Women’s History Best Sellers Reading List

Women’s History Month is almost over, but we have plenty of books to help you celebrate and study the vital role that women have in American History. We’ve compiled a list of some of our best-selling Women’s History Titles that we recommend adding to your to-be-read list as soon as possible! Plus, our American History Sale is happening now so it’s the perfect time to stock up on books and save 30% with code 01UNCP30 at checkout.

book cover for the Foxfire Book of Appalachian Women edited by Kami Ahrens

Foxfire Book of Appalachian Women: Stories of Landscape and Community in the Mountain South edited by Kami Ahrens

“Captivating, resisting nostalgia with its authentic, honest, and sometimes contradictory experiences from women all over the region.”—Garden and Gun

“Anyone interested in Appalachia and the people who lived and continue to live there will find this book to be a great starting point.”—Georgia Library Quarterly

Book cover for The Women's Fight by Thavolia Glymph

The Women’s Fight: The Civil War’s Battles for Home, Freedom, and Nation by Thavolia Glymph

Winner of multiple awards including:
2021 Albert J. Beveridge Award, American Historical Association
2021 Joan Kelly Memorial Prize, American Historical Association
2021 Civil War and Reconstruction Book Award, Organization of American Historians

“By telling the important, yet often-overlooked story of how enslaved women fought for their rights, and how white women often upheld the status quo, Glymph has written a much-needed account of Civil War historiography.”—Library Journal

“Powerful. . . . The Women’s Fight is a book that compels us to reckon not only with the wartime experience of women but the possibilities that can come from patient historical research. In both respects, Glymph succeeds brilliantly.”—American Nineteenth Century History

Book cover for Recasting the Vote by Cathleen D. Cahill

Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement by Cathleen D. Cahill

Honorable Mention, 2020 Armitage-Jameson Prize, Coalition for Western Women’s History
Honorable Mention, 2022 President’s Book Prize, Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

“Written to coincide with the centennial of the 19th Amendment, this important book reminds us that the familiar stories of women’s suffrage are woefully incomplete. . . . An essential work; highly recommended for scholars of the period and general readers interested in women’s history.”—Library Journal

“This spirited history situates the campaign for female suffrage within the broader narrative of civil rights. . . . Cahill’s widened focus links the battle for enfranchisement to currents of exclusion and empowerment that continue to shape the vote today.”—The New Yorker

Book cover for At the Threshold of Liberty by Tamika Nunley

At the Threshold of Liberty: Women, Slavery, and Shifting Identities in Washington, D.C. by Tamika Y. Nunley

2022 Pauli Murray Book Prize, African American Intellectual History Society
2021 Letitia Woods Brown Prize, Association for Black Women Historians
2021 Mary Kelley Prize, Society for Historians of the Early American Republic

“A focused study on the way that Black women have transcended slavery. . . . Well-researched.”—Library Journal

“Nunley makes an incredible contribution to the field of the study of African American women in the nineteenth century. She leaves her readers with an irrefutable understanding of the centrality of Black women in the establishment of the capital’s reputation as a site of liberty and justice for all . . . “—Black Perspectives

Book cover for Reproduction on the Reservation by Brianna Theobald

Reproduction on the Reservation: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Colonialism in the Long Twentieth Century by Brianna Theobald

2020 John C. Ewers Award, Western History Association
2019 Armitage-Jameson Prize, Coalition for Western Women’s History
2020 Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin Book Award, American Society for Ethnohistory
A 2020 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

“Centers the range of experiences of Native mothers during pregnancy, childbirth, and childrearing. . . . By weaving a birth story into the recent protests against environmental injustices and broken treaties, Theobald demonstrates that maternal health and reproductive control mechanisms have been central to colonial policies.” —Women’s Review of Books

“This book is extremely important for multiple academic disciplines, especially for those interested in American history and reproductive politics, and is essential for those wanting to expand their knowledge of American Indian women’s experiences, both historically and currently.” —Choice

Book cover for Remaking Black Power by Ashley D. Farmer

Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era by Ashley D. Farmer

Honorable Mention, Darlene Clark Hine Award, Organization of American Historians
Finalist, 2018 Museum of African American History Stone Book Award
Honorable Mention, 2018 Letitia Woods Brown Prize, Association for Black Women Historians

“Through a rigorous multimedia analysis encompassing artwork, political cartoons, and manifestos, Farmer illuminates just how essential the women of the Black Power movement were, tracing their efforts in decades past to the continued centrality of Black women in the fight for social justice.”—Esquire

“Outstanding and nuanced. . . . Farmer traces the relationships between black women’s intellectual, artistic, and activist work.”—Journal of Southern History

Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South, by Talitha L. LeFlouria

Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South by Talitha L. LeFlouria

Winner of multiple awards including:
2015 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Prize, Association of Black Women Historians
2016 Darlene Clark Hine Award, Organization of American Historians
2015 Berkshire Conference of Women Historians Book Prize
2016 Philip Taft Labor History Award, Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations / Labor and Working-Class History Association

“Leaves us with a radically new understanding of the historical dimensions of racism, gender, and state violence.”—Elizabeth Hinton, The Nation

“A deeply researched and carefully crafted mouthpiece for black female convict laborers.”—American Historical Review

Book cover for From Coveralls to Zoot Suits by Elizabeth E. Escobedo

From Coveralls to Zoot Suits: The Lives of Mexican American Women on the World War II Home Front by Elizabeth R. Escobedo

2014 Armitage-Jameson Book Prize, Coalition for Western Women’s History
Best History Book – English, International Latino Book Awards

“A rich and multifaceted view of Mexican American women’s lives in Los Angeles in the 1940s and 1950s. . . . Fresh and exciting.”—Women’s Review of Books

“A solidly researched and well-written perspective.”—Minnesota History

“Escobedo has written a fine addition to an ever-growing body of work on Mexican Americans during World War II, in the tradition of the culture-conscious social historians George Sanchez and, especially, Vicki Ruiz.”—American Historical Review

Game, Set, Match: Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women's Sports, by Susan Ware

Game, Set, Match: Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women’s Sports by Susan Ware

Publishers Weekly Top 10 Sports Book

“A great read. . . . Ware sews together the histories of women’s sports and feminism, using feminist icon Billie Jean King as the thread. Particularly compelling is her recounting of the tennis star’s battle with her own homophobia and that of society.”—Ms.

“In Game, Set, Match: Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women’s Sports, the role of a pioneer and much of the leveling legislation she inspired–namely the NCAA’s title IX provisions–is gamely told by women’s history scholar Susan Ware.”—Publishers Weekly

Book cover for Half in Shadow by Shanna Greene Benjamin

Half in Shadow: The Life and Legacy of Nellie Y. McKay by Shanna Greene Benjamin

2022 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Nonfiction: Memoir/Biography
Honorable Mention, 2022 William Sanders Scarborough Prize, Modern Language Association

“Illustrating the challenges and exclusion often experienced by Black women in academia, Shanna Greene Benjamin has written this compelling and unexpected biography of Nellie Y. McKay, a formidable scholar of contemporary literature and women’s studies.”—Ms. Magazine

Half in Shadow is a significant contribution to the intersecting fields of African American and women’s studies and stands as a lasting tribute to a devoted mentor. Shanna Benjamin paints a compelling and convincing portrait of Nellie Y. McKay as a complex mentor, an ambitious single mother, and a discipline-defining scholar. The result is a fascinating exploration of a life told with sensitivity rather than sensation.”—Cherene Sherrard-Johnson, University of Wisconsin-Madison