100 books like And Die in the West

By Paula Mitchel Marks,

Here are 100 books that And Die in the West fans have personally recommended if you like And Die in the West. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Arizona Territorial Officials I

David Grassé Author Of The Bisbee Massacre: Robbery, Murder and Retribution in the Arizona Territory, 1883-1884

From my list on Arizona territorial history.

Why am I passionate about this?

There is nothing I detest more than what I have dubbed the “John Wayne Mythos” – the idea the West was populated with righteous gunslingers going about “taming” the West by killing anyone who was not abiding by or submitting to white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant standards and morality. The West, of which Arizona was an integral part, was much more complex than this, and the heroes of legend were oft-times the real-life villains. I consider myself to be a historian of the “New Western History” school, which recast the study of American frontier history by focusing on race, class, gender, and environment in the trans-Mississippi West.

David's book list on Arizona territorial history

David Grassé Why did David love this book?

An indispensable resource for serious students of Arizona history. Includes biographical information on anyone and everyone who served during this era from the governors to the school superintendents. Goof was meticulous in his research of the lives of these people and condensed them down into concise character sketches. Though the stories of these people’s lives are interesting, this is probably not a collection one would sit down and read through for entertainment. However, if one is in the business of writing Arizona territorial history it is a “must-have” series. I keep it on my shelf near my desk for easy access.

Book cover of A Little War of Our Own: The Pleasant Valley Feud Revisited

David Grassé Author Of The Bisbee Massacre: Robbery, Murder and Retribution in the Arizona Territory, 1883-1884

From my list on Arizona territorial history.

Why am I passionate about this?

There is nothing I detest more than what I have dubbed the “John Wayne Mythos” – the idea the West was populated with righteous gunslingers going about “taming” the West by killing anyone who was not abiding by or submitting to white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant standards and morality. The West, of which Arizona was an integral part, was much more complex than this, and the heroes of legend were oft-times the real-life villains. I consider myself to be a historian of the “New Western History” school, which recast the study of American frontier history by focusing on race, class, gender, and environment in the trans-Mississippi West.

David's book list on Arizona territorial history

David Grassé Why did David love this book?

Most meticulously researched book on the worst blood feud in U. S. History, but, being Mr. Dedera was a news journalist and columnist with The Arizona Republican, it is very readable. Prior to the publication of this manuscript, books about the feud between the Tewksbury and Graham families tended to be biased, sympathizing with the latter while condemning the former (in part because the Tewksburys were half Native American). Dedera was one who discovered the document which proved it conclusively was the Graham who had turned on the Tewksburys. Still, Dedera does not take sides, and he does not pull his punches. He lays out the facts before the reader, and when he does draw conclusions, they are based on the evidence presented. Highly recommended.

By Don Dedera,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Little War of Our Own as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The history of the American West is punctuated by range wars, and the Pleasant Valley feud was among the most famous. Waged largely in northeastern Arizona, it had all of the classic elements: cattle and horse rustling, massacres, and dramatic courtroom confrontations. A LITTLE WAR OF OUR OWN incorporates more than thirty years of research by the author, including material from recently opened archival sources, and his journalistic vision, which penetrates to the heart of the story.


Book cover of John Ringo: The Gunfighter Who Never Was

David Grassé Author Of The Bisbee Massacre: Robbery, Murder and Retribution in the Arizona Territory, 1883-1884

From my list on Arizona territorial history.

Why am I passionate about this?

There is nothing I detest more than what I have dubbed the “John Wayne Mythos” – the idea the West was populated with righteous gunslingers going about “taming” the West by killing anyone who was not abiding by or submitting to white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant standards and morality. The West, of which Arizona was an integral part, was much more complex than this, and the heroes of legend were oft-times the real-life villains. I consider myself to be a historian of the “New Western History” school, which recast the study of American frontier history by focusing on race, class, gender, and environment in the trans-Mississippi West.

David's book list on Arizona territorial history

David Grassé Why did David love this book?

A biography that summarily destroys the myth of one of the great outlaws of western cinema. As it turns out, Johnny Ringo was a very minor outlaw and not a particularly good one at that. He was a depressive, an alcoholic, a poor shot, shunned by his friends, rejected by his family, and pretty much a ne’er-do-well. Finally, after an extended binge, he found a comfortable spot beside Turkey Creek in Cochise County and put a bullet through his head (there are a number of authors who have invented elaborate conspiracy theories on how Ringo really came to his death which are only worth reading for their absurd entertainment value). After considering all the facts, Burrows concludes the only reason John Ringo is remembered today is because he had a wonderfully mellifluous name).

This was the book that inspired me to look at Arizona histories with a more critical eye,…

By Jack Burrows,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


He was the deadliest gun in the West. Or was he? Ringo: the very name has come to represent the archetypal Western gunfighter and has spawned any number of fictitious characters laying claim to authenticity. John Ringo's place in western lore is not without basis: he rode with outlaw gangs for thirteen of his thirty-two years, participated in Texas's Hoodoo War, and was part of the faction that opposed the Earp brothers in Tombstone, Arizona. Yet his life remains as mysterious as his grave, a bouldered cairn under a five-stemmed blackjack oak. Western historian Jack Burrows now challenges popular views…


Book cover of Shadows at Dawn: An Apache Massacre and the Violence of History

David Grassé Author Of The Bisbee Massacre: Robbery, Murder and Retribution in the Arizona Territory, 1883-1884

From my list on Arizona territorial history.

Why am I passionate about this?

There is nothing I detest more than what I have dubbed the “John Wayne Mythos” – the idea the West was populated with righteous gunslingers going about “taming” the West by killing anyone who was not abiding by or submitting to white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant standards and morality. The West, of which Arizona was an integral part, was much more complex than this, and the heroes of legend were oft-times the real-life villains. I consider myself to be a historian of the “New Western History” school, which recast the study of American frontier history by focusing on race, class, gender, and environment in the trans-Mississippi West.

David's book list on Arizona territorial history

David Grassé Why did David love this book?

The Arizona territory was an intersection for people from many different cultures, and they sometimes did horrible things to one another. This is the story of the brutal Camp Grant Massacre of 1871, one of the pivotal events in the war on the aboriginal tribes in the Arizona Territory. This is a difficult book to read as it lays bare the inherent racism of the so-called settlers of the territory, and uncompromisingly addresses their genocidal inclinations. Worse, it shows how the policies of the U.S. Government encouraged such acts of mass murder. Though one hundred of the participants, including a number of upstanding citizens from Pima County, were indicted for 108 counts of murders, and tried, not one was found guilty. A shameful, but important history.

By Karl Jacoby,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A masterful reconstruction of one of the worst Indian massacres in American history

In April 1871, a group of Americans, Mexicans, and Tohono O?odham Indians surrounded an Apache village at dawn and murdered nearly 150 men, women, and children in their sleep. In the past century the attack, which came to be known as the Camp Grant Massacre, has largely faded from memory. Now, drawing on oral histories, contemporary newspaper reports, and the participants? own accounts, prize-winning author Karl Jacoby brings this perplexing incident and tumultuous era to life to paint a sweeping panorama of the American Southwest?a world far…


Book cover of Virtuous Violence: Hurting and Killing to Create, Sustain, End, and Honor Social Relationships

Jessica Scott Author Of A Soldier's Promise: A Coming Home Anthology

From my list on the Iraq War that go beyond bullets.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a soldier, an author, and an army wife – the last fifteen years of my life have revolved around dealing with the fallout of the Iraq war, not only for my family but also as a soldier and a veteran. I write books because I wanted to read about people who stayed in the military after the war started. The best writing advice I ever got came from Robyn Carr who said, write the book that only you can tell. Wrestling with the legacy of a war that we as soldiers did not choose as we return home was something I deeply wanted to understand, both as an army officer and a novelist.

Jessica's book list on the Iraq War that go beyond bullets

Jessica Scott Why did Jessica love this book?

This book technically isn’t about the Iraq war but instead, about violence more broadly and it's super nerdy but super important.

As a soldier and sociologist, I’ve always been fascinated by the ways academia deals with questions of violence. In particular, since the popularity of moral psychology theories like Jonathan Haidt’s moral foundations theory (popularized in his book The Righteous Mind), the running assumption in a lot of academic circles is that harm = bad. But Fisk and Rai show that violence serves social purpose such as bonding people together or teaching them group boundaries.

It’s a difficult read because it challenges people’s assumptions about violence and harm but that makes it all the more important in understanding how people come home from war and the ways in which they wrestle with actions they’ve done. 

By Alan Page Fiske, Tage Shakti Rai,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What motivates violence? How can good and compassionate people hurt and kill others or themselves? Why are people much more likely to kill or assault people they know well, rather than strangers? This provocative and radical book shows that people mostly commit violence because they genuinely feel that it is the morally right thing to do. In perpetrators' minds, violence may be the morally necessary and proper way to regulate social relationships according to cultural precepts, precedents, and prototypes. These moral motivations apply equally to the violence of the heroes of the Iliad, to parents smacking their child, and to…


Book cover of Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History

Mark Koyama Author Of How the World Became Rich: The Historical Origins of Economic Growth

From my list on politics and economics in preindustrial societies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've always been fascinated with history. The study of economic history allows me to combine my passion for understanding the past with a rigorous and systematic set of analytical tools. In my own work I'm interested in understanding the economic, political, and institutional transformations that have created the modern world. The books I've selected here help us better understand quite how different the past and they have proven to be invaluable to me as inspirations. 

Mark's book list on politics and economics in preindustrial societies

Mark Koyama Why did Mark love this book?

This is a landmark book in political economy and economic history. 

Douglass North won the Noble Prize in Economics in part for the study of institutions in economic history. 

This was his final work (coauthored with Wallis and Weingast). And while the lessons of North's earlier work on institutions have been incorporated into the wider body of scholarship in economic history and development economics, I think the lessons of this book haven't been fully absorbed.  

The fundamental idea is that all societies face "the problem of violence". They have to deter individuals from resorting to violence in order to take what they want. But the means through which society limits violence vary and are often detrimental to long-run economic growth. There is thus a "natural" form of government that is common throughout history, capable of producing social order but not widespread prosperity.

Achieving sustained economic growth in the long-run requires…

By Douglass C. North, John Joseph Wallis, Barry R. Weingast

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

All societies must deal with the possibility of violence, and they do so in different ways. This book integrates the problem of violence into a larger social science and historical framework, showing how economic and political behavior are closely linked. Most societies, which we call natural states, limit violence by political manipulation of the economy to create privileged interests. These privileges limit the use of violence by powerful individuals, but doing so hinders both economic and political development. In contrast, modern societies create open access to economic and political organizations, fostering political and economic competition. The book provides a framework…


Book cover of 1919, The Year of Racial Violence: How African Americans Fought Back

Adam J. Hodges Author Of World War I and Urban Order: The Local Class Politics of National Mobilization

From my list on the U.S. Red Scare of the Russian Revolution and WWI era.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a professor of modern U.S. history and have spent my career researching this list's fascinating era. This moment began our modern political history. The first Red Scare in the United States, erupting in the wake of World War I and the Russian Revolution, was a conflict over the definition and limits of radicalism in a modern democracy and the limits of its repression. It was also tied to other seismic questions of the era that remain relevant, including how far the fights of women and Blacks for opportunities and rights that other Americans took for granted could succeed, whether to end mass immigration, the meaning of ‘Americanism,’ the extent of civil liberties, the limits of capitalism, and the role of social movements in the republic.

Adam's book list on the U.S. Red Scare of the Russian Revolution and WWI era

Adam J. Hodges Why did Adam love this book?

We must remember that 1919 also saw unprecedented widespread bloodshed in attacks on Black communities. This wave of violence is remembered as the Red Summer not because it coincided with the Red Scare, but because the worst of it occurred in and around that summer. Krugler gives us the national saga but helpfully zooms in to some of the major clashes to help us understand why and how they occurred – and most of all – how Blacks fought back through self-defense, the Black press, and the courts.

By David F. Krugler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 1919, The Year of Racial Violence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1919, The Year of Racial Violence recounts African Americans' brave stand against a cascade of mob attacks in the United States after World War I. The emerging New Negro identity, which prized unflinching resistance to second-class citizenship, further inspired veterans and their fellow black citizens. In city after city - Washington, DC; Chicago; Charleston; and elsewhere - black men and women took up arms to repel mobs that used lynching, assaults, and other forms of violence to protect white supremacy; yet, authorities blamed blacks for the violence, leading to mass arrests and misleading news coverage. Refusing to yield, African Americans…


Book cover of The Commander's Dilemma: Violence and Restraint in Wartime

Leigh Binford Author Of From Popular to Insurgent Intellectuals: Peasant Catechists in the Salvadoran Revolution

From my list on violence and restraint in wartime.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an anthropologist, trained in political economy, who began doing fieldwork in southern Mexico in the early 1980s. While there, Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees were flowing into the area from Chiapas. I visited El Salvador in 1986 and in 1991 made several trips to an FMLN-controlled area. After the war ended I made nine field trips to northern Morazán, the last in 2012. My interests in catechists and liberation theology developed early on as I sought to reconstruct the region’s pre-war history. I wrote one book on the El Mozote massacre and am currently working on a third book on the area.

Leigh's book list on violence and restraint in wartime

Leigh Binford Why did Leigh love this book?

Green investigates The Commander’s Dilemma in the Salvadoran Revolution through a combination of questionnaires with ex-combatants from the FMLN and government forces, interviews, documents, and secondary resources. She argues that all military commanders everywhere confront the dilemma of ensuring that troops are skilled in meting out violence but that they reign in their violent tendencies so as to respect the human rights of civilians and adversaries that have been wounded and captured. The rebel FMLN educated its troops far more than the government military and according to the United Nations and other organizations committed but a small percentage of the wartime human rights violations.

By Amelia Hoover Green,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Commander's Dilemma as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why do some military and rebel groups commit many types of violence, creating an impression of senseless chaos, whereas others carefully control violence against civilians? A classic catch-22 faces the leaders of armed groups and provides the title for Amelia Hoover Green's book. Leaders need large groups of people willing to kill and maim-but to do so only under strict control. How can commanders control violence when fighters who are not under direct supervision experience extraordinary stress, fear, and anger? The Commander's Dilemma argues that discipline is not enough in wartime. Restraint occurs when fighters know why they are fighting…


Book cover of Not in God's Name: Confronting Religious Violence

Georgette F. Bennett Ph.D. Author Of Religicide: Confronting the Roots of Anti-Religious Violence

From my list on human rights that focus on religion.

Why am I passionate about this?

Between us, we’ve been in the interreligious relations business for a combined 50 years. We started working together when Jerry was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under President Barack Obama. In 2015, we were both invited by Prince Ghazi of Jordan to join other interreligious leaders to advance a UN resolution defining and taking a stand against religicide. That resolution never made it to the Security Council. But we joined forces to sound the alarm about religicide. We wrote our book in the hope of inspiring an international campaign to end this killing in the name of God – or being killed because of your God.   

Georgette's book list on human rights that focus on religion

Georgette F. Bennett Ph.D. Why did Georgette love this book?

The late Rabbi Sacks served as the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth. This was one of the last books he wrote before his death. He makes the case that religion is not only the cause of violence but also part of the solution to violence. In each chapter, he deeply analyzes a different religious text and evinces eye-opening interpretations. Perhaps most prescient are his notions of “altruistic evil” and “pathological dualism.” Pathological dualism operates in three ways: first, it dehumanizes and demonizes your enemies; second, it portrays the perpetrator as the victim; and third, it leads the perpetrator to commit altruistic evil—killing others as a perceived favor to humanity. As Sacks so movingly asserts, “When religion turns men into murderers, God weeps.”

By Jonathan Sacks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Not in God's Name as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Despite predictions of continuing secularisation, the twenty-first century has witnessed a surge of religious extremism and violence in the name of God.

In this powerful and timely book, Jonathan Sacks explores the roots of violence and its relationship to religion, focusing on the historic tensions between the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Drawing on arguments from evolutionary psychology, game theory, history, philosophy, ethics and theology, Sacks shows how a tendency to violence can subvert even the most compassionate of religions. Through a close reading of key biblical texts at the heart of the Abrahamic faiths, Sacks then challenges…


Book cover of Valentine

Lisa Boyle Author Of Signed, A Paddy

From my list on badass women (that do not take place during WWII).

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been a history lover, but often find myself thinking about the untold stories. The people who were not writing the history books or commanding armies or ruling countries. I’ve always been more inspired by everyday people, especially women, who fought daily battles we know very little about. I find myself seeking out their stories. I love to imagine these women’s lives. What motivated them, what frightened them, what angered them. That’s what I’m most passionate about. Finding and telling their stories.

Lisa's book list on badass women (that do not take place during WWII)

Lisa Boyle Why did Lisa love this book?

Valentine handles some very heavy topics beautifully.

Many of the characters are connected by only one thread: they are women trying to survive in West Texas in the early 1970s. It centers around a brutal incident and the quest to find justice for a Mexican teenage girl who was violently assaulted.

Throughout the story we get such an intimate look at these women’s lives. I felt like I knew them. I felt like I was sitting right next to them in their kitchen or on their front porch.

These women were all hardened by the trials life had thrown at them, and were battling the urge to protect themselves with the urge to protect one another. I loved this book because it was just so honest. 

By Elizabeth Wetmore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A top ten New York Times bestseller. With the haunting emotional power of American Dirt and the atmospheric suspense of Where the Crawdads Sing: a compulsive debut novel that explores the aftershock of a brutal crime on the women of a small Texas oil town.

'The very definition of a stunning debut' Ann Patchett

'Brilliant, sharp, tightly wound, and devastating' Elizabeth Gilbert
'Quite simply one of the best books I've ever read' Jeanine Cummins, author of American Dirt

Mercy is hard in a place like this. I wished him dead before I ever saw his face...

In a place like…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in violence, Arizona, and pioneers?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about violence, Arizona, and pioneers.

Violence Explore 90 books about violence
Arizona Explore 65 books about Arizona
Pioneers Explore 74 books about pioneers