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

  • 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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