100 books like Alice Paul

By J.D. Zahniser, Amelia Fry,

Here are 100 books that Alice Paul fans have personally recommended if you like Alice Paul. 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 Parting the Waters

Jim Carrier Author Of A Traveler’s Guide to the Civil Rights Movement

From my list on understanding the South’s Civil Rights Movement.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a journalist who learned his craft on the job in the tumultuous 1960s, I happened to find myself living in states where racial history was being written. Reporting that story required me to understand why discrimination, poverty, and violence remained so deeply rooted in modern America. I wrote Ten Ways to Fight Hate, I made a movie about civil rights martyrs, and, after seeing people from around the world making a pilgrimage to the sites of the civil rights struggle, published my guidebook. Over the course of a 50-year career, I have written a million words. I am proudest of those that tried to right wrongs, and sometimes did.

Jim's book list on understanding the South’s Civil Rights Movement

Jim Carrier Why did Jim love this book?

As I drove through the South researching my guidebook to civil rights sites, my back seat was filled with books. Atop the pile was Taylor Branch’s magisterial three-volume history – America in the King Years 1954-1968: Parting the Waters, Pillar of Fire, and At Canaan’s Edge.

Though encyclopedic, Branch’s story-telling is riveting—weaving together personalities, legalities, strategies, and geography in a way that made me feel as if I were there witnessing history as it was made. Taylor’s detail, reflecting a journalist’s quest for who, what, where, when, how, and why, showed me that these stories could best be told, understood, and felt where they happened.

By Taylor Branch,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Parting the Waters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Parting the Waters, the first volume of his essential America in the King Years series, Pulitzer Prize winner Taylor Branch gives a “compelling…masterfully told” (The Wall Street Journal) account of Martin Luther King’s early years and rise to greatness.

Hailed as the most masterful story ever told of the American Civil Rights Movement, Parting the Waters is destined to endure for generations.

Moving from the fiery political baptism of Martin Luther King, Jr., to the corridors of Camelot where the Kennedy brothers weighed demands for justice against the deceptions of J. Edgar Hoover, here is a vivid tapestry of…


Book cover of Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

Paul Wood Author Of How to Escape from Prison

From my list on escaping prison and helping you change your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was imprisoned for murder as an 18-year-old. I was a high school dropout who was addicted to drugs and didn’t have any hope for the future. Each of the books recommended contributed to my own journey of transformation. I read them all while I was in prison. Some of them while I was in maximum security or solitary confinement. Each recommendation helped me escape that life and its horrors. 

Paul's book list on escaping prison and helping you change your life

Paul Wood Why did Paul love this book?

Nelson Mandel’s autobiography from his early life through the 27 years he spent in prison before becoming South Africa's first democratically elected President.

This book taught me about trying to be a better person despite your circumstances and being wronged by others. It also gave me hope that my imprisonment could be just a chapter in my journey and didn’t need to be the defining experience of my life.

By Nelson Mandela,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Long Walk to Freedom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2018 is the centenary of Nelson Mandela's birth

'The authentic voice of Mandela shines through this book . . . humane, dignified and magnificently unembittered' The Times

The riveting memoirs of the outstanding moral and political leader of our time, A Long Walk to Freedom brilliantly re-creates the drama of the experiences that helped shape Nelson Mandela's destiny. Emotive, compelling and uplifting, A Long Walk to Freedom is the exhilarating story of an epic life; a story of hardship, resilience and ultimate triumph told with the clarity and eloquence of a born leader.

'Burns with the luminosity of faith in…


Book cover of Sisters in Spirit

Anne B. Gass Author Of We Demand: The Suffrage Road Trip

From my list on the amazing fight for women’s voting rights.

Why am I passionate about this?

My great-grandmother was a suffrage leader in Maine from roughly 1914-1920, and is the subject of my first book, Voting Down the Rose: Florence Brooks Whitehouse and Maine’s Fight for Woman Suffrage. Florence helped found and led the Maine branch of the Congressional Union, working closely with the indomitable Alice Paul. In 2015 I retraced the original route of an epic cross-country trip for suffrage; this led to my novel, We Demand: The Suffrage Road Trip. I did extensive research for both books and have become passionate about women’s rights history. I speak frequently on suffrage to students, historical societies, libraries, book clubs, and other groups.

Anne's book list on the amazing fight for women’s voting rights

Anne B. Gass Why did Anne love this book?

This provocative book examines the role and status of women in the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy and how 19th-century white feminists used them as role models in beginning their own fight for rights, including suffrage. It’s a quick read and kind of a life-changing one, really, especially if (like me) you’re completely ignorant of Native history and its relation to US history.  

Among other things, Haudenosaunee women had the right to choose and advise tribal leaders, and had far more control over their persons and their children than Euro-American women did. Wagner argues that close relationships with the Haudenosaunee influenced people like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Matilda Joslyn Gage leading up to the famous Seneca Falls Convention in 1848.

By Sally Roesch Wagner, John Fadden (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) women sparked the revolutionary vision of early feminists by providing a model of freedom at a time when American women experienced few rights. Women of the Six Nations Confederacy possessed decisive political power, control of their bodies, control of their own property, custody of their children, the power to initiate divorce, satisfying work and a society generally free of rape and domestic violence. Historian Sally Roesch Wagner recounts the struggle for freedom and equality waged by early American women documenting how Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Matilda Joslyn Gage were influenced by their Indigenous women neighbors.


Book cover of The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote

Jennifer Schwed Author Of 19 The Musical: An American Suffrage Story

From my list on suffrage fights and voting rights.

Why am I passionate about this?

We are the creators, writers, lyricists, directors, and producers of the original musical, 19: The Musical. These are the best books we read on the topic of Alice Paul, suffrage, and the fight for the passage of the 19th Amendment. The amendment finally gave women the right to vote, but almost immediately, legislatures around the country began disenfranchising women of color by clawing voting rights back away from them. Researching the background for 19: The Musical was intense. These books were essential background for us to understand the historical landscape enough to write about it and, where necessary, combine events or create composite characters for our musical.

Jennifer's book list on suffrage fights and voting rights

Jennifer Schwed Why did Jennifer love this book?

This is a remarkable book about a remarkable chapter in the fight for women’s right to vote. The story of the suffrage fight throughout the Summer of 1920 in Tennessee is so incredible that it seems impossible.

And what is even more bonkers is how remarkably similar some of the issues and players are to those of today. We could have done an entire show based on what we learned in The Woman’s Hour!

By Elaine Weiss,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Both a page-turning drama and an inspiration for every reader" -- Hillary Rodham Clinton

Soon to be a major television event, the nail-biting climax of one of the greatest political battles in American history: the ratification of the constitutional amendment that granted women the right to vote.

Nashville, August 1920. Thirty-five states have approved the Nineteenth Amendment, granting women the right to vote; one last state--Tennessee--is needed for women's voting rights to be the law of the land. The suffragists face vicious opposition from politicians, clergy, corporations, and racists who don't want black women voting. And then there are the…


Book cover of African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850-1920

Anne B. Gass Author Of We Demand: The Suffrage Road Trip

From my list on the amazing fight for women’s voting rights.

Why am I passionate about this?

My great-grandmother was a suffrage leader in Maine from roughly 1914-1920, and is the subject of my first book, Voting Down the Rose: Florence Brooks Whitehouse and Maine’s Fight for Woman Suffrage. Florence helped found and led the Maine branch of the Congressional Union, working closely with the indomitable Alice Paul. In 2015 I retraced the original route of an epic cross-country trip for suffrage; this led to my novel, We Demand: The Suffrage Road Trip. I did extensive research for both books and have become passionate about women’s rights history. I speak frequently on suffrage to students, historical societies, libraries, book clubs, and other groups.

Anne's book list on the amazing fight for women’s voting rights

Anne B. Gass Why did Anne love this book?

Until relatively recently the American suffrage movement was told only from the White perspective; Black women’s contributions were minimized -  when they received any mention at all. Terborg-Penn’s groundbreaking work challenged that viewpoint through her extensive original research that revealed the stories of Black women activists who worked for suffrage within their own clubs when they were discouraged from joining the mainstream white organizations. 

This book is a bit dry and academic but is well worth a read because it brings to light amazing women such as Mary Church Terrell or Frances Ellen Watkins Harper who fought both racism and sexism in their efforts to win voting rights for all American women.

By Rosalyn Terborg-Penn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850-1920 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Rarely has a short book accomplished so much as Terborg-Penn's seminal work. With the utmost attention to detail Terborg-Penn examines the contributions of black suffragist stalwarts . . . It undoubtedly will become the definitive work on African American women's involvement in the mainstream woman suffrage movement and specifically on black women's struggle for the vote." -Choice

" . . . this is a well-written overview of a crucial aspect of African American history that would be ideal for the college classroom." -Journal of American History

" . . . not only a major contribution to suffrage history . .…


Book cover of Winning the Vote: The Triumph of the American Woman Suffrage Movement

Anne B. Gass Author Of We Demand: The Suffrage Road Trip

From my list on the amazing fight for women’s voting rights.

Why am I passionate about this?

My great-grandmother was a suffrage leader in Maine from roughly 1914-1920, and is the subject of my first book, Voting Down the Rose: Florence Brooks Whitehouse and Maine’s Fight for Woman Suffrage. Florence helped found and led the Maine branch of the Congressional Union, working closely with the indomitable Alice Paul. In 2015 I retraced the original route of an epic cross-country trip for suffrage; this led to my novel, We Demand: The Suffrage Road Trip. I did extensive research for both books and have become passionate about women’s rights history. I speak frequently on suffrage to students, historical societies, libraries, book clubs, and other groups.

Anne's book list on the amazing fight for women’s voting rights

Anne B. Gass Why did Anne love this book?

When I began researching suffrage history I was captivated by the images I found, including illustrations the suffragists created. Yet most books written about the suffrage movement are nonfiction narratives, with only a handful of images. The suffragists were brilliant at using images to skewer the anti-suffragists’ ridiculous statements about how women voting would ruin families and society.

A graphic designer by trade, Cooney upended that model by gathering together a vast array of photographs, cartoons, and other images depicting both pro-and anti-suffrage sentiment. It’s a great gift to us, and to future generations, to have all of these images gathered together in one book. I love being able to match the names to the photos of these amazing women.

By Robert P. J. Cooney Jr.,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winning the Vote captures the color and excitement of a central, inspiring but nearly forgotten chapter in American history. This beautifully designed hardback presents the American woman suffrage movement clearly and chronologically with emphasis on the fascinating personalities and turbulent political campaigns of the early 20th century. Nearly 1,000 photographs, posters, leaflets and portraits illustrate this fascinating account of the expansion of American democracy. Large format images and a fast paced text highlight key developments between 1848 and 1920 including over 52 state electoral campaigns and the final, controversial drive for the 19th amendment. Winning the Vote shows how women…


Book cover of Gandhi Before India

Todd Hasak-Lowy Author Of We Are Power: How Nonviolent Activism Changes the World

From my list on inspirational nonviolent leaders.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the early years of the Trump presidency, I looked for a subject that would inspire young readers, and keep me from falling into despair. I loved researching this topic and finding ways to do justice to the incredible people and the movements at the center of my book. Simply put, it was a joy to become an expert on this important topic. There are so many reasons to be pessimistic about the state of the world, but these stories give me hope that together we can create a better future for everyone.

Todd's book list on inspirational nonviolent leaders

Todd Hasak-Lowy Why did Todd love this book?

We all know the Gandhi in sandals and white khadi robes, but how did Gandhi become Gandhi? Guha narrates the remarkable transformation of Gandhi from a timid, London-trained lawyer into a bold, inventive activist advocating for the rights of the Indian immigrant community in South Africa. This engaging, meticulously researched book describes the emergence of Gandhi’s intertwined philosophy and politics, which together reintroduced nonviolence as a potent force to the tumultuous twentieth century.

By Ramachandra Guha,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Gandhi Before India as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Notable Book and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year

A revelatory work of biography, Gandhi Before India is an illuminating portrait of the life, the work, and the historical context of one of the most abidingly influential—and controversial—men in modern history. From Gandhi’s birth in 1869, through his upbringing in Gujarat and his years as a student in London, to his two decades as a lawyer and community organizer in South Africa, acclaimed author Ramachandra Guha brings the past to light with extraordinary grace and clarity. Drawing on a wealth of newly uncovered…


Book cover of Havel: A Life

Todd Hasak-Lowy Author Of We Are Power: How Nonviolent Activism Changes the World

From my list on inspirational nonviolent leaders.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the early years of the Trump presidency, I looked for a subject that would inspire young readers, and keep me from falling into despair. I loved researching this topic and finding ways to do justice to the incredible people and the movements at the center of my book. Simply put, it was a joy to become an expert on this important topic. There are so many reasons to be pessimistic about the state of the world, but these stories give me hope that together we can create a better future for everyone.

Todd's book list on inspirational nonviolent leaders

Todd Hasak-Lowy Why did Todd love this book?

Because of the enormous odds stacked against each movement of this sort, the story of every nonviolent leader has an unlikely element to it. But Vaclav Havel’s biography may be the most unlikely of all. A playwright, an intellectual, and, in his own words, a “bundle of nerves,” Havel nevertheless found himself leader of Czechoslovakia’s astonishing nonviolent Velvet Revolution in 1989, and soon after became the country’s first president following the fall of communism. A very human embodiment of humanist conviction, Havel’s life is one to study.

By Michael Zantovsky,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Václav Havel was one of the most prominent figures of the twentieth century: iconoclast and intellectual, renowned artist turned political dissident, president of a united and then divided nation, and dedicated human rights activist. Written by Michael Zantovsky—Havel’s former press secretary, advisor, and longtime friend—Havel: A Life chronicles his extraordinary journey from the theatrical stage to the world stage.

Havel’s lifelong perspective as an outsider began with his privileged childhood in Prague and his family’s blacklisted status following the Communist coup of 1948. In his youth, this feeling of being isolated and outcast fueled his poetry and then later his…


Book cover of A Woman's Crusade: Alice Paul and the Battle for the Ballot

Jennifer Schwed Author Of 19 The Musical: An American Suffrage Story

From my list on suffrage fights and voting rights.

Why am I passionate about this?

We are the creators, writers, lyricists, directors, and producers of the original musical, 19: The Musical. These are the best books we read on the topic of Alice Paul, suffrage, and the fight for the passage of the 19th Amendment. The amendment finally gave women the right to vote, but almost immediately, legislatures around the country began disenfranchising women of color by clawing voting rights back away from them. Researching the background for 19: The Musical was intense. These books were essential background for us to understand the historical landscape enough to write about it and, where necessary, combine events or create composite characters for our musical.

Jennifer's book list on suffrage fights and voting rights

Jennifer Schwed Why did Jennifer love this book?

We found this to be the definitive book on Alice Paul. In our opinion, Alice Paul was the single most important person in getting women the right to vote.

This book is a brilliantly researched and written history of a true American hero that very few people have ever heard of. It is essential reading for understanding the suffrage fight. 

By Mary Walton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Woman's Crusade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Alice Paul began her life as a quiet girl from a strict Quaker family in New Jersey. But as a young woman, an interest in social work brought her to England, where she apprenticed with the militant suffrage movement there, led by Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters. Upon her return to the United States, Alice founded her own suffrage movement. Calling themselves 'Silent Sentinels,' she and her followers were the first protestors to picket the White House. Behind bars, they went on hunger strikes and were force-fed and brutalized. Years before Gandhi's campaign of nonviolent resistance, and decades before civil…


Book cover of Alice Paul: Equality for Women

Jennifer Schwed Author Of 19 The Musical: An American Suffrage Story

From my list on suffrage fights and voting rights.

Why am I passionate about this?

We are the creators, writers, lyricists, directors, and producers of the original musical, 19: The Musical. These are the best books we read on the topic of Alice Paul, suffrage, and the fight for the passage of the 19th Amendment. The amendment finally gave women the right to vote, but almost immediately, legislatures around the country began disenfranchising women of color by clawing voting rights back away from them. Researching the background for 19: The Musical was intense. These books were essential background for us to understand the historical landscape enough to write about it and, where necessary, combine events or create composite characters for our musical.

Jennifer's book list on suffrage fights and voting rights

Jennifer Schwed Why did Jennifer love this book?

This is an easy-to-read yet unflinching history about Alice Paul and her role in the fight for the vote. We found it to be written in an accessible manner, but the stories of what Alice Paul and the other suffragists went through (physically, mentally, and emotionally) during their arrests and incarcerations left a lasting impression on us. 

By Christine Lunardini,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Alice Paul: Equality for Women shows the dominant and unwavering role Paul played in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, granting the vote to American women. The dramatic details of Paul's imprisonment and solitary confinement, hunger strike, and force-feeding at the hands of the U.S. government illustrate her fierce devotion to the cause she spent her life promoting. Placed in the context of the first half of the twentieth century, Paul's story also touches on issues of progressivism and labor reform, race and class, World War I patriotism and America's emerging role as a global power, women's activism in the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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