Women of Courage

Jacqueline Joyner-Kersee

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.

Caroline Moorehead

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.

Jihan Sadat
"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."

Liz Murray

"...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."

Patty Duke and Kenneth Duran

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.

Peter Donnelly

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."

Ingrid Betancourt

"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."

Darlene R. Stille

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.

Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly
"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.'"
Rachel Lloyd
"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."
Maxine Hong Kingston

"In her singular voice 'humble, elegiac, practical,' Maxine Hong Kingston sets out to reflect on aging as she turns sixty-five. Kingston's swift, effortlessly flowing verse lines feel instantly natural in this fresh approach to the art of memoir, as she circles from present to past and back, from lunch with a writer friend to the funeral of a Vietnam veteran, from her long marriage ('can't divorce until we get it right. / Love, that is. Get love right') to her arrest at a peace march in Washington, where she and her 'sisters' protested the Iraq war in the George W. Bush years. Kingston embraces Thoreau's notion of a 'broad margin,' hoping to expand her vista: 'I'm standing on top of a hill; / I can see everywhichway / the long way that I came, and the few / places I have yet to go. Treat / my whole life as if it were a day.'

"On her journeys as writer, peace activist, teacher, and mother, Kingston revisits her most beloved characters: she learns the final fate of her Woman Warrior, and she takes her Tripmaster Monkey, a hip Chinese American, on a journey through China, where he has never been, a trip that becomes a beautiful meditation on the country then and now, on a culture where rice farmers still work in the age-old way, even as a new era is dawning. 'All over China,' she writes, 'and places where Chinese are, populations / are on the move, going home. That home / where Mother and Father are buried. Doors / between heaven and earth open wide.' Such is the spirit of this wonderful book; a sense of doors opening wide onto an American life of great purpose and joy, and the tonic wisdom of a writer we have come to cherish."

Irene M. Franck, David M. Brownstone

Presents a history of women around the world from earliest times (prehistory to 499 AD) to the present day (1998). A 10-volume set.

Karenna Gore Schiff

"This inspirational look at nine women who changed modern America profiles Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Mother Jones, Alice Hamilton, Frances Perkins, Virginia Durr, Septima Clark, Dolores Huerta, Dr. Helen Rodriguez-Trias, and Gretchen Buchenholz--women who in their own ways tackled inequity and advocated change."

Jeff Benedict
Susette Kelo was just trying to rebuild her life when she purchased an old house perched on the waterfront in New London, Conn. It wasn't fancy, but with hard work she was able to turn it into a home that was important to her. Little did she know that the City of New London, desperate to revive its flailing economy, wanted to raze her house and others along the waterfront in order to win a lucrative Pfizer pharmaceutical contract that would bring new business into the city. Kelo and fourteen neighbors refused to sell, so the city decided to exercise its power of eminent domain to condemn their homes, launching a case that ultimately reached the Supreme Court. Investigative journalist Jeff Benedict takes us behind the scenes of this case, and Kelo speaks for the first time about how one woman took on corporate America to save her home.
Kathleen Krull
"...turns the spotlight on women who have wielded power, revealing their feats--and flaws--for all the world to see. Here you'll find twenty of the most influential women in history: queens, warriors, prime ministers, first ladies, revolutionary leaders. Some are revered. Others are notorious. What were they really like? In this grand addition to their highly praised series, Kathleen Krull and Kathryn Hewitt celebrate some of the world's most noteworthy women, ranging from the famous to those whose stories have rarely been told." Features twenty extraordinary women:

Cleopatra -- Eleanor of Aquitaine -- Joan of Arc -- Isabella I -- Elizabeth I -- Nzingha -- Catherine the Great -- Marie Antoinette -- Victoria -- Harriet Tubman -- Tz'u-hsi -- Gertrude Bell -- Jeannette Rankin -- Eleanor Roosevelt -- Golda Meir -- Indira Gandhi -- Eva Peron -- Wilma Mankiller -- Aung San Suu Kyi -- Rigoberta Menchu.

Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball wrote this book in the years leading up to 1964 and put it aside to avoid hurting Desi Arnaz. How fortunate we are that it has been found and published. It describes the many years of hard work that it took for her to become the star that we knew.

Susan Quinn

Details the politics and prejudice of the society surrounding Marie Curie, whose study of radioactivity was a watershed of scientific discovery.

Jean P. Sasson
"Mayada was born into a powerful Iraqi family. One grandfather fought alongside Lawrence of Arabia. The other is acclaimed as the first true Arab nationalist. Her uncle was Prime Minister for nearly forty years, her mother an important politician. When Saddam Hussein and his Ba'ath party seized power, and instituted his reign of terror, Mayada found herself alone in Baghdad, a divorced parent of two children, earning a meagre living printing brochures. Until one morning in August 1999 when she was summarily arrested and dragged to the notorious Baladiyat Prison, falsely accused of printing anti-government propaganda.

"There she was thrown into a cell with 17 'shadow women'. Like latter-day Sherezades, these women passed their days, while waiting for the next interrogation and torture session, telling each other their stories. They were eager to hear Mayada's stories of her privileged former life, of the history of her proud family, of kings and queens, of meetings with Saddam himself. Not only the story of a woman intimately connected to Iraq's cultured, ancient history, this book is a powerful witness to the terror and horror wrought by Saddam on the lives and souls of its ordinary citizens."

Condoleezza Rice
Rice shares her unique perspective on the most consequential political, diplomatic, and security issues of the administration. In her own words, she describes the harrowing terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and chronicles her experience of appearing before the 9/11 Commission, for which she was broadly saluted for her grace and forthrightness. She also reveals new details about the contentious debates in the lead-up to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Geoffrey C. Ward

"With contributions by noted historians Ann D. Gordon and Ellen Carol Dubois, and dozens of evocative contemporary photographs, Not for Ourselves Alone provides a view of the suffrage movement through the eyes of the women who fought hardest for it. 'We are sowing winter wheat,' Stanton confided to her diary, 'which the coming spring will see sprout and which other hands than ours will reap and enjoy.' Indeed, neither Stanton nor Anthony lived to be able to cast a ballot. But Burns and Ward have assured them of a larger place in the American memory--as is their right."

This book was written in conjunction with Ken Burns' documentary.

A'Lelia Bundles

The daughter of slaves, Madam C. J. Walker was orphaned at seven, married at 14, and widowed at 20. On Her Own Ground is a comprehensive biography of an unusual entrepreneur and philanthropist. Contains personal letters, records, and rare photographs from the family collection.

Peter Conn

This vivid biography of the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Good Earth recounts Buck's life in relation to the course of American and Chinese history and politics in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Mireya Mayor; foreword by Jane Goodall

"Who wears pink hiking boots into the jungle, packs a little black dress (because you never know), and tracks wild animals like she's stalking a cheating boyfriend? Dr. Mireya Mayor: Nat Geo WILD channel host, National Geographic Emerging Explorer, and primatological goddess who is redefining what it means to 'have it all' for a new generation of women. Pink Boots and a Machete tells the unlikely story of a first-generation Cuban-American girlie girl who forges her way from her uber-protected suburban upbringing to NFL cheerleader to death-defying adventures around the globe. With plenty of field studies under her belt, Mayor vividly details her own back-story and relives her most thrilling adventures. Whether she is diving with sharks or standing down a gorilla, this compelling and often hilarious memoir reveals her relentless determination, indomitable spirit, and above all, fierce love of animals and commitment to protecting them."

Linda J. Lear

This biography shows how Rachel Carson, already a famous nature writer and determined woman, became an environmental reformer.

Douglas Brinkley

Read this short, concise biography to learn about the woman behind the myth. Far from being a tired seamstress, Rosa Parks was a bright and inquisitive woman, willing to risk everything for what she believed. The book chronicles her disappointments and disillusionment as well as her essential strength.

Also available on audio.

Helen Castor

"When Edward VI died in 1553, the extraordinary fact was that there was no one left to claim the title of king of England. For the first time, England would have a reigning queen, but the question was which one: Katherine of Aragon's daughter, Mary; Anne Boleyn's daughter, Elizabeth; or one of their cousins, Lady Jane Grey or Mary, Queen of Scots.

"But female rule in England also had a past. Four hundred years before Edward's death, Matilda, daughter of Henry I and granddaughter of William the Conqueror, came tantalizingly close to securing the crown for herself. And between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries three more exceptional women -- Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France, and Margaret of Anjou -- discovered how much was possible if presumptions of male rule were not confronted so explicitly, and just how quickly they might be vilified as 'she-wolves' for their pains. The stories of these women, told here in all their vivid detail, expose the paradox that female heirs to the Tudor throne had no choice but to negotiate. Man was the head of woman, and the king was the head of all. How, then, could royal power lie in female hands?"

Anne Edwards

A revealing portrait of Shirley Temple both as a child and as an adult. Follow her triumphs and disappointments as a child star, United Nations delegate, and ambassador.

H. Donald Winkler

Rebel queen of Washington spies : Rose Greenhow -- Vanished without a trace : Sarah Slater -- "Singing as sweetly as ever" : Olivia Floyd -- Grant's most valuable Richmond spy : Elizabeth Van Lew -- The spy who saved ships : Elizabeth Baker -- Double trouble sister act : Ginnie and Lottie Moon -- The perils of Pauline : Pauline Cushman -- The heroine of Winchester : Rebecca Wright -- A glorious consummation : Harriet Tubman -- A teenage terrorist : Nancy Hart -- "No sacrifice too great" : Antonia Ford and Laura Ratcliffe -- Mosby's Merry Christmas : Roberta Pollock -- A secesh Cleopatra : Belle Boyd -- The clever masquerader : Emma Edmonds -- Trapped in a sting operation : Clara Judd -- Sarah's deadly revenge : Sarah Lane Thompson -- Hired to find herself : Loreta Velazquez -- Beyond the call of duty : more heroines -- Did she die for their sins? : Mary Surratt.

Deborah G. Felder

"A ranking of the most influential women in recorded time, including Sappho, the Virgin Mary, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Lucille Ball. Readers may argue some choices, but the concise and insightful entries are excellent. Felder researched her compendium with the aid of women's studies professors and chairs from leading US universities. The range is impressive from the instantly recognizable to the virtually unknown in all fields: social reform, politics, literature, and entertainment."

Joyce Milton

"...Joyce Milton examines this formidable, fascinating woman, giving probing insight into the First Lady's character, her values and her career. In The First Partner, Milton goes behind the scenes at the Clinton White House and explores the First Lady's involvement in Travelgate, Filegate, the Health Care Task Force fiasco and fund-raising for the 1996 presidential campaign, showing how these controversies grew out of the tensions in her political partnership with Bill Clinton. Milton also describes how Mrs. Clinton's defensive reactions to her husband's chronic infidelities have often misfired and have sometimes enabled his bad behavior. She examines the differing psychologies of the President and First Lady, yet shows that when faced with political accusations, they take a similar approach of telling only as much of the truth as is necessary--a reaction that has increasingly gotten them into trouble.

"Meticulously reported and researched, The First Partner offers keen new understanding of this complex woman who has infuriated and confounded as many people as she has inspired."

David Bellos, translator

The joyful but ultimately heartbreaking journal of a young Jewish woman in occupied Paris, now published for the first time, 63 years after her death. In 1942, Hélène Berr, a 21-year-old Jewish student at the Sorbonne, started to keep a journal, writing with verve and style about her everyday life in Paris--about her studies, her friends, her growing affection for the "boy with the grey eyes," about the sun in the dewdrops, and about the effect of the growing restrictions imposed by France's Nazi occupiers. Humiliations were to follow, which she records, now with a view to posterity. She wants the journal to go to her fiancé, who has enrolled with the Free French Forces, as she knows she may not live much longer. She was right. The final entry is dated February 15, 1944, and we now know she died in Bergen-Belsen in April 1945, within a month of Anne Frank and just days before the liberation of the camp.

Sandra Day O'Connor

"Tracing some of the origins of American law through history, people, and ideas, O'Connor sheds new light on the basics, and through personal observation she explores the development of institutions and ideas we have come to regard as fundamental. O'Connor discusses notable cases that have shaped American democracy and the Court as we know it today, and she traces the turbulent battle women have fought for a place in our nation's legal system since America's inception. Straight-talking, clear-eyed, inspiring, The Majesty of the Law is more than a reflection on O'Connor's own experiences as the first female Justice of the Supreme Court; it also contains a discussion of how the suffrage movement changed the lives of women--in voting booths, jury boxes, and homes across the country."

Margaret Thatcher

In a prequel to The Downing Street Years, Thatcher describes her childhood, Oxford education, early entry into politics, and rise to power in Parliament, sharing insights into the influences that shaped her life and political career.


Nancy Caldwell Sorel

Celebrates the accomplishments of World War II's female war correspondents, who risked their lives in combat zones to provide firsthand reports on the events of the war.

Lorenzo Benet

"...the intimate portrait of Sarah Palin that America has been looking for. Beginning with Palin's birth in Sandpoint, Idaho, and her family's move to Skagway and then Wasilla, Alaska, Trailblazer details the difficulties of growing up in Alaska, Sarah Palin's early successes as a basketball star and a beauty pageant contestant, and the story of her elopement with Todd Palin, whom she met at Wasilla High. It describes her career as a broadcast journalist and young mother, and gives details on her move to the political arena that has culminated in making her a household name. From staff firings in Wasilla to her controversies with the Alaska Oil and Gas Commission, from her support of Todd Palin's snow machine races to her own love for moose and caribou hunting and salmon fishing, and culminating with the almost manic excitement of the 2008 election, Lorenzo Benet has built up a detailed picture of a fascinating and extraordinarily complex woman -- an introduction to a Sarah Palin that the world is only just coming to know."

Laura Browder, editor

"While women are officially barred from combat in the American armed services, in the current war, where there are no front lines, the ban on combat is virtually meaningless. More than in any previous conflict in our history, American women are engaging with the enemy, suffering injuries, and even sacrificing their lives in the line of duty. When Janey Comes Marching Home juxtaposes forty-eight self-posed photographs by Sascha Pflaeging with oral histories collected by Laura Browder to provide a dramatic portrait of women at war. Women from all five branches of the military share their stories here--stories that are by turns moving, comic, thought-provoking, and profound.

"Seeing their faces in stunning color photographic portraits and reading what they have to say about loss, comradeship, conflict, and hard choices will change the ways we think about women and war. Serving in a combat zone is an all-encompassing experience that is transformative, life-defining, and difficult to leave behind. By coming face-to-face with women veterans, we who are outside that world can begin to get a sense of how the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have their lives and how their stories may ripple out and influence the experiences of all American women."

Kathryn J. Atwood

These twenty-six suspense-filled stories unfold from across Germany, Poland, Great Britain, the United States, and more, providing an inspiring reminder of women and girls' refusal to sit on the sidelines around the world and throughout history.

Sophie Scholl : the White Rose -- Maria von Maltzan : the countess who hid Jews -- Irene Gut : "only a young girl" -- Irena Sendler : life in a jar -- Stefania Podgorska : the teen who hid thirteen -- Marie-Madeleine Fourcade : "only a woman" -- Andrée Virot : Agent Rose -- Josephine Baker : spy singer -- Magda Trocmé : wife, mother, teacher, rescuer -- Diet Eman : courier for the Dutch resistance -- Hannie Schaft : the symbol of the resistance -- Johtje Vos : a group effort -- Corrie ten Boom : watchmaker, rescuer, reconciler -- Andrée de Jongh : the comet line -- Hortense Daman : partisan courier -- Fernande Keufgens : the teen with the bold voice -- Monica Wichfeld : heroine of the Danish resistance -- Ebba Lund : the girl with the red cap -- Noor Inayat Khan : royal spy -- Nancy Wake : the white mouse -- Pearl Witherington : the courier who became a leader -- Virginia Hall : the greatest American spy -- Muriel Phillips : U.S. Army nurse -- Marlene Dietrich : "the only important thing" -- Maria Gulovich : Slovak for the OSS -- Martha Gellhorn : war correspondent.

Anne Commire, editor

The work includes women of historical interest from all walks of life and is truly international in scope. Three hundred contributors from 20 nations participated. Among those researched are wives, daughters, mothers, and other women who were not documented in traditional, male-oriented sources, especially history books. Originally, only women deceased before 1926 were to be included, but the scope was later altered to include women of the 1960s feminist era and those "whose places in history are secure." A 16-volume set.

This reference set may be used in the library, and you may Ask a Librarian to check to see if a subject is covered.

Peggy Saari and Tim Gall and Susan Gall, editors

Entries in chronological order present women involved in important moments in the arts, business, social activism, government, religion, sports, and other areas. Presented in 2 volumes. Published in 1998.

Glenn Stout

In 1926, a plucky American teenager named Trudy Ederle captured the imagination of the world when she became the first woman to swim the English Channel. Stout offers the dramatic and inspiring story of Ederle's pursuit of a goal no one believed possible, and the price she paid.