The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe by Elaine Showalter

book jacket portrait of Julia Ward HoweThe Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe by Elaine Show, (2016) is a biography of a woman whose name you probably recall hearing but just aren’t sure why. Then I say, Battle Hymn of the Republic, and you may recall that her poem became the lyrics of this very American song. It nearly became our NATIONAL ANTHEM, but in part because America IS NOT A CHRISTIAN NATION, the Star-Spangled Banner was chosen instead. Plus I kind of am glad that the war-hawk anthem did not succeed in the ennoblement of war although there have been some necessary wars (the Civil War, WWII) and some of the people fighting in them were surely noble, I do not think war itself can ever be noble.

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Rocket Girl by George D. Morgan

Rocket Girl: The Story of Mary Sherman Morgan, America’s First Female Rocket Scientist (2013)

rocket girl

This creative non-fiction book is a good read (written by her son) about another unsung and thankfully not forgotten woman who made a difference but got no credit for for her invention of the rocket fuel that propelled the first US rocket into to space to launch our first satellite. Who knew!? Certainly not in the history books, but everyone knows the ex-Nazi Werner von Braun, also working on rocket projects. Yes, she worked among a team of 900 other men (literally the only woman) but as is described in the book when her position was up for discussion, her supervisor told his boss (who wanted to take her the project because she was a woman) that yes, he had all these other brilliant men working for him but that Mary was the best. This boss was like so many others with their egos and disbelief that a woman can be smart, indeed, smarter than the men.

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