A few more books that have made their way onto my ever growing list:
The Woman Who Shot Mussolini by Frances Stonor Saunders
"7 April 1926: on the steps of the Capitol in Rome, surrounded by chanting Fascists, the Honourable Violet Gibson raises her old revolver and fires at Benito Mussolini. The bullet narrowly misses the dictator's bald head, hitting him in the nose. Of all his would-be assassins, Violet came closest to changing the course of history. What brought her to this moment? She was the daughter of an Anglo-Irish lord and had once consorted with royalty and the peerage. Violet paid for her actions for the rest of her life, confined to a lunatic asylum. Frances Stonor Saunders' moving and compulsively readable book rescues this gentle, driven woman from a silent void and restores her dignity and purpose."
The Discovery of Jeanne Baret by Glynis Ridley
"Jeanne Baret became the first woman to circumnavigate the world after she disguised herself as a teenage boy and stowed aboard a French ship in 1776 with her botanist lover. This is the story of that pioneering journey. On the ship, Baret pursued her love of botany by acting as an assistant to her lover; eminent botanist Philibert Commerson. Amid a cloud of suspicion, she travelled the world, surviving for two years on the ship with 115 men. She returned home to France in 1775 after Commerson’s death, and time spent living in Mauritius. Authored by Professor Glynis Ridley, The Discovery Of Jeanne Baret is an expertly researched and engagingly written narrative about science, adventure and love."
Empress of Rome - The Life of Livia by Matthew Dennison
"Matthew Dennison's Empress Of Livia is an unprecedented biography of one of the most intriguing figures of the early Roman empire. Empress Livia, the second wife of the emperor Augustus, has long been pegged as a scheming, power-crazed murderess, who poisoned her relatives in order to clear the path to the throne for her son, Tiberius. Here, Denison paints a markedly different picture of this fascinating woman. With eloquence and meticulous detail, Dennison reveals the empress as a complex, courageous and enormosly gifted individual who had the power and intelligence to overcome adversity in a male-dominated society, cultivating a prominent public profile and strong political influence."
Bluestockings - the Remarkable Story of the First Women to Fight for an Education by Jane Robinson
"The women who fought for the right to a university education speak out about overcoming all the odds. Equal opportunity may be taken for granted today, but 140 years ago, it was a vastly different world – especially for women with academic aspirations. In 1869, when five women enrolled at uni for the first time in British history, female brains were thought lighter than men's, and their wombs likely to shrivel and die if they studied too hard. In this fascinating history, the oral testimonies of these trailblazing young women make for an engrossing account of defiance and determination, sacrifice and self-discovery, friendship and forging new opportunities for future generations."