100 books like An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States

By Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz,

Here are 100 books that An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States fans have personally recommended if you like An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States. 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 Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

Hugh Warwick Author Of Cull of the Wild: Killing in the Name of Conservation

From my list on animals and nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved animals—my adopted parents were not particularly interested, but when I met my biological mother in my mid-30s, I found out where it came from! That innate passion has driven my life. Writers like Jane Goodall were the gatekeepers—showing me the way forward and giving me permission to study and care. We need to learn more about nonhuman animals and the ecosystems that we share to better understand how to redress the damage we have caused. And while facts are important, stories are even more so. Each of these authors manages to weave both together with such great skill.

Hugh's book list on animals and nature

Hugh Warwick Why did Hugh love this book?

I have guru-phobia, so I had avoided this book because so many people I knew were declaring it one of the best books ever and that Robin Wall Kimmerer was wonderful. Stupid, right?! But then I read it and could understand.

More than reading and listening to it, I met the author at a literary festival and was even more impressed by her gentle wisdom. She writes about the importance of reciprocity—about the rest of life being just as important as we are. Her work merges wonderfully with Jane Goodall’s, and I would recommend reading them in tandem. 

By Robin Wall Kimmerer,

Why should I read it?

48 authors picked Braiding Sweetgrass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Called the work of "a mesmerizing storyteller with deep compassion and memorable prose" (Publishers Weekly) and the book that, "anyone interested in natural history, botany, protecting nature, or Native American culture will love," by Library Journal, Braiding Sweetgrass is poised to be a classic of nature writing. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer asks questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take "us on a journey that is…


Book cover of Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt

Mckay Jenkins Author Of Bloody Falls of the Coppermine: Madness and Murder in the Arctic Barren Lands

From my list on environmental justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing books on environmental journalism and teaching Environmental Humanities and Environmental Justice at the University of Delaware for 25 years. Each of these books has made a particularly powerful impression on me and my students in recent years. They are powerful calls for a genuine reckoning with racial and environmental injustice throughout American history

Mckay's book list on environmental justice

Mckay Jenkins Why did Mckay love this book?

An illustrated book of long-form nonfiction that examines poor Black, Indigenous, White, and Migrant communities in the United States, and how they have all been broken by extractive capitalism and racist public policy. Hedges’ writing is intentionally polemical, designed to shatter any illusions about the welfare of our fellow citizens living in communities ruined by racism and industrial-scale environmental degradation. Sacco’s long-form graphic illustrations are equally haunting. I’ve taught this book continually for many years.

By Chris Hedges, Joe Sacco,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon.com and the Washington Post Three years ago, Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges and award-winning cartoonist and journalist Joe Sacco set out to take a look at the sacrifice zones, those areas in America that have been offered up for exploitation in the name of profit, progress, and technological advancement. They wanted to show in words and drawings what life looks like in places where the marketplace rules without constraints, where human beings and the natural world are used and then discarded to maximize profit. Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt is the…


Book cover of Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret

Robin Kirk Author Of Righting Wrongs: 20 Human Rights Heroes Around the World

From my list on women human rights visionaries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a rights advocate since I was a middle schooler planning how to help save the whales. In college, I volunteered in anti-apartheid campaigns, then became a journalist covering the rise of the Shining Path guerrillas in Peru. I wanted my research and words to make change. I spent 12 years covering Peru and Colombia for Human Rights Watch. Now, I try to inspire other young people to learn about and advocate for human rights as a professor and the co-director of the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute. I also write fiction for kids that explores human rights themes and just completed The Bond Trilogy, an epic fantasy.

Robin's book list on women human rights visionaries

Robin Kirk Why did Robin love this book?

One of the most important new issues faced by rights advocates is climate change. Macarthur genius award-winner Catherine Coleman Flowers is on the front line of that fight, based on her own childhood as the daughter of an activist Black family in Lowndes County, Alabama. This memoir captures Flowers’ essence: someone who just can’t let an injustice slide by. And she will talk to anyone who might be able to help, including with cleaning up the raw sewage that continues to poison the homes of many poor Alabamians. Flowers clearly describes the link between local rights issues and the global campaign to deal with climate change.

By Catherine Coleman Flowers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The MacArthur grant-winning environmental justice activist's riveting memoir of a life fighting for a cleaner future for America's most vulnerable

A Smithsonian Magazine Top Ten Best Science Book of 2020

Catherine Coleman Flowers, a 2020 MacArthur "genius," grew up in Lowndes County, Alabama, a place that's been called "Bloody Lowndes" because of its violent, racist history. Once the epicenter of the voting rights struggle, today it's Ground Zero for a new movement that is also Flowers's life's work-a fight to ensure human dignity through a right most Americans take for granted: basic sanitation. Too many people, especially the rural poor,…


Book cover of Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape

Adam M. Sowards Author Of An Open Pit Visible from the Moon: The Wilderness Act and the Fight to Protect Miners Ridge and the Public Interest

From my list on helping you get deep in the wilderness.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I first started reading about wilderness, I accepted it as an obvious thing—a place without people. That lasted a short time before I realized the enormous historical complexity of such places. Rather than places without people, without history, without politics, “wilderness” became a laboratory of American society. I tried to capture that vibrancy in my book An Open Pit Visible from the Moon where I showed all the claims various people made on one wilderness area in the North Cascades. I'm a writer, historian, and former college professor who now calls the Skagit Valley of Washington home. As much as I enjoy studying wilderness, I prefer walking through it and noticing what it teaches.

Adam's book list on helping you get deep in the wilderness

Adam M. Sowards Why did Adam love this book?

To read Trace is to go on a mesmerizing journey with the wisest of guides. Savoy searches for American identities, and her own multifaceted ones, in the history and memory of landscapes across the continent. Every turn reveals tragic histories and surprising connections and omissions with the most beautiful language. Savoy excavates the palimpsest of stories embedded in landscapes’ histories in a helpful reminder that “nature” is always entangled with the richness and complexity of human life. With each careful word, Savoy deepened my appreciation for how landscape absorbs and reflects its history—and my admiration for her unbelievable gifts as a writer. Trace is one of those books you can read each year and your respect for it grows and the insights from it enlarge your life every time.

By Lauret Savoy,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Trace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Through personal journeys and historical inquiry, this PEN Literary Award finalist explores how America’s still unfolding history and ideas of “race” have marked its people and the land.

Sand and stone are Earth’s fragmented memory. Each of us, too, is a landscape inscribed by memory and loss. One life-defining lesson Lauret Savoy learned as a young girl was this: the American land did not hate. As an educator and Earth historian, she has tracked the continent’s past from the relics of deep time; but the paths of ancestors toward her―paths of free and enslaved Africans, colonists from Europe, and peoples…


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 A People's History of the United States

Luke Peterson Author Of The U.S. Military in the Print News Media: Service and Sacrifice in Contemporary Discourse

From my list on a critical perspective on U.S. foreign policy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a teacher, writer, scholar, and, above all, a critic of social injustice for my entire professional life. My experience living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank informed my critical voice around issues of language, knowledge, history, and policy in and about the Middle East, leading to the publication of my two scholarly monographs: Palestine in the American Mind: The Discourse on Palestine in the Contemporary United States and Palestine-Israel in the Print News Media: Contending Discourses. The titles I introduce here have been vital to my ongoing education on these issues and in my continuing advocacy for peace and justice in Palestine, the Middle East, and around the world. 

Luke's book list on a critical perspective on U.S. foreign policy

Luke Peterson Why did Luke love this book?

I don’t believe anyone can consider themselves a serious student of American history or a true critic of American foreign policy without having read and absorbed Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. Zinn writes as a masterful historian and an unflinching critic of the inequity and brutality of the American system, both aspects of the country’s history he brought to light at a time when others neglected to do so.

He brought voice to the voiceless and paved the way for the dozens of equally valuable critical voices that came after him. Zinn was the original people’s historian; his book simply cannot be missed.

By Howard Zinn,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked A People's History of the United States as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE CLASSIC NATIONAL BESTSELLER

"A wonderful, splendid book—a book that should be read by every American, student or otherwise, who wants to understand his country, its true history, and its hope for the future." –Howard Fast

Historian Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States chronicles American history from the bottom up, throwing out the official narrative taught in schools—with its emphasis on great men in high places—to focus on the street, the home, and the workplace.

Known for its lively, clear prose as well as its scholarly research, itis the only volume to tell America's story from the…


Book cover of These Truths: A History of the United States

Virginia Rademacher Author Of Derivative Lives: Biofiction, Uncertainty, and Speculative Risk in Contemporary Spanish Narrative

From my list on combating post-truth contagions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and professor of literary studies whose work has been deeply involved in topics of truth, realism, and public policy. My recent book considers works of fiction that openly and honestly experiment with questions of uncertainty, identity, and risk in the supermodern present. This book draws from disciplinary discourses in law, finance, and economics, which similarly contend with competing claims to truth and value and dive deep into the circumstantial and speculative games that authors play when they write fiction about reality. I have my PhD in Spanish Literature (UVA), M.A. in International Affairs and Economics (Johns Hopkins Univ.), and a B.A. from Harvard University.

Virginia's book list on combating post-truth contagions

Virginia Rademacher Why did Virginia love this book?

This book makes American history relevant, alive, and urgent.

This is not a book to read in one sitting–but to enjoy in segments. I felt so much smarter and prepared to understand our current challenges to truth and trust after reading this book.

At this critical juncture in our democracy, this book will illuminate, enlighten, and inform! 

By Jill Lepore,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked These Truths as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The American experiment rests on three ideas-"these truths", Jefferson called them-political equality, natural rights and the sovereignty of the people. And it rests, too, "on a dedication to inquiry, fearless and unflinching", writes Jill Lepore in a ground-breaking investigation into the American past that places truth at the centre of the nation's history.

Telling the story of America, beginning in 1492, These Truths asks whether the course of events has proven the nation's founding truths or belied them. Finding meaning in contradiction, Lepore weaves American history into a tapestry of faith and hope, of peril and prosperity, of technological progress…


Book cover of Great Issues in American History, Vol. I: From Settlement to Revolution, 1584-1776

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?

There is no better way to understand American history than to read the sources out of which we understand the past and through which historians craft their narratives. This collection was published long ago and it only goes to 1981, but it provides an excellent selection of speeches, decisions, and reports that open a direct path to learning American history.

By Richard Hofstadter, Clarence L. Ver Steeg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Great Issues in American History, Vol. I as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This first volume of Great Issues in American History -- three volumes of documents that cover the history of America from its settlement to the present -- gives us a generous sampling from the major political controversies in the Colonial period. Included are such documents as Richard Hakluyt's "Discourse of Western Planting" (1584), "Letter from Christopher Columbus to the King and Queen of Spain" (undated, probably 1694), "The Third Virginia Charter" (1612), Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" (1776) and "The Declaration of independence" (July 4, 1776). Each has an explanatory headnote, and there are brief general introductions that set the selections…


Book cover of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

Laura Hooton, Paul Spickard, and Francisco Beltrán Author Of Almost All Aliens: Immigration, Race, and Colonialism in American History and Identity

From my list on the history of race, ethnicity, and colonialism in the US.

Why are we passionate about this?

Paul Spickard wrote the first edition of Almost All Aliens. He invited Francisco Beltrán and Laura Hooton, who worked under Dr. Spickard at UC Santa Barbara, to co-author the second edition after working as research assistants and providing suggestions for the second edition. We are all historians of race, ethnicity, immigration, colonialism, and identity, and in our other works and teaching we each think about these topics in different ways. We did the same for this list—this is a list of five books that talk about topics that are important to Almost All Aliens and approaches that have been influential in how we think about the topic.  

Laura, Paul, and Francisco's book list on the history of race, ethnicity, and colonialism in the US

Laura Hooton, Paul Spickard, and Francisco Beltrán Why did Laura, Paul, and Francisco love this book?

Kendi’s book is the most recent in a long line of fantastic scholars who have tackled discussions of racism in America, especially anti-Black racism. Kendi focuses specifically on racist ideas, and how those ideas were created and then used to rationalize policies and inequalities for generations. The book is a New York Times Bestseller for a reason: it is accessible, has important ideas that are well-supported, and the reader doesn’t get lost in a history that covers a wide span of time.

By Ibram X. Kendi,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Stamped from the Beginning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stamped from the Beginning is a redefining history of anti-Black racist ideas that dramatically changes our understanding of the causes and extent of racist thinking itself.

** Winner of the US National Book Award**

Its deeply researched and fast-moving narrative chronicles the journey of racist ideas from fifteenth-century Europe to present-day America through the lives of five major intellectuals - Puritan minister Cotton Mather, President Thomas Jefferson, fiery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, brilliant scholar W.E.B. Du Bois, and legendary anti-prison activist Angela Davis - showing how these ideas were developed, disseminated and eventually enshrined in American society.

Contrary to popular…


Book cover of The Historian’s Craft

Rannfrid Thelle Author Of Discovering Babylon

From my list on history about how we know the past.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved stories about people, places, and times other than those I can know myself. As a child, I was fascinated by a book of stories from “the steppes” of Central Asia. My drive to know more has taken me (through books or physically) along the Silk Road, given me tales from ancient Mesopotamia, shown me glimpses into the lives of Orthodox Jewish women, European immigrants to the “New World,” survivors of the transatlantic slave trade or the Korean War, and many other cultures and experiences. I am basically awe-struck by what humans have thought, created, suffered, and sung about throughout times and places. 

Rannfrid's book list on history about how we know the past

Rannfrid Thelle Why did Rannfrid love this book?

I read this book as a college student while on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Athens, Greece. As I sat reading while intermittently gazing at the view of the Acropolis from my hotel balcony, a frappe at my side, the book captivated me.

Written by a world-renowned historian in response to his son’s question, “What is history?”, this book opened vistas of reflection about our connections with past cultures and why we do history.

In a present where we are often being pushed to look forward, to innovate, and move on, The Historian’s Craft helped me to better articulate the value of understanding history. Surrounded by the rich cultural heritage of ancient Greece, this book just made perfect sense.

By Marc Bloch,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Historian’s Craft as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work, by the co-founder of the "Annales School" deals with the uses and methods of history. It is useful for students of history, teachers of historiography and all those interested in the writings of the Annales school.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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