7 Must-Read Books by Women in Politics

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s third and latest memoir, What Happened, is already setting records. Only one week after its release, Clinton’s account of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign had already sold more than 300,000 copies across hardcover, eBook and audiobook formats, making it the highest-selling nonfiction release in five years.

While there’s certainly an interest in what can safely be described as one of the most unusual elections in American history, the popularity of the book may also signal an increased appetite in understanding what it’s really like to be a woman in the political sphere. 

And, lucky for us, Clinton isn’t the only one who’s revealed that particular side of public life. Check out these six great memoirs and books by female politicians and other women who work in government.

1. What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

The White House’s glass ceiling remains intact—and Hillary gives us the inside information about why. This hotly anticipated book is likely to be popular with Canadians who follow American politics as well as anyone who has an interest in gender equality in public office.

What Happened is available from the Edmonton Public Library as a book, eBook, audiobook and downloadable audiobook. For an added treat, check out the audiobook versions of the memoir, which are read by the author herself.

2. Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House by Alyssa Mastromonaco

Former U.S. President Barack Obama’s former Deputy Chief of Staff talks about being a young woman in a position of power and public influence. Her thoughtfulness, sense of humour and incredible patience all shine through in this enjoyable book.

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? is available from the Edmonton Public Library as a book, ebook and downloadable audiobook

3. My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg

This book is a collection of the Supreme Court of the United States Associate Justice’s “best of” writings, speeches and court decisions. My Own Words is a great resource directly from one of the world’s most tenacious and skilled legal minds. This will keep RBG fans busy until her massive biography is completed.

My Own Words is available from the Edmonton Public Library as a book and downloadable audiobook

4. The Art of Tough: Fearlessly Facing Politics and Life by Barbara Boxer

In The Art of Tough, retired U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer remembers her time in public service, giving readers who are new to American politics plenty of interesting context. She speaks about holding challenging views and facing criticism while maintaining a moral compass.

The Art of Tough is available from the Edmonton Public Library as a book.

5. This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class by Elizabeth Warren

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren explains the policies that have created and sustained the middle class— a subject close to her heart. Many people hoped she would run for president in 2016, but she felt she was serving more effectively in the U.S. Senate. If you enjoy Warren’s passionate and fiery Twitter feed and want to learn more about the inspiration of the viral “Nevertheless, she persisted" meme, this book can’t be missed.

This Fight is Our Fight is available from the Edmonton Public Library as a book

6. Hurricane Hazel: A Life with Purpose by Hazel McCallion

If you’d like to take a break from American politics, then Hurricane Hazel might just be the book for you. Author Hazel McCallion served as mayor of Mississauga from 1978 until her retirement in 2014 at age 93—making her the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history. In this frank and honest in memoir, she intertwines her personal story with her political history. 

Hurricane Hazel is available from the Edmonton Public Library as a book

7. This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa’s First Woman President by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf fought against societal expectations, anarchy and civil war to become the first elected female president in Africa. This is the story of how she won the hearts and votes of Liberia's women with her practical nature. It's a tale best accompanied by a quick brush-up on Liberian history.

This Child Will Be Great is available from the Edmonton Public Library as a book

If you’re interested in Johnson Sirleaf and would like to learn more about her, you can also check out Helene Cooper’s biography, Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

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