CRRL Picks: Women of Courage
Annotation:"...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."
Annotation: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.
Annotation:"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."
Annotation:"The story of a woman whose gift for finding purpose in life drives her to help others change their lives even as she struggles to accept and overcome her own past, born heroin addicted to a mother in prison. Her story proves we're more than the sum of our parts, and there's always a chance for redemption."
Annotation: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.
Annotation:"From her first humanitarian visit to Afghanistan in 1994, Suraya Sadeed has been personally delivering relief and hope to Afghan orphans and refugees, to women and girls in inhuman situations deemed too dangerous for other aid workers or for journalists. Her memoir of these missions is as unconventional as the woman who has lived it. Born the daughter of the governor of Kabul amid beautiful gardens and peace, Suraya fled to the United States with her husband and daughter in the aftermath of the 1979 Soviet invasion. In America, she became a prosperous workaholic, but a personal tragedy led her to question the direction of her life."
Annotation:"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.'"
Annotation:"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."
Annotation:Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983) was a Dutch woman admired the world over for her courage, her forgiveness, and her memorable faith. In World War II, she and her family risked their lives to help Jews escape the Nazis by hiding them in their home in Haarlem, and their reward was a trip to Hitler's concentration camps. Corrie's father, sister, brother, and nephew died as a result of their imprisonment. But she survived and was released as a result of a clerical error and now shares the story of how faith triumphs over evil.
Annotation:When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday October 9, 2012, she almost paid the ultimate price.
Annotation: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.
Annotation:"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."
Annotation: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.
Annotation:"...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."
Annotation: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.
Annotation:"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."
Annotation: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.
Annotation:"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.
Annotation: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.
Annotation:With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, the author barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424, one of the millions of people who disappear "down the rabbit hole" of the American penal system.
Annotation:"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."
Annotation: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.
Annotation:"In the tradition of Antonia Fraser, David Starkey, and Alison Weir, prize-winning historian Helen Castor delivers a compelling, eye-opening examination of women and power in England, witnessed through the lives of six women who exercised power against all odds—and one who never got the chance. Exploring the narratives of the Empress Matilda, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabella of France, Margaret of Anjou, and other 'she-wolves,' as well as that of the Nine Days' Queen, Lady Jane Grey, Castor invokes a magisterial discussion of how much—and how little—has changed through the centuries."
Annotation:"Clandestine missions. Clever, devious, daring. Passionately committed to a cause. During America's most divisive war, both the Union and Confederacy took advantage of brave and courageous women willing to adventurously support their causes. These female spies of the Civil War participated in the world's second-oldest profession-spying-a profession perilous in the extreme. The tales of female spies are filled with suspense, bravery, treachery, and trickery. They took enormous risks and achieved remarkable results-often in ways men could not do."
Annotation: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.
Annotation:"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."
Annotation:"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."
Annotation: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.