The best narrative historical books about social injustice

The Books I Picked & Why

The Zebra Affaire: An Apartheid Saga

By Mark Fine

Book cover of The Zebra Affaire: An Apartheid Saga

Why this book?

As an indie author myself, I am committed to supporting other independent authors and Mark Fine is one of the best. Fine has created an epic love story set against the backdrop of South Africa’s apartheid in the 1970s. When a beautiful white model falls in love with a black man, they become prey in a deadly manhunt that stretches from the golden city of Johannesburg to the dangerous wilds of the African bushveld. The author’s compelling characters and vivid descriptions shine a light on the effects of tribalism and social injustice during a dark period in this nation’s history. This story will keep you riveted until the last page is turned.


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Edge of Eternity

By Ken Follett

Book cover of Edge of Eternity

Why this book?

I consider Ken Follett one of the greatest historical fiction writers of our time. His Century Trilogy follows the fortunes of five intertwined families as they make their way through the trials and tribulations of the twentieth century. As the final book in the series, Edge of Eternity covers one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the 1960s through the 1980s. Follett is a master storyteller who uses historical events as the backdrop, but never loses sight of the characters as a central focus of the action. It is impossible not to become emotionally vested in their lives as they struggle with the social injustice and racial prejudices of the times.


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Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

By David Grann

Book cover of Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Why this book?

This journalistic account of the Reign of Terror against the Osage people sheds light on one of the most ruthless and shocking crimes against humanity in our country. After oil was discovered beneath their land in the 1920s, the people of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma became one of the richest people per capita in the world. Then, one by one, they began dying under mysterious circumstances. As the death toll rose, the case was taken up by the newly created FBI exposing one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. Masterfully crafted through narrative nonfiction, the author’s use of vivid description brings the reader into the story in such a way that they experience the action along with the characters. Truly a memorable read. 


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Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

By Jamie Ford

Book cover of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Why this book?

This heartfelt and quietly moving story reminds us of the innocent lives impacted by a shameful episode in American History. In 1986, Henry Lee, a Chinese American, joins a crowd outside the Panama Hotel in Seattle’s Japantown where the owner has discovered the belongings of Japanese families who were sent to internment camps during World War II. One item belonged to a young Japanese American girl with whom Henry forged a bond of friendship and innocent love that transcended the prejudices of their Old World ancestors. He is reminded of the sacrifices he has made for family, for love, and for country. The author combines historic detail with the sentimentality of youthful romance to explore the age-old conflicts between father and son and the depths and longings of lost love.


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The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

By Erik Larson

Book cover of The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

Why this book?

Erik Larsen’s suspense-filled narrative puts the reader in the center of the action during the London Blitz. Hitler had invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it’s also an intimate domestic drama set against the backdrop of Churchill’s prime-ministerial country home. The story takes readers out of today’s political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership. The fast pace and intensity of the action create an intimate portrait of Churchill and reveal the man behind the caricature. The book is a fresh, fast, deeply moving account of a nation coming together to face a brutal assault on its democracy and the challenges of leadership that go along with it.


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