10 books like Catherine the Great

By Robert K. Massie,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Catherine the Great. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Unbroken

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Book cover of Unbroken

The book is much more comprehensive than the film. For me this is an exemplary story of finding redemption and forgiveness after the worst of human imposed torture and misery. Like so many veterans, WWII veteran Louis Zamperini kills the war demon with alcohol. His relationship with his wife and family suffer until Billy Graham helps save him. One of the messages is that hatred will lead you down a self-destructive path. Overcoming your demons and finding forgiveness and redemption will set you free. I raced through this book.

Unbroken

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the author of the bestselling and much-loved Seabiscuit, an unforgettable story of one man's journey into extremity. On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War. The lieutenant's name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood,…


Mornings on Horseback

By David McCullough,

Book cover of Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt

It’s inspiring to read how a sickly boy became the larger-than-life figure who dominated turn of the century America. Although born into a famous and wealthy family, the young Theodore’s future seemed hopeless because of his repeated bouts with an illness that almost killed him. But through his own will, and with the inspiration and support of his remarkable family, he managed to overcome his ailment and grow into robust and productive manhood. McCullough’s discovery of a rich cache of family letters allowed him to create a fine-grained and moving narrative about how this exceptional man came to be.

Mornings on Horseback

By David McCullough,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The National Book Award–winning biography that tells the story of how young Teddy Roosevelt transformed himself from a sickly boy into the vigorous man who would become a war hero and ultimately president of the United States, told by master historian David McCullough.

Mornings on Horseback is the brilliant biography of the young Theodore Roosevelt. Hailed as “a masterpiece” (John A. Gable, Newsday), it is the winner of the Los Angeles Times 1981 Book Prize for Biography and the National Book Award for Biography. Written by David McCullough, the author of Truman, this is the story of a remarkable little…


Jackie Robinson

By Arnold Rampersad,

Book cover of Jackie Robinson: A Biography

Because it’s the amazing story of how a supremely gifted and charismatic young Black man overcame his impoverished background and the racism endemic in the United States to break the color barrier in the national sport—baseball, and became an iconic figure in the struggle for civil rights. Rampersad’s unprecedented access to Robinson’s papers allowed him to paint a detailed, intimate, and moving portrait of a courageous and defiant man.

Jackie Robinson

By Arnold Rampersad,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The extraordinary life of Jackie Robinson is illuminated as never before in this full-scale biography by Arnold Rampersad, who was chosen by Jack's widow, Rachel, to tell her husband's story, and was given unprecedented access to his private papers. We are brought closer than we have ever been to the great ballplayer, a man of courage and quality who became a pivotal figure in the areas of race and civil rights.

Born in the rural South, the son of a sharecropper, Robinson was reared in southern California. We see him blossom there as a student-athlete as he struggled against poverty…


The Path to Power

By Robert A. Caro,

Book cover of The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson I

Great biographers never ignore the warts, and Lyndon Johnson—the subject of Robert Caro’s masterful quartet of biographies—had plenty of them. For starters, LBJ mishandled the war in Vietnam, for which history will never forgive him. But Johnson was also a stunning contradiction—a rural Texas conservative who did more for urban society than anyone in modern history—and an absolute force of nature. I served as a White House Fellow under him in 1966-67. Close to Johnson, you could sense his nobility.

The Path to Power

By Robert A. Caro,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Path to Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The greatest biography of our era ... Essential reading for those who want to comprehend power and politics' The Times

Robert A. Caro's legendary, multi-award-winning biography of US President Lyndon Johnson is a uniquely riveting and revelatory account of power, political genius and the shaping of twentieth-century America.

This first instalment tells of the rise to national power of a desperately poor young man from the Texas Hill Country, revealing in extraordinary detail the genesis of the almost superhuman drive, energy and ambition that set LBJ apart. It charts his boyhood through the years of the Depression to his debut…


Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

By Dai Sijie,

Book cover of Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

The dark place Dai depicts in this book during the Chines Cultural Revolution is very similar to the 1980s when I grew up in Iran after the revolution. Through banned novels, the characters in the book, just like me, found a way to escape the grim realities of their lives and found the strength they needed to dream and grow. Their identities, like mine, were shaped by the oppressive environments they lived in and their efforts to reinvent themselves under those conditions.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

By Dai Sijie,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1971: Mao's cultural Revolution is at its peak. Two sons of doctors, sent to 're-education' camps, forced to carry buckets of excrement up and down mountain paths, have only their sense of humour to keep them going. Although the attractive daughter of the local tailor also helps to distract them from the task at hand.

The boys' true re-education starts, however, when they discover a hidden suitcase packed with the great Western novels of the nineteenth century. Their lives are transformed. And not only their lives: after listening to the stories of Balzac, the little seamstress will never be the…


Persepolis

By Marjane Satrapi,

Book cover of Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood

This is a brilliant graphic memoir that depicts the Islamic Revolution and its aftermath through the eyes of a precocious young girl. It’s heart-wrenching, hilarious at times, and a keen examination of life under a religious dictatorship: absurd, hellish, dangerous. You’ll fall in love with this wise girl and enjoy her story so much, you won’t realize how much you’ve learned about Iran, war, democracy, totalitarianism, and the courage it takes to survive. This memoir is often compared to Art Spiegelman’s MAUS.  

Persepolis

By Marjane Satrapi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Wise, often funny, sometimes heart-breaking, Persepolis tells the story of Marjane Satrapi's life in Tehran from the ages of six to fourteen, growing up during the Iranian Revolution.

The intelligent and outspoken child of radical Marxists, and the great-grandaughter of Iran's last emperor, Satrapi bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life.

Amidst the tragedy, Marjane's child's eye view adds immediacy and humour, and her story of a childhood at once outrageous and ordinary,…


The Life of Elizabeth I

By Alison Weir,

Book cover of The Life of Elizabeth I

It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to recommend this particular work of Alison Weir. A brilliant historian, she – by means of both traditional, meticulously-researched biographies, as well as in her historical fiction offerings –  chronicles many aspects, and a number of personages of Tudor England in all of its – and their – colourfully untidy turbulence. 

Her account of Elizabeth I’s life is amongst her best. I especially appreciate the skillful way in which Weir continuously “introduces” the reader to Elizabeth, as the compelling figure she is – fascinatingly intricate, brilliant, and annoyingly contradictory. Just when one seems to understand her – Weir drops yet another paradox – as the reader learns that this supposedly staunchly Protestant daughter of Henry VIII maintained most aspects of orthodox Roman Catholic practices – including a crucifix – in her private chapel royal.

The Life of Elizabeth I

By Alison Weir,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Elizabeth the Queen begins as the young Elizabeth ascends the throne in the wake of her sister Mary's disastrous reign - both a woman and a queen, Elizabeth's story is an extraordinary phenomenon in a patriarchal age.

From Elizabeth's intriguing, long-standing affair with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, to her dealings - sometimes comical, sometimes poignant - with her many suitors, her rivalry with Mary, Queen of Scots, and her bizarre relationship with the Earl of Essex, thirty years her junior, here, in rich, vivid and colourful detail, Alison Weir helps us comes as close as we shall ever get…


The Wolf and the Watchman

By Niklas Natt Och Dag,

Book cover of The Wolf and the Watchman

There are so few novels in English that explore Gustavian Stockholm, and this is a thrilling page-turner set in 1793 that explores the dark side of the capital city one year after the assassination of King Gustav III. Mikel Cardell, a watchman with a brutal past in the army, and Cecil Winge, an investigator who is hovering near death himself, team up to find the perpetrator of a heinous murder. Author Niklas Natt och Dag (translates to Night and Day — an old aristocratic name) has written a story steeped in graphic, gory period detail and authentic atmosphere.  

The Wolf and the Watchman

By Niklas Natt Och Dag,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A remarkable debut novel' Sunday Times

'The best historical thriller I've read in twenty years' A.J. Finn

'A thrilling, unnerving, clever and beautiful story. Reading it is like giving a little gift to oneself' Fredrik Backman

The year is 1793, Stockholm. King Gustav of Sweden has been assassinated, years of foreign wars have emptied the treasuries, and the realm is governed by a self-interested elite, leaving its citizens to suffer. On the streets, malcontent and paranoia abound.

A body is found in the city's swamp by a watchman, Mickel Cardell, and the case is handed over to investigator Cecil Winge,…


The Life and Songs of Carl Michael Bellman

By Paul Britten Austin,

Book cover of The Life and Songs of Carl Michael Bellman: Genius of the Swedish Rococo

Musician, poet, drunkard, genius, and scoundrel, Carl Michael Bellman was a fascinating historical figure that I badly wanted as a character in my novel but had to cut. If music can define an era, then Bellman is the voice of the Gustavian age. This wonderful, illustrated non-fiction work brought Bellman and 18th century Stockholm to life for me; I borrowed it from the library for two years while working on the first draft of my own book. (Eventually, I bought my own copy.) Bellman’s songs and spirit remain part of Swedish culture today. 

The Life and Songs of Carl Michael Bellman

By Paul Britten Austin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Life and Songs of Carl Michael Bellman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


The Fatal Friendship

By Stanley Loomis,

Book cover of The Fatal Friendship

I loved learning about the close ties that existed between Sweden and France in the late 18th century and the French Revolution figured in the plot of my novel. This fabulous non-fiction work explores the politics, intrigues, and plotting of the period through the intimate connection between Marie Antoinette, doomed Queen of France, and her purported lover, Axel von Fersena Swedish nobleman. The revolution was reaching a fevered pitch when King Gustav III of Sweden sent von Fersen to assist the French royal family in their escape from Paris — an epic failure told with passion by Mr. Loomis! 

The Fatal Friendship

By Stanley Loomis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Binding: HB Condition: Very Good Dustjacket: Good, top right front chipped. Details: About the puzzling friendship between Count Axel Fersen and Marie Antoinetter, Queen of France, and his role in the Royal Family's disastrous flight to Varennes at the outset of the French Revolution. Book Club Edition. From Stanley Loomis, a well-known author whose books have been published in 8 languages. Size: 22cm X 14.5cm Weight: 500 grams "


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