The best books on government oppression and courageous resistance

Who am I?

As a child, I read stories of courageous women and men who risked their lives for their faith, for their freedom, or for the freedom of others. Many of these stories were dark and brutal. History taught me that governments are capable of atrocities that defy understanding. Fiction stories led me to envision dark futures. But I do not enjoy stories that discourage or depress. Instead, I believe stories should display hope, faithfulness, and sacrifice. I admire the heroes of our history and I seek fiction that speaks these same truths. We need stories that inspire us to stand up, to speak out against injustice, no matter the consequences.

I wrote...

Mind Games

By Esther K. Bowen,

Book cover of Mind Games

What is my book about?

Despite the prejudice she faces for her unknown parents' crimes, Meagan is determined to succeed as a propagandist for the International Administrative State. But when she is given a mysterious object by a dying man, her world is forever altered. Thrust into a deadly game of deception, Meagan is caught between two sides. On one side: the cold and demanding Ultan, commander of the secret police. On the other: a network of rebels and a daring young man called Wild Card. When Wild Card uncovers a government plot and Meagan finds evidence of her unknown past, she is forced to choose between power and friendship. As Meagan's past and present collide, how far will she go to get what she wants?

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

The Wave

By Todd Strasser,

Book cover of The Wave

Why did I love this book?

What leads people to join a movement? What causes a group to sacrifice freedom for power, victory, and equality? How does oppression begin?

When Ben is unable to answer a student’s question, “Why did the German people not stop the Nazis?” he devises an experiment. Would American students surrender their individuality and follow his leadership blindly? What follows quickly spirals out of control. The students and their teacher are forced to confront how a movement transforms those who become caught in its current. And some students are forced to learn the cost of daring to speak against the majority.

By Todd Strasser,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wave as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Ben shows his pupils a film about the Nazis' persecution of the Jews, they can't believe it could happen. So he introduces a new disciplinary system in an attempt to shown them how powerful group pressure can be. But things get out of hand.

Book cover of How Do You Kill 11 Million People? Softcover

Why did I love this book?

In this short, but incredibly powerful book, Andrews asks questions every citizen should consider. The reader is confronted with questions about truth, freedom, and the price of apathy. This book transformed my understanding of oppression and why people allow it. It is a call to think, to seek truth, and to hold government leaders accountable. It can be read in about twenty minutes.

By Andy Andrews,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Do You Kill 11 Million People? Softcover as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How do you get away with the murder of 11 million people? The answer is simple-and disturbing. You lie to them. Learn how you can become an informed, passionate citizen who demands honesty and integrity from your leaders in this updated and expanded edition of the original New York Times bestselling book.

In this updated and expanded nonpartisan New York Times bestselling book, Andy Andrews emphasizes that seeking and discerning the truth is of critical importance, and that believing lies is the most dangerous thing you can do. You'll be challenged to become a more careful student of the past,…

Book cover of The Long Walk: The True Story Of A Trek To Freedom

Why did I love this book?

A brutal and harrowing tale of what men will endure to find freedom. Polish cavalry lieutenant Slavomir Rawicz is taken prisoner by Russian “liberators”. Tortured, convicted, and sent to a labor camp, Rawicz refuses to break. What if he and a small group of friends can escape along the route the Russians will least expect? What if they flee south, through Russia, Mongolia, China, Tibet, and finally, into India? An epic tale of survival and loss, this is a true story that deserves to be remembered.

By Slavomir Rawicz,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Long Walk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"I hope The Long Walk will remain as a memorial to all those who live and die for freedom, and for all those who for many reasons could not speak for themselves."--Slavomir Rawicz

In 1941, the author and six other fellow prisoners escaped a Soviet labor camp in Yakutsk--a camp where enduring hunger, cold, untended wounds, untreated illnesses, and avoiding daily executions were everyday feats. Their march--over thousands of miles by foot--out of Siberia, through China, the Gobi Desert, Tibet, and over the Himalayas to British India is a remarkable statement about man's desire to be free.

While the original…


By Ally Condie,

Book cover of Matched

Why did I love this book?

They created a perfect society. A society where no lives are lost to senseless violence. No one dies of disease. Everyone is safe. Everyone is happy.

A cross between Orwell’s 1984 and Lowry’s The Giver, Matched explores the price of security. Of what was lost when people made safety and happiness the ultimate goal. Resonating with poetry, it is a story of hidden longing, hidden thoughts, and hidden expressions of resistance. Follow Cassia as she learns a life lived safely is no life at all.

By Ally Condie,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Matched as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in…

The Hiding Place

By Corrie Ten Boom, Elizabeth Sherrill, John Sherrill, Tim Foley (illustrator)

Book cover of The Hiding Place

Why did I love this book?

The Ten Boom family has never turned away a person in need. But when the Nazis take control of their native Holland, it becomes illegal to aid Jews and other enemies of the state. This is a true story of courage and resistance in the face of oppression. It is a story of hatred and prejudice, but it is also one of sacrifice, of faith, and of joy in the darkest circumstances.

By Corrie Ten Boom, Elizabeth Sherrill, John Sherrill, Tim Foley (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Hiding Place as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The True Story of a Real-Life Hero

It's World War II. Darkness has fallen over Europe as the Nazis spread hatred, fear and war across the globe. But on a quiet city corner in the Netherlands, one woman fights against the darkness.

In her quiet watchmaking shop, she and her family risk their lives to hide Jews, and others hunted by the Nazis, in a secret room, a "hiding place" that they built in the old building.

One day, however, Corrie and her family are betrayed. They're captured and sent to the notorious Nazi concentration camps to die. Yet even…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in World War 2, love triangle, and Russia?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about World War 2, love triangle, and Russia.

World War 2 Explore 1,692 books about World War 2
Love Triangle Explore 68 books about love triangle
Russia Explore 323 books about Russia