100 Nonfiction Books by American Women

Celebrating Women’s Voices honors books that the WNBA community considers to be the most influential penned by American women. The nonfiction list is available below and in PDF form. To view the fiction, memoir, & poetry list, click here.

Selection committee: Anne Boyd Rioux and Marie Breaux, co-chairs; Constance Adler, Miki Pfeffer, and Teresa Tumminello Brader, with input from the New Orleans WNBA Chapter meeting as a committee of the whole, November 2016.

Sample Titles
Entire Nonfiction List

Ackerman, Diane. A Natural History of the Senses. (Vintage, 1990). 

Addams, Jane. Twenty Years at Hull House. (Signet Classics, 1910, 1999 reprint). 

Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. (The New Press, 2012).


Allen, Paula Gunn. The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the Feminine in American Indian Traditions. (Beacon Press, 1986, 1992 reprint).


Angier, Natalie. Woman: An Intimate Geography. (Mariner Books, 1999, 2014 reprint).


Anzeldúa, Gloria. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. (Aunt Lute Books, 1987, 2012).


Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism. (Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1951, 1973 reprint).


Bair, Deirdre. Simone de Beauvoir. (Simon & Schuster, 1991).


Benedict, Ruth. Patterns of Culture. (Mariner Books, 1934, 2006 reprint). 

 Boston Women's Health Book Collective. Our Bodies, Ourselves. (Touchstone, 1971, 2015). 

Bowen, Catherine Drinker. Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention. (Back Bay Books, 1966, 1986 reprint).


Brownmiller, Susan. Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape. (Ballantine, 1975, 1993 reprint). 

Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. (Routledge, 1990, 2007 reprint). 

Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. (Houghton Mifflin, 1962, 2002 reprint). 

Chadwick, Whitney. Women, Art, and Society. (Thames & Hudson, 1990, 2012). 

Child, Julia, Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle. Mastering the Art of French Cooking. (Knopf, 1983).


Clark, Eleanor. Rome and a Villa. (Harper Perennial, 1952, 2015 reprint). 

Cook, Blanche Wiesen. Eleanor Roosevelt Vol. 1: The Early Years, 1884-1993. (Penguin, 1993). Vol. 2: The Defining Years, 1933-1938. (Penguin, 2000). Vol. 3: The War Years and After, 1939-1962. (Viking, 2016). 

Coontz, Stephanie. The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap. (Basic Books, 1992, 2016 revised). 

Cooper, Anna Julia. A Voice from the South. (Rowman & Littlefield, 1892, 1998 reprint). 

Cooper, Susan Fenimore. Rural Hours. (University of Georgia Press, 1850, 1999 revised). 

Daly, Mary. Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women’s Liberation. (Beacon Press, 1973, 1993 revised). 

Davis, Angela. Women, Race, and Class. (Vintage, 1983). 

Didion, Joan. The White Album. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1979, 2009). 

Dillard, Annie. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. (Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 1974, 2013 reprint). 

Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. (Picador, 2001, 2011. 

Eisler, Riane. The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future. (HarperOne, 1987). 

Estés, Clarissa Pinkola. Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype. (Ballantine Books, 1992, 1996 reprint). 

Faderman, Lillian. Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America. (Columbia University Press, 1991, 2012 reprint). 

Faludi, Susan. Backlash: The Undeclared War against American Women. (Broadway Books, 1991, 2006). 

Faust, Drew Gilpin. This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War. (Vintage, 2008). 

Fisher, M.F.K. The Art of Eating. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1954, 2004). 

FitzGerald, Frances. Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam. (Back Bay Books, 1972, 2002 reprint).

Flanner, Janet. Paris Journal, 1944-1965. (Harvest Books, 1965, 1988 reprint). 

Fossey, Dian. Gorillas in the Mist. (Mariner Books, 1983, 2000 reprint). 

Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique.  (W.W. Norton, 1963, 2013). 

Fuller, Margaret. Woman in the Nineteenth Century. (W. W. Norton, 1845, 1997). 

Giddings, Paula J. When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sexuality in America. (William Morrow, 1984, 2007 reprint). 

Gilbert, Sandra M. and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Imagination. (Yale University Press, 1979, 2000). 

Gilligan, Carol. In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development. (Harvard University Press, 1982, 2016 reprint). 

Goodwin, Doris Kearns. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. (Simon & Schuster, 2005). 

Gordon-Reed, Annette. The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family. (W. W. Norton, 2008). 

Hamilton, Edith. Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes. (Grand Central Publishing, 1942, 2011 reprint). 

Hardwick, Elizabeth. Seduction and Betrayal: Women and Literature. (New York Review of Books Classics, 1970, 2001 reprint). 

Hedrick, Joan. Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life. (Oxford University Press, 1994). 

Heilbrun, Carolyn G. Reinventing Womanhood. (W. W. Norton, 1979, 1993 reissue). 

Hillenbrand, Laura. Seabiscuit: An American Legen.d (Ballantine Books, 2001). 

Hochschild, Arlie. The Second Shift: Working Families and the Revolution at Home. (Penguin, 1989, 2012 revised). 

Hooks, Bell. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. (Routledge, 1984, 2015). 

Jackson, Helen Hunt. A Century of Dishonor. (Dover, 1881, 2003 reprint). 

Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. (Modern Library, 1961, 2011).


Kael, Pauline. I Lost It at the Movies. (Marion Boyars Publishers, 1965, 1994 reprint).


Kerber, Linda K. Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America. (University of North Carolina Press, 1980, 1997 reprint). 

Kessler-Harris, Alice. Out to Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women in the United States. (Oxford University Press, 1982, 2003).


Kolbert, Elizabeth. Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change. (Bloomsbury, 2006, 2015 updated). 

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth. On Death and Dying: What the Dying Have to Teach Doctors, Nurses, Clergy and Their Own Families. (Scribner, 1969, 2014 reprint). 

Lappé, Frances Moore. Diet for a Small Planet. (Ballantine Books, 1971, 1991). 

Leech, Margaret. Reveille in Washington, 1860-1865. (New York Review of Books Classics, 1941, 2011 reprint). 

Lerner, Gerda. Women and History. Vol. 1: The Creation of Patriarchy (Oxford University Press, 1987). Vol. 2: The Creation of Feminist Consciousness from the Middle Ages to Eighteen-Seventy. (Oxford University Press, 1994). 

Malcolm, Janet. The Journalist and the Murderer. (Vintage, 1990). 

Margulis, Lynn. Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution. (Basic Books, 1962, 1999 revised).   

May, Elaine Tyler. Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era. (Basic Books, 1988, 2008). 

McWhorter, Diane. Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climatic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution. (Simon & Schuster, 2001, 2013 reissue). 

Mead, Margaret. Coming of Age in Samoa. (William Morrow, 1928, 2001 reprint). 

Milford, Nancy. Zelda: A Biography. (Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 1970, 2011 reprint). 

Millett, Kate. Sexual Politics. (Columbia University Press, 1970, 2016 reprint). 

Mitford, Jessica. The American Way of Death. (Vintage, 1963, 2000 reprint). 

Morgan, Rebecca. The Anatomy of Freedom: Feminism in Four Dimensions. (W. W. Norton, 1982, 1994). 

Ngai, Mae M. Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. (Princeton University Press, 2003, 2014 updated). 

Nazario, Sonia. Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother. (Random House, 2006, 2007 reprint).


Nochlin, Linda. Women, Art, and Power and Other Essays. (Harper & Row, 1988, 1989 reprint). 

Nussbaum, Martha. Sex and Social Justice. (Oxford University Press, 1999). 

Orlean, Susan. The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession. (Ballantine Books, 1998, 2000). 

Pagels, Elaine. The Gnostic Gospels. (Vintage, 1979, 1989 reissue).


Paglia, Camille. Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson. (Vintage, 1990). 

Painter, Nell Irvin. Sojourner Truth: A Life, a Symbol. (W. W. Norton, 1996). 

Pipher, Mary. Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls. (Riverhead, 1994, 2005 reprint). 

Pollitt, Katha. Reasonable Creatures: Essays on Women and Feminism. (Vintage, 1995). 

Rombauer, Irma and Marion Rombauer Becker. The Joy of Cooking. (Scribner, 1931, 2005 revised). 

Ross, Lillian. Picture. (DeCapo Press, 1952, 2002). 

Sanger, Margaret. Family Limitation. (1914).  

Schiff, Stacy. Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov). (Modern Library, 2000). 

Sheehan, Susan. Is There No Place on Earth for Me?. (Vintage, 1982, 2014). 

Sheehy, Gail. Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Life. (Ballantine Books, 1976, 2006). 

Showalter, Elaine. A Literature of One's Own: British Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing. (Princeton University Press, 1977, 1998 revised). 

Skloot, Rebecca. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. (Broadway Books, 2011). 

Smith, Lillian. Killers of the Dream. (W. W. Norton, 1949, 1994 reissue). 

Sobel, Dava. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. (Bloomsbury, 1995, 2005). 

Sontag, Susan. Against Interpretation: And Other Essays. (Picador, 1966, 2001 reprint). 

Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, Susan B. Anthony, Joslyn Gage, and Ida Husted Harper. History of Woman Suffrage. 6 vols. 1881-1922. (University of Illinois Press, 1978, 2005 revised). 

Steinem, Gloria. Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem. (Little, Brown, 1992).  

Strouse, Jean. Alice James: A Biography. (New York Review of Books Classics, 1980, 2011 reprint). 

Tannen, Deborah. You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation. (William Morrow, 1990, 2007 reprint). 

Tarbell, Ida. The History of the Standard Oil Company. (Dover,1904, 2003 reprint).  

Tuchman, Barbara. The Guns of August. (Presidio, 1962, 1994 reprint). 

Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher. A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812. (Vintage, 1990).  

Wells, Ida B. Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases. (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1982, 1996 reprint). 

White, Deborah Gray. Ar'n't I a Woman?: Female Slaves in the Plantation South. (W. W. Norton, 1985, 1999 reprint). 

Wilkerson, Isabel. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. (Random House, 2010).  

Wolf, Naomi. The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women. (Harper Perennial, 1990, 2002 reprint). 

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