100 books like 1381

By Juliet Barker,

Here are 100 books that 1381 fans have personally recommended if you like 1381. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Black Prince

Mary Ellen Johnson Author Of The Lion and the Leopard

From my list on why the 14th century mirrors our ideals.

Why am I passionate about this?

In junior high, I happened across a picture of an armor-plated knight being raised by a winch to sit astride his destrier. What a ridiculous time period, I thought. After raiding every related book in the school library,  I changed my opinion from “ridiculous” to “fascinating.” Particularly when deciding that periods such as the fourteenth century, with its plagues, wars, political upheavals, and climate change were pretty much a distorted mirror of our own. Throughout my life as wife, mother, novelist, and social justice advocate, I’ve held medieval England close to my heart. I remain forever grateful I’ve been able to explore it both in my writing and in several treks across the pond.  

Mary's book list on why the 14th century mirrors our ideals

Mary Ellen Johnson Why did Mary love this book?

Each time I visit Canterbury Cathedral, I pay homage to my favorite knight, Edward of Woodstock, who epitomizes the fourteenth-century version of the knight nonpareil. Being an autodidact rather than a scholar, I am particularly grateful that Black Prince is both meticulously researched and easy to read. I particularly admire Prince Edward because of his courage on and off the battlefield, especially when enduring the mysterious illness that ultimately killed him. Edward the Black Prince embraced all the turns of fortune’s wheel with grace, courage, and dignity. Love this man and love this book!

By Michael Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As a child he was given his own suit of armor; at the age of sixteen, he helped defeat the French at Crécy. At Poitiers, in 1356, his victory over King John II of France forced the French into a humiliating surrender that marked the zenith of England’s dominance in the Hundred Years War. As lord of Aquitaine, he ruled a vast swathe of territory across the west and southwest of France, holding a magnificent court at Bordeaux that mesmerized the brave but unruly Gascon nobility and drew them like moths to the flame of his cause. He was Edward…


Book cover of The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England

T.M. Rowe Author Of A Viking Moon

From my list on transporting you back through time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have three lifelong passions, the first was reading, then writing, and then archaeology/history. To this end I studied and trained as an archaeologist before I sat down and decided to write stories set in the past as a way of bringing it to life. Of course, there had to be an adventure, a bit of a mystery, and a dash of magic to bring it all together. The books on my list are just a few of those that I have enjoyed reading during my hunt to get to know the past in intimate detail – on my own time travelling journey.

T.M.'s book list on transporting you back through time

T.M. Rowe Why did T.M. love this book?

I have read a lot of history and archaeology books and more often than not they can be a little dull, dry and in some cases work better than a sleeping tablet.

Not with this book, here you learn about parts of medieval England you just wouldn’t think about, written from a more personal point of view its less about political stuff like kings, queens, and those pesky archbishops and much more on the practicalities of living in medieval England.

Would you know what to eat, wear, or where to go to the toilet? Would you know how to address a lord or lady? Would you know what to do if you got sick? This is a vital guide for all time travelers!

By Ian Mortimer,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The past is a foreign country. This is your guidebook. Imagine you could get into a time machine and travel back to the fourteenth century. What would you see? What would you smell? More to the point, where are you going to stay? Should you go to a castle or a monastic guest house? And what are you going to eat? What sort of food are you going to be offered by a peasant or a monk or a lord? This radical new approach turns our entire understanding of history upside down. It shows us that the past is not…


Book cover of The Three Edwards

Mary Ellen Johnson Author Of The Lion and the Leopard

From my list on why the 14th century mirrors our ideals.

Why am I passionate about this?

In junior high, I happened across a picture of an armor-plated knight being raised by a winch to sit astride his destrier. What a ridiculous time period, I thought. After raiding every related book in the school library,  I changed my opinion from “ridiculous” to “fascinating.” Particularly when deciding that periods such as the fourteenth century, with its plagues, wars, political upheavals, and climate change were pretty much a distorted mirror of our own. Throughout my life as wife, mother, novelist, and social justice advocate, I’ve held medieval England close to my heart. I remain forever grateful I’ve been able to explore it both in my writing and in several treks across the pond.  

Mary's book list on why the 14th century mirrors our ideals

Mary Ellen Johnson Why did Mary love this book?

Thomas Costain’s series introduced me to a fascinating world of castles and cathedrals, of tournaments where mounted knights broke lances on behalf of their ladies, where courtly love and chivalry ruled the day. (In theory. Seldom in practice.) How strange, my preteen self thought. How enchanting! I was particularly fascinated by The Three Edwards, which recounts the reign of one of England’s worst kings sandwiched between two of its greatest. With the eye of a natural storyteller, Costain intersperses tales of wars, rebellions, and political machinations with myths such as Arthur and Guinevere’s tombs being “discovered” in Glastonbury and the possible origins of Robin Hood. While there are newer series mining the same period, Costain’s research remains relatively solid, and his prose retains its powerful simplicity.  

By Thomas B. Costain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE THREE EDWARDS covers the years between 1272 and 1377 when three Edwards ruled England. Edward I brought England out of the Middle Ages. Edward II had a tragic reign but gave his country Edward III, who ruled gloriously, if violently.
"A thrilling narrative... history told with all the interest found only in a great novel." (Salt Lake City Tribune)


Book cover of The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation

Mary Ellen Johnson Author Of The Lion and the Leopard

From my list on why the 14th century mirrors our ideals.

Why am I passionate about this?

In junior high, I happened across a picture of an armor-plated knight being raised by a winch to sit astride his destrier. What a ridiculous time period, I thought. After raiding every related book in the school library,  I changed my opinion from “ridiculous” to “fascinating.” Particularly when deciding that periods such as the fourteenth century, with its plagues, wars, political upheavals, and climate change were pretty much a distorted mirror of our own. Throughout my life as wife, mother, novelist, and social justice advocate, I’ve held medieval England close to my heart. I remain forever grateful I’ve been able to explore it both in my writing and in several treks across the pond.  

Mary's book list on why the 14th century mirrors our ideals

Mary Ellen Johnson Why did Mary love this book?

Forget the Wars of the Roses! Give me the fourteenth century and the reign of Edward III—whose like, according to the chronicler Jean Froissart, “has not been seen since the days of King Arthur." A happy warrior, exuberant ruler, and skilled commander, who at least one modern military historian has described as “the greatest general in English history.” Edward kicked some serious French butt during the beginning of the Hundred Years War. (Great from the English point of view. Devastating for those on the receiving end of Edward’s chevauchees.) The poignancy of outliving one’s peers and one’s time and dying alone—all of that is compassionately detailed in Ian Mortimer’s compelling biography, which reminds us why Edward of Windsor ranks among England’s greatest kings. 

By Ian Mortimer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

He ordered his uncle to be beheaded; he usurped his father's throne; he taxed his people more than any other previous king, and he started a war which lasted for more than a hundred years. Yet for centuries Edward III (1327-77) was celebrated as the most brilliant of all English monarchs. In this first full study of his character and life, Ian Mortimer shows how under Edward the feudal kingdom of England became a highly organised nation, capable of raising large revenues and deploying a new type of projectile-based warfare, culminating in the crushing victory over the French at Crecy.…


Book cover of Sons of the Sierra: Juárez, Díaz, and the People of Ixtlán, Oaxaca, 1855-1920

Stephen B. Neufeld Author Of The Blood Contingent: The Military and the Making of Modern Mexico, 1876–1911

From my list on 19th Century Mexico’s military history.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for Mexican and military history came from many sources. Wandering in my 20s in Europe and Asia honed my appreciation for the historical experience. Good friends in the Canadian military made me curious about the odd rituals and strange subcultures they inhabited. As I moved from Calgary to Vancouver to Tucson I devolved from degree to degree, studying deviance, military history, Mexican culture, and finally finishing a dissertation that combined these elements into one work. And now I happily get to inflict all of this history on my students in California.  

Stephen's book list on 19th Century Mexico’s military history

Stephen B. Neufeld Why did Stephen love this book?

McNamara’s wonderful account shows how communities in Oaxaca understood military service as both a duty to their region, to their people, and as a way to connect to the wider national project and specific presidents. Fighting for the National Guard created a different stake in Mexico and in political life, and the ways that Zapotec peasants remembered this gives new insights into participatory political culture. 

By Patrick J. McNamara,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sons of the Sierra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The period following Mexico's war with the United States in 1847 was characterized by violent conflicts, as liberal and conservative factions battled for control of the national government. In ""Sons of the Sierra"", Patrick McNamara explores events in the Oaxaca district of Ixtlan, where Zapotec Indians supported the liberal cause and sought to exercise influence over statewide and national politics. Two Mexican presidents had direct ties to Ixtlan district: Benito Juarez, who served as Mexico's liberal president from 1858 to 1872, was born in the district, and Porfirio Diaz, president from 1876 to 1911, had led a National Guard battalion…


Book cover of Images of the Medieval Peasant

Justine Firnhaber-Baker Author Of The Jacquerie of 1358: A French Peasants' Revolt

From my list on medieval peasants.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am professor of medieval history at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. As a PhD student, I was electrified by the historian E. P. Thompson’s call to rescue the masses ‘from the enormous condescension of posterity’, but it’s often only when peasants revolt, as they did outside Paris in 1358, that we get much evidence about the masses in the Middle Ages. I loved writing The Jacquerie of 1358 because it allowed me to get very close to the men (and a few women) who risked everything to make their society a more just and equal one. It was a privilege, and a pleasure, to tell their story.

Justine's book list on medieval peasants

Justine Firnhaber-Baker Why did Justine love this book?

I really appreciate this book because it explains how medieval people thought about the grossly unequal society they inhabited and how they tried to reconcile its obvious injustices with Christian morality.

I particularly like how it shows peasants’ criticism of the medieval idea of society as being composed of Three Orders: those who fought (the knights and nobles), those who prayed (monks and priests), and those who worked (peasants).

The Three Orders idea supposedly justified the way that nobles and clerics profited from peasant labor, but peasants sometimes threw it back at them, arguing that if the nobles were defeated in war or the Church was full of hypocrites, then the peasants really didn’t owe them anything. It’s a fair argument.

By Paul Freedman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Images of the Medieval Peasant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The medieval clergy, aristocracy, and commercial classes tended to regard peasants as objects of contempt and derision. In religious writings, satires, sermons, chronicles, and artistic representations peasants often appeared as dirty, foolish, dishonest, even as subhuman or bestial. Their lowliness was commonly regarded as a natural corollary of the drudgery of their agricultural toil.

Yet, at the same time, the peasantry was not viewed as "other" in the manner of other condemned groups, such as Jews, lepers, Muslims, or the imagined "monstrous races" of the East. Several crucial characteristics of the peasantry rendered it less clearly alien from the elite…


Book cover of Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India

Sayeed Ferdous Author Of Partition as Border-Making: East Bengal, East Pakistan and Bangladesh

From my list on South Asian history and culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I teach anthropology but find my niche in the blurred zone of history and anthropology. My research interests include South Asian Studies; Historiography; Memory/Forgetting, and Postcolonial Nation, State, and Nationalism. My book Partition as Border-Making draws upon ethnographic details, using oral historical accounts from the Bengal borderland and archival materials. Focusing upon the significance of the mundane in history and its presentness, this research contributes to understanding postcolonial South Asia beyond “indocentrism.” At present, I am co-editing a Bangladesh Reader. In 2021, I jointly conducted a research project on the Partition migrants to Dhaka in partnership with Goethe Institute, Bangladesh.

Sayeed's book list on South Asian history and culture

Sayeed Ferdous Why did Sayeed love this book?

Reading Guha was an eye-opening experience for me for at least two reasons. One, he was the founding figure of subaltern historiography; and two, abandoning the colonial knowledge project, he introduced a whole new horizon of South Asian studies to his readers. First by acknowledging and then by understanding the consciousness and politics of the colonial marginal, Guha explored peasant insurgency in a new light.

In his battle against colonialist and nationalist historiographies, Guha also distanced himself from his Marxist colleagues in history. 

By Ranajit Guha,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Foreword by James Scott

This classic work in subaltern studies explores the common elements present in rebel consciousness during the Indian colonial period. Ranajit Guha-intellectual founder of the groundbreaking and influential Subaltern Studies Group-describes from the peasants' viewpoint the relations of dominance and subordination in rural India from 1783 to 1900.
Challenging the idea that peasants were powerless agents who rebelled blindly against British imperialist oppression and local landlord exploitation, Guha emphasizes their awareness and will to effect political change. He suggests that the rebellions represented the birth of a theoretical consciousness and asserts that India's long subaltern tradition lent…


Book cover of Catastrophe and Contention in Rural China: Mao's Great Leap Forward Famine and the Origins of Righteous Resistance in Da Fo Village

Kerry Brown Author Of China

From my list on modern Chinese history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been working on China as a student, teacher, diplomat, business person, and academic since 1991. 
Currently, professor of Chinese Studies and Director of the Lau China Institute at King’s College London, my work involves trying to understand how the country’s deer and more recent history has created the remarkable country that we see today. I have written over 20 books on modern China, and lived there in total 5 and a half years. I have visited every single province and autonomous region, and have lectured on China in over 40 countries, across four continents.

Kerry's book list on modern Chinese history

Kerry Brown Why did Kerry love this book?

A tremendous piece of scholarship by American Ralph Thaxton, looking at a specific village during the late 1950s and early 1960s as it experienced the great famines. This shows the impact of that tragedy on everyday Chinese lives, and the ways in which the suffering of that period was to overshadow so much of what happened afterward. Beautifully written, with wonderful deployment of other scholarship, an exceptional work, and one that is part of a trilogy that takes the story forwards in the late 1960s.

By Ralph A. Thaxton Jr.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Catastrophe and Contention in Rural China as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book documents how China's rural people remember the great famine of Maoist rule, which proved to be the worst famine in modern world history. Ralph A. Thaxton, Jr., sheds new light on how China's socialist rulers drove rural dwellers to hunger and starvation, on how powerless villagers formed resistance to the corruption and coercion of collectivization, and on how their hidden and contentious acts, both individual and concerted, allowed them to survive and escape the predatory grip of leaders and networks in the thrall of Mao's authoritarian plan for a full-throttle realization of communism - a plan that engendered…


Book cover of Summer Of Blood Peasants Revolt Of 1381

Mercedes Rochelle Author Of A King Under Siege

From my list on the Plantagenets.

Why am I passionate about this?

Thirty years as a medieval reenactor gave me the background I needed to step into the past. I learned much about everyday activities and I gained familiarity with physical objects such as weapons and armor. My first four books (including The Last Great Saxon Earls trilogy) took place in the eleventh century, and by then I was ready to jump forward three hundred years to the Plantagenet era. In college, I saw Shakespeare's Richard II play, and I was so enthralled with it that I carried Richard around with me for forty years before tackling this book. It ended up being much more complicated than I could ever imagine!

Mercedes' book list on the Plantagenets

Mercedes Rochelle Why did Mercedes love this book?

The Peasants' Revolt was one of the most pivotal events of the fourteenth century, for it turned society upside-down and threatened the powers-that-be in a way they could never have imagined. Poor King Richard was only fourteen years old, and he discovered that he could rely on no one but himself to put a stop to the rampaging. Much of London went up in flames, and fatalities included the Archbishop of Canterbury! What caused this terrible uprising? This book gives us a thorough explanation as to what happened—and why. Dan Jones is at his usual best in making it interesting to the general reader. I was so taken with the whole scenario that it played a major part in the first third of my novel. 

By Dan Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Summer Of Blood Peasants Revolt Of 1381 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Revolt and upheaval in medieval Britain by a brilliant new narrative historian, 'Summer of Blood' breaks new ground in its portrayal of the personalities and politics of the bloody days of June 1381.

The Peasants' Revolt of 1381 is one of the most dramatic and bloody events in English history. Starting with village riots in the Essex countryside, chaos rapidly spread across much of the south-east of England, as tens of thousands of ordinary men and women marched in fury to London, torching houses, slaughtering their social superiors and terrifying the life out of those who got in their way.…


Book cover of Poop Happened! A History of the World from the Bottom Up

Kim Zachman Author Of There's No Ham in Hamburgers: Facts and Folklore about Our Favorite Foods

From my list on children's stories for laughing while learning.

Why am I passionate about this?

I used to be a freelance writer for magazines, but my secret passion was kids’ lit. When I decided to become a children’s author, I wanted to write nonfiction that was fun to read, not the dull, boring books I remembered from my childhood. When I discovered the first three books on my list, I was inspired to free up my funny bone and write to delight. The second two books also showcase innovative formats and humorous writing styles. Reading nonfiction doesn’t have to be a chore. These books will have children laughing while they learn. 

Kim's book list on children's stories for laughing while learning

Kim Zachman Why did Kim love this book?

Another great title that drew me in right away. Sarah Albee has packed so much into this book! It’s not just about the evolution of sanitation. It’s also about engineering, diseases, ancient civilizations, and it includes vital information such as how women went to the bathroom wearing hoop skirts. We get the dirt on some truly disgusting jobs such as a delouser, a gongfermor, and a mudlark. I really enjoyed all the sidebars, cartoons, and illustrations, and I think reluctant readers will also. As it says on the cover, this is “The number one book about number two.” A sure-fire hit with tweens.

By Sarah Albee, Robert Leighton (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Poop Happened! A History of the World from the Bottom Up as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

Did lead pipes
cause the fall of the Roman Empire?
How many toilets were in the
average Egyptian pyramid?

How did a knight wearing fifty
pounds of armor go to the bathroom?
Was poor hygiene the last straw
before the French Revolution?
Did Thomas Crapper really invent
the modern toilet?
How do astronauts go
in space?
History finally comes out of the water-closet in
this exploration of how people's need to relieve themselves shaped human
development from ancient times to the present. Throughout time, the most
successful civilizations were the ones who realized that everyone poops, and they
had better…


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