Booklist: Unsung Heroes of History

I was inspired to make this list after reading Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray by Rosalind Rosenberg. There are a lot of people who have changed history and do not get the proper credit for their accomplishments, especially in the case of people who are female-presenting, non-binary, or of color (all of which were the case with Pauli Murray).

This list focuses heavily on people who had an impact on United States history. The graphic above was made with canva.com.

  • A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century by William F. Buckley, Jr.
  • Ada’s Algorithm: How Lord Byron’s Daughter Ada Lovelace Launched the Digital Age by James Essinger
  • Alan Turing: the Enigma by Andrew Hodges
  • Be Free or Die: the Amazing Story of Robert Smalls’ Escape from Slavery to Union Hero by Cate Lineberry
  • Becoming Ms. Burton: From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women by Susan Burton
  • Blood Brothers: The Story of the Strange Friendship Between Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill by Deanne Stillman
  • Broad Band: the Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet by Claire Lisa Evans
  • Chasing Space: an Astronaut’s Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances by Leland Melvin
  • Deep Undercover: My Secret Life and Tangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America by Jack Barsky
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: a Friendship that Changed the World by Penny Colman
  • Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History by Keith O’Brien
  • Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David Blight
  • Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science–and the World by Rachel Swaby
  • Hidden Figures: The Untold True Story of Four African-American Women Who Helped Launch Our Nation into Space by Margot Lee Shetterly
  • I am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai
  • Indestructible: One Man’s Rescue Mission That Changed the Course of WWII by John R. Bruning
  • Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History by Blair Imani
  • Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth by Kristen Iverson
  • My Life, My Love, My Legacy by Coretta Scott King
  • Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton
  • Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women who Propelled Us, From Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt
  • Secret Heroes: Everyday Americans Who Shaped Our World by Paul D. Martin
  • Secret Warriors: the Spies, Scientists, and Code Breakers of World War I by Taylor Downing
  • Sex on the Moon: the Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History by Ben Mezrich
  • Shoot Like a Girl: One Woman’s Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Homefront by Mary Jennings Hegar
  • Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: the Epica Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis by Timothy Egan
  • Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum
  • Tesla: Inventor of the Modern by Richard Munson
  • The Assassination of Hole in the Day by Anton Treuer
  • The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe: a Biography by Elaine Showalter
  • The Extra Woman: How Marjorie Hillis Led a Generation of Women to Live Alone and Like it by Joanna Scutts
  • The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice by Patricia Bell-Scott
  • The Food Explorer: the True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed what America Eats by Daniel Stone
  • The Fox Hunt: A Refugee’s Memoir of Coming to America by Mohammed Al Samawi
  • The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars by Dava Sobel
  • The Immortal Irishman: the Irish Revolutionary who Became an American Hero by Timothy Egan
  • The Mathews Men: Seven Brothers and the War Against Hitler’s U-boats by William Geroux
  • The Original Black Elite: Daniel Murray and the Story of a Forgotten Era by Elizabeth Dowling Taylor
  • The Poison Squad: One Chemist’s Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century by Deborah Blum
  • The Politicians & the Egalitarians: The Hidden History of American Politics by Sean Wilentz
  • The Pope of Physics: Enrico Fermi and the Birth of the Atomic Age by Gino Segre
  • The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis
  • The Scarlet Sisters: Sex, Suffrage, and Scandal in the Gilded Age by Myra MacPherson
  • The Swamp Fox: How Francis Marion Saved the American Revolution by John Oller
  • The Thunder Before the Storm: the Autobiography by Clyde Bellecourt by Clyde H. Bellecourt
  • The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions of Tomorrow’s World by Charles C. Mann
  • Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission by Bret Baier
  • True Believer: Stalin’s Last American Spy by Kati Marton
  • Visionary Women: How Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall, and Alice Waters Changed Our World by Andrea Barnet
  • Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway’s Secret Adventures, 1935-1961 by Nicholas Reynolds
  • Written Out of History: the Forgotten Founders Who Fought Big Government by Mike Lee

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