100 books like A Country of Strangers

By David K. Shipler,

Here are 100 books that A Country of Strangers fans have personally recommended if you like A Country of Strangers. 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 Michel de Montaigne

Nelson Johnson Author Of Darrow's Nightmare: The Forgotten Story of America's Most Famous Trial Lawyer

From my list on tell a story previously untold.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nelson Johnson is a New York Times bestselling author (Boardwalk Empire) and has been fascinated with history and Clarence Darrow’s career all his life. From having practiced law many years and presided over 200(+) jury trials as a New Jersey Superior Court Judge, Nelson is uniquely qualified to tell the story of Darrow’s and his wife Ruby’s worst two years together. Nelson’s first four books have all prepared him to tell this story. It’s a tale that asks the reader to judge Darrow.

Nelson's book list on tell a story previously untold

Nelson Johnson Why did Nelson love this book?

For me, Montaigne’s thoughts on life and human foibles compare favorably with those of St. Augustine. His insights on the human condition are valuable to anyone inclined to self-reflection on one’s own frailties. Montaigne’s advice on coping with one’s mortality is worth heeding. He counsels that in order to deny death its sting, “…let us deprive death of its strangeness; let us frequent it, let us get used to it; let us have nothing more in our mind than death.” Yet our mortality is only one of many issues he discusses. Montaigne offers up wisdom on everything from fear, prayer and solitude, to the virtues of social intercourse, avoiding unwanted relationships, and educating children.

By Michel de Montaigne, J.M. Cohen (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Vintage paperback


Book cover of The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook

Nelson Johnson Author Of Darrow's Nightmare: The Forgotten Story of America's Most Famous Trial Lawyer

From my list on tell a story previously untold.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nelson Johnson is a New York Times bestselling author (Boardwalk Empire) and has been fascinated with history and Clarence Darrow’s career all his life. From having practiced law many years and presided over 200(+) jury trials as a New Jersey Superior Court Judge, Nelson is uniquely qualified to tell the story of Darrow’s and his wife Ruby’s worst two years together. Nelson’s first four books have all prepared him to tell this story. It’s a tale that asks the reader to judge Darrow.

Nelson's book list on tell a story previously untold

Nelson Johnson Why did Nelson love this book?

Ferguson’s book “connects a lot of dots” to help make sense of where we are with regards to the influence of social media and the dramatic changes unleashed by the digital revolution as it transforms our society. Ferguson does an excellent job explaining that “networks” have always been with us, but how/why the more complicated/intricate our societal networks become, the more vulnerable we are. He places the role of Facebook into a sorely needed but sobering context. I have re-read many entire portions of this book and have viewed the PBS documentary on this book twice.

By Niall Ferguson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The instant New York Times bestseller.

A brilliant recasting of the turning points in world history, including the one we're living through, as a collision between old power hierarchies and new social networks.

"Captivating and compelling." -The New York Times

"Niall Ferguson has again written a brilliant book...In 400 pages you will have restocked your mind. Do it." -The Wall Street Journal

"The Square and the Tower, in addition to being provocative history, may prove to be a bellwether work of the Internet Age." -Christian Science Monitor

Most history is hierarchical: it's about emperors, presidents, prime ministers and field marshals.…


Book cover of Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Brian Villmoare Author Of The Evolution of Everything: The Patterns and Causes of Big History

From my list on former English majors who like science.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a college professor and paleoanthropologist–I study human fossils and the evolution of the human lineage. My field site is in the Afar region of Ethiopia, and I regularly spend a month or so wandering across the desert, picking up fossils. I view myself very much as a scientist and believe that the scientific view is the most reliable in some important ways. However, I came to science fairly late in life–I was an undergraduate philosophy and English literature student and didn’t go to graduate school until I was 30. Because of my liberal arts background, I have always felt it was important to bridge the science-humanities divide. 

Brian's book list on former English majors who like science

Brian Villmoare Why did Brian love this book?

This book came out just as I was starting grad school and caused quite a bit of academic consternation. Diamond, a Harvard anthropologist, steps way outside the normal academic lanes to link geography, biology, technology, and history to answer one of the big academic questions: why was Europe able to conquer Africa and South Africa in the 16th-19th centuries? Even asking the question is to face challenges to morality, politics, and identity issues that are still radioactively hot topics in the modern political and academic world.

His mechanistic explanation of the advantages of climate and geography enraged many academics who specialized in narrow aspects of the question because it seemingly rendered them, at worst, irrelevant or, at best–simple foot soldiers providing data for Wrangam’s deeper, yet broader, causal explanations.

Historians detested his deterministic and scientifically amoral approach to a historical question. Yet his essential thesis has held up, and no…

By Jared Diamond,

Why should I read it?

16 authors picked Guns, Germs, and Steel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why did Eurasians conquer, displace, or decimate Native Americans, Australians, and Africans, instead of the reverse? In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, a classic of our time, evolutionary biologist Jared Diamond dismantles racist theories of human history by revealing the environmental factors actually responsible for its broadest patterns.

The story begins 13,000 years ago, when Stone Age hunter-gatherers constituted the entire human population. Around that time, the developmental paths of human societies on different continents began to diverge greatly. Early domestication of wild plants and animals in the Fertile Crescent, China,…


Book cover of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong

Louis P. Masur Author Of The Sum of Our Dreams: A Concise History of America

From my list on the real history of America.

Why am I passionate about this?

Louis P. Masur is a cultural historian who has written on a range of topics in American history, from Abraham Lincoln to Bruce Springsteen, from the first World Series to a photograph that shocked the nation. An award-winning teacher, Masur lectures frequently on various topics in American history. His essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and Slate. The Sum of Our Dreams emerged out a course he teaches on the American Dream, which, somehow, he still believes in.

Louis' book list on the real history of America

Louis P. Masur Why did Louis love this book?

Loewen’s book, updated since its original publication, explodes some of the many myths and falsehoods contained in textbooks on American history. Whether stories of the first Thanksgiving or America and the Vietnam War, the book challenges interpretations presented as facts and facts that are contested. The result is an indispensable argument for trying to get the facts right when discussing American history.

By James W. Loewen,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Lies My Teacher Told Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since its first publication in 1995, Lies My Teacher Told Me has become one of the most important - and successful - history books of our time. Having sold over two million copies, the book also won an American Book Award and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship and was heralded on the front page of the New York Times in the summer of 2006. For this new edition, Loewen has added a new introduction that shows how inadequate history courses in high school help produce adult Americans who think Donald Trump can solve their problems.


Book cover of Don't Push Me

Lakisha Johnson Author Of Almost Destroyed

From my list on African American Christian fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve had a love for Christianity since I was a child. However, it wouldn’t be until years later that the love for it would turn into a passion for penning Christian Fiction. I began my journey in ministry in 2014 and two years later, I released the first novel. Since then, God has allowed me to write on many different topics I’ve now recognized were needed. I want others to see Christian Fiction doesn’t have to be boring or dry, but can be entertaining, inspirational, and full of life. This is why I’ve chosen these books as recommendations and I hope the readers will enjoy them even more than I have.

Lakisha's book list on African American Christian fiction

Lakisha Johnson Why did Lakisha love this book?

D.A. Bourne weaves a story of Christian Fiction and overcoming racism during a time it’s at an all-time high. We all know racism is a touchy subject a lot of people don’t like to talk about, but it’s a sad reality many face every day. This story surrounds autoworkers and their families who find themselves faced with racial conflict that tests their faith, patience, ability to forgive, and all the things they’ve always believed in. 

By D.A. Bourne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Don't Push Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How do you handle being harassed because of your skin color?How do you deal with the false stereotypes at your new workplace?How can you comfort your spouse when she's a victim of hate?How much longer can you be pushed before you take action?The story begins about a group of autoworkers and their families as they deal with racial conflict in and out of the assembly plant. Their faith and patience will be tested as they approach an unpredictable season.


Book cover of Freedom Summer

Cathy Goldberg Fishman Author Of When Jackie and Hank Met

From my list on diversity and social justice for children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a teacher, a mom, a bubbe, and a writer. I taught elementary school and college courses, directed a daycare, and owned a children’s bookstore, but my favorite job is scribbling words on paper. I have two grown children and four wonderful granddaughters who love to listen as I read to them. Many of my ideas come from my experiences with my granddaughters and from their questions. Our family and friends are a mix of religions and cultures, and most of my books reflect the importance of diversity, acceptance, and knowledge.

Cathy's book list on diversity and social justice for children

Cathy Goldberg Fishman Why did Cathy love this book?

I am recommending this book because it is a great story of friendship. It also captures the atmosphere in the South after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed.

Joe and John Henry are best friends and do everything together. When the two boys, one black and one white, want to swim in the town pool, they discover that even though a law was passed to allow everyone to swim together in the same pool, there are people in the town who don’t want to follow the law. They want blacks and whites to stay separate.

I love the way Joe stands up for John Henry. At the end, we see a more positive future as Joe and John Henry walk into the General Store together. This book is a great conversation starter. 

By Deborah Wiles, Jerome Lagarrigue (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Freedom Summer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Two boys—one black, one white—are best friends in the segregated 1960s South in this picture book about friends sticking together through thick and thin.

John Henry swims better than anyone I know.
He crawls like a catfish,
blows bubbles like a swamp monster,
but he doesn’t swim in the town pool with me.
He’s not allowed.

Joe and John Henry are a lot alike. They both like shooting marbles, they both want to be firemen, and they both love to swim. But there’s one important way they're different: Joe is white and John Henry is black, and in the South…


Book cover of Half American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad

Brooke L. Blower Author Of Americans in a World at War: Intimate Histories from the Crash of Pan Am's Yankee Clipper

From my list on surprising histories about Americans abroad during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a history professor at Boston University, where I teach and write about modern American popular thought, political culture, trade, travel, and war especially in urban and transnational contexts. I enjoy histories that are based on deep and creative bodies of research and that push past timeworn myths and clichés about the American past.

Brooke's book list on surprising histories about Americans abroad during WWII

Brooke L. Blower Why did Brooke love this book?

Delmont’s sweeping story about the complex wartime outlooks and experiences of Black Americans necessarily includes the travails and triumphs of combat fighters; the battlefield contributions of Black GIs have been too often dismissed or ignored. 

But here they appear alongside a fascinating, broader cast of war workers battling racism while doing their bit to defeat the Axis across the world’s continents. From the engineers carving roads out of impenetrable Asian jungle or Alaskan tundra to the women of the all-Black 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion who sorted mail in an unheated English warehouse while under bombardment, Delmont’s subjects offer a reminder of the awesome scope of this war.

By Matthew F. Delmont,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

• Winner of the 2023 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Nonfiction
• A New York Times Notable Book
• A Best Book of the Year from TIME, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Washington Independent Review of Books, and more!

The definitive history of World War II from the African American perspective, written by civil rights expert and Dartmouth history professor Matthew Delmont

“Matthew F. Delmont’s book is filled with compelling narratives that outline with nuance, rigor, and complexity how Black Americans fought for this country abroad while simultaneously fighting for their rights here in the​ United States. Half American belongs firmly within the…


Book cover of The Anatomy of Racial Inequality: With a New Preface

Rajiv Sethi Author Of Shadows of Doubt: Stereotypes, Crime, and the Pursuit of Justice

From my list on human interactions and the complexity of social life.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rajiv Sethi is an economist, currently a professor at Barnard College, Columbia University, and an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute. His research deals with information and beliefs, with particular focus on how stereotypes condition interactions among strangers. 

Rajiv's book list on human interactions and the complexity of social life

Rajiv Sethi Why did Rajiv love this book?

This beautifully written and tightly argued book examines mechanisms that sustain inequality among social groups across generations, which Loury traces primarily to discrimination in contact rather than discrimination in contract.

Contractual discrimination can be addressed by law, but discrimination in contact—in such matters as friendship, marriage, adoption, and residential choice—lies largely outside the scope of state action. Through such channels historical inequality between groups can persist indefinitely, even under formal equality of opportunity.

By Glenn C. Loury,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Lifts and transforms the discourse on 'race' and racial justice to an entirely new level."
-Orlando Patterson

"Intellectually rigorous and deeply thoughtful...An incisive, erudite book by a major thinker."
-Gerald Early, New York Times Book Review

Why are black Americans so persistently confined to the margins of society? And why do they fail across so many metrics-wages, unemployment, income levels, test scores, incarceration rates, health outcomes? Known for his influential work on the economics of racial inequality and for pioneering the link between racism and social capital, Glenn Loury is not afraid of piercing orthodoxies and coming to controversial conclusions.…


Book cover of From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century

Beverly Daniel Tatum Author Of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations about Race

From my list on why racism persists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a clinical psychologist with a life-long research interest in racial identity development, particularly among Black adolescents. I began teaching about the psychology of racism in 1980, at the start of my academic career. That teaching experience was transformative for both my students and me. I was convinced that helping people understand how racism operates in our lives, and what we can do about it, was my calling. I have been teaching and writing about racism ever since. In 2014, I was deeply honored to receive the Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology in recognition of my work, the highest honor presented by the American Psychological Association.

Beverly's book list on why racism persists

Beverly Daniel Tatum Why did Beverly love this book?

From Here to Equality is a great companion to The Half Has Never Been Told. Through the lens of the contemporary discussion of reparations, it fills in the historical blanks that so many people have about the African American experience, going beyond slavery to Reconstruction and its aftermath, Jim Crow segregation, and modern-day discrimination, detailing the economic impact during each historical period. I was really impressed by the historical detail and the economic analysis, and I learned a lot from reading it. If you want to understand the national conversation about reparations, read this book!

By William A. Darity, A. Kirsten Mullen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From Here to Equality as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Racism and discrimination have choked economic opportunity for African Americans at nearly every turn. At several historic moments, the trajectory of racial inequality could have been altered dramatically. But neither Reconstruction nor the New Deal nor the civil rights struggle led to an economically just and fair nation. Today, systematic inequality persists in the form of housing discrimination, unequal education, police brutality, mass incarceration, employment discrimination, and massive wealth and opportunity gaps. Economic data indicates that for every dollar the average white household holds in wealth the average black household possesses a mere ten cents.

This compelling and sharply argued…


Book cover of Asian Women Trailblazers Who BossUp: Amazing women finding success and never looking back

Sheena Yap Chan Author Of The Tao of Self-Confidence: A Guide to Moving Beyond Trauma and Awakening the Leader Within

From my list on dismantling negative stereotypes of Asian and Pacific Island women.

Why am I passionate about this?

This is a topic that is very passionate for me since growing up in Toronto, and I never had any role models that look like me to look up to. I wanted to showcase powerful Asian women authors to show others what is possible and that we can also dismantle the negative stereotypes we still face. I want to be able to create better representation for Asian women in the media, and highlighting these amazing authors is a great way to showcase that.

Sheena's book list on dismantling negative stereotypes of Asian and Pacific Island women

Sheena Yap Chan Why did Sheena love this book?

This book showcases the stories of 18 Asian women who are able to forge their own path, overcome obstacles and thrive. 

The stories in this book are so versatile and it dismantles the common monoliths Asian women still face today. Some stories include a woman who was sued by the FTC and diagnosed with brain cancer at the same time, and another is about a woman who was almost kidnapped by Thai parents in the middle of the ocean.  

By Tam Luc, Daphne Kwok, Katie Chin , Sue Ann Hong , Jeanie Chang , Susan Go , Leslie Lew , Amy Le , Amy Wang , Janan Sarwar , Julie Tran , Cary Kwok , Claudia Chan , Sandy Kusano , Sabrina Li , Mihae Kim Stefani

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Asian Women Trailblazers Who BossUp as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

We are so excited to celebrate Asian women from around the world once again. The word trailblazer indicates a person who blazes a trail for others to follow. A pioneer in any field of endeavor. Asian women are showing up in many different aspects that may not have been common for us to see in the past. This important time should not be missed.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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