The era of the biography-as-regurgitated-history-textbook is long gone. It's time to give biographies their fair shot, and these real-life stories of everyday women changing the world will give your fiction books a run for their money. They'll amaze you, move you and often times give you the laugh you need. Ahead, some of our favorite biographies about amazing women.
Why You Should Read It: Because she's the notorious RBG! The woman is a living legend and a soldier for equality. In this biography by Jane Sherron De Hart, you'll learn all there is to know about the SCOTUS Justice, from her days as a high school baton twirler to her road to the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Why You Should Read It: If you're a true bibliophile, you'll enjoy the life story of Ruth Rappaport. It was her love of books that propelled her through life, from the restricted readings of Nazi Germany to the Library of Congress.
Why You Should Read It: Henrietta Lacks was one of the greatest contributors to medicine in modern history—and she didn't even know it. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells the story of a female tobacco farmer whose cells were taken without her permission and used to develop the polio vaccine, among several other major scientific advancements. It's a gripping testament to both science and society's disregard for black life and an absolute must-read.
Why You Should Read It: Get to know the woman behind some of the most well-revered books and short stories in history. Hurston's life was all but boring—from her early childhood in Eatonville, the first all-black town, to her relationship with voodoo.
Why You Should Read It: Girl runs away from home. Girl heads to Paris. Girl becomes one of the most well-known courtesans of the 1840s. Not your typical storyline and definitely worth a read.
Why You Should Read It: Because who doesn't love a good Royal's story? This one tells the underdog narrative of Catherine the Great, a once unknown German princess who ascended the Russian throne, taking one man down at a time.
Why You Should Read It: Finally, a history lesson that doesn't feel like a history lesson. Paula J. Giddings brings Ida B. Wells' work to life as she details her experience as the child of two slaves in Holly Springs, Mississippi, to her crusade against America's brutal lyching policies.
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