60 books like Buried Unsung

By Zeese Papanikolas,

Here are 60 books that Buried Unsung fans have personally recommended if you like Buried Unsung. 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 Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water

Laurie Marr Wasmund Author Of My Heart Lies Here

From my list on why the American West always will be the "Wild West”.

Why am I passionate about this?

Raised in the American West, I have watched the explosive growth in Colorado with dismay. In my lifetime, metro Denver has grown from a population of about 500,000 people to more than 5.5 million. The Colorado of large ranches and wide, open spaces is disappearing. I have named my publishing company “lost ranch books,” in honor of the ranch where I grew up, which was sold and developed with cookie-cutter houses. I’ve now set out to recapture historic Colorado by writing about it. My award-winning books center on Colorado’s and the American West’s history, for not only is it fascinating and, often, troubling, but it still resonates today.

Laurie's book list on why the American West always will be the "Wild West”

Laurie Marr Wasmund Why did Laurie love this book?

Water, water everywhere—but not in the American West. I first read Reisner’s book soon after its publication in 1986, when it presented a haunting, frightening future for the western United States that is being realized today. The book reveals the inadequacy of the management of water in the western states that began as soon as there was settlement, and it takes an especially hard look at the treaties surrounding the Colorado River, which has all but disappeared in the past few years, causing panic at the Hoover Dam and in Las Vegas, Arizona, and Mexico. Reisner amply demonstrates why major cities should not be built in semi-arid and arid climes—and still, the western states’ populations continue to explode. 

By Marc Reisner,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Cadillac Desert as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The definitive work on the West's water crisis." --Newsweek

The story of the American West is the story of a relentless quest for a precious resource: water. It is a tale of rivers diverted and dammed, of political corruption and intrigue, of billion-dollar battles over water rights, of ecological and economic disaster. In his landmark book, Cadillac Desert, Marc Reisner writes of the earliest settlers, lured by the promise of paradise, and of the ruthless tactics employed by Los Angeles politicians and business interests to ensure the city's growth. He documents the bitter rivalry between two government giants, the Bureau…


Book cover of Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad

Laurie Marr Wasmund Author Of My Heart Lies Here

From my list on why the American West always will be the "Wild West”.

Why am I passionate about this?

Raised in the American West, I have watched the explosive growth in Colorado with dismay. In my lifetime, metro Denver has grown from a population of about 500,000 people to more than 5.5 million. The Colorado of large ranches and wide, open spaces is disappearing. I have named my publishing company “lost ranch books,” in honor of the ranch where I grew up, which was sold and developed with cookie-cutter houses. I’ve now set out to recapture historic Colorado by writing about it. My award-winning books center on Colorado’s and the American West’s history, for not only is it fascinating and, often, troubling, but it still resonates today.

Laurie's book list on why the American West always will be the "Wild West”

Laurie Marr Wasmund Why did Laurie love this book?

This is a big book, more than 700 pages, but it is worth every word. Bain focuses not on the workers who built the railroads, but the machinations, corruption, and political hijinks of those who dreamed up, financed, and managed the companies of the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific. It’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys—or even if there are any good guys. Bain manages to make the multiple historical figures in his book memorable and easily identifiable, which not all historians achieve. He also infuses his telling with a sly humor that catches the reader off-guard and, at times, made me laugh aloud.

By David Haward Bain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

After the Civil War, the building of the transcontinental railroad was the nineteenth century's most transformative event. Beginning in 1842 with a visionary's dream to span the continent with twin bands of iron, Empire Express captures three dramatic decades in which the United States effectively doubled in size, fought three wars, and began to discover a new national identity. From self--made entrepreneurs such as the Union Pacific's Thomas Durant and era--defining figures such as President Lincoln to the thousands of laborers whose backbreaking work made the railroad possible, this extraordinary narrative summons an astonishing array of voices to give new…


Book cover of Fire and Brimstone: The North Butte Mining Disaster of 1917

Laurie Marr Wasmund Author Of My Heart Lies Here

From my list on why the American West always will be the "Wild West”.

Why am I passionate about this?

Raised in the American West, I have watched the explosive growth in Colorado with dismay. In my lifetime, metro Denver has grown from a population of about 500,000 people to more than 5.5 million. The Colorado of large ranches and wide, open spaces is disappearing. I have named my publishing company “lost ranch books,” in honor of the ranch where I grew up, which was sold and developed with cookie-cutter houses. I’ve now set out to recapture historic Colorado by writing about it. My award-winning books center on Colorado’s and the American West’s history, for not only is it fascinating and, often, troubling, but it still resonates today.

Laurie's book list on why the American West always will be the "Wild West”

Laurie Marr Wasmund Why did Laurie love this book?

Punke’s book chronicles a story of heroism and company greed that isn’t that far in the past of America’s labor battles. It tells of a fire that spread through the underground tunnels of the copper mines belonging to J.D. Rockefeller’s Anaconda company and others. The book centers on the men trapped underground who exhaust every possible option in a dire bid to survive, including some ingenious methods and some which hasten their demise. Punke touches as well on political, labor, and business wranglings that put the workers at risk. He also follows Butte’s history to present day, demonstrating that the Montana city has never quite recovered from its past as a copper city.

By Michael Punke,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, The Revenant -- basis for the award-winning motion picture starring Leonardo DiCaprio -- tells the remarkable story of the worst hard-rock mining disaster in American history.

A half-hour before midnight on June 8, 1917, a fire broke out in the North Butte Mining Company's Granite Mountain shaft. Sparked more than two thousand feet below ground, the fire spewed flames, smoke, and poisonous gas through a labyrinth of underground tunnels. Within an hour, more than four hundred men would be locked in a battle to survive. Within three days, one hundred and…


Book cover of Riding the White Horse Home: A Western Family Album

Laurie Marr Wasmund Author Of My Heart Lies Here

From my list on why the American West always will be the "Wild West”.

Why am I passionate about this?

Raised in the American West, I have watched the explosive growth in Colorado with dismay. In my lifetime, metro Denver has grown from a population of about 500,000 people to more than 5.5 million. The Colorado of large ranches and wide, open spaces is disappearing. I have named my publishing company “lost ranch books,” in honor of the ranch where I grew up, which was sold and developed with cookie-cutter houses. I’ve now set out to recapture historic Colorado by writing about it. My award-winning books center on Colorado’s and the American West’s history, for not only is it fascinating and, often, troubling, but it still resonates today.

Laurie's book list on why the American West always will be the "Wild West”

Laurie Marr Wasmund Why did Laurie love this book?

Jordan’s memoir strikes close to my heart: parents, like mine, who encourage their children to better their lives by leaving their homes, going to college, working at fulfilling jobs, and building loving families. But where does that leave the family ranch? As in my own family, Jordan’s parents sell it when there is no one to return and take over the hard, often unrewarding work. In this beautifully written, poignant work, Jordan explores her ancestors, neighbors, and her own time on the ranch, and she makes the reader feel just how deep her grief is over the loss of her heritage and, especially, the land. Be ready to cry.

By Teresa Jordan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Riding the White Horse Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The daughter and granddaughter of Wyoming ranchers, Teresa Jordan gives us a lyrical and superbly evocative book that is at once a family chronicle and a eulogy for the land her people helped shape and in time were forced to leave. Author readings.


Book cover of Vignettes of Modern Greece

Linda Reid Author Of Deep Waters

From my list on virtual odyssey in ancient and modern Greece.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wrote my first thriller at age 8 about a girl who ran away and joined the circus. For later works, I, a pediatric physician, did opt to follow my English teachers’ guidance to write about what you know, including science, medicine, psychology, journalism, and my twin home countries of America and Greece. As YS Pascal, I wrote the Zygan Emprise Trilogy, which blended ancient Greek history, mythology, and literature. As Linda Reid, I co-authored the award-winning Sammy Greene thriller series with Dr. Deborah Shlian and was eager to fly investigative reporter Sammy and her ex-cop friend Gus Pappajohn to the shores of modern Athens to solve an ancient and modern mystery.

Linda's book list on virtual odyssey in ancient and modern Greece

Linda Reid Why did Linda love this book?

An American scientist and her Greek-American professor husband relocate to Greece with their young children as the millennium approaches. Dr. Orme, now back in the USA and a Vice President for Boeing, writes eloquently about her family’s decision to establish their home in Greece, a country whose language and customs are new and often challenging for an American immigrant. Her journey into the arms of a warm Greek community is shared through a series of vignettes that give readers an honest glimpse into the life and culture of modern Greece, and its positive impact on her own life and her family’s future.

By Melissa Orme-Marmarelis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

These "vignettes" describe the idiosyncrasies and charm of the modern Greek culture as seen through the eyes of an American woman married to a Greek man. Her vividly illustrated and often amusing vignettes chronicle her journey into the understanding and appreciation of Greece and the Greek people. This book was written with a fresh and descriptive style where the words bring to life the images of family, friends, lore and nature.


Book cover of Bravey: Chasing Dreams, Befriending Pain, and Other Big Ideas

Dean Karnazes Author Of A Runner's High: My Life in Motion

From my list on running from an ultrarunner.

Why am I passionate about this?

An internationally recognized endurance athlete and New York Times bestselling author, Dean Karnazes has pushed his body and mind to inconceivable limits. Among his many accomplishments, he has run 350 continuous miles, foregoing sleep for three nights. He's run across Death Valley in 120-degree temperatures, and run a marathon to the South Pole in negative 40 degrees. On ten different occasions, he's run a 200-mile relay race solo, racing alongside teams of twelve. His long list of competitive achievements include winning the world's toughest footrace, the Badwater Ultramarathon, running 135 miles nonstop across Death Valley during the middle of summer. His most recent endeavor was running 50 marathons, in all 50 US states, in 50 consecutive days, finishing with the NYC Marathon, which he ran in three hours flat.

Dean's book list on running from an ultrarunner

Dean Karnazes Why did Dean love this book?

Olympic runner, actress, filmmaker and writer, Alexi Pappas’ wisdom and wit are beyond her age. This book will have you laughing, crying and cheering, sometimes all at once!

By Alexi Pappas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Olympic runner, actress, filmmaker and writer Alexi Pappas shares what she’s learned about confidence, self-reliance, mental health, embracing pain, and achieving your dreams.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY REAL SIMPLE •“Heartbreaking and hilarious.”—Mindy Kaling • “A beautiful read.”—Ruth Reichl • “Essential guidance to anyone dreaming big dreams.”—Shalane Flanagan • “I couldn’t put it down.”—Adam Grant

run like a bravey
sleep like a baby
dream like a crazy
replace can’t with maybe

When “Renaissance runner” (New York Times) Alexi Pappas—Olympic athlete, actress, filmmaker, and writer—was four years old, her mother died by suicide, drastically altering…


Book cover of The Dangerous Art of Blending In

Ronni Davis Author Of When the Stars Lead to You

From my list on to make you ugly cry.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a sensitive person for as long as I can remember, but crying over books? That’s not something I did when I was growing up. Truthfully, I never cried over a book until I was fully into adulthood and I read The Giver. Because it’s hard for me, still, to cry over a book, I am very intentional with the books I select to read and recommend. It takes a lot for me to feel that gut punch, and when I do, the payoff is tremendous. And if it’s making me cry, then it’s going to make many, many people cry.

Ronni's book list on to make you ugly cry

Ronni Davis Why did Ronni love this book?

The Dangerous Art of Blending In is about Evan, who is trying to figure out his place in the world. He has a strict (read: abusive) Greek immigrant mother, a father who works works works, and he is struggling with his sexuality and the boy he kissed over the summer. Evan’s been silent about so much all this time, that it’s now time for him to find and use his voice. And he does so in such a beautiful and inspiring way. This book will make you feel so many things. 

By Angelo Surmelis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dangerous Art of Blending In as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

~Lambda Literary Award finalist for the best LGBT YA novel of 2018~

A raw, powerful, but ultimately uplifting debut novel perfect for fans of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe from debut author Angelo Surmelis.

Seventeen-year-old Evan Panos doesn’t know where he fits in. His strict immigrant Greek mother refuses to see him as anything but a disappointment. His quiet, workaholic father is a staunch believer in avoiding any kind of conflict. And his best friend, Henry, has somehow become distractingly attractive over the summer.

Tired, isolated, scared—Evan finds that his only escape is to draw in…


Book cover of Middlesex

Eric Schlich Author Of Eli Harpo's Adventure to the Afterlife

From my list on dysfunctional family novels about mythmaking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a debut novelist who loves a good family drama. I’m a fiction professor at the University of Memphis, where I teach a course on the dysfunctional family novel featuring books on this list. I’m also an atheist, a bisexual, and a father to a one-year-old—all of which influenced my book. In addition to the novel, I’ve written a story collection called Quantum Convention. My stories have aired on Public Radio International’s Selected Shorts and appeared in American Short Fiction, Gulf Coast, and Electric Literature, among other journals. I also have a new essay up at Lit Hub about channeling my bisexuality through queer characters.

Eric's book list on dysfunctional family novels about mythmaking

Eric Schlich Why did Eric love this book?

When it comes to family sagas turned myth, it’s hard to top Calliope Stephanides tracing the passage of the hermaphroditic gene—transforming Callie into Cal—through three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family.

An epic origin story that moves from Asia Minor to Detroit, Michigan, complete with incest and a nuanced exploration of gender identity. It also has one of my all-time favorite novel openings ever. “Sing now, O Muse, of the recessive mutation on my fifth chromosome!”

By Jeffrey Eugenides,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of l974.'

So begins the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides and her truly unique family secret, born on the slopes of Mount Olympus and passed on through three generations.

Growing up in 70s Michigan, Calliope's special inheritance will turn her into Cal, the narrator of this intersex, inter-generational epic of immigrant life in 20th century America.

Middlesex won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.


Book cover of Eleni

Christopher Cosmos Author Of Once We Were Here

From my list on set in Greece.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Greek-American author and screenwriter and growing up I heard stories both of and about Greece for as long and far back as I can remember. At a certain point, I decided to join them, and tell Greek stories of my own. After all, it’s in our blood, right? My debut novel, Once We Were Here, is a multi-generational love story that’s set mostly during the Greek resistance of WWII, and which has been described as “stirring” (Paula McLain), “stunning” (Steven Pressfield), and “a modern epic” (Victoria Aveyard). I very much hope you’ll have a chance to give it a read, and also very much hope that you’ll enjoy it.

Christopher's book list on set in Greece

Christopher Cosmos Why did Christopher love this book?

For many Greeks and Greek-Americans, Eleni is a literary north star, especially in the world of non-fiction. On one hand, it’s an urgent and imperative testimony to a brutal and tragic event that the world and history at large have over-looked and forgotten, and on the other, and a more personal level, it’s a poignant and devastatingly powerful testament of a son’s love for his mother. Revenge and forgiveness are constantly at odds and at the forefront of this journey, which also doubles as an important and specific type of immigrant story and experience. Which one will ultimately win out: revenge or forgiveness? In the end, it’s the reader who wins, because the story of Eleni Gatzoyiannis and her son Nikolaos is timeless, unforgettable, and will leave all who read it forever changed.

By Nicholas Gage,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the biography of a woman who was arrested, tortured and shot in 1948 because she had helped her children to escape the Communist guerrillas during the Greek Civil War. Nicholas Gage, then aged eight eventually reached America where he became one of the New York Times' best investigative reporters.He returned to Greece as its chief correspondent in 1977, where he reconstructed his mother's life and death. He is the author of two novels and of "Hellas: A Portrait of Greece". He co-produced the film "Eleni" directed by Peter Yates.


Book cover of Challenges of Ordinary Democracy: A Case Study in Deliberation and Dissent

Gerard A. Hauser Author Of Vernacular Voices: The Rhetoric of Publics and Public Spheres

From my list on why ordinary citizen voices matter to a democracy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the grandson of a political refugee. My grandfather was a gunrunner in the Greek resistance to Turkish occupation of Chios prior to the 1st Balkan War. His guerilla activity placed his life in danger. He fled pursuit by the Turks, which led to his eventual emigration to the United States. From childhood my family experience was of lively discussions that were inflected by my grandfather’s experience of resistance and US citizenship. They sparked my fascination with the role of citizen voices in a democracy. That was a main focus of my academic career, teaching rhetoric for more than 40 years at Penn State University and the University of Colorado Boulder.

Gerard's book list on why ordinary citizen voices matter to a democracy

Gerard A. Hauser Why did Gerard love this book?

Perhaps the most widespread engagement by ordinary citizens in political relations is with the education of their children. School boards are increasingly regarded as a site of passionate political contest over what our children will learn, especially when it comes to learning history and its consequences for their understanding of their community and nation. Challenges of Ordinary Democracy reports on three years in the life of a local school board. The voices of administrators, teachers, parents, and the press are examined when dissent takes center stage in the school board’s deliberations. Given that ordinary citizens will disagree, often vehemently, Tracy asks us to consider the parameters of reasonable hostility and why reasonable hostility is important for the voices of ordinary citizens to matter in deciding issues that affect their lives.  

By Karen Tracy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Is there any place in America where passionate debate plays a more vital role in democratic discourse than local school board meetings? Karen Tracy conducted a thirty-five-month study of the board meetings of the Boulder Valley School District between 1996 and 1999 to analyze just how democracy operates in practice. In Challenges of Ordinary Democracy, she reveals the major role that emotion plays in real-life debate and discerns value in what might easily be seen as negative forms of discourse-voicing platitudes, making contradictory assertions, arguing over a document's wording, speaking angrily, attacking a person's character. By illuminating this one arena…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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