Last month, I shared some history or historical books to read for Black History Month (or anytime, really). So, I thought I’d do the same thing for Women’s History Month! I stuck to books I’ve read and feel confident recommending (most of the books recommended under the main suggestions are books still on my TBR). This list is entirely nonfiction, because you all know I love nonfiction and when better to read it than during a month celebrating history?
Here are the history books books I think would be perfect to read for Women’s History Month (or all the time, your choice):
A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft. No list of women’s history books would be complete without the Mother of Feminism. I’ve read this several times, and each time, I discover something new. It’s such a great book because not only is it a glimpse into 18th century gender politics, it’s also extremely relevant today. Also worth reading: A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. This is a brilliant graphic memoir about a woman coming of age during the Islamic Revolution. It might be more recent history, but it’s still history. And it’s definitely worth learning more about since it’s not something most of us learn about in school.
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. There are plenty of other books about female scientists (don’t worry, they’re all on my TBR), but this is the only one I’ve read so far. While it isn’t quite as good as the movie, it’s still a great look at a group of women who helped change the world by sending the first astronaut into space (and bringing him back safely) using their skills in computer science and math, two fields that almost exclusively employed men. For more women in science, also check out: Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt, The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, and Radium Girls by Kate Moore.
Queens of the Conquest by Alison Weir. I am a massive fan of Alison Weir – both her fiction and nonfiction – and this book is no exception. Not only is it a great history book about England’s Medieval Queens, it is immensely entertaining. If you think all history books are dry, read this one. It’s like The Real Housewives of Medieval England and it just as crazy as you’d imagine. (Really, almost anything by Alison Weir would make a great Women’s History Month read.) If you’re curious about European/British women’s history, these books are also on my TBR: She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor, Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution by Caroline Weber, and The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Alison Weir.
A History of the Wife by Marilyn Yalom. This was actually an extremely interesting look at the role of the wife in Western culture. I do wish it had been more universal, but I still think it’s worth learning about how domestic roles and expectations influenced how so many women lived. If a micro history about women sounds interesting, Marilyn Yalom has quite a few others. I’m planning on picking up The Birth of the Chess Queen (about how she came to be and gradually became the most powerful piece on the board) soon, but I’m also really curious about her History of the Breast.
The Little Book of Feminist Saints by Julia Pierpont. This is a fun little book honoring one hundred exceptional women throughout history. If you want a quick read for Women’s History Month, you can’t go wrong with this one – there is just one page dedicated to each woman. The illustrations are fun, and you learn a lot about a lot of great women. Definitely also check out Bygone Badass Broads by Mackenzi Lee, which is somehow still on my TBR. Maybe I’ll read it this month…
I hope you enjoyed this post! Are there any books you’d add to this list? Or are there any women’s history books you’re planning to read this month? Let me know in the comments!