100 books like Bolivar

By Marie Arana,

Here are 100 books that Bolivar fans have personally recommended if you like Bolivar. 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 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

William H. Steffen Author Of Anthropocene Theater and the Shakespearean Stage

From my list on invasive species and their impact on human history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an English professor in New England whose research and teaching interests focus on the Shakespearean Stage and the Environmental Humanities. As an educator, I’m always looking for ways to romanticize the impact that literature can have on the world—either politically, ideologically, or physically. The story that Kim Todd shares about the European Starling proliferating in North America because of a Shakespeare-loving member of a New York Acclimatization Society has changed the way that I look at birds, at Shakespeare, and the world. It has encouraged me to find other stories like this one to share with my students—and to tell a few of my own.

William's book list on invasive species and their impact on human history

William H. Steffen Why did William love this book?

I’m grateful to see how the narrative about Columbus, the Pilgrims, and European colonialism has changed since I was in elementary school, but for someone who was taught that Columbus was a kind of hero-genius, this book was a revelation.

One of its most powerful lessons is how efficient pre-capitalist systems of commerce were; the Incan Empire, which was far bigger than the Holy Roman Empire or the Ottoman Empire, never experienced famine because they prioritized life and well-being over gold and profit. This book also shows how flora in the Americas exploded during the sixteenth century, leading to the Orbis Spike, or the beginning of anthropogenic environmental change.

The lessons from the pre-Columbian, pre-capitalist, and pre-Enlightenment world are invaluable for confronting contemporary problems of American democracy and environmentalism today.

By Charles C. Mann,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked 1491 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology that radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus in 1492—from “a remarkably engaging writer” (The New York Times Book Review).
 
Contrary to what so many Americans learn in school, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a specialized…


Book cover of Columbus: The Four Voyages, 1492-1504

Kim MacQuarrie Author Of Life and Death in the Andes: On the Trail of Bandits, Heroes, and Revolutionaries

From my list on South American history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lived in Peru for five years, working as a writer, filmmaker, and anthropologist and have travelled extensively in South America, voyaging 4,500 miles from the northern tip of the Andes down to the southern tip of Patagonia, lived with a recently-contacted tribe in the Upper Amazon, visited Maoist Shining Path “liberated zones” in Peru and later made a number of documentaries on the Amazon as well as have written a number of books. Historically, culturally and biologically, South America remains one of the most interesting places on Earth.

Kim's book list on South American history

Kim MacQuarrie Why did Kim love this book?

If you want to understand how both South America and the New World were “discovered” by Europeans, which had nearly the same effect on Native Americans that a meteor did on the dinosaurs, there’s no better way to understand it than to journey along on Columbus’ four voyages and be there when he and his crew set ashore. Columbus set foot on the northern part of South America on his third voyage, visiting the coast of what is now Venezuela. Bergreen’s book does an admirable job of introducing you to the man whose voyages would ultimately affect millions of people. This is the closest anyone will ever get to being on board as an entirely New World first hove into sight.

By Laurence Bergreen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

He knew nothing of celestial navigation or of the existence of the Pacific Ocean. He was a self-promoting and ambitious entrepreneur. His maps were a hybrid of fantasy and delusion. When he did make land, he enslaved the populace he found, encouraged genocide, and polluted relations between peoples. He ended his career in near lunacy.

But Columbus had one asset that made all the difference, an inborn sense of the sea, of wind and weather, and of selecting the optimal course to get from A to B. Laurence Bergreen's energetic and bracing book gives the whole Columbus and most importantly,…


Book cover of Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent

Kim MacQuarrie Author Of Life and Death in the Andes: On the Trail of Bandits, Heroes, and Revolutionaries

From my list on South American history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lived in Peru for five years, working as a writer, filmmaker, and anthropologist and have travelled extensively in South America, voyaging 4,500 miles from the northern tip of the Andes down to the southern tip of Patagonia, lived with a recently-contacted tribe in the Upper Amazon, visited Maoist Shining Path “liberated zones” in Peru and later made a number of documentaries on the Amazon as well as have written a number of books. Historically, culturally and biologically, South America remains one of the most interesting places on Earth.

Kim's book list on South American history

Kim MacQuarrie Why did Kim love this book?

A classic book that weaves together the history of how Columbus’ arrival in the Americas set the stage for the mining of the New World by European and other colonial powers--for its gold, silver, cacao, cotton, rubber, and coffee--and for how that impacted the people who lived there. A brilliant synthesis of the many forces that were unleashed by the joining of the Old World and the New.

By Eduardo Galeano,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Open Veins of Latin America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since its U.S. debut a quarter-century ago, this brilliant text has set a new standard for historical scholarship of Latin America. It is also an outstanding political economy, a social and cultural narrative of the highest quality, and perhaps the finest description of primitive capital accumulation since Marx.

Rather than chronology, geography, or political successions, Eduardo Galeano has organized the various facets of Latin American history according to the patterns of five centuries of exploitation. Thus he is concerned with gold and silver, cacao and cotton, rubber and coffee, fruit, hides and wool, petroleum, iron, nickel, manganese, copper, aluminum ore,…


Book cover of Forgotten Continent: A History of the New Latin America

Kim MacQuarrie Author Of Life and Death in the Andes: On the Trail of Bandits, Heroes, and Revolutionaries

From my list on South American history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I lived in Peru for five years, working as a writer, filmmaker, and anthropologist and have travelled extensively in South America, voyaging 4,500 miles from the northern tip of the Andes down to the southern tip of Patagonia, lived with a recently-contacted tribe in the Upper Amazon, visited Maoist Shining Path “liberated zones” in Peru and later made a number of documentaries on the Amazon as well as have written a number of books. Historically, culturally and biologically, South America remains one of the most interesting places on Earth.

Kim's book list on South American history

Kim MacQuarrie Why did Kim love this book?

The author spent many years in Brazil and Peru, editing the Americas’ section of The Economist and knows the region well. He does a great job of providing the reader with a broad, contemporary view of modern-day Central and South America, weaving together their many historical threads. If you want an insider’s account of Latin America by someone who thoroughly knows the area, then this is the book for you.

By Michael Reid,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A newly updated edition of the best-selling primer on the social, political, and economic challenges facing Central and South America

Ten years after its first publication, Michael Reid's best-selling survey of the state of contemporary Latin America has been wholly updated to reflect the new realities of the "Forgotten Continent." The former Americas editor for the Economist, Reid suggests that much of Central and South America, though less poor, less unequal, and better educated than before, faces harder economic times now that the commodities boom of the 2000s is over. His revised, in-depth account of the region reveals dynamic societies…


Book cover of The Works of Inazo Nitobe: Volume III Japan: Some Phases of Her Problems and Development

John E. Happ Author Of The Navigation Case: Training, Flying and Fighting the 1942 to 1945 New Guinea War

From my list on why the Pacific War was waged & fought in New Guinea.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up just north of Chicago, took courses at the University of Madrid (La Complutense), and graduated from Marquette University.  I speak 5 languages and have written for such diverse reviews as The Journal of the American Revolution and Atlantic Coastal Kayaker. Nothing has possessed me like my father’s Navigation Case. Besides learning how this young college graduate helped pioneer the nascent aviation industry training in 11 different types of aircraft, I take pride in the astonishing role he played in American history. He was a combat pilot in the first-ever demonstration of air superiority over an enemy, leading to the greatest campaign victory in the history of the US Air Force. 

John's book list on why the Pacific War was waged & fought in New Guinea

John E. Happ Why did John love this book?

This book began to help me understand why my father was sent to New Guinea. It taught me a lot about how Japan saw herself in the world at that time and what she thought she could do about it. My conclusion is that Japan felt threatened and feared being colonized. The Europeans had been colonizing the Asian Pacific for centuries: France in Indo-China, Britain manipulating China; Germany held various Chinese ports; Russia pushing into Korea, the Dutch in Indonesia (The Dutch East Indies)… all milking those countries of their natural resources with oppressive control of indigenous peoples. Japan in turn sought to build her nation into an Empire along the British model. 

By Inazo Nitobe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

University of Tokyo Press. NItobe worked to promote international understanding by explaining Japan to the West, and the West to his fellow Japanese.


Book cover of Air Combat at 20 Feet: Selected Missions from a Strafer Pilot's Diary

John E. Happ Author Of The Navigation Case: Training, Flying and Fighting the 1942 to 1945 New Guinea War

From my list on why the Pacific War was waged & fought in New Guinea.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up just north of Chicago, took courses at the University of Madrid (La Complutense), and graduated from Marquette University.  I speak 5 languages and have written for such diverse reviews as The Journal of the American Revolution and Atlantic Coastal Kayaker. Nothing has possessed me like my father’s Navigation Case. Besides learning how this young college graduate helped pioneer the nascent aviation industry training in 11 different types of aircraft, I take pride in the astonishing role he played in American history. He was a combat pilot in the first-ever demonstration of air superiority over an enemy, leading to the greatest campaign victory in the history of the US Air Force. 

John's book list on why the Pacific War was waged & fought in New Guinea

John E. Happ Why did John love this book?

I consider Garrett Middlebrook to be the Wilfred Owens (poet) of WWII. He is a man with a conscience and a moral code who explains what it meant to be a combat pilot in New Guinea. He describes various life-threatening mission against a superior enemy. But on the other hand, struggles with the fact that he is killing other men, in other uniforms, who like himself are just doing their jobs. He chafes at orders to kill civilian contractors (conscripted Chinese) working for the Japanese in New Guinea. He recoils from celebrations after the battle of the Bismarck Sea because he felt no joy after witnessing the vivid destruction of enemy men and equipment. 

Book cover of Macarthur's Victory: The War in New Guinea, 1943-1944

John E. Happ Author Of The Navigation Case: Training, Flying and Fighting the 1942 to 1945 New Guinea War

From my list on why the Pacific War was waged & fought in New Guinea.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up just north of Chicago, took courses at the University of Madrid (La Complutense), and graduated from Marquette University.  I speak 5 languages and have written for such diverse reviews as The Journal of the American Revolution and Atlantic Coastal Kayaker. Nothing has possessed me like my father’s Navigation Case. Besides learning how this young college graduate helped pioneer the nascent aviation industry training in 11 different types of aircraft, I take pride in the astonishing role he played in American history. He was a combat pilot in the first-ever demonstration of air superiority over an enemy, leading to the greatest campaign victory in the history of the US Air Force. 

John's book list on why the Pacific War was waged & fought in New Guinea

John E. Happ Why did John love this book?

This book gave me a basic understanding of the New Guinea war into which my father was sent. It gave me the framework with which I could piece together the timeline of my father’s service. It gave me an idea of the progress of the war and a context for all of his military orders, his stacks of correspondence, and all of his photos, long stored away in his Navigation Case.

By Harry Gailey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A GREAT WARRIOR AT THE PEAK OF HIS POWERS

In March 1942, General Douglas MacArthur faced an enemy who, in the space of a few months, captured Malaya, Burma, the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, and, from their base at Raubaul in New Britain, threaten Australia. Upon his retreat to Australia, MacArthur hoped to find enough men and matérielfor a quick offensive against the Japanese. Instead, he had available to him only a small and shattered air force, inadequate naval support, and an army made up almost entirely of untried reservists.

Here is one of history’s most controversial commanders battling…


Book cover of A Few Months in New Guinea

John E. Happ Author Of The Navigation Case: Training, Flying and Fighting the 1942 to 1945 New Guinea War

From my list on why the Pacific War was waged & fought in New Guinea.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up just north of Chicago, took courses at the University of Madrid (La Complutense), and graduated from Marquette University.  I speak 5 languages and have written for such diverse reviews as The Journal of the American Revolution and Atlantic Coastal Kayaker. Nothing has possessed me like my father’s Navigation Case. Besides learning how this young college graduate helped pioneer the nascent aviation industry training in 11 different types of aircraft, I take pride in the astonishing role he played in American history. He was a combat pilot in the first-ever demonstration of air superiority over an enemy, leading to the greatest campaign victory in the history of the US Air Force. 

John's book list on why the Pacific War was waged & fought in New Guinea

John E. Happ Why did John love this book?

Stone, writing in the 1880s, describes the unexplored mystery, foreboding tropical weather, and long-ignored people of New Guinea. Since its “discovery” by European explorers, the New Guinea climate was known to be inhospitable to westerners. This book began to inform me of the world into which my father was sent as an Army Air Corps pilot. Even as late as 1944 he flew with emergency survival maps with vast swathes of the country completely blank, marked “Unexplored.” 

By Octavius C. Stone,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Few Months in New Guinea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Excerpt from A Few Months in New Guinea

With so many competitors in the field, it seems strange that, until the last few years, no one should have succeeded in journeying more than fifteen miles inland; and though this distance has now been much exceeded, a vast area still remains unexplored.

About the Publisher

Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com

This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged…


Book cover of The Secret of the Incas: Myth, Astronomy, and the War Against Time

John M. Saul Author Of What the Stork Brought: African click-speakers and the spread of humanity's oldest beliefs

From my list on the origins of humanity's earliest beliefs.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a geologist, I met and shared meals – occasionally under the stars – with individuals with strikingly different backgrounds. In time I realized that, whatever their DNA, they all shared certain beliefs, that the happy dead eventually go upward, for example, even if they start by going down or out to the horizon. Eventually, I concluded that the entire human adventure began in a single moment the day one of our forebears asked another "What shall we do about death?" and was understood. Humans have a single genetic heritage; we also have a single cultural heritage.

John's book list on the origins of humanity's earliest beliefs

John M. Saul Why did John love this book?

My personal background and fieldwork have been in North America, Africa, and Europe. Sullivan's book opened the world of ancient South America for me. The Incas lived in a Sacred Kingship, an institution in which Church and State were one, invented in ancient Mesopotamia and diffused as far as the Andes, carrying with it a promise of eternity. In Sacred Kingships, the King was to funnel the essence of the undying Heavens into the ways of Earthbound mortals. Sullivan shows how this all went dreadfully wrong for the Incas when they began to treat mythological notions as literally true, applying the technical language of myth to the real world.

By William Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Step by step, Sullivan pieces together the hidden esoteric tradition of the Andes to uncover the tragic secret of the Incas, a tribe who believed that, if events in the heavens could influence those on earth, perhaps the reverse could be true. Anyone who reads this book will never look at the ruins of the Incas, or at the night sky, the same way again. Illustrations.


Book cover of Up

Joan Budilovsky Author Of Floretta

From my list on to help grieving children open up about death.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up living above our family funeral home. My parents were exceptionally compassionate people. I learned through their kind upbringing that heaven was and is, here and now. Death was not only an inevitable part of life but a daily part. As an adult, I became a Yoga Teacher. Yoga means union. It's an exploration into the intimate balance between body and mind. One particular yoga pose essential to every single class – Savasana or Corpse PoseA coincidence a young girl raised in a funeral home would end up teaching daily classes of corpse pose? I think not. And through it all bloomed Floretta. The story of life and death coming together into a magnificent circular experience. Bilingual yet parallel worlds amidst beautiful chakra colors.

Joan's book list on to help grieving children open up about death

Joan Budilovsky Why did Joan love this book?

It sure takes a village to turn an award-winning Disney Pixar movie, Up into a Read-Aloud Storybook, and this cast of creative characters does it well! A terrific story about those significant changes in life and about not closing doors to the inevitable new adventures to come. Heart-warming and brilliantly crafted. See the movie! And do certainly read this lovely book version too.

By RH Disney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Up as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

A Little Golden Book retelling of Disney/Pixar Up! Meet Car and Russell. Carl is old and lonely. Russell is young and looking for a friend. When they’re thrown together on the adventure of a lifetime, they discover that friendships are great at any age! This Little Golden Book retelling of Disney/Pixar Up will appeal to adventurers of all ages.


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