Books for Women’s History Month
By; Amber Hoskins
From the beginning of time, women have been contributing to the world’s history in various ways. Often times overlooked, more recent years have led to a surge in books that explore the achievements and struggles of women throughout the ages. Since it is Women’s History Month, this is a great time to explore some of what Manhattan Public Library has to offer. As I was looking through our catalog, I found that there is are myriad of books to choose from, but luckily, I somehow found a way to narrow it down to five books for this session.
The first book, “Lady Killers” by Tori Telfer and with illustrations by Dame Darcy, caught my eye right off the bat. As a fan of true crime and psychology, this is probably the book that I found most entertaining of them all. Telfer challenges the stereotype of the male serial killer by showcasing the stories of women who have committed gruesome murders. The book examines the motivations and psychological makeup of these women, shedding light on a subject that is often sensationalized in popular culture. This book is a great reminder that all humans are equally capable when it comes to committing evil deeds.
Because I am also a fan of medical science, I wanted to make sure I got a book on this topic as well. In the past, women have faced exclusion when it comes to medicine and research. “Women in White Coats: How the First Women Doctors Changed the World of Medicine,” by Olivia Campbell, tells the stories of pioneering women in the medical field. This book explores the difficulties that were faced in a male-dominated field and celebrates the achievements of those who persevered. From Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in the United States, to Mary Edwards Walker, who became a surgeon during the Civil War, this book highlights the impact that these women had on the future of curative arts and society.
If you are a fan of graphic novels, “Wake, The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts” by Rebecca Hall with illustrations by Hugo Martínez, might be something of interest to you. Hall, who is a granddaughter of slaves, gives us insight on how black women were key players in the fight for freedom. From the journey of slave ships through the Middle Passage, to the revolts in colonial New York, these brave women are celebrated for their courage to fight back against those who constrained them. Hall’s research through historical court records and slave ship captains’ logs allows her to bring the story to vivid life alongside the images in the book.
Similarly, “The Light of Days” by Judy Batalion is another riveting account of defiance. This story revolves around the Jewish resistance in Poland during World War II, with a particular focus on the role that women played in the movement. This book came about through extensive research and interviews with surviving members of the resistance. Known as “Ghetto Girls,” some of them only teenagers, these heroines built underground bunkers, smuggled bread and guns, and ultimately saved countless lives.
Finally, in “History vs. Women: The Defiant Lives They Don’t Want You to Know” by Anita Sarkeesian and Ebony Adams, with illustrations by T.S. Abe, we are presented with a collection of stories about women from different eras. Sarkeesian and Adams cover a broad range of fields, from science to politics, and from rebels to scholars. This book has good illustrations and includes short biographies. I really enjoyed this one for its entertaining way of presenting information. I also liked that it had several people that I knew of but had not found in a book before.
For me, these five books are essential reading for anyone interested in the stories of women who have made a significant impact in various fields. However, we do have a vast collection of books on the subject of women’s history that is sure to entertain anyone interested in learning more. If you are into history dating back to the Middle Ages, we recently added a couple of books that reevaluate how women were treated during this era. They are “Femina” by Janina Ramirez, and “The Once and Future Sex” by Eleanor Janega. This article is only covering a tiny fraction of what MPL has to offer on the subject of women, so I hope you feel encouraged to browse our collections for something you will enjoy.