100 books like An Economic Detour

By M.S. Stuart,

Here are 100 books that An Economic Detour fans have personally recommended if you like An Economic Detour. 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 The History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship: Volume 1, To 1865

Robert E. Weems, Jr. Author Of Business in Black and White: American Presidents and Black Entrepreneurs in the Twentieth Century

From my list on African American business history.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion and expertise related to African American business history began years ago when I searched for a Ph.D. dissertation topic. After mulling over a variety of options, I ultimately decided to examine the history of an African American insurance company in my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. While working on this project, I began to formulate ideas for future research in the realm of African American business history. I subsequently developed into one of the acknowledged experts in this field. Based upon my track record, I served as a historical consultant and appeared in the documentary Boss: The Black Experience in Business which premiered on PBS in April 2019.

Robert's book list on African American business history

Robert E. Weems, Jr. Why did Robert love this book?

Professor Walker’s book represents the definitive overview of African American business history.

Her narrative begins on the African continent, where she explodes myths about African Americans not possessing a long-standing business tradition.

Similarly, Walker’s discussion of the entrepreneurial activities of enslaved Africans is a ground-breaking contribution to historical scholarship.

This is at the top of my favorite books list!

By Juliet E. K. Walker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The History of Black Business in America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Despite almost four centuries of black independent self-help enterprises, the agency of African Americans in attempting to forge their own economic liberation through business activities and entrepreneurship has remained noticeably absent from the historical record. Juliet Walker's award-winning ""History of Black Business in America"" is the only source that provides a detailed study of the continuity, diversity, and multiplicity of independent self-help economic activities among African Americans.This new, updated edition divides the original work into two volumes. The first volume covers African American business history through the end of the Civil War and features the first comprehensive account of black…


Book cover of Entrepreneurship and Self-Help among Black Americans: A Reconsideration of Race and Economics

Robert E. Weems, Jr. Author Of Business in Black and White: American Presidents and Black Entrepreneurs in the Twentieth Century

From my list on African American business history.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion and expertise related to African American business history began years ago when I searched for a Ph.D. dissertation topic. After mulling over a variety of options, I ultimately decided to examine the history of an African American insurance company in my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. While working on this project, I began to formulate ideas for future research in the realm of African American business history. I subsequently developed into one of the acknowledged experts in this field. Based upon my track record, I served as a historical consultant and appeared in the documentary Boss: The Black Experience in Business which premiered on PBS in April 2019.

Robert's book list on African American business history

Robert E. Weems, Jr. Why did Robert love this book?

Professor Butler’s classic book is a foundational work in the realm of African American business history.

Combining both sociological and historical analysis, Entrepreneurship and Self-Help Among Black Americans includes case studies of notable African American business districts.

For instance, years before recent interest in the horrific destruction of Tulsa’s “Black Wall Street” in 1921, Butler provided an in-depth examination of this phenomenon.

This book is also valuable because it provides an important comparative analysis of historic African American entrepreneurship with that of various nonwhite immigrant groups.  

By John Sibley Butler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Entrepreneurship and Self-Help among Black Americans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This long-awaited revision of a classic work traces the unique development of business enterprises and other community organizations among black Americans from before the Civil War to the present.


Book cover of Ethnic Enterprise in America: Business and Welfare Among Chinese, Japanese, and Blacks

Robert E. Weems, Jr. Author Of Business in Black and White: American Presidents and Black Entrepreneurs in the Twentieth Century

From my list on African American business history.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion and expertise related to African American business history began years ago when I searched for a Ph.D. dissertation topic. After mulling over a variety of options, I ultimately decided to examine the history of an African American insurance company in my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. While working on this project, I began to formulate ideas for future research in the realm of African American business history. I subsequently developed into one of the acknowledged experts in this field. Based upon my track record, I served as a historical consultant and appeared in the documentary Boss: The Black Experience in Business which premiered on PBS in April 2019.

Robert's book list on African American business history

Robert E. Weems, Jr. Why did Robert love this book?

Ivan Light’s Ethnic Enterprise in America utilizes both sociological and historical analysis.

From my perspective, what makes Light’s classic book unique and important is its’ detailed discussion of “rotating credit associations.”

These were/are community-based networks that allow participants to raise capital for a variety of economic projects (such as starting or growing a business).

According to Light, Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans regularly (and successfully) used rotating credit associations; African Americans did not (although rotating credit associations were/are a part of African tradition).

Ethnic Enterprise in America plausibly suggests that this form of “cultural amnesia” can be linked to the trauma associated with the enslavement of transplanted Africans in America.

Published over fifty years ago, this book remains useful and informative.    

By Ivan Hubert Light,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press's mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1972.


Book cover of Black Business In The New South: A Social History of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company

Robert E. Weems, Jr. Author Of Business in Black and White: American Presidents and Black Entrepreneurs in the Twentieth Century

From my list on African American business history.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion and expertise related to African American business history began years ago when I searched for a Ph.D. dissertation topic. After mulling over a variety of options, I ultimately decided to examine the history of an African American insurance company in my hometown of Chicago, Illinois. While working on this project, I began to formulate ideas for future research in the realm of African American business history. I subsequently developed into one of the acknowledged experts in this field. Based upon my track record, I served as a historical consultant and appeared in the documentary Boss: The Black Experience in Business which premiered on PBS in April 2019.

Robert's book list on African American business history

Robert E. Weems, Jr. Why did Robert love this book?

Black Business in the New South provides a detailed examination of North Carolina Mutual, the largest African-American-owned insurance company.

Among other things, Weare’s analysis includes a cogent assessment of how black-owned companies, in all industries, compared to their white counterparts. He asserts that African American enterprises, historically, have been economically backward and socially advanced.

Specifically, for a variety of reasons, the profits of black enterprises tend to be smaller than their white counterparts. However, in the realm of corporate social responsibility, black companies have been more community-minded than white companies.

On a personal note, this book served as a template for my first book. 

By Walter B Weare,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Black Business In The New South as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the turn of the century, the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company became the "world's largest Negro business." Located in Durham, North Carolina, which was known as the "Black Wall Street of America," this business came to symbolize the ideas of racial progress, self-help, and solidarity in America. Walter B. Weare's social and intellectual history, originally published in 1973 (University of Illinois Press) and updated here to include a new introduction, still stands as the definitive history of black business in the New South. Drawing on a wide range of sources-including personal papers of the company's leaders and oral…


Book cover of The Strange Career of Jim Crow

Eric Nellis Author Of Shaping the New World: African Slavery in the Americas, 1500-1888

From my list on African slavery in the Americas.

Why am I passionate about this?

I taught American, European, and World History at the University of British Columbia for over 30 years. I was constantly reminded of the dynamics and consequences of slavery and how a history of black America should be more prevalent in understanding the development of American culture, institutions, and identity over time. In writing two books on colonial America and the American Revolution, the roots of America’s racial divide became clearer and the logic of permanence seemed irresistible. My Shaping the New World was inspired by a course I taught for years on slavery in the Americas. Compiling the bibliography and writing the chapters on slave women and families helped to refine my understanding of the “peculiar institution” in all its both common and varied characteristics throughout the Americas.

Eric's book list on African slavery in the Americas

Eric Nellis Why did Eric love this book?

This succinct and persuasive study of the profound failure to integrate the freed slave population in the U.S. after 1865 is a rare example of a scholarly work’s direct influence on governments and the process of reform.  The author’s premise and analysis is that popular and local official antipathy to emancipation led to enforced, violent segregation (Jim Crow) that was constitutionally affirmed in the 1896 Plessy case.  The book’s three editions follow the history of civil rights reform from the 1950s to the 1970s and the Supreme Court’s gradual dismantling of the Plessy rule. While Jim Crow law has been overturned, versions of real-life Jim Crow conditions remain.

By C. Vann Woodward,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Strange Career of Jim Crow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Strange Career offers a clear and illuminating analysis of the history of Jim Crow laws and American race relations. This book presented evidence that segregation in the South dated only to the 1880s. It's publication in 1955, a year after the Supreme Court ordered schools be desegregated, helped counter arguments that the ruling would destoy a centuries-old way of life. The commemorative edition includes a special afterword by William S. McFeely, former
Woodward student and winner of both the 1982 Pulitzer Prize and 1992 Lincoln Prize. As William McFeely describes in the new afterword, 'the slim volume's social consequence far…


Book cover of Buried in the Bitter Waters: The Hidden History of Racial Cleansing in America

Errick Nunnally Author Of All The Dead Men: Alexander Smith #2

From my list on history to thrill, disturb, and intrigue.

Why am I passionate about this?

Errick Nunnally was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, and served one tour in the Marine Corps before deciding art school was a safer pursuit. He enjoys art, comics, and genre novels. A graphic designer, he has trained in Krav Maga and Muay Thai kickboxing. His work has appeared in several anthologies of speculative fiction. His work can be found in Apex Magazine, Fiyah Magazine, Galaxy’s Edge, Lamplight, Nightlight Podcast, and the novels, Lightning Wears a Red Cape, Blood for the Sun, and All the Dead Men.

Errick's book list on history to thrill, disturb, and intrigue

Errick Nunnally Why did Errick love this book?

Here is a book about history that is horrific, often referenced, and not as fully understood as it should be. It’s about entire towns erased from existence or whole segments of a population violently displaced in one night. Full of terrifying tales, the author began looking into the subject thinking there’d be several historical incidents and instead found too many to include in the book. It is a harrowing accounting of racial cleansing right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. and a potent reminder of how this country operated well into the twentieth century. Again, this sort of thing is good background to inform my character’s current attitude and makes for ripe pickings in flashbacks or background stories.

By Elliot Jaspin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Buried in the Bitter Waters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Leave now, or die!" Those words-or ones just as ominous-have echoed through the past hundred years of American history, heralding a very unnatural disaster-a wave of racial cleansing that wiped out or drove away black populations from counties across the nation. While we have long known about horrific episodes of lynching in the South, this story of racial cleansing has remained almost entirely unknown. These expulsions, always swift and often violent, were extraordinarily widespread in the period between Reconstruction and the Depression era. In the heart of the Midwest and the Deep South, whites rose up in rage, fear, and…


Book cover of Let the Children March

Marlene Targ Brill Author Of Allen Jay and the Underground Railroad

From my list on showing children making a difference.

Why am I passionate about this?

I chose this focus because it fulfills one of my main goals of writing—to empower young readers by showing how what they do matters. Even the simplest actions can have huge consequences, no matter what someone’s age is. Whether someone saves another person’s life, like Allen Jay did, or stand up to a bully, doing what’s right makes a difference. Also, I like to right children into history so they understand that they’ve always played a key role in bettering this world.

Marlene's book list on showing children making a difference

Marlene Targ Brill Why did Marlene love this book?

Many have studied how in 1963 African Americans marched to gain equality, especially in southern towns, like Birmingham, Alabama. But I never knew that the first main march involved thousands of children and teens who marched so their parents wouldn’t lose their jobs. These brave youth found the courage to face their fears and the hatred of whites who fought to keep them separate and unequal. Their protest march encouraged adults to join them. Hateful efforts to stop the march were broadcast across the country, ultimately changing the direction of the civil rights movement. Bold pictures show everyday children and civil rights leaders finally gaining rights to playgrounds and diners and eventually better schooling. An important story, simply written—and about children who made a difference.

By Monica Clark-Robinson, Frank Morrison (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Let the Children March 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?

This powerful picture book introduces young readers to a key event in the struggle for Civil Rights. Winner, Coretta Scott King Honor Award.

In 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, thousands of African American children volunteered to march for their rights after hearing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak. They protested the laws that kept black people separate from white people. Facing fear, hate, and danger, these children used their voices to change the world.

Frank Morrison's emotive oil-on-canvas paintings bring this historical event to life, while Monica Clark-Robinson's moving and poetic words document this remarkable time.

I couldn't play on the same…


Book cover of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

Richard D. Kahlenberg Author Of Excluded: How Snob Zoning, NIMBYism, and Class Bias Build the Walls We Don't See

From my list on government housing rules in America.

Why am I passionate about this?

After decades writing about how to improve the lives of low-income children through education, I concluded that I had to writing about housing policy too. Government housing laws essentially dictate where kids go to school in America. In addition, since writing in college about Robert Kennedy’s 1968 campaign for president, in which he brought together a multiracial coalition of working people, I’ve been obsessed with finding ways to bring those groups together again.  Reforms of housing policy in a number of states has done just that: united working people across racial lines who were sick of being excluded – by government fiat – from places that provide the best opportunities.

Richard's book list on government housing rules in America

Richard D. Kahlenberg Why did Richard love this book?

The Color of Law does a brilliant job of making clear that racial segregation in America is not merely the result of market forces or individual choices; it was manufactured by government through a series of twentieth-century policies: racial zoning, redlining, and enforcement of racially restrictive covenants.  The effects are still felt today.

I modeled my own book after Rothstein’s and updated his analysis to show that today, economically discriminatory zoning laws have replaced racially discriminatory practices, which helps explain why racial segregation has declined by 30 percent since 1970, but income segregation has doubled.

By Richard Rothstein,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Color of Law as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Widely heralded as a "masterful" (The Washington Post) and "essential" (Slate) history of the modern American metropolis, Richard Rothstein's The Color of Law offers "the most forceful argument ever published on how federal, state, and local governments gave rise to and reinforced neighborhood segregation" (William Julius Wilson). Exploding the myth of de facto segregation arising from private prejudice or the unintended consequences of economic forces, Rothstein describes how the American government systematically imposed residential segregation: with undisguised racial zoning; public housing that purposefully segregated previously mixed communities; subsidies for builders to create whites-only suburbs; tax exemptions for institutions that enforced…


Book cover of Back of the Bus

Tasha Eizinger Author Of The Little Shot: Courage

From my list on how to live courageously.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I can remember, I have observed people. I was curious about why people are the way they are, and why do some people have fulfilling lives while others don’t. Something I have learned over the years is meaningful actions require courage first. This world certainly needs people who will live courageously in their day-to-day lives by being authentic, speaking up, being kind, lending a hand, and becoming the best versions of ourselves. When we set the example, it gives others hope that they can also be courageous. I hope you choose to live courageously!

Tasha's book list on how to live courageously

Tasha Eizinger Why did Tasha love this book?

My daughter and I read this book together which started a conversation about Rosa Parks, racism, and courage. We liked reading from a child’s perspective because it evoked deeper emotions and made it more relatable to my daughter. The ending beautifully articulated how our courage gives others hope that they can also be courageous. 

By Aaron Reynolds, Floyd Cooper (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Back of the Bus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

It seems like any other winter day in Montgomery, Alabama. Mama and child are riding where they're supposed to--way in the back of the bus. The boy passes the time by watching his marble roll up and down the aisle with the motion of the bus, until from way up front a big commotion breaks out. He can't see what's going on, but he can see the policeman arrive outside and he can see Mama's chin grow strong. "There you go, Rosa Parks," she says, "stirrin' up a nest of hornets. Tomorrow all this'll be forgot." But they both know…


Book cover of From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality

Joseph A. Ranney Author Of Bridging Revolutions: The Lives of Chief Justices Richmond Pearson and John Belton O'Neall

From my list on the role states played in American law and history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a retired trial lawyer and a legal history professor and fellow at Marquette Law School in Wisconsin. As a young lawyer, I was struck by how much Americans focus on federal lawmakers and judges at the expense of their state counterparts, even though state law has a much greater effect on people's daily lives than federal law. The scholar Leonard Levy once said that without more study of state legal history, “there can be no … adequate history of [American] civilization.” I want to help fill that need through my books and articles, and I enjoy sharing this fascinating world with my readers.  

Joseph's book list on the role states played in American law and history

Joseph A. Ranney Why did Joseph love this book?

This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to fully understand the century-long struggle after the Civil War to end legally-sanctioned discrimination against Black Americans. Prof. Klarman provides a richly detailed account of that century-long struggle, an account that describes the legal battles that took place in individual states and puts them in the context of the larger national debate. The book requires some effort on the reader's part, but the story that Klarman tells of the U.S. Supreme Court's gradual turn against segregation and its clashes with Southern state lawmakers and courts is ultimately a deeply moving one. 

By Michael J. Klarman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From Jim Crow to Civil Rights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A monumental investigation of the Supreme Court's rulings on race, From Jim Crow To Civil Rights spells out in compelling detail the political and social context within which the Supreme Court Justices operate and the consequences of their decisions for American race relations. In a highly provocative interpretation of the decision's connection to the civil rights movement, Klarman argues that Brown was more important for mobilizing southern white opposition to racial change than for encouraging direct-action protest. Brown unquestioningly had a significant impact-it brought race issues to public attention and it mobilized supporters of the ruling. It also, however, energized…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in African Americans, racial segregation, and Jim Crow laws?

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