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

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UNSPECIFIED – JANUARY 01: Early undated photo of French fashion designer Coco Chanel. (Photo by Roland Schoor/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

8. Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History

As the description easily points out, Coco Chanel revolutionized fashion. Remember that fashion tip you probably heard from someone somewhere about taking one thing off before you leave the house? Chanel.

However, more often than not, writers tend to focus on Chanel’s influences on, well, clothes. Little black dress? Chanel. Chanel No. 5 still sells like, well, Chanel No. 5. In Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of Historyauthor Rhonda K. Garelick instead looks at the entire life of the famous designer. It’s not entirely about fashion. It’s about Coco herself.

Garelick researched intensely for the project, leading to a 660-page work that analyzes everything from the designer’s early life to how Chanel mimicked the culture of the times in her designs to create different looks. That requires a deep knowledge of American and European cultures as well, and Garelick shows off her research in those arenas, too. Reviews listed on Amazon call it the definitive work on Chanel’s life, while Goodreads reviews praise how in-depth Garelick goes at points while still maintaining a readable text.

For further reading, you can check out The Secret of Chanel No. 5a non-fiction work on the creation of the iconic perfume, or Mademoiselle Chanel, a fictionalized take on the designer’s life.