March is Women’s History Month, but we don’t need to turn the calendar page to celebrate the contributions women have made to human history. At Bas Bleu, we’ve long highlighted women’s stories, both the well-known and the less familiar or overlooked. Today in the Bluestocking Salon, we’re highlighting just a few of those remarkable life stories with our list of seven books to read during Women’s History Month.
Women in the Kitchen
In our modern age of Food Network and The Great British Bake-Off, when cooks of both genders grace the covers of celebrity cookbooks, it’s easy to forget that male chefs were long the stars of the professional culinary world. But it was the twelve women profiled in this multi-biography who really “defined the way we eat,” with their influential, at times history-making cookbooks.
Madame Fourcade’s Secret War
Marie-Madeleine Fourcade didn’t just make a name for herself…she made several! As the leader of France’s largest resistance network during World War II, she was known to the Gestapo, Vichy officials, and most of her allies by a variety of aliases, living life on the run while sabotaging enemy operations and gathering intelligence for Americans and British forces. Even after the war ended, she fought to convince the French government to honor the civilian spies who made the ultimate sacrifice to free their homeland from the Nazis.
Princess: The Early Life of Queen Elizabeth II
We probably don’t need to explain to you why a book about Queen Elizabeth deserves a spot on this list. But the longest-serving monarch in British history wasn’t always a record-breaking queen! This insightful biography offers a thoughtful tour of Elizabeth’s early life and the series of events that transformed a privileged but otherwise ordinary little girl into one of the most famous people in the world.
The Tubman Command: A Novel
Harriet Tubman is best-known for her courageous work as a conductor on the Underground Railroad…but she was so much more! The only fiction title on our list, this novel focuses on a lesser-known event in Tubman’s astonishing, history-making life story, when she joined forces with the Union army to lead a daring raid behind Confederate lines to liberate hundreds of enslaved Americans.
The Education of an Idealist
Samantha Power first appeared in the pages of our catalog more than ten years ago, with her Pulitzer Prize-winning book A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide. This in-depth memoir covers the first few decades of her remarkable career, which she began as a war correspondent in the Balkans, before charting a remarkable path in foreign policy and human-rights advocacy that would ultimately earn her the post of U. S. Ambassador to the United States. (Fun fact: Power attended high school in Atlanta, just five miles from Bas Bleu’s editorial office!)
Fighting for Space
This dual biography digs deep into the lives of two women who helped break the glass ceiling in the aviation industry. Jackie Cochran competed in air races (and befriended Amelia Earhart), led the Women’s Auxiliary Service Pilots during World War II, became one of the first female pilots in the U. S. Air Force, was the first woman to break the sound barrier, and sponsored the Mercury 13 program. Jerrie Cobb began flying when she was twelve, setting multiple aviation records in her 20s, and playing semipro softball to fund her flying career. She also was involved in the Mercury 13 program, becoming the first woman to pass astronaut testing. Later, she turned her aviation skills to humanitarian work, for which she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
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