100 books like Assignment

By Walter Henry Thompson,

Here are 100 books that Assignment fans have personally recommended if you like Assignment. 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 Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History

Susan M. Sterett Author Of Litigating the Pandemic: Disaster Cascades in Court

From my list on governing disasters in a changing climate.

Who am I?

I have long been drawn to everyday experiences in courts. Since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, I’ve been writing and teaching about courts, social welfare, and disasters in a changing climate. Following the disasters requires noticing the routine cases filed, not only the notable constitutional claims the United States Supreme Court hears. That can be hard to do, because all the cases filed are not listed in any one place. In the pandemic, my interest in the more ordinary met the databases that people assembled, gathering as best possible the many cases filed about the pandemic.

Susan's book list on governing disasters in a changing climate

Susan M. Sterett Why did Susan love this book?

The 1918 flu killed millions, including 675,000 in the United States. It rapidly killed young people. The president of the United States never spoke of it.

The United States was at war, and officials claimed speaking of the flu would undermine the war effort. Not speaking of the flu fit well with widespread suppression of speech, which officials also justified by pointing to the war. Civil rights and liberties claims linked to that pandemic as it did in COVID-19.

Mr. Barry’s sprawling story includes many actors. Mr. Barry argues that managing a pandemic requires trust. In the COVID-19 pandemic, trust could still be hard to come by, even as medical care, labor, insurance, schooling, and the place of courts had changed over the intervening one hundred years. 

By John M. Barry,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Great Influenza as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the height of WWI, history's most lethal influenza virus erupted in an army camp in Kansas, moved east with American troops, then exploded, killing as many as 100 million people worldwide. It killed more people in twenty-four months than AIDS killed in twenty-four years, more in a year than the Black Death killed in a century. But this was not the Middle Ages, and 1918 marked the first collision of science and epidemic disease. Magisterial in its breadth of perspective and depth of research and now revised to reflect the growing danger of the avian flu, "The Great Influenza"…


Book cover of Testament of Youth

Deborah Carr Author Of The Poppy Sisters

From my list on World War One that live rent free in my head.

Who am I?

I discovered my passion for the First World War when researching my great-grandfather’s service history in the cavalry. I also write historical fiction with several of my books being set during the First World War and have spent thousands of hours over the past twenty years researching different aspects of this period, both from the point of view of the V.A.D.s, wounded soldiers, medical staff treating them, as well as grieving families. The stories I’ve come across never fail to haunt me and I can’t imagine I’ll ever tire of wanting to discover more about the people who survived these experiences, or stop needing to write books about them.

Deborah's book list on World War One that live rent free in my head

Deborah Carr Why did Deborah love this book?

I first read this book about twenty years ago and still find it heartbreaking to think it was written by someone who experienced first-hand the horror of the First World War and with it so much pain and grief brought about not only from her experiences as a V.A.D. but also from her own personal losses.

It is a book that helped me understand as much as anything possibly could living in the twenty-first century, how much of a struggle it must have been for ordinary people to keep going and survive that dark time in history.

By Vera Brittain,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Testament of Youth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An autobiographical account of a young nurse's involvement in World War I.


Book cover of Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia

J. Lawrence Graham Author Of Charlotte's War

From my list on understanding the roots of war and peace.

Who am I?

I spent the 1970s as an officer in the U.S. Navy UDT/SEAL Teams, giving me insight into the military aspects of peacebuilding. I have spent the last forty years researching and teaching international marketing and negotiations at USC and UC Irvine, after receiving a Berkeley PhD. I was also the director of the UC Irvine Center for Citizen Peacebuilding for ten years. I have published four books on international negotiations and all my ten books in print are on the topic of peace in families, neighborhoods, commerce, and international relations.

J.'s book list on understanding the roots of war and peace

J. Lawrence Graham Why did J. love this book?

Korda’s book provides a rich historical account of Lawrence of Arabia.

It explains how the Ottoman Empire was dissected by the British and French after World War I. Because the Europeans ignored cultural boundaries and simply drew straight lines on a map, the region has been a fiery mess since then. Lawrence was a hero for the British, but he advised against the specifics of the peace treaty signed at Versailles.

Korda’s book exemplifies the idea that peace can be achieved through cultural understanding and openness. Had the Europeans utilized a peacebuilding approach the area wouldn’t have been dragged into disarray and generations of conflict. 

By Michael Korda,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'This magnificent, monumental portrait at a stroke makes all others redundant, and re-establishes Lawrence as one of the most extraordinary figures of the 20th century' Sunday Times

Michael Korda' s Hero is an epic biography of the mysterious Englishman whose daring exploits made him an object of intense fascination, known the world over as Lawrence of Arabia.


An Oxford Scholar and archaeologist, one of five illegitimate sons of a British aristocrat who ran away with his daughters' governess, T.E. Lawrence was sent to Cairo as an intelligence officer in 1916, vanished into the desert in 1917, and re-emerged as one…


Book cover of Death of a Hero

Andrew Scott Author Of Fake History: Ten Great Lies and How They Shaped the World

From my list on to fight fake history.

Who am I?

I am not a historian but a journalist, and in writing the book I wanted to do what I have done in my political writing. Namely to cut through the lies, to bring accuracy to the distortions, and to point a finger at the politicians and pundits who would prefer that we wallowed in the phony nostalgia of our imagined past. Tackling fake history is like tackling fake news. You need not only to seek out the truth that lies underneath but also discover in whose interests myth-making works in the first place. That's why fighting fake history matters and that is why I wrote the book.

Andrew's book list on to fight fake history

Andrew Scott Why did Andrew love this book?

Perhaps the finest and least well-known novel to come out of the First World War. Imagist poet Richard Aldington takes his own experiences of the home and Western Fronts and turns both barrels on the sanctimony of Edwardian society and its parade of sycophants, socialites, and fools. Unusually, it is a book by a poet that resists turning war into poetry. Unafraid to use realistically coarse military language, it divided the critics at the time and has divided readers ever since. It is a howl of rage that speaks across the century, a timeless reminder that there is no romance in the needless carnage of war.

By Richard Aldington,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the great World War I antiwar novels - honest, chilling, and brilliantly satirical

Based on the author's experiences on the Western Front, Richard Aldington's first novel, Death of a Hero, finally joins the ranks of Penguin Classics. Our hero is George Winterbourne, who enlists in the British Expeditionary Army during the Great War and gets sent to France. After a rash of casualties leads to his promotion through the ranks, he grows increasingly cynical about the war and disillusioned by the hypocrisies of British society. Aldington's writing about Britain's ignorance of the tribulations of its soldiers is among…


Book cover of Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Ben Wiener Author Of Murder at First Principles

From my list on non-business reads that teach business strategy.

Who am I?

I am an experienced entrepreneur and venture capitalist and a voracious reader. My reading, particularly of non-business books, is motivated not just by a natural curiosity, but is also driven by a continuous search for metaphors and lessons from outside the traditional business genre that I can apply to situations and decisions in the business arena. My appreciation of the crossover benefit of non-business narratives to business contexts has motivated me to write my own Business Fiction works to “enlighten and entertain.” 

Ben's book list on non-business reads that teach business strategy

Ben Wiener Why did Ben love this book?

Yes, that T.E. Lawrence, of “Lawrence of Arabia” fame.

Turns out that not only was he an exquisite writer, but his account of his years as a British officer who self-embedded with Arab tribesmen during the First World War provides deep lessons for business success.

For starters, just because you’re highly intelligent and educated (Oxford, in his case), don’t assume you must agree with your superiors or yourself about the true motivations and interest of your customers, until you get to know them intimately.

Walk a mile in their shoes – or perhaps thousands of miles in their sandals – and then you might get insights about how to best work with them that might surprise you, and run counter to your prior presumptions.

By T. E. Lawrence,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Seven Pillars of Wisdom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With an Introduction by Angus Calder.

As Angus Calder states in his introduction to this edition, 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom is one of the major statements about the fighting experience of the First World War'. Lawrence's younger brothers, Frank and Will, had been killed on the Western Front in 1915. Seven Pillars of Wisdom, written between 1919 and 1926, tells of the vastly different campaign against the Turks in the Middle East - one which encompasses gross acts of cruelty and revenge and ends in a welter of stink and corpses in the disgusting 'hospital' in Damascus.

Seven Pillars of…


Book cover of Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East

Julie Salamon Author Of An Innocent Bystander: The Killing of Leon Klinghoffer

From my list on the Israeli Palestinian Conflict.

Who am I?

I have spent my working life as a journalist, author and storyteller, aiming to uncover complexity that sheds new light on stories we think we know. I got my training at the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times—and from the wonderful editors of my twelve books. An Innocent Bystander, my book that deals with the Middle East, began as the story of a hijacking and a murder of an American citizen. But as my research widened, I came to see this story couldn’t be told without understanding many perspectives, including the Israeli and the Palestinian, nor could the political be disentangled from the personal.

Julie's book list on the Israeli Palestinian Conflict

Julie Salamon Why did Julie love this book?

T.E. Lawrence, best known from David Lean’s monumental film, is the centerpiece, but this book goes well beyond biography.

It has the pace and feel of a thriller but the research and analytical thinking of a serious historic account.

Anderson, a novelist and war correspondent, finds the roots of today’s Middle East turmoil in World War I. He finds alliances, intrigue, and deceit that foreshadowed the turbulent future. His story provides valuable insight into the international politics that shaped the Middle East after World War I and set the stage for the dissonant future.

By Scott Anderson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller

The Arab Revolt against the Turks in World War One was, in the words of T.E. Lawrence, 'a sideshow of a sideshow'. Amidst the slaughter in European trenches, the Western combatants paid scant attention to the Middle Eastern theatre. As a result, the conflict was shaped to a remarkable degree by a small handful of adventurers and low-level officers far removed from the corridors of power.

At the centre of it all was Lawrence. In early 1914 he was an archaeologist excavating ruins in the sands of Syria; by 1917 he was battling both…


Book cover of The Middle Parts of Fortune

Simon Akam Author Of The Changing of the Guard: the British army since 9/11

From my list on the British Army.

Who am I?

In 2003-4 I spent a year in the British Army between school and university. Ten years later, having become a journalist, I returned to investigate what a decade of war had done to the institution I knew as an adolescent. In the years I spent researching and writing The Changing of the Guard I read reams of non-fiction. However, novels retain an ability to hit wider – or harder truths – and some of our greatest writers have fictionalised British Army life. Here is a selection of British Army novels, well-known and less so. They take in conflicts ranging from the First and Second World Wars through to Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. 

Simon's book list on the British Army

Simon Akam Why did Simon love this book?

This is the one First World War novel in which the characters actually talk like soldiers – i.e., they swear. It therefore provides a powerful counterpunch to our usual notion of what the trenches sounded like.

The scalding language survived intact due to the book’s complicated publication history. Initial release in an anonymous volume available only for subscribers meant that Manning, an Australian who had served on the Somme, could sidestep the mores of his time.

The result was lines like this: "“Fuckin' slave drivers, that's what they are!” said Minton, flinging himself on the ground.  “What's the cunt want to come down ‘ere buggerin’ us about for, ‘aven't we done enough bloody work in th’ week?”” A bowdlerised version – “Her Privates We” – later followed, but the unexpurgated original is the one to read.

Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and T.E. Lawrence all praised Manning’s work.

By Frederic Manning,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'They can say what they bloody well like, but we're a fuckin' fine mob.'

Deep in the mud, stench of the Somme, Bourne is trying his best to stay alive. There he finds the intense fraternity of war and fear unlike anything he has ever known.

Frederic Manning's novel was first published anonymously in 1929. The honesty with which he wrote about the horror, the boredom, and the futility of war inspired Ernest Hemingway to read the novel every year, 'to remember how things really were so that I will never lie to myself nor to anyone else about them.


Book cover of The Odyssey

Athena Author Of Murder of Crows: Book One of the Pillars of Dawn

From my list on when destiny calls, and love answers.

Who am I?

I have a passion for the topic because it’s so unlimited. We’re all called to destiny inner/outer in so many ways. We see a lot of stories about those calls being massive adventures with global impact—but sometimes the small stories, those inner calls with inner love answers are just as epic, just as magnificent. Love of family, community, country, lovers, nature… truly, it can be anything. These are just a few books off the older shelves to illustrate the many ways love answers the call. My challenge is to go back and re-read them with this list in mind. Re-visit books from a decade ago, reframe the story with love.

Athena's book list on when destiny calls, and love answers

Athena Why did Athena love this book?

This is an obvious pick, I know. Still, it’s on record as the greatest adventure, the highest bar of duty and courage—and ultimately love.

Homer’s epic detailing Odysseus’ journey home from the Trojan War is fraught with peril and obstacles that would have made a lesser human give up and call it a day. 

Destiny called him away, but it was love that brought him home from war. At each crossroad Odysseus was offered an alternative, he chose to return to his wife, his son, and his land. He could have been made immortal.

He was offered riches and greater glory, and all the dude wanted was to kiss his wife and sleep in his own bed at the end of the day. Is that so much to ask?

The reason The Odyssey is on my list is to reflect the scale of destiny, and the answering and equal call…

By Homer, T. E. Lawrence (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Homer's great epic, The Odyssey, is perhaps Western literature's first adventure story, and certainly remains one of its finest. It describes King Odysseus of Ithaca's epic, ten-year quest to return home after the Trojan War. He encounters giants, sorceresses, sea-monsters and sirens, while his wife Penelope is forced to resist the suitors who besiege her on Ithaca. Both an enchanting fairy tale and a gripping drama, The Odyssey is immensely influential, not least for its rich complexity and the magnetism of its hero.

This Macmillan Collector's Library edition uses a translation by T. E. Lawrence, now remembered as 'Lawrence of…


Book cover of The Doomed Oasis

Louise Burfitt-Dons Author Of Our Man In Kuwait

From my list on spies in the Middle East.

Who am I?

I am a thriller writer who was born and grew up in Kuwait during a period when the country was threatened with invasion by Iraq. My father was the Preventative Health Officer for the Kuwait Oil Company. At the end of 1960 Ian Fleming visited the country and they became close friends. At the time Britain depended on inside information to prepare for military Operation Vantage. The experiences I had of that time and of that relationship, even as a child, were crying out to be written about. Despite the Middle East being a hotspot for espionage during that period of the Cold War, there’s been relatively little written about it.

Louise's book list on spies in the Middle East

Louise Burfitt-Dons Why did Louise love this book?

Moving back to fiction, this swashbuckling adventure story moves between Wales and the Middle East. Published in 1960 it is a little dated in style but packs a punch as a fun thriller as much as giving a background into the politics of the region and the development of the oil industry. It has been described by others as more like watching an old black and white movie. However, it still captures some of the essential elements of the time and the harshness of warfare in the boiling heat. 

By Hammond Innes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A sweeping adventure set in the Arabian Desert, where the shadow of British colonialism threatens to destroy a father and son.

Three years ago, nineteen-year-old David Thomas beat his father to death. Actually, David only punched the old man, but it was hard enough to cause him to have a fatal stroke. And the man wasn’t really David’s father at all: The fight started because David learned that his true father was Col. Charles Stanley Whitaker, a legendary figure who made his fortune in the oil fields of the Arabian Desert.
 
With the help of George Grant, a lawyer he’d…


Book cover of The Guns of August

Richard Hargreaves Author Of Hitler's Final Fortress: Breslau 1945

From my list on page-turning narrative history.

Who am I?

Narrative history isn’t about dates, kings, and queens. It’s about deeds, actions, experiences, decisions of people great and small. It’s about putting the reader in the middle of a drama and watching events unfold around them as if they were there so they can understand, observe, and perhaps ask: what would I have done? The best history writing shouldn’t just inform, but inspire you, make you feel: laugh, cry, feel angry, flinch at horrific sights, cheer the heroes, boo the villains, because history is made by ordinary people, good and bad, who possess many similar traits to the reader.

Richard's book list on page-turning narrative history

Richard Hargreaves Why did Richard love this book?

If you want one book to understand how the first month or so of World War 1 played out, there is only one place to turn. Tuchman’s book is beautifully written, with a rich tapestry of characters and events, it covers the major events in Europe in August and early September 1914. It is largely seen through the eyes of ‘great men’the military and political leaders of the daywhich makes it slightly dated by today’s standards, but the skill and humanity of the reader and the sheer scope of the narrative will keep you in their thrall.

By Barbara W. Tuchman,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Guns of August as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

PULITZER PRIZE WINNER • “A brilliant piece of military history which proves up to the hilt the force of Winston Churchill’s statement that the first month of World War I was ‘a drama never surpassed.’”—Newsweek
 
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time

In this landmark account, renowned historian Barbara W. Tuchman re-creates the first month of World War I: thirty days in the summer of 1914 that determined the course of the conflict, the century, and ultimately our present world. Beginning with the funeral of Edward VII, Tuchman traces each step…


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Interested in T. E. Lawrence, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin?

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