100 books like A Brief History of Seven Killings

By Marlon James,

Here are 100 books that A Brief History of Seven Killings fans have personally recommended if you like A Brief History of Seven Killings. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Moby-Dick

Jonathan Howland Author Of Native Air

From my list on books about men in love (who aren’t lovers).

Why am I passionate about this?

During a lonely stretch of primary school, I recall discussing my predicament with my mother. “You only need one friend,” she said by way of encouragement. Some part of me agreed. I’ve been fortunate to have had (and to have) several friends in my life, never more than a few at a time, more men than women, and each has prompted me to be and become more vital and spacious than I was prior to knowing them. The books I’m recommending—and the one I wrote—feature these types of catalyzing, life-changing relationships. Each involves some kind of adventure. Each evokes male friendship that is gravitational, not merely influential, but life-defining.

Jonathan's book list on books about men in love (who aren’t lovers)

Jonathan Howland Why did Jonathan love this book?

It centers on and celebrates becoming—molting from one skin to another. For Ishmael this is a transition from a tired and limiting worldview to something fresh and alive.

The “bosom buddies” at the heart of the novel, Ishmael and Queequeg, seem comprised of opposites, but Ishmael’s etherealizing is grounded by Queequeg’s pragmatic ingenuity in ways that quiet and expand the young pagan-Presbyterian’s buzzing, anxious mind. Theirs is a friendship of succor, probably sex, and survival—all of it shadowed by the delusional obsessions of their mad captain.

By Herman Melville,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked Moby-Dick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Melville's tale of the whaling industry, and one captain's obsession with revenge against the Great White Whale that took his leg. Classics Illustrated tells this wonderful tale in colourful comic strip form, offering an excellent introduction for younger readers. This edition also includes a biography of Herman Melville and study questions, which can be used both in the classroom or at home to further engage the reader in the work at hand.


Book cover of Tacky's Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War

Christian R. Burset Author Of An Empire of Laws: Legal Pluralism in British Colonial Policy

From my list on the rise of the British Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a legal historian with a particular interest in eighteenth-century Britain and the United States. My research has investigated the history of arbitration, historical connections between law and politics, and changing attitudes to the rule of law. Since 2018, I’ve been a professor at Notre Dame Law School, where I teach courses in legal history, civil procedure, conflict of laws, and the rule of law.

Christian's book list on the rise of the British Empire

Christian R. Burset Why did Christian love this book?

The Seven Years’ War was a pivotal event in the formation of the British Empire, but histories of the conflict often omit a crucial battleground: Jamaica.

Starting in 1760, enslaved West Africans in Jamaica organized to throw off their captivity. Tacky’s Revolt, as the uprising became known, was the greatest slave rebellion the Atlantic world had yet seen. It was also linked to other, global struggles, both in Africa and between European empires.

In Tacky’s Revolt, Vincent Brown links these hyper-local and imperial stories. I found it particularly useful for understanding the complexities of race and ethnicity in the eighteenth-century British Caribbean. 

By Vincent Brown,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Tacky's Revolt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award
Winner of the Frederick Douglass Book Prize
Winner of the Elsa Goveia Book Prize
Winner of the James A. Rawley Prize in the History of Race Relations
Winner of the P. Sterling Stuckey Book Prize
Winner of the Harriet Tubman Prize
Winner of the Phillis Wheatley Book Award
Finalist for the Cundill Prize

A gripping account of the largest slave revolt in the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world, an uprising that laid bare the interconnectedness of Europe, Africa, and America, shook the foundations of empire, and reshaped ideas of race and popular belonging.

In the…


Book cover of Capitalism and Slavery

Benjamin Selwyn Author Of The Struggle for Development

From my list on the world on international development.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a political economist interested in development which I’ve been studying, researching, and writing about since my undergraduate days in the early 1990s.

Benjamin's book list on the world on international development

Benjamin Selwyn Why did Benjamin love this book?

The study of world development is often conflated with a particular image of capitalism, where the latter is associated with freedom – the freedom to buy and sell goods, including one's capacity to work.

In this book Eric Williams shows to the contrary, how capitalism was founded upon the vast expansion of unfreedom. He details how slavery provided much of the material resources that facilitated industrialisation in Britain and beyond.

In doing this Williams shows how the original division, between wealthy states in today’s ‘global north’ and impoverished states in the ‘global south’, was established and reproduced over several centuries. 

By Eric Williams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Slavery helped finance the Industrial Revolution in England. Plantation owners, shipbuilders, and merchants connected with the slave trade accumulated vast fortunes that established banks and heavy industry in Europe and expanded the reach of capitalism worldwide. Eric Williams advanced these powerful ideas in Capitalism and Slavery, published in 1944. Years ahead of its time, his profound critique became the foundation for studies of imperialism and economic development. Binding an economic view of history with strong moral argument, Williams's study of the role of slavery in financing the Industrial Revolution refuted traditional ideas of economic and moral progress and firmly established…


Book cover of A Small Place

Alejandra Bronfman Author Of On the Move: The Caribbean Since 1989

From my list on to not feel like a dumb tourist in the Caribbean.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been doing research in the Caribbean for twenty-five years. The region is diverse and magnificent. Caribbean people have sought creative solutions for racial inequality, climate and sustainability, media literacy and information, women’s and family issues. The transnational connections with the US are complex and wide-ranging, and knowing more about this region is an urgent matter. My own work has focused on race and social science, mobility and inequality, and sound and media, all as ways of grappling with colonial legacies and their impact on the daily lives of people who live in this region. 

Alejandra's book list on to not feel like a dumb tourist in the Caribbean

Alejandra Bronfman Why did Alejandra love this book?

Her withering critiques of tourists might make you mad if you’ve ever been one, but read until the end. While the book spares no one in its scathing view of Antigua’s colonial past and corrupt present, it is the evocative, precise prose and the insistence on a shared humanity that will remain with you long after the sting fades.

By Jamaica Kincaid,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of AT THE BOTTOM OF THE RIVER and ANNIE JOHN, a novel set in Antigua, where the idyllic tourist facade hides a colonial legacy of corruption, remedial social investment, and disenfranchised local culture. First published in 1988.


Book cover of A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados

Nancy Blanton Author Of Sharavogue: A Novel of Ireland and the West Indies

From my list on the West Indies sugar and slave trade in the 17th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nancy Blanton is an American author of Irish descent. A former journalist, she’s written four award-winning novels rooted in 17th century Irish history. Her first novel, Sharavogue, takes place in the lawless West Indies on the island of Montserrat, where the protagonist struggles to survive the slavery, disease, kindness, and brutality of an Irish-owned sugar plantation.

Nancy's book list on the West Indies sugar and slave trade in the 17th century

Nancy Blanton Why did Nancy love this book?

If you want to know exactly what things looked like and what living in Barbados felt like in the 17th century, this is the book. Originally published in 1657, this is like a travelogue of the Island that became a prosperous English colony known for its sugar plantations, rum, and slave trade. Ligon was a royalist in exile during the English civil war.

By Richard Ligon,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ligon's True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados is the most significant book-length English text written about the Caribbean in the seventeenth century. [It] allows one to see the contested process behind the making of the Caribbean sugar/African slavery complex. Kupperman is one of the leading scholars of the early modern Atlantic world. . . . I cannot think of any scholar better prepared to write an Introduction that places Ligon, his text, and Barbados in an Atlantic historical context. The Introduction is quite thorough, readable, and accurate; the notes [are] exemplary! --Susan Parrish, University of Michigan


Book cover of Oliver Twist

Tim Pritchard Author Of Street Boys: 7 Kids. 1 Estate. No Way Out. The True Story of a Lost Childhood

From my list on how street gangs develop and why they fall apart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a filmmaker and writer who made a TV series about street gangs around the world with actor and presenter Ross Kemp. But it was one London street gang, the PDC, that particularly caught my attention. The newspaper reports were full of overblown headlines, terrifying statistics, and quotes from police forces. That’s when I decided to head down to the PDC’s “turf” in a small corner of south London because if you are going to try and tackle this crimewave it’s best to find out who is doing it and why. Right? I spoke to PDC gang members, their friends and families and the surprising truth behind the headlines is revealed in my book.

Tim's book list on how street gangs develop and why they fall apart

Tim Pritchard Why did Tim love this book?

As a young kid reading Dickens for the first time I was mesmerised by this journey into the underworld of Victorian London. I would go on my own imaginary adventures with the Artful Dodger and his gang of thieving street urchins. Years later, when writing my own book about modern street gang members I had the same sense of going on a thrilling journey of discovery and escapades.

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Oliver Twist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

'The power of Dickens is so amazing, that the reader at once becomes his captive' WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY

The story of the orphan Oliver, who runs away from the workhouse to be taken in by a den of thieves, shocked readers with its depiction of a dark criminal underworld peopled by vivid and memorable characters - the arch-villain Fagin, the artful Dodger, the menacing Bill Sikes and the prostitute Nancy. Combining elements of Gothic romance, the Newgate novel and popular melodrama, Oliver Twist created an entirely new kind of fiction, scathing in its indictment of a cruel society and pervaded…


Book cover of Once a King, Always a King: The Unmaking of a Latin King

Tim Pritchard Author Of Street Boys: 7 Kids. 1 Estate. No Way Out. The True Story of a Lost Childhood

From my list on how street gangs develop and why they fall apart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a filmmaker and writer who made a TV series about street gangs around the world with actor and presenter Ross Kemp. But it was one London street gang, the PDC, that particularly caught my attention. The newspaper reports were full of overblown headlines, terrifying statistics, and quotes from police forces. That’s when I decided to head down to the PDC’s “turf” in a small corner of south London because if you are going to try and tackle this crimewave it’s best to find out who is doing it and why. Right? I spoke to PDC gang members, their friends and families and the surprising truth behind the headlines is revealed in my book.

Tim's book list on how street gangs develop and why they fall apart

Tim Pritchard Why did Tim love this book?

What became apparent as I was writing my book was just how difficult it is for young kids to get away from a life of crime on the streets. Once a King, Always a King helped me understand the challenge – it’s not just that bad habits get absorbed into a personality from a young age, or that adults don’t help kids escape from their criminality. The social care and justice system actively collude in trapping young gang members in a cycle of violence, abuse, and poverty. 

By Reymundo Sanchez,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This riveting sequel to My Bloody Life traces Reymundo Sanchez's struggle to create a “normal” life outside the Latin Kings, one of the nation's most notorious street gangs, and to move beyond his past. Sanchez illustrates how the Latin King motto “once a king, always a king” rings true and details the difficulty and danger of leaving that life behind. Filled with heart-pounding scenes of his backslide into drugs, sex, and violence, Once a King, Always a King recounts how Sanchez wound up behind bars and provides an engrossing firsthand account of how the Latin Kings are run from inside…


Book cover of True History of the Kelly Gang

Aidan Phelan Author Of Glenrowan

From my list on Ned Kelly for beginners.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell in love with Australian history on a school camp to Beechworth, which was also my first introduction to Ned Kelly. As I got older, after having already tried to establish a career trajectory as an English teacher, I realised my passion for writing and history could help me create the books and media that I wished I could access, as well as be a place to store all those decades of research sitting in my head. My fascination with psychology, true crime, and Australian colonial history naturally reached a meeting point with the Australian bushrangers: the bandits that terrorised Australia for over a hundred years, the most infamous of whom was Ned Kelly.

Aidan's book list on Ned Kelly for beginners

Aidan Phelan Why did Aidan love this book?

 A controversial pick, but I believe this is the finest fictionalised version of Ned's life story written so far. Carey captures a very authentic sense of Ned’s voice and character by basing the book heavily on Ian Jones’ work and the Jerilderie Letter that Ned wrote with gang member Joe Byrne. It retains enough of the truth to craft a realistic world for his creations to exist in, and blends so well with his inventions, that someone unaware that the book is fiction will have a hard time working out some of the fact from the fiction. It is lyrical, powerful, and helped turbo-boost interest in the Kelly legend at a time when it had begun to taper off somewhat.

By Peter Carey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked True History of the Kelly Gang as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE BOOK THAT INSPIRED THE MAJOR MOTION PICTURE, TO BE RELEASED IN CINEMAS 28TH FEBRUARY 2020

'Extraordinary . . . So mesmerising and moving.' Mail on Sunday

'Vastly entertaining.' New York Times

To the authorities in pursuit of him, Ned Kelly is a horse thief, bank robber and police-killer. But to his fellow Australians, Kelly is their own Robin Hood. In a dazzling act of ventriloquism, Peter Carey's Booker Prize-winning novel of adventure and heroism brings the famous bushranger wildly and passionately to life.


Book cover of Gangs: A Journey into the Heart of the British Underworld

Tim Pritchard Author Of Street Boys: 7 Kids. 1 Estate. No Way Out. The True Story of a Lost Childhood

From my list on how street gangs develop and why they fall apart.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a filmmaker and writer who made a TV series about street gangs around the world with actor and presenter Ross Kemp. But it was one London street gang, the PDC, that particularly caught my attention. The newspaper reports were full of overblown headlines, terrifying statistics, and quotes from police forces. That’s when I decided to head down to the PDC’s “turf” in a small corner of south London because if you are going to try and tackle this crimewave it’s best to find out who is doing it and why. Right? I spoke to PDC gang members, their friends and families and the surprising truth behind the headlines is revealed in my book.

Tim's book list on how street gangs develop and why they fall apart

Tim Pritchard Why did Tim love this book?

I live in London, one of the most developed and “civilised” cities in the world but I’ve always been fascinated by what lies beneath its respectable surface and what currents are agitating it from below. This is a startling and eye-opening tour of the UK’s rich criminal underbelly and the surprising and surreptitious ways crime groups can cheat the system. It’s also a shocking insight into the lengths to which criminal gangs are prepared to go to avoid being caught. I’ve not been able to look at my home city in the same way ever since.

By Tony Thompson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of GANGLAND BRITAIN and REEFER MEN.

Organised crime is one of Britain's biggest industries. The number of gangland murders, shootings and kidnappings, along with the levels of drug trafficking, people smuggling and money laundering, have all experienced phenomenal growth. Multi-million pound drug deals and vicious turf wars have spread out from the inner cities and now affect even the most rural communities. The day-to-day impact of organised crime on our lives has never been greater.

In GANGS, award-winning author Tony Thompson takes us on a gripping journey into the criminal underworld. From Triad human traffickers in…


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