In The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine, Janice P. Nimura tracks the history-making careers of Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell. As women in the male-dominated medical field during the 1800s, the sisters faced enormous obstacles, yet Elizabeth became the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States and Emily developed into an exceptional physician. Nimura’s well-researched narrative offers a wide range of subjects for conversation, including the history of American medicine and the complications and pitfalls of first-wave feminism.
In her moving memoir, Lab Girl, paleobiologist Hope Jahren shares the story of her remarkable career in science while musing on the wonders of the natural world. From the challenges she faced as a female researcher to the labs she established and her experiences with bipolar disorder, Jahren provides a beautifully written account of her life and work. Her book is a terrific pick for reading groups in search of a substantial yet entertaining memoir, offering ample opportunities to discuss gender, family and mental illness.
Thriller and true crime fans alike will savor Sue Black’s All That Remains: A Renowned Forensic Scientist on Death, Mortality, and Solving Crimes. Black, a celebrated forensic anthropologist, delivers a fascinating chronicle of her unusual profession, mixing memoir with firsthand accounts of crime scene procedures and life in the laboratory. A native of Scotland, she approaches sensitive topics such as death and the human body with compassion, good sense and a sly sprinkling of humor.
Liza Mundy’s Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II illuminates a little-known facet of American history. As Mundy recounts in the book, women from across the country were trained to be code breakers for the U.S. Army and Navy during World War II. Working in secret, they made an invaluable contribution to the war effort. Mundy blends in-depth research with interviews with former “code girls” to create an enthralling narrative that disrupts historical stereotypes surrounding women’s contributions in wartime.