Reading list

A Socialist Feminist Reading List

Revolutionary feminist texts, featuring Angela Davis, Nancy Fraser, Sophie Lewis, Shon Faye, and Vivian Gornick.

Verso Books 7 March 2024

A Socialist Feminist Reading List

To celebrate Women's History Month and International Women's Day we bring you this globally focused feminist reading list. Featuring history, theory, manifesto and personal narrative, all of these books advance ideas of revolutionary feminism.

See our Top 10 books to read for IWD, and other reading lists and blog posts on feminism.

Feminist Classics

Rediscover pioneering works of feminism from leading writers including Michelle Wallace, Hazel V. Carby and Rosalind Petchesky.

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Manifestos for a Feminist Future

The perfect antidote to liberal feminism, these works call for ecofeminism, cyberfeminism, and feminism for the 99%!

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Anti-colonial, Anti-racist Feminism

Featuring works from Angela Davis, Stella Dadzie, and The Brixton Black Women’s Group!

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Calls for Reproductive Justice

As reproductive rights and bodily autonomy remain under attack around the world, these books can guide us through the fight.

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They Call It Love, We Call It Unpaid Work

Essential books on the care crisis, emotional reproduction, and family abolition.

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Trans Liberation Now!

When we fight for trans liberation, we fight for a better world.

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When Sex Workers Win, We All Win

Bringing the fight for sex workers' rights front and centre.

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Sexuality, Desire, and Sexual Violence

Analysis of the politics of desire, sexual violence, and why the carceral approach to feminism does not make women safer.

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Feminist History

Highlighting feminist history from the socialist women active in 19th century Eastern Europe, to the women’s liberation movement in the UK in the 1970s.

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Feminist Theory

Key theory around economics, antifascism, and psychoanalysis.

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Cultures in Babylon
Bringing together multi-award-winning author Hazel Carby’s most important and influential essays, Cultures in Babylon addresses the political dilemmas of representing Black women as sexual subjects...
Abortion and Women's Choice

Abortion and Women's Choice

This prize-winning study is the definitive work on the politics of abortion and fertility. Rosalind Pollack Petchesky provides overwhelming evidence against the anti-abortion forces and in the proc...
Heart Of The Race

Heart Of The Race

Heart of the Race is a powerful corrective to a version of Britain’s history from which black women have long been excluded. It reclaims and records black women’s place in that history, documenting...
Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World
For twenty-five years, Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World has been an essential primer on the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century history of women’s movements in Asia and the Midd...
Sylvia Pankhurst
Along with her mother Emmeline, and her sister Christabel, Sylvia Pankhurst was one of the leading women’s suffrage activists in early twentieth-century England, working with the militant Women’s S...
Making Space
Making Space is a pioneering work first published in 1984 which challenges us to look at how the built environment impacts on women’s lives. It exposes the sexist assumptions on gender and sexualit...
Beyond the Pale

Beyond the Pale

How have ideas about white women figured in the history of racism? Vron Ware argues that they have been central, and that feminism has largely developed as a political movement within racist societ...
Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman
Originally published in 1978, Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman caused a storm of controversy. Michele Wallace blasted the masculine biases of the black politics that emerged from the si...
De Colores Means All of Us

De Colores Means All of Us

Elizabeth Martínez’s unique Chicana voice arises from over thirty years of experience in the movements for civil rights, women’s liberation, and Latina/o empowerment. In De Colores Means All of Us,...
Burn It Down!
Burn It Down! is a testament to what is possible when women are driven to the edge. Collecting over seventy-five manifestos from around the world, Burn It Down! is a rallying cry and a call to acti...
Feminism or Death

Feminism or Death

Originally published in French in 1974, radical feminist Francoise d’Eaubonne surveyed women’s status around the globe and argued that the stakes of feminist struggle was not about equality but abo...
Glitch Feminism
The divide between the digital and the real world no longer exists: we are connected all the time. How do we find out who we are within this digital era? Where do we create the space to explore our...
Feminism for the 99%
Unaffordable housing, poverty wages, healthcare, climate change, border policing; not the issues you ordinarily hear feminists talking about. But don’t these issues impact the vast majority of wome...
The Xenofeminist Manifesto
The Xenofeminist Manifesto is an attempt to articulate a feminism fit for the twenty-first century. Unafraid of exploring the potentials of technology, exploring both oppressive and emancipatory po...
Set Fear on Fire
After the feminist art collective LASTESIS created their performance "A Rapist in Your Path" in their native Chile, it went viral across the globe, becoming the anthem of the grassroots feminist mo...
If They Come in the Morning
The trial of Angela Davis is remembered as one of America's most historic political trials, and no one can tell the story better than Davis herself. Opening with a letter from James Baldwin to Ange...
A Kick in the Belly
The forgotten history of women slaves and their struggle for liberation.Enslaved West Indian women had few opportunities to record their stories for posterity. In this riveting work of historical r...
Speak Out!

Speak Out!

"We came to Britain in search of better opportunities or to get some of the wealth which had been misappropriated from the Caribbean, but what in reality did we find?"Speak Out brings together the ...
Deadly and Slick
If race is increasingly understood to be socially constructed, why does it continue to seem like a physiological reality? The trickery of race, Sita Balani argues, comes down to how it is embedded ...
Organize, Fight, Win
Black Communist women throughout the early to mid-twentieth century fought for and led mass campaigns in the service of building collective power in the fight for liberation. Through concrete mater...
The Future of Difference
The Future of Difference theorises contemporary regimes of power as engaged primarily in the violent production of difference. In this moment, the logic of ‘other and rule’ thoroughly permeates the...
Feminist International

Feminist International

Recent years have seen massive feminist mobilizations in virtually every continent, overturning social mores and repressive legislation. In this brilliant and original look at the emerging feminist...
Revolutionary Feminisms
In a moment of rising authoritarianism, climate crisis, and ever more exploitative forms of neoliberal capitalism, there is a compelling and urgent need for radical paradigms of thought and action....
Separate and Dominate
Feminist Christine Delphy co-founded the journal Nouvelles questions féministes with Simone de Beauvoir in the 1970s and became one of the most influential figures in French feminism. Today, Delp...
Abortion and Women's Choice

Abortion and Women's Choice

This prize-winning study is the definitive work on the politics of abortion and fertility. Rosalind Pollack Petchesky provides overwhelming evidence against the anti-abortion forces and in the proc...
Bodies Under Siege
Think today's anti-abortion ideas are rooted in religious prohibitions or arguments about where life begins? Wrong: today's anti-abortion movements is largely financed and planned by far-right extr...
Abortion Beyond the Law
Drawing on years of research with activists around the world, sociologist Naomi Braine describes the strategies, politics, and tactics of direct action feminists bringing abortion pills, informatio...
They Call It Love
They Call It Love investigates the work that makes a haven in a heartless world, examining who performs this labour, how it is organised, and how it might change. Drawing on the thought of the femi...
Lean on Me
Have you ever relied on the kindness of strangers? What brings people together to find hope and solidarity? What do we owe each other as citizens and comrades?Questions of care, intimacy, educatio...
After Work
Does it ever feel like you have no free time? You come home after work and instead of finding a space of rest and relaxation, you're confronted by a pile of new tasks to complete – cooking, cleanin...
Abolish the Family
What if we could do better than the family?We need to talk about the family. For those who are lucky, families can be filled with love and care, but for many they are sites of pain: from abandonmen...
The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State

The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State

In this provocative and now-classic work, Friedrich Engels explores the interrelated development of the family and the state from ancient society to the Victorian era. Drawing on new anthropologica...
The Anti-Social Family
Despite much talk of its decline, the nuclear family persists as a structure central to contemporary society, a fact to be lamented, according to the ideas of Michèle Barrett and Mary McIntosh. T...
A Short History of Trans Misogyny
“A beautifully written and argued book.” - Torrey Peters, author of Detransition, BabyThere is no shortage of voices demanding everyone pay attention to the violence trans women suffer. But one fri...
Love and Money, Sex and Death
After a successful career, a twenty-year marriage, and two kids, McKenzie Wark has an acute midlife crisis: coming out as a trans woman. Changing both social role and bodily form recasts her relati...
Miss Major Speaks
Miss Major Griffin-Gracy is a veteran of the infamous Stonewall Riots, a former sex worker, and a transgender elder and activist who has survived Bellevue psychiatric hospital, Attica Prison, the H...
The Transgender Issue
In this brilliant introduction to trans politics, journalist Shon Faye gives an incisive overview of systemic transphobia and argues that the struggle for trans rights is necessary to any struggle ...
Females
“Everyone is female, and everyone hates it.”So begins Andrea Long Chu’s genre-defying investigation into sex and lies, desperate artists and reckless politics, the smothering embrace of gender and ...
Trans

Trans

In July 2012, aged thirty, Juliet Jacques underwent sex reassignment surgery—a process she chronicled with unflinching honesty in a serialised national newspaper column. Trans tells of her life to ...
Working Girl
Sex and art, we're told, are sacred, two spheres that ought to be kept separate from the ravages of the marketplace. Yet both prop up two incredibly lucrative industries, built on the commodificati...
Revolting Prostitutes
How the law harms sex workers - and what they want insteadDo you have to endorse prostitution in order to support sex worker rights? Should clients be criminalized, and can the police deliver justi...
Playing the Whore
The sex industry is an endless source of prurient drama for the mainstream media. Recent years have seen a panic over "online red-light districts," which supposedly seduce vulnerable young women ...
Free Them All

Free Them All

How does the criminal justice system affect women's lives? Do prisons keep women safe? Should feminists rely on policing and the law to achieve women's liberation?The mainstream feminist movement h...
Radius
In 2012, the joyful hopes of the democratic Egyptian Revolution were tempered by revelations of mass sexual assault in Tahrir Square in Cairo, the revolution’s symbolic birthplace. This is the sto...
Sexuality in the Field of Vision
A pivotal work in the history of feminism and a groundbreaking intervention into film theory, Sexuality in the Field of Vision is a brilliantly original exploration of the interface between feminis...
Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again
Women are in a bind. In the name of consent and empowerment, they must proclaim their desires clearly and confidently. Yet sex researchers suggest that women’s desire is often slow to emerge. And m...
What We Don't Talk About
What if we took sex out of the box marked ‘special’, either the worst or best thing that a human person can experience, and considered it within the complexity of reality? In this extraordinary boo...
The Feminist and The Sex Offender
With analytical clarity and narrative force, The Feminist and the Sex Offender contends with two problems that are typically siloed in the era of #MeToo and mass incarceration: sexual and gender vi...
The Verso Book of Feminism
Throughout written history and across the world, women have protested the restrictions of gender and the limitations placed on women’s bodies and women’s lives. People—of any and no gender—have pro...
Red Rosa
A giant of the political left, Rosa Luxemburg is one of the foremost minds in the canon of revolutionary socialist thought. But she was much more than just a thinker. She made herself heard in a wo...
Red Valkyries
Through a series of lively and accessible biographical essays, Red Valkyries explores the history of socialist feminism century Eastern Europe. By examining the revolutionary careers of five promi...
Daring to Hope
In this powerful memoir Sheila Rowbotham looks back at her life as a participant in the women’s liberation movement, left politics and the creative radical culture of a decade in which freedom and ...
Taking A Long Look
For nearly fifty years, Vivian Gornick’s essays, written with her characteristic clarity of perception and vibrant prose, have explored feminism and writing, literature and culture, politics and pe...
Fortunes of Feminism
Second Wave feminism emerged as a struggle for women’s liberation and took its place alongside other radical movements. But feminism’s subsequent immersion in identity politics coincided with a dec...
The Dialectic of Sex
An international bestseller, originally published in 1970, when Shulamith Firestone was just twenty-five years old, The Dialectic of Sex was the first book of the women’s liberation movement to put...
Paperback
Invisibility Blues
First published in 1990, Michele Wallace’s Invisibility Blues is widely regarded as a landmark in the history of black feminism. Wallace’s considerations of the black experience in America include ...
Women's Oppression Today
Women’s Oppression Today is a classic text in the debate about Marxism and feminism, exploring how gender, sexuality and the “family-household system” operate in relation to contemporary capitalism...
Woman's Consciousness, Man's World
A groundbreaking contribution to debates on women's oppression and consciousness, and the connections between socialism and feminism. Examining feminist consciousness from various vantage points - ...
The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems
Why do patriarchal systems survive? In this groundbreaking work of feminist theory, Nancy Folbre examines the contradictory effects of capitalist development. She explains why the work of caring fo...
Feminist Antifascism
In this exciting, innovative work, Polish feminist philosopher Ewa Majewska maps the creation of feminist counterpublics around the world—spaces of protest and ideas, community and common struggle,...
Feminist City
What should a metropolis for working women look like? A city of friendships beyond Sex and the City. A transit system that accommodates mothers with strollers on the school run. A public space wi...
A Kick in the Belly
The forgotten history of women slaves and their struggle for liberation.Enslaved West Indian women had few opportunities to record their stories for posterity. In this riveting work of historical r...
Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again
Women are in a bind. In the name of consent and empowerment, they must proclaim their desires clearly and confidently. Yet sex researchers suggest that women’s desire is often slow to emerge. And m...
Daring to Hope
In this powerful memoir Sheila Rowbotham looks back at her life as a participant in the women’s liberation movement, left politics and the creative radical culture of a decade in which freedom and ...
Making Space
Making Space is a pioneering work first published in 1984 which challenges us to look at how the built environment impacts on women’s lives. It exposes the sexist assumptions on gender and sexualit...
Feminism for the 99%
Unaffordable housing, poverty wages, healthcare, climate change, border policing; not the issues you ordinarily hear feminists talking about. But don’t these issues impact the vast majority of wome...
Revolting Prostitutes
How the law harms sex workers - and what they want insteadDo you have to endorse prostitution in order to support sex worker rights? Should clients be criminalized, and can the police deliver justi...
Glitch Feminism
The divide between the digital and the real world no longer exists: we are connected all the time. How do we find out who we are within this digital era? Where do we create the space to explore our...
Feminism or Death

Feminism or Death

Originally published in French in 1974, radical feminist Francoise d’Eaubonne surveyed women’s status around the globe and argued that the stakes of feminist struggle was not about equality but abo...
Full Surrogacy Now
"Rooted in historical, site-based, narrative, and political accounts, Full Surrogacy Now is the seriously radical cry for full gestational justice that I long for. This kind of gestation depends on...
Females
“Everyone is female, and everyone hates it.”So begins Andrea Long Chu’s genre-defying investigation into sex and lies, desperate artists and reckless politics, the smothering embrace of gender and ...
Taking A Long Look
For nearly fifty years, Vivian Gornick’s essays, written with her characteristic clarity of perception and vibrant prose, have explored feminism and writing, literature and culture, politics and pe...
Sylvia Pankhurst
Along with her mother Emmeline, and her sister Christabel, Sylvia Pankhurst was one of the leading women’s suffrage activists in early twentieth-century England, working with the militant Women’s S...
Feminist Antifascism
In this exciting, innovative work, Polish feminist philosopher Ewa Majewska maps the creation of feminist counterpublics around the world—spaces of protest and ideas, community and common struggle,...
What We Don't Talk About
What if we took sex out of the box marked ‘special’, either the worst or best thing that a human person can experience, and considered it within the complexity of reality? In this extraordinary boo...
Feminist International

Feminist International

Recent years have seen massive feminist mobilizations in virtually every continent, overturning social mores and repressive legislation. In this brilliant and original look at the emerging feminist...
Fortunes of Feminism
Second Wave feminism emerged as a struggle for women’s liberation and took its place alongside other radical movements. But feminism’s subsequent immersion in identity politics coincided with a dec...
Burn It Down!
Burn It Down! is a testament to what is possible when women are driven to the edge. Collecting over seventy-five manifestos from around the world, Burn It Down! is a rallying cry and a call to acti...
The Xenofeminist Manifesto
The Xenofeminist Manifesto is an attempt to articulate a feminism fit for the twenty-first century. Unafraid of exploring the potentials of technology, exploring both oppressive and emancipatory po...
Heart Of The Race

Heart Of The Race

Heart of the Race is a powerful corrective to a version of Britain’s history from which black women have long been excluded. It reclaims and records black women’s place in that history, documenting...
The Future of Difference
The Future of Difference theorises contemporary regimes of power as engaged primarily in the violent production of difference. In this moment, the logic of ‘other and rule’ thoroughly permeates the...
The Rise and Decline of Patriarchal Systems
Why do patriarchal systems survive? In this groundbreaking work of feminist theory, Nancy Folbre examines the contradictory effects of capitalist development. She explains why the work of caring fo...
The Verso Book of Feminism
Throughout written history and across the world, women have protested the restrictions of gender and the limitations placed on women’s bodies and women’s lives. People—of any and no gender—have pro...
Betraying Big Brother
On the eve of International Women’s Day in 2015, the Chinese government arrested five feminist activists and jailed them for 37 days. The Feminist Five became a global cause célèbre, with Hillary C...
Sexuality in the Field of Vision
A pivotal work in the history of feminism and a groundbreaking intervention into film theory, Sexuality in the Field of Vision is a brilliantly original exploration of the interface between feminis...
Red Rosa
A giant of the political left, Rosa Luxemburg is one of the foremost minds in the canon of revolutionary socialist thought. But she was much more than just a thinker. She made herself heard in a wo...
If They Come in the Morning
The trial of Angela Davis is remembered as one of America's most historic political trials, and no one can tell the story better than Davis herself. Opening with a letter from James Baldwin to Ange...
Trans

Trans

In July 2012, aged thirty, Juliet Jacques underwent sex reassignment surgery—a process she chronicled with unflinching honesty in a serialised national newspaper column. Trans tells of her life to ...
Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World
For twenty-five years, Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World has been an essential primer on the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century history of women’s movements in Asia and the Midd...
Constituting Feminist Subjects
Kathi Weeks suggests that one of the most important tasks for contemporary feminist theory is to develop theories of the subject that are adequate to feminist politics. Although the 1980s modernist...
Playing the Whore
The sex industry is an endless source of prurient drama for the mainstream media. Recent years have seen a panic over "online red-light districts," which supposedly seduce vulnerable young women ...
Woman's Consciousness, Man's World
A groundbreaking contribution to debates on women's oppression and consciousness, and the connections between socialism and feminism. Examining feminist consciousness from various vantage points - ...
Women's Oppression Today
Women’s Oppression Today is a classic text in the debate about Marxism and feminism, exploring how gender, sexuality and the “family-household system” operate in relation to contemporary capitalism...
Invisibility Blues
First published in 1990, Michele Wallace’s Invisibility Blues is widely regarded as a landmark in the history of black feminism. Wallace’s considerations of the black experience in America include ...
The Anti-Social Family
Despite much talk of its decline, the nuclear family persists as a structure central to contemporary society, a fact to be lamented, according to the ideas of Michèle Barrett and Mary McIntosh. T...
Making Trouble
What happens when angry young rebels become wary older women, ageing in a leaner, meaner time: a time which exalts only the ‘new’, in a ruling orthodoxy daily disparaging all it portrays as the ‘ol...
The Dialectic of Sex
An international bestseller, originally published in 1970, when Shulamith Firestone was just twenty-five years old, The Dialectic of Sex was the first book of the women’s liberation movement to put...
Paperback

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