Since it’s almost the middle of May and just weeks away from the unofficial start of summer, I’m getting my summer reading list set. Here are five biographies that are currently on my to-read list. What do they all have in common? They’re all about badass women in history.
- Lady at the O.K. Corral: The True Story of Josephine Marcus Earp, by Ann Kirschner, tells the story of Wyatt Earp’s common-law wife, Josephine Marcus, and the part she played in the infamous gunfight that made her husband – and herself – a legend.
- Hedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, by Richard Rhodes, chronicles young Austrian actress Hedy Lamarr’s rise to fame as an actress in Hollywood and her collaboration with George Antheil to develop spread-spectrum radio.
- Bessie Coleman, Queen of the Skies, by Phyllis J. Perry, is an account of the life of Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman, who became the first African-American woman to fly an airplane and to obtain an international pilot’s license. Coleman, who had been intent on flying since she was a young girl, was denied access to American fight schools because of Jim Crow laws and trained in French and German flight schools instead. This biography is only available in ebook format at this time.
- American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee, by Karen Abbott, delves into the life of Gypsy Rose Lee, whose bid for survival in the fading days of vaudeville made her one of burlesque’s greatest performers and one of America’s most intriguing women.
- Anna May Wong: From Laundryman’s Daughter to Hollywood Legend, by Graham Hodges, is about Hollywood’s first Chinese-American movie star. Anna defied the rules beginning from a very young age when she became a flapper in the 1920s. She starred in about sixty films during the course of her life, but racism in both the film industry and the United States itself kept her from realizing her potential as an actress.
And that’s our five. Do you have any books you intend on reading this summer?