Not your usual Women’s History books: Nonfiction

Normally something like Women’s History Month brings up list after list of biographies of famous women. Nothing wrong with that, but today I thought I’d skip Queen Elizabeth and Eleanor Roosevelt and all the others and look at some extraordinary “ordinary” women.



Farm Girl tells one woman’s story of growing up in the Dust Bowl years of the 1920s and 1930s on a farm in the area of Nebraska made famous by author Willa Cather. This is biography of sorts–more casually told than some and very readable. Farm Girl by Karen Jones Gowen.






This one was my Book of the Year pick on my old blog the year it was published. Its the sort of book that makes me love nonfiction. It reads like an excellent novel, but it is all true. Two young society girls of the World War I era challenge themselves to get more out of life than paying calls. They end up teaching school in Northwestern Colorado and thereby change their lives for the better. Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West by Dorothy Wickenden.




When she got up off the couch and took the new CLEP tests to get thru the local university faster, Haven’s mother changed her life and her family’s. An early adopter of “car wrapping” as a small supplemental income, this small town Indiana Mom “found” herself thru the classes she took and developed a steeliness of character from overcoming obstacles to her success such as a lack of transportation in a part of the country with little-to-no public transportation. This should be a required book for adults returning to college. She Got Up Off the Cousch and Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel. (Non-fiction).




A mother of ten soulfully discusses the hopes and dreams, the challenges and success of raising her children in the modern American West. Beautifully written, it pulls the reader into the author’s thoughts as well as telling the family’s stories. Ten Circles Upon the Pond by Virginia Trannel.





Can you add to this list? Do you have a favorite non-fiction book on an extraordinary “ordinary” woman? Leave me a comment.


4 thoughts on “Not your usual Women’s History books: Nonfiction

  1. sjbraun

    Oooh yes — The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio. Absolutely love that book about an incredible mom of the ’50s who raised 10 kids while managing an alcoholic husband. Nothing Daunted sounds a lot like Half Broke Horses, which I read and loved recently. Love the Farm Girl and Haven Kimmel book too — so many good reads here!


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