100 books like African American Childhoods

By Wilma King,

Here are 100 books that African American Childhoods fans have personally recommended if you like African American Childhoods. 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 Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood

Paula S. Fass Author Of The End of American Childhood: A History of Parenting from Life on the Frontier to the Managed Child

From my list on understanding American parenting.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a social historian, I have helped to direct scholarly attention to the history of family life and helped to create the field of history of children. I'm the editor of a pioneering three-volume encyclopedia on the history of children and the author of six books and editor of three others based on extensive research about children’s experiences in the United States and the Western world. I've also been widely interviewed on the subject. The End of American Childhood brings this research experience and broad expertise in the field to a subject of urgent interest to today’s parents who want to understand how their own views about children and their child-rearing perspectives are grounded historically. 

Paula's book list on understanding American parenting

Paula S. Fass Why did Paula love this book?

Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood is a comprehensive and important history of American children and their varied experiences.

By synthesizing a large literature in engaging prose, Mintz introduces readers to children’s lives across four centuries of the American past, starting in the seventeenth century and reaching into the present. Mintz strives to encompass different racial, class, and gender experiences. 

This is the best book to begin exploring the new field of children’s studies.

By Steven Mintz,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Huck's Raft as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Like Huck's raft, the experience of American childhood has been both adventurous and terrifying. For more than three centuries, adults have agonized over raising children while children have followed their own paths to development and expression. Now, Steven Mintz gives us the first comprehensive history of American childhood encompassing both the child's and the adult's tumultuous early years of life.

Underscoring diversity through time and across regions, Mintz traces the transformation of children from the sinful creatures perceived by Puritans to the productive workers of nineteenth-century farms and factories, from the cosseted cherubs of the Victorian era to the confident…


Book cover of Childhood in World History

Hoda Mahmoudi Author Of Children and Globalization: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

From my list on childhood and globalization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been interested in children’s lives for as long as I can remember. I think my own childhood experiences provoked my curiosity about the world as observed and perceived by children. My own childhood was affected by globalization in the broadest sense. When I was a child, my family moved to the United States from Iran. I grew up in Utah where I encountered a different way of life than the one I left behind. The shift from one culture to another was thrilling and scary. The encounter with a new world and a different culture has taught me important lessons about children’s creativity, strength, and curiosity as well as their fears, insecurities, and vulnerabilities.  

Hoda's book list on childhood and globalization

Hoda Mahmoudi Why did Hoda love this book?

I believe this book serves as a solid foundation for the scholarly discussions surrounding the changing paradigms of childhood throughout history and the world. I find its examinations of many different times and places fascinating. This volume explores the cultural creation of concepts of childhood and the ways they have developed and evolved as the world has become more connected, something I can relate to my own childhood experiences.

By Peter N. Stearns,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Childhood in World History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now in its fourth edition, Childhood in World History covers the major developments in the history of childhood from the classical civilizations to the present and explores how agricultural and industrial economies have shaped the experiences of children.

Through comparative analysis, Peter N. Stearns facilitates a cross-cultural and transnational understanding of attitudes toward the role of children in society, and how "models" of childhood have developed throughout history. He addresses the tension between regional and social/gender differences, on the one hand, and factors that encouraged greater convergence, including the experience of globalization. The book also deals with regional patterns as…


Book cover of Learning to Belong in the World: An Ethnography of Asian American Girls

Hoda Mahmoudi Author Of Children and Globalization: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

From my list on childhood and globalization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been interested in children’s lives for as long as I can remember. I think my own childhood experiences provoked my curiosity about the world as observed and perceived by children. My own childhood was affected by globalization in the broadest sense. When I was a child, my family moved to the United States from Iran. I grew up in Utah where I encountered a different way of life than the one I left behind. The shift from one culture to another was thrilling and scary. The encounter with a new world and a different culture has taught me important lessons about children’s creativity, strength, and curiosity as well as their fears, insecurities, and vulnerabilities.  

Hoda's book list on childhood and globalization

Hoda Mahmoudi Why did Hoda love this book?

Growing up, I moved from one culture to another, and I know being a teenager can be difficult. The lives of teenage girls are complex, even more so for the children of Asian immigrants, who not only face the pressures of school and society but also serve as cultural mediators, negotiators, community builders, and bridges between the many worlds they grow up in. His book looks at the lives of Asian American girls and their roles in globalization and boundary crossing as they struggle, dream, grow, and thrive. As an immigrant myself, I connected to many of the ideas in this book.

By Tomoko Tokunaga,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Learning to Belong in the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book provides a complex and intricate portrayal of Asian American high school girls - which has been an under-researched population - as cultural meditators, diasporic agents, and community builders who negotiate displacement and attachment in challenging worlds of the in-between. Based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork, Tomoko Tokunaga presents a portrait of the girls' hardships, dilemmas, and dreams while growing up in an interconnected world. This book contributes a new understanding of the roles of immigrant children and youth as agents of globalization and sophisticated border-crossers who have the power and agency to construct belonging and identity across…


Book cover of The Other Daughters of the Revolution: The Narrative of K. White (1809) and the Memoirs of Elizabeth Fisher (1810)

Hoda Mahmoudi Author Of Children and Globalization: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

From my list on childhood and globalization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been interested in children’s lives for as long as I can remember. I think my own childhood experiences provoked my curiosity about the world as observed and perceived by children. My own childhood was affected by globalization in the broadest sense. When I was a child, my family moved to the United States from Iran. I grew up in Utah where I encountered a different way of life than the one I left behind. The shift from one culture to another was thrilling and scary. The encounter with a new world and a different culture has taught me important lessons about children’s creativity, strength, and curiosity as well as their fears, insecurities, and vulnerabilities.  

Hoda's book list on childhood and globalization

Hoda Mahmoudi Why did Hoda love this book?

This book is very emotional and affecting to read for me. It presents two of the earliest autobiographical accounts from American women, with an introduction by Sharon Halevi. As they trace their lives, they depict a world in which childhood, as modern readers understand, does not exist, and even young women need to navigate the intricacies of their controlling and patriarchal world. I often ask what has changed and what has unfortunately stayed the same.

By Sharon Halevi (editor), K. White, Elizabeth Fisher

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Presents two of the earliest autobiographies of American women.


Book cover of "There She Is, Miss America": The Politics of Sex, Beauty, and Race in America's Most Famous Pageant

Margot Mifflin Author Of Looking for Miss America: A Pageant's 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood

From my list on how the Miss America pageant was born.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about pop culture and women’s history, often as it relates to the body and beauty. I’m intrigued by the ways women claim unconventional means of expression for their own beautification (such as tattooing) and how they harness beauty in the service of social and economic mobility (as in pageant culture). These books offer insight into the varied ways pageantry, from campus pageants to the Miss America stage, inform American identity and ratify the historian Rosalyn Baxandall’s belief that “every day in a woman’s life is a walking Miss America contest.”

Margot's book list on how the Miss America pageant was born

Margot Mifflin Why did Margot love this book?

This anthology spans a remarkable and surprising range of topics including first-hand accounts by pageant winnersand losers—along with rich historical context. Historian Kimberly Hamlin documents the first Miss America Pageant (launched a year after women won the vote), showing how it both appropriated the format of suffrage pageants and defined itself in opposition to them. Feminist scholar Donelle Ruwe explains why becoming Miss Meridian [Miss.] in 1985 had an unexpectedly positive impact on her life, even though she considers beauty pageants to be “oppressive” and “degrading.” And the African-American scholar Gerald Early’s riveting “Waiting for Miss America” weighs the racial implications of Vanessa Williams’ 1983 crowning as the first Black Miss America. “[S]he was the most loved and most suspect woman in America,” he writes. Suspect, because “some blacks don’t trust her motives and some whites don’t trust her abilities.”  

By Elwood Watson (editor), Darcy Martin (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked "There She Is, Miss America" as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

While some see the Miss American Pageant as hokey vestige of another era, many remain enthralled by the annual Atlantic City event. And whether you love it or hate it, no one can deny the impact the contest has had on American popular culture-indeed, many reality television shows seem to have taken cues from the pageant. Founded in 1921, the Miss America Pageant has provided a fascinating glimpse into how American standards of femininity have been defined, projected, maintained, and challenged. At various times, it has been praised as a positive role model for young American women, protested as degrading…


Book cover of The Age of Empire: 1875-1914

Philip B. Minehan Author Of Anti-Leftist Politics in Modern World History: Avoiding 'Socialism' at All Costs

From my list on modern world history and politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

My expertise comes through my work and degrees as an undergraduate, Master’s, and Phd student, in history and comparative historical sociology. It is demonstrated mainly in my two books, one on the Spanish, Yugoslav, and Greek Civil Wars, the other on Anti-Leftist Politics, listed above. It also comes through my teaching, which includes the entire world history sequence, in addition to numerous specialized courses and seminars. My passion could be described as a love for the world and its peoples, and a loathing for systems and politics of inequality and injustice.

Philip's book list on modern world history and politics

Philip B. Minehan Why did Philip love this book?

The Age of Empire is a momentous history of Europe and the world in the era that contained the immediate origins and dynamics that led into World War One, but was also crucial in shaping world history to this day. 

At the beginning of the book, Hobsbawm offers a grand-scale perspective on the ‘contradictions of liberal bourgeois society in the age of empire’, which, for me, is among the most helpful and insightful big – and dialectical – ideas about modern history. 

In the form of ‘the contradictions of neoliberal bourgeois society’, I went so far as to update and apply his original idea to world history since WWI and right up to our own times.

By Eric Hobsbawm,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Erica Hobsbawm discusses the evolution of European economics, politics, arts, sciences, and cultural life from the height of the industrial revolution to the First World War.  Hobsbawm combines vast erudition with a graceful prose style to re-create the epoch that laid the basis for the twentieth century.


Book cover of The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914-1991

Caner Tekin Author Of Debating Turkey in Europe: Identities and Concepts

From my list on European identity for history readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a postdoctoral researcher, I'm fascinated by the notions of cultural belonging to Europe and European nation-states, as they have evolved throughout history in relation to what the holders of these notions call their "others". I know of few cases in the field of identity and memory politics that are as controversial, as curious, as fragile, and yet as fascinating as the idea of a Europe, a social and political construct that emerges from past events but is shaped for political purposes. Debates about a common European history and memory are intertwined with those about the geographical and cultural definitions of Europe, and my book list often includes the most recent examples of these interactions.

Caner's book list on European identity for history readers

Caner Tekin Why did Caner love this book?

Especially in the 20th century, the development and recognition of the ideas of Europeanism depended on developments beyond Europe in a global context.

It is impossible to understand the development of European integration and its pan-Europeanist rationale without understanding the history of colonialism, nationalism, the international socialist movement, and, of course, war. Against this background, Hobsbawm discusses, among other things, how the European project was promoted as an alternative to, and in turn threatened by, extremisms, particularly nationalism.

I am captivated by this powerful analysis done on a very large scale. Perhaps this is why the founders of the House of European History in Brussels acknowledge the influence of Hobsbawm and this book in their narrative.

By Eric Hobsbawm,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Dividing the century into the Age of Catastrophe, 1914–1950, the Golden Age, 1950–1973, and the Landslide, 1973–1991, Hobsbawm marshals a vast array of data into a volume of unparalleled inclusiveness, vibrancy, and insight, a work that ranks with his classics The Age of Empire and The Age of Revolution.

In the short century between 1914 and 1991, the world has been convulsed by two global wars that swept away millions of lives and entire systems of government. Communism became a messianic faith and then collapsed ignominiously.  Peasants became city dwellers, housewives became workers—and, increasingly leaders.  Populations became literate even as…


Book cover of After Tamerlane: The Rise and Fall of Global Empires, 1400-2000

Christopher Goscha Author Of The Road to Dien Bien Phu: A History of the First War for Vietnam

From my list on empires in world history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Christopher Goscha first fell in love with world history while reading Fernand Braudel's La Méditerranée in graduate school in France and doing research for his PhD in Southeast Asia. He is currently a professor of international relations at the Université du Québec à Montréal where he teaches world history and publishes on the wars for Vietnam in a global context. He does this most recently in his forthcoming book entitled The Road to Dien Bien Phu: A History of the First Vietnam War.

Christopher's book list on empires in world history

Christopher Goscha Why did Christopher love this book?

You might not know who Tamerlane is, but you should. He was one of the last of the ‘World-conquerors’ in the tradition of Genghis Khan, the man who marched the Mongols from one end of Eurasia to the other in the 13th century. Tamerlane died in 1405 and with him the last nomadic empire of the Eurasian steppes. The Europeans then took up the quest ‘to conquer the word’. But John Darwin tells this story like no one else before him: Rather than starting the story of the European “Age of Discovery” on the bows of Iberian ships crossing the Atlantic ocean, Darwin keeps his readers grounded in Eurasia. He redirects our gaze to this massive continent as we follow emerging European empires as they had to compete with pre-existing ones. Anyone interested in understanding the global dynamics of the early 21st century should read this book with…

By John Darwin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Tamerlane, the Ottomans, the Mughals, the Manchus, the British, the Soviets, the Japanese and the Nazis.

All built empires they hoped would last forever: all were destined to fail. But, as John Darwin shows in his magnificent book, their empire building created the world we know today.

From the death of Tamerlane in 1405, last of the 'world conquerors', to the rise and fall of European empires, and from America's growing colonial presence to the resurgence of India and China as global economic powers, After Tamerlane provides a wonderfully intriguing perspective on the past, present and future of empires.


Book cover of Lost Colony: The Untold Story of China's First Great Victory Over the West

John Grant Ross Author Of Formosan Odyssey: Taiwan, Past and Present

From my list on Taiwan’s history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Kiwi who has spent most of the past three decades in Asia. My books include Formosan Odyssey, You Don't Know China, and Taiwan in 100 Books. I live in a small town in southern Taiwan with my Taiwanese wife. When not writing, reading, or lusting over maps, I can be found on the abandoned family farm slashing jungle undergrowth (and having a sly drink).

John's book list on Taiwan’s history

John Grant Ross Why did John love this book?

Few stood against many as the fate of Taiwan hung in the balance. This is a gripping account of the 1660s clash between Ming loyalist Koxinga and besieged Dutch colonists at Fort Zeelandia. Written by a historian with a flair for narrative, Taiwan’s most exciting historical episode is recounted in fascinating detail, with twists and turns, and wide zooms out for comparisons of European and Chinese technological prowess. It’s an accessible book yet so richly informative and dramatic that it rewards multiple readings. 

By Tonio Andrade,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During the seventeenth century, Holland created the world's most dynamic colonial empire, outcompeting the British and capturing Spanish and Portuguese colonies. Yet, in the Sino-Dutch War - Europe's first war with China - the Dutch met their match in a colorful Chinese warlord named Koxinga. Part samurai, part pirate, he led his generals to victory over the Dutch and captured one of their largest and richest colonies - Taiwan. How did he do it? Examining the strengths and weaknesses of European and Chinese military techniques during the period, Lost Colony provides a balanced new perspective on long-held assumptions about Western…


Book cover of Inventing the American Astronaut

Slava Gerovitch Author Of Soviet Space Mythologies: Public Images, Private Memories, and the Making of a Cultural Identity (Russian and East European Studies)

From my list on astronauts and cosmonauts.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in space history began with stamp collecting and continued much later with visits to Russian archives, Star City, and aerospace companies, and interviews with cosmonauts and space engineers, who often told their personal stories for the first time. As a historian of science and technology teaching at MIT, I was especially interested in cases where technology and society intertwined: cosmonauts and engineers lobbied politicians with competing agendas, personal rivalries tore apart ambitious projects, and pervasive secrecy perpetuated public myths and private counter-myths. My digging into tensions and arguments that shaped the Soviet space program resulted in two books, Soviet Space Mythologies and Voices of the Soviet Space Program.

Slava's book list on astronauts and cosmonauts

Slava Gerovitch Why did Slava love this book?

Hersch applies the sober, decidedly unsentimental, and almost brutally incisive analytical framework of labor conflict and professionalization to a whole range of issues negotiated within NASA—from the criteria for astronaut selection to the degree of spacecraft automation to mission programming. Each of these issues emerges loaded with interests of various professional groups—test pilots, military pilots, scientists, engineers, and managers. The astronaut profession is born through a series of clashes of professional cultures, each competing for influence within the US space program.

In my view, comparing this story with the parallel developments on the Soviet side reveals drastic differences. While the pilots-cosmonauts found themselves almost completely at the mercy of powerful space engineers, the astronauts skillfully used their symbolic capital to gain influence on decision-making at NASA.

By Matthew H. Hersch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Who were the men who led America's first expeditions into space? Soldiers? Daredevils? The public sometimes imagined them that way: heroic military men and hot-shot pilots without the capacity for doubt, fear, or worry. However, early astronauts were hard-working and determined professionals - 'organization men' - who were calm, calculating, and highly attuned to the politics and celebrity of the Space Race. Many would have been at home in corporate America - and until the first rockets carried humans into space, some seemed to be headed there. Instead, they strapped themselves to missiles and blasted skyward, returning with a smile…


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