and evolutionary psychology. I am one of the leading sociologists in the world today studying the biological basis of social behavior. 

Stephen's book list on understanding the biological basis of social life

Stephen K. Sanderson Why did Stephen love this book?

The author challenges the prevailing orthodoxy that the differences between men and women, and their respective roles in the work world, are the result of differential socialization. His view is that there are important biological differences between the sexes that lead them to choose different kinds of work. Women, for example, prefer jobs that involve working with people whereas men prefer working with things. Women also frequently choose part-time work because this allows them to spend more time with their children. Men are more likely than women to compete for high-status jobs because they are naturally more competitive than women. Male-female differences have been shaped over hundreds of thousands of years by evolution.

By Kingsley R. Browne,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Does biology help explain why women, on average, earn less money than men? Is there any evolutionary basis for the scarcity of female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies? According to Kingsley Browne, the answer may be yes.

Biology at Work brings an evolutionary perspective to bear on issues of women in the workplace: the "glass ceiling," the "gender gap" in pay, sexual harassment, and occupational segregation. While acknowledging the role of discrimination and sexist socialization, Browne suggests that until we factor real biological differences between men and women into the equation, the explanation remains incomplete.

Browne looks at behavioral differences…


Book cover of Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud

Lisa Lindquist Dorr Author Of White Women, Rape, and the Power of Race in Virginia, 1900-1960

From my list on sex in the past.

Who am I?

Over my twenty years as a historian, the common thread in my work is the gap between how people are supposed to behave and how they actually do behave. From interracial sexual relationships in the segregated South, to rum smuggling from Cuba during Prohibition, to abortion on college campuses before Roe, I'm interested in how people work around rules they don’t like. And rules about sex are some of the most ignored rules of all. Reading about strange beliefs and common desires connect us to our ancestors. Being a professor of history at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama allows me to research bad behavior in the past to my heart’s content.

Lisa's book list on sex in the past

Lisa Lindquist Dorr Why did Lisa love this book?

We assume people have always recognized two sexes, male and female. But did they? In the past, people believed men and women were the same sex; women were just incomplete, unfinished men. Men and women had the same sexual organs, with women’s located internally. Surprisingly, if conditions were right, women could even turn into men. They also thought women needed to achieve orgasm to conceive.  That’s right. For over a thousand years of western history, women’s sexual pleasure was as important as men’s. 

By Thomas Laqueur,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a book about the making and unmaking of sex over the centuries. It tells the astonishing story of sex in the West from the ancients to the moderns in a precise account of developments in reproductive anatomy and physiology. We cannot fail to recognize the players in Thomas Laqueur's story-the human sexual organs and pleasures, food, blood, semen, egg, sperm-but we will be amazed at the plots into which they have been woven by scientists, political activists, literary figures, and theorists of every stripe.

Laqueur begins with the question of why, in the late eighteenth century, woman's orgasm…


Book cover of Woman: An Intimate Geography

Mara Altman Author Of Gross Anatomy: Dispatches from the Front

From my list on the human body to deepen your appreciation.

Who am I?

People, including me, can be so uptight about their bodies. Early on in my career, I found that writing about my shame (chin hair!) or embarrassment (dogs sniffing my crotch!) helped the stigma go away. Researching and learning about how amazing our bodies are helped empower me to feel confident and comfortable being fully myself. I think it can do the same for others, too. My takeaway: There is greatness in our grossness. 

Mara's book list on the human body to deepen your appreciation

Mara Altman Why did Mara love this book?

Angier is probably the most poetic, yet fun science writer around. She could even make the anatomy of a rug sound fascinating, so it is with a subject such as the woman’s body that she was able to truly soar. It’s a science book that you won’t be able to put down. I read it all in one day while belly flopped over my bed. Interpreting female body facts through a feminist lens – I mean, 8,000 nerve endings in the clitoris! Tell me more about that! 

By Natalie Angier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book brings to the understanding of the female body the talents of one of the most gifted science writers in English. Beginning with the egg & ending with the love of the female body is the template in this witty, searching, gleefully opinionated book. 'The idea of the body as a package of discrete organs, each operating independently of one another, is fast becoming outmoded & nearly useless. In fact, the interactions between organ systems are what count; they make us who we are,' says Angier. These interactions have stories to tell about the sources of aggression & sexuality,…


Book cover of Silences

Linda Lawrence Hunt Author Of Bold Spirit: Helga Estby's Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America

From my list on innovative women who overcame silencing.

Who am I?

While a history student at the University of Washington I became aware that courses never included more than a paragraph on the important contributions of women, such as Eleanor Roosevelt or Jane Addams. I longed to know more. What gave some women motivation to defy conventions and use their talents?  When I first learned that Helga Estby’s audacious achievement was silenced for over 100 years, it launched me into over 15 years of research trying to recover this forgotten woman’s story.  As a writing professor for twenty years, I saw how assigning papers that led to exploring and understanding the women in one’s family background deeply enriched college students' lives.

Linda's book list on innovative women who overcame silencing

Linda Lawrence Hunt Why did Linda love this book?

Olsen’s landmark book (1994) sheds light on how the writings and creativity of marginalized women and working-class people are often disenfranchised and the circumstances and forces that seek to silence them. I discovered her seminal ideas while in the midst of writing my Ph.D. dissertation at Gonzaga University on Helga Estby that emerged later as Bold Spirit. I was trying to figure out why her family burned hundreds of the pages Helga secretly wrote of her audacious journey across America. This evolved into my closing chapter in Bold Spirit on “the silencing of family stories,” which prompts readers to consider their own family silences. She raises important questions, especially for writers, on what nurtures creativity. 

By Tillie Olsen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A study of the crucial relationship between circumstances - of sex, economic class, colour, the times and climate into which one is born - and creativity. The book draws on the lives, letters, diaries and testimonies of writers such as Melville, Hardy, Blake and Rimbaud. Tillie Olsen focuses on the financial and cultural pressures which obstructed, or silenced, their work. She then turns to those who have lost most: women writers, their energies deflected into domesticity and motherhood; black American writers, only 11 of whom published more than two novels from 1850-1950.


Book cover of Savage Appetites: True Stories of Women, Crime, and Obsession

Elizabeth Greenwood Author Of Love Lockdown: Dating, Sex, and Marriage in America's Prisons

From my list on true crime-adjacent stories.

Who am I?

When asked to describe the nonfiction genre I work in, I often say “true crime-adjacent,” meaning that while there is crime in my books, I’m more interested in the people, circumstances, and culture in which those crimes occur than the act itself. I love books that go deep into character analysis and motivation, as well as the author’s inclination toward the subject. These true crime-adjacent books are all-absorbing, thought-provoking page-turners, with stories so wild you won’t believe they’re completely real. 

Elizabeth's book list on true crime-adjacent stories

Elizabeth Greenwood Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Women are the top consumers of true crime. But why, when the stories so often feature women as victims of violence? New Yorker journalist Rachel Monroe profiles four different women in the roles of Detective, Victim, Defender, and Killer to see what it’s all about. The reporting and context in this book are staggering, and Monroe’s writing is both critical and empathic. 

By Rachel Monroe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A “necessary and brilliant” (NPR) exploration of our cultural fascination with true crime told through four “enthralling” (The New York Times Book Review) narratives of obsession.

In Savage Appetites,Rachel Monroe links four criminal roles—Detective, Victim, Defender, and Killer—to four true stories about women driven by obsession. From a frustrated and brilliant heiress crafting crime-scene dollhouses to a young woman who became part of a Manson victim’s family, from a landscape architect in love with a convicted murderer to a Columbine fangirl who planned her own mass shooting, these women are alternately mesmerizing, horrifying, and sympathetic. A revealing study of women’s…


Book cover of Becoming Your Spouse's Better Half: Why Differences Make a Marriage Great

Jay Payleitner Author Of 52 Things Wives Need from Their Husbands: What Husbands Can Do to Build a Stronger Marriage

From my list on for husbands to get less nagging and more nookie.

Who am I?

After a decade writing advertising for airlines and beer, I found myself working as a freelance radio producer for thousands of radio broadcasts for Chuck Colson, Josh McDowell, Fathers.com, Heritage Foundation, and Voice of the Martyrs. Later, I reinvented myself as a national speaker and best-selling author of 25+ books including 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad, Don’t Take the Bait to Escalate, and What If God Wrote Your Bucket List? with sales approaching one million copies. My wife Rita and I live near Chicago, where we raised five awesome kids, loved on ten foster babies, and are cherishing grandparenthood.

Jay's book list on for husbands to get less nagging and more nookie

Jay Payleitner Why did Jay love this book?

This book delivers solid ideas on a successful marriage from a man’s perspective. Johnson’s approach may feel a little old-fashioned, where the man is the strong provider and the woman is the nurturer and she even has power over him because of her feminine wiles. But you know what? It works! Let’s face it, men and women have different world views and priorities. Johnson’s style is sly, fun, and relatable.

By Rick Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Becoming Your Spouse's Better Half as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's no secret that men and women are different. And it's no secret that they don't always get along because of these differences, even when they love each other. But having a successful marriage is not about finding the perfect person to marry. It's about loving someone in an unselfish, Christlike manner. Whatever we want out of marriage--unconditional love, forgiveness, passion--that is what we have to give to our spouse. Rick Johnson shows couples how to go beyond merely tolerating each other's differences to using those God-given differences to add spice and passion to their relationship.


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