11 Non-Fiction Books About Famous Women That You Should Read

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WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 15: FILE: Author and poet, Maya Angelou, poses for a portrait in Washington, D.C. on December 15, 1992. (Photo by Dudley M. Brooks / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

The second autobiography on this list may be one of the most famous memoirs in American literature. Editor Robert Loomis effectively challenged Maya Angelou to write an autobiography as literature.

He told her that it was nearly impossible to do so.

She came back with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings two years later.

The rest, as they say, is history.

The book covers her earliest years, starting with Angelou at the age of three and moving to Arkansas with her brother all the way to the age of 16, when she first became a mother. That sounds simple, but it includes her rape and experiences with racism.

As the American Library Association has detailed, it still pops up on the top 10 most-challenged books every few years, despite originally being published in 1969. The usual reasons given include its being sexually explicit, racism, homosexuality, and for being “unsuited to age group”.

Caged Bird has lyrical prose, but, as reviews on Goodreads state, it is not an easy read. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve to be read.

Additional reading includes the rest of Angelou’s autobiographies, starting with Gather Together in My Name.