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?

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

The Wave

By Todd Strasser,

Book cover of The Wave

Why 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.

How Do You Kill 11 Million People? Softcover

By Andy Andrews,

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

Why 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.

The Long Walk: The True Story Of A Trek To Freedom

By Slavomir Rawicz,

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

Why 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 Ally Condie,

Book cover of Matched

Why 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.

The Hiding Place

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

Book cover of The Hiding Place

Why 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.

5 book lists we think you will like!

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

5,809 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 971 books about World War 2
Love Triangle Explore 41 books about love triangle
Russia Explore 234 books about Russia

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Book Thief, The Giver, and Mistborn if you like this list.