Laura Hillenbrand suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome, which has largely confined her to her house for 25 years. Despite this, she's written two of the biggest best-sellers in modern history.
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Stephanie St. Clair
This audacious black gangster fought the Italian mob for control of Harlem and won, taunting them in full-page newspaper ads as she went.
When an unrequited admirer began threatening her, this early fresco painter became one of history's first warrior artists.
Widowed young queen who led a fearsome rebellion against the British with her child tied to her back.
3rd century Rome had a major woman problem. Her name was Zenobia, and she took over a huge chunk of their empire in her brief and tumultuous career as rebel queen.
When this princess had her life ruined by an unstoppable warrior, she: became a fervent ascetic for years and got a divine boon; killed herself to reincarnate faster; came back as a man; and killed the man who'd wronged her, in the stunning climax of the world's longest epic poem.
Massively educated princess who started all-female gang of itinerant teachers, who would roam the land and educate unsuspecting passersby.
Cut Nyak Dhien
When her (second) rebel husband was killed, this heroine of Indonesian revolution took over the fight against the Dutch.
Destined to be a mere political pawn, this Mongol queen rode into battle while pregnant, united the warring tribes, and was considered to be the second coming of Genghis Khan.
The three men who accepted the Nobel Prize for "the most important scientific discovery of the 20th century" neglected to mention one thing: they owed much of their success to one brash, brilliant, and overlooked female scientist.
The Valiant Ladies of Potosi
Eustaquia de Souza and Ana Lezama de Urinza, two sword-and-gun-toting lesbian teen vigilantes - 17th century Bolivia's answer to Batman.