10 books like A Fool's Errand

By Albion W. Tourgee,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like A Fool's Errand. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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News of the World

By Paulette Jiles,

Book cover of News of the World

This is one of those stories about a career I would have never considered. After the Civil War, Captain Kidd travels to Texas doing live readings of newspapers. He is tasked with caring for an orphan who is reluctantly being transported to a family she does not remember. This tells a story of an individual, Joanne, lost between two cultures as a bond is created with the elderly and honorable Kidd. This holds a vivid description of the place and time.

News of the World

By Paulette Jiles,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked News of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust. In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his…


To Die Game

By William McKee Evans,

Book cover of To Die Game: The Story of the Lowry Band, Indian Guerillas of Reconstruction

I taught this book years ago while an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Written like a novel, although a serious work of history, it is not your usual book on Reconstruction. In compelling prose, Evans details the struggles of the Lowry Band of Lumbee Indians who clashed with Confederate officials in southeastern North Carolina during the Civil War. Henry Berry Lowry managed to escape after killing a rebel official. He took to the swamps, eluding capture with the help of local African Americans and Native Americans. It is a little-known story among people outside of that region and shows the complicated nature of putting the country back together again after a Civil War. I had never heard of this tribe until encountering the book and found the story unlike anything else in Reconstruction literature.

To Die Game

By William McKee Evans,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The dramatic and exciting story of Indian guerilla warfare against the Confederates during the Civil War. During the Civil War many young Lumbee Indians of North Carolina hid in the swamps to avoid conscription into Confederate labor battalions and carried on a running guerilla war. To Die Game is the story of Henry Berry Lowry, a Lumbee who was arrested for killing a Confederate official. While awaiting trial, he escaped and took to the swamps with a band of supporters. The Lowry band became as notorious as their contemporaries Jesse and Frank James, as they terrorized bush-whacked leaders of possses…


After Appomattox

By Gregory P. Downs,

Book cover of After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War

I know the author personally and had a chance to read portions of the manuscript before it went to press. It is by far the best account of the occupation of the former Confederacy by the U.S. Army during Reconstruction. Meticulously researched, it gives readers a firm sense of where the military was and when, as well as how it was forced to confront insurgent white Southerners determined to obstruct advances in equal rights through whatever means possible, including violence. That intransigence caused increases in military supervision of governments, leading the author to state, “Military Reconstruction therefore exposed the necessary interdependence of democracy and coercion. (180)” There’s the irony—that expanded freedom required military control of governments. The author is a very good writer, having won the Flannery O’Connor Award for a short story collection Spit Baths.

After Appomattox

By Gregory P. Downs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On April 8, 1865, after four years of civil war, General Robert E. Lee wrote to General Ulysses S. Grant asking for peace. Peace was beyond his authority to negotiate, Grant replied, but surrender terms he would discuss. As Gregory Downs reveals in this gripping history of post-Civil War America, Grant's distinction proved prophetic, for peace would elude the South for years after Lee's surrender at Appomattox.

After Appomattox argues that the war did not end with Confederate capitulation in 1865. Instead, a second phase commenced which lasted until 1871-not the project euphemistically called Reconstruction but a state of genuine…


They Left Great Marks on Me

By Kidada E. Williams,

Book cover of They Left Great Marks on Me: African American Testimonies of Racial Violence from Emancipation to World War I

I found this book inspirational as I wrestled with my own research on violence against Black people after the Civil War. Williams deals with the legacy of violence and the wounds left physically and emotionally when people—in this case African Americans—receive little justice for crimes against them. She demonstrates time and again the need to bear witness and testify to these crimes so that there may be the possibility of an accounting. It took courage for African Americans to report crimes to the Freedmen’s Bureau, to testify in front of Congress about Klan violence, and to battle against lynching while often facing violent repercussions. Even though justice rarely occurred, this testimony mattered in leaving a record that challenged the narrative of white supremacy and, as the author maintains, providing political education for the Civil Rights Movement.

They Left Great Marks on Me

By Kidada E. Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked They Left Great Marks on Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shares wrenching accounts of the everyday violence experienced by emancipated African Americans
Well after slavery was abolished, its legacy of violence left deep wounds on African Americans' bodies, minds, and lives. For many victims and witnesses of the assaults, rapes, murders, nightrides, lynchings, and other bloody acts that followed, the suffering this violence engendered was at once too painful to put into words yet too horrible to suppress.
In this evocative and deeply moving history Kidada Williams examines African Americans' testimonies about racial violence. By using both oral and print culture to testify about violence, victims and witnesses hoped they…


Inside the Klavern, the Secret History of a Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s

By David A. Horowitz,

Book cover of Inside the Klavern, the Secret History of a Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s

As a writer, this book enabled me to get inside the mindset of Eastern Oregon Klan members in the 1920s. The heart of the book is the weekly meeting minutes of a local KKK chapter, which allowed me to see through the eyes of the men who made up this organization from May 1922 through April 1924. Their concerns included recruiting new members, supporting Klan-friendly political leaders at all levels of government, preventing Catholics from employment in teaching and other positions, and supporting a state bill that would ban Catholic schools. All this helped me create realistic characters with social and political views that are very different from my own.

Inside the Klavern, the Secret History of a Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s

By David A. Horowitz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inside the Klavern, the Secret History of a Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is an annotated collection of the minutes of a thriving Ku Klux Klan in La Grande, Oregon, between 1922 and 1924. The most complete set of Klan minutes ever uncovered, these documents illustrate the inner workings of a Klan chapter of more than 300 members at the time when the national membership reached into the millions and the Invisible Empire was at the peak of its power. Through an extensive introduction and conclusion as well as brief notes previewing each installment of the minutes, the author seeks to place these documents in historical perspective. The La Grande minutes demonstrate…


The Racist Mind

By Raphael S. Ezekiel,

Book cover of The Racist Mind: Portraits of American Neo-Nazis and Klansmen

One of the most important investigations of America’s far-right White Supremacist movement. This highly informative  volume, which I used while doing my own research of the movement for various projects, is based primarily on the  actual words/views voiced by White supremacists with whom the author lived for many months. Fascinating and  disturbing. 

The Racist Mind

By Raphael S. Ezekiel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Ezekiel's pointed volume is the best available modern source for grasping the psychological foundations of the Radical Right."-Thomas F Pettigrew, Univ. of Cal., Santa Cruz.


The Second Coming of the KKK

By Linda Gordon,

Book cover of The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s and the American Political Tradition

I value this book for its thorough description of the many elements that made the Klan of the 1920s so ascendant: its hostility toward immigrants, big city liberal elites, intellectuals, Jews, Catholics, and fear of the many changes in society. The author says she began writing an article about 20th-century American social movements, but because of the 2016 election, expanded it into this book. Similarly, I felt the same urgency to complete my trilogy and get it out to the public at that time. Just as I tried to portray 1920 parallels with our contentious politics today, Gordon concludes by illuminating correlations between the 1920s KKK and contemporary right-wing beliefs, and their similarities and differences regarding European fascism. Bigotry-fueled fear waxes and wanes in America.

The Second Coming of the KKK

By Linda Gordon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Extraordinary national acclaim accompanied the publication of award-winning historian Linda Gordon's disturbing and markedly timely history of the reassembled Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s. Dramatically challenging our preconceptions of the hooded Klansmen responsible for establishing a Jim Crow racial hierarchy in the 1870s South, this "second Klan" spread in states principally above the Mason-Dixon line by courting xenophobic fears surrounding the flood of immigrant "hordes" landing on American shores. "Part cautionary tale, part expose" (Washington Post), The Second Coming of the KKK "illuminates the surprising scope of the movement" (The New Yorker); the Klan attracted four-to-six-million members through secret…


A Brief History of Fear and Intolerance in Tillamook County

By Helen Patti Hill,

Book cover of A Brief History of Fear and Intolerance in Tillamook County

I love Hill’s passion for elucidating our history in order to combat prejudice. She approaches the origins of fear and intolerance from diverse perspectives, starting with violent clashes between 1700s explorers and indigenous peoples of Oregon’s Pacific coast. She describes the long history of stealing Oregon land from natives, and how the US Civil War contributed to the exclusion of African Americans from Oregon in its state constitution. Later she shows how D. W. Griffith’s movie The Birth of a Nation was instrumental in the re-emergence of the KKK in the 1920s, and WWI propaganda against Germans and fear of Bolshevism contributed to Klan hatred of immigrants. In later chapters Hill brings us up to the present summarizing anti-LGBTQ political initiatives and the Black Lives Matter movement.

A Brief History of Fear and Intolerance in Tillamook County

By Helen Patti Hill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Brief History of Fear and Intolerance in Tillamook County as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Ring Shout

By P. Djèlí Clark,

Book cover of Ring Shout

Ring Shout is historical fiction on a whole other level of weirdness, in the best possible way. It’s 1922 in Macon, Georgia, and a ragtag group of Black women and their allies are fighting back against the Ku Kluxes. But not all Ku Kluxes are just men in white hoods. Sure, they all start out that way, but a malign supernatural influence spread by the white supremacist film The Birth of a Nation has started transforming them into bone-white, red-eyed, nine-foot-tall demons. Yes, Klansmen as literal demons. It’s a bit on the nose, but it totally works. Ring Shout is both unapologetically political horror writing and a superbly well-crafted novel. 

Ring Shout

By P. Djèlí Clark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark returns with Ring Shout, a dark fantasy historical novella that gives a supernatural twist to the Ku Klux Klan's reign of terror

“A fantastical, brutal and thrilling triumph of the imagination...Clark’s combination of historical and political reimagining is cathartic, exhilarating and fresh.” ―The New York Times

A 2021 Nebula Award Winner
A 2021 Locus Award Winner

A New York Times Editor's Choice Pick!
A Booklist Editor's Choice Pick!

A 2021 Hugo Award Finalist
A 2021 World Fantasy Award Finalist
A 2021 Ignyte Award Finalist
A 2021 Shirley Jackson Award Finalist
A 2021…


Murder & Scandal in Prohibition Portland

By J D Chandler, Theresa Griffin Kennedy,

Book cover of Murder & Scandal in Prohibition Portland: Sex, Vice & Misdeeds in Mayor Baker's Reign

As a fiction writer trying to depict 1920s Portland, Oregon, I found limitless inspiration from this book. Chandler and Kennedy give the background leading up to Prohibition, chronicling the women’s temperance and suffrage movements; the establishment opposition to the International Workers of the World, the Wobblies; the organized crime in the city and police corruption; and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. When George Baker became mayor in 1917, he took advantage of all these elements to control a system of corruption that kept him in power. While the book does not focus on the KKK, it offers important details about its powerful influence on this particular city at this time in history.

Murder & Scandal in Prohibition Portland

By J D Chandler, Theresa Griffin Kennedy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Murder & Scandal in Prohibition Portland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 1917 election of Mayor George Luis Baker ushered a long era of unscrupulous greed into Portland government. While supposedly enforcing prohibition laws, Baker ordered police chief Leon Jenkins to control and profit from the bootlegging market. Baker filled city coffers and his friends' pockets with booze-soaked cash while sensational headlines like the 1929 affair between policeman Bill Breuning and informant Anna Schrader scandalized the city. Maligned in the press, Schrader executed a bitter campaign to recall the mayor. In 1933, a hired gunman murdered special investigator to the governor Frank Aiken a day before he would have filed a…


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