This list started out as a means of assisting reviewers participating in the Challenge who might want to review a history or a biography. Originally a blog post, I have moved it to a page of its own so that I can update it regularly.
I have primarily created this list by trawling through the book review pages of three Australian history journals, History Australia, Australian Historical Studies and the Australian Journal of Politics and History over the last couple of years. I have also supplemented it with books that have come to my attention from reviewers participating in the Australian Women Writers Challenge, short and long lists for various awards and two bloggers who do a great job reviewing histories and biographies – Lisa Hill who writes the ANZ LitLovers LitBlog and Janine Rizzetti who produces The Resident Judge of Port Phillip blog which inspired me to start blogging myself.
The list simply gives you the bibliographical details of the book. To find out more about the book I suggest that you search the title on the internet or you can read the reviews in the journals yourself. The journals are accessible through the State Library of New South Wales and the National Library of Australia – I’m sure that they are available through other state libraries in Australia too.
There are a number of things to keep in mind about this list of histories written by women:
- The authors listed here are mainly, but not exclusively, Australian.
- The histories are mainly, but not exclusively, about Australia.
- It is far from a comprehensive list of histories written by women. There have been many others published in the last few years that are not on this list.
- The journals are academic journals so the reviews they publish are of books likely to appeal to people who subscribe to academic journals rather than a general audience. Having said that I did notice some reviews of histories that are clearly directed towards the general public and I believe that many histories directed towards an academic audience are also very readable for the general public.
- I included books in the list where at least one author is female. In some cases this may not have been clear, eg. “It’s Still in my Heart, This is My Country”: The Single Noongar Claim History is written by the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council together with John Host and Chris Owen. I do not know who was on the Aboriginal Land and Sea Council when the book was written – I assume that there were some women on this Council.
- I have excluded books which are edited collections, each chapter on the same theme but by a different author (my original list included these). There are many, many books which have at least one chapter written by women – I had to draw the line somewhere. Another reason for excluding these types of books is that they tend not to be of so much interest to the general reader.
- The fact that a book has received a review does not mean that it is endorsed by the reviewer or the publication in which the review appears.. Some books received good reviews, some reviews were critical. I have included them all.
I have listed the books in reverse alphabetical order by author’s name. Businesses for years have understood the human predilection to take more notice of entries at the start of lists than at the end and so at the start of our phone directories there are many AAA entries such as AAA Window Cleaners, AAA Garbage Removal etc. Children like me, with surnames commencing with letters towards the end of the alphabet, learned that having such a surname meant that you had to wait longer whenever you were waiting for your name to be called at school. (Are such children extra patient as adults?) My list gives greater exposure to those authors who tend to receive less prominent places on lists simply because of their name.