Women of Courage

A Kind of Grace: The Autobiography of the World's Greatest Female Athlete

By Jacqueline Joyner-Kersee

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A three-time Olympic gold medalist in the multi-event heptathlon, Jackie Joyner-Kersee is recognized as one of the world's best female athletes. This autobiography tells of her youth in impoverished East St. Louis, Illinois, her fledgling athletic endeavors in high school, her collegiate years at UCLA, and her 12-year career as a world-class heptathlete and long jumper. Jackie recounts her courtship and marriage to her collegiate coach, Bob Kersee, and her struggle to recognize her asthma, making the adjustments that would permit her to continue competing.

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A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France

By Caroline Moorehead

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In January 1943, the Gestapo hunted down 230 women of the French Resistance and sent them to Auschwitz. This is their story, told in full for the first time--a searing and unforgettable chronicle of terror, courage, defiance, survival, and the power of friendship to transcend evil that is an essential addition to the history of World War II.

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A Woman of Egypt

By Jihan Sadat

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"This is an autobiography by Jehan Sadat, widow of Anwar el Sadat, tracing her early life in Cairo where she had a middle-class Egyptian upbringing, to when she was 17 and fell in love with a divorced revolutionary. She recounts how she and Anwar Sadat overcame her parents' objections to their marriage and how she was soon the wife of a rising political leader who was an intimate of President Nasser. When the President died unexpectedly, Anwar Sedat succeeded him. Thus Jehan Sadat began her life as wife of a political leader and tells of how she was the first wife of a Muslim leader to have her picture in a newspaper, to travel alone outside her own country and to take up public causes.

"Her courageous achievements in a world dominated by men and strict cultural traditions included reforming the divorce laws, setting up co-operatives for peasant women, nursing wounded veterans from Egypt's wars with Israel and supporting her husband who was under continuous attack. Her story concludes with the events surrounding her husband's assassination by right-wing fundamentalists."

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Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard

By Liz Murray

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"...the stunning memoir of a young woman who at age fifteen was living on the streets, and who eventually made it into Harvard. Liz Murray was born to loving but drug-addicted parents in the Bronx. In school she was taunted for her dirty clothing and lice-infested hair, eventually skipping so many classes that she was put into a girls' home. At age fifteen, Liz found herself on the streets when her family finally unraveled. She learned to scrape by, foraging for food and riding subways all night to have a warm place to sleep. When Liz's mother died of AIDS, she decided to take control of her own destiny and go back to high school, often completing her assignments in the hallways and subway stations where she slept. Liz squeezed four years of high school into two, while homeless; won a New York Times scholarship; and made it into the Ivy League."

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Call Me Anna : The Autobiography of Patty Duke

By Patty Duke and Kenneth Duran

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Patty Duke wrote this autobiographical account of her struggle for survival. Read about her firsts: the youngest actor to win an Oscar and the youngest actor to have a prime-time series bearing her own name, the many difficulties she faced as a child star, the tragic consequences of her long-undiagnosed illness, and her triumphs.

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Diana: A Tribute to the People's Princess

By Peter Donnelly

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The Honorable Diana Frances Spencer's ultimate triumph owed nothing to her marriage to Prince Charles and everything to her inner qualities--an innate ability to understand and connect with ordinary people, especially the desperately sick, the rejected, and the "unloved."

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Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle

By Ingrid Betancourt

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"Ingrid Betancourt tells the story of her captivity in the Colombian jungle, sharing powerful teachings of resilience, resistance, and faith. Born in Bogota, raised in France, Ingrid Betancourt at the age of thirty-two gave up a life of comfort and safety to return to Colombia to become a political leader in a country that was being slowly destroyed by terrorism, violence, fear, and a pervasive sense of hopelessness.

"In 2002, while campaigning as a candidate in the Colombian presidential elections, she was abducted by the FARC. Nothing could have prepared her for what came next. She would spend the next six and a half years in the depths of the jungle as a prisoner of the FARC. Even Silence Has an End is her deeply personal and moving account of that time. Chained day and night for much of her captivity, she never stopped dreaming of escape and, in fact, succeeded in getting away several times, always to be recaptured.

"In her most successful effort she and a fellow captive survived a week away, but were caught when her companion became desperately ill; she learned later that they had been mere miles from freedom. The facts of her story are astounding, but it is Betancourt's indomitable spirit that drives this very special account, bringing life, nuance, and profundity to the narrative. Attending as intimately to the landscape of her mind as she does to the events of her capture and captivity, Even Silence Has an End is a meditation on the very stuff of life-fear and freedom, hope and what inspires it."

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Extraordinary Women of Medicine

By Darlene R. Stille

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Lively narratives briefly profile fifty female medical pioneers, beginning with women healers in ancient times. Chronological chapters proceed to the 1990s. Transitional chapters include First African American Doctors, Golden Age of Women Doctors, and Women in Medical Research.

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Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope

By Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly

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"Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, showed Americans how optimism, an adventurous spirit, and a call to service can help change the world. Their arrival in the spotlight came under the worst of circumstances. On January 8, 2011, while meeting with constituents in Tucson, Arizona, Gabby was the victim of an assassination attempt that left six people dead and thirteen wounded. Gabby was shot in the head; doctors called her survival 'miraculous.'"
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Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not for Sale, an Activist Finds Her Calling and Heals HRachel Lloyderself

By Rachel Lloyd

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"At thirteen, British-born Rachel Lloyd found herself spiraling into a life of torment and abuse. Vulnerable yet tough, she eventually ended up a victim of commercial sexual exploitation, until she broke free of the street and her pimp thanks to the help of a local church. But that was just the beginning. . . . Three years later, Rachel arrived in the United States to work with adult women in the sex industry and soon founded her own nonprofit, GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services), to meet the needs of those shunned by society. She also earned her GED and won full scholarships to college and a graduate program. Today, Lloyd is the director of GEMS in New York City, one of the nation's most groundbreaking nonprofit organizations. In stunning detail and with cinematic style, Lloyd tells her story -- a harrowing and inspirational tale of suffering, recovery, discovery, and nobility."
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