100 books like Catholics

By Brian Moore,

Here are 100 books that Catholics fans have personally recommended if you like Catholics. 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 Irish: A Character Study

James Charles Roy Author Of The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland

From my list on Irish history and different aspects of it.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first introduction to Ireland was in 1953 when my parents took the entire family over for two months. We stayed mostly in Dublin as "paying guests" with a threadbare, though incredibly proud, Anglo-Irish mother and her adult daughter in their decrepit apartment. What a learning experience for a seven-year-old boy! My fascination with the country's culture and history has never dampened, climaxed by my purchase of a 16th-century ruin, Moyode Castle, in County Galway, now finally restored. Over the years I have written seven books, six of them on Irish themes, plus innumerable articles in scholarly journals. The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland is my magnum opus as an Irish historian.

James' book list on Irish history and different aspects of it

James Charles Roy Why did James love this book?

This fine introduction to both the Irish themselves, and their tortured history, was first published in 1947 by this respected commentator. The only way to really understand Ireland is to dissect the many distinctive population groups -- their peculiarities of religion, social outlook, political ambitions, and allegiances --  and then to see how the mixture of these complex streams determined the country's history, with positive but also calamitous results over many centuries. O'Faolain deals with the indigenous Celts, the interloping Normans, the increasingly acquisitive English, and how the tumultuous interactions between them produced the core of Irish society: its peasantry, the Anglo-Irish aristocracy, the clergy, politicians, rebels, writers, and dreamers. The only thing O'Faolain missed, because he didn't live to see it, was the emergent, and now dominant, middle class of the Celtic Tiger. A beautifully written book. 

By Sean O'Faolain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Explores the formation of the Irish racial mind through important political and cultural events from 300 B.C. to the present


Book cover of The Norman Achievement

James Charles Roy Author Of The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland

From my list on Irish history and different aspects of it.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first introduction to Ireland was in 1953 when my parents took the entire family over for two months. We stayed mostly in Dublin as "paying guests" with a threadbare, though incredibly proud, Anglo-Irish mother and her adult daughter in their decrepit apartment. What a learning experience for a seven-year-old boy! My fascination with the country's culture and history has never dampened, climaxed by my purchase of a 16th-century ruin, Moyode Castle, in County Galway, now finally restored. Over the years I have written seven books, six of them on Irish themes, plus innumerable articles in scholarly journals. The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland is my magnum opus as an Irish historian.

James' book list on Irish history and different aspects of it

James Charles Roy Why did James love this book?

It may seem strange to include a selection here that does not mention Ireland once, but the Norman incursion that began in 1167 is fundamental to understanding the country's ensuing history. The first Normans in Ireland were vagabonds, for the most part, a restless, grasping underclass of the French-speaking wave of freebooters that subdued England beginning in 1066 with William the Conqueror. Denied an outlet for their limitless ambition, these often renegade adventurers, many of whom were younger sons or rebellious underlings of the ruling Norman caste, unleashed chaos in Celtic kingdoms they invaded, both militarily and socially, often in escapades of unimaginable daring. Douglas does an excellent job introducing and explaining the unique character of these intrepid soldiers and administrators, as they tramped through much of the known European world, and then on to Jerusalem for the Crusades.

By David C. Douglas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Norman achievement, 1050-1100


Book cover of The King's Peace, 1637-41

Kirsteen MacKenzie Author Of The Solemn League and Covenant of the Three Kingdoms and the Cromwellian Union, 1643-1663

From my list on he Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1637-1653.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an academic historian who has had a passion for the wars of the three kingdoms for over three decades. I have been reading books about the civil wars in Britain and Ireland since I was ten years old. I have been a member of the re-enactment society The Sealed Knot and the Cromwell Association. I published my first monograph on the wars of the three kingdoms in 2018. The monograph views the conflict from a three kingdoms perspective through the eyes of the Scottish Covenanters and their English allies. I am a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Kirsteen's book list on he Wars of the Three Kingdoms 1637-1653

Kirsteen MacKenzie Why did Kirsteen love this book?

This is another classic within the historiography of the period which along with S.R. Gardiner’s work is still considered one of the solid early professional histories of the period.  Although some historians may consider it a little dated, it is a concise and detailed analysis of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.  Wedgewood’s style of writing is accessible and lively. This 3 book series is still considered as some of the best books ever written on the period (be sure to check out The King's War and Trial of Charles as well).  

By C.V. Wedgwood, C.V. Wedgwood,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The King's Peace, 1637-41 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This volume tells the story of the four eventful years which immediately preceded the Civil War, years which transformed the tranquil dominions of King Charles into a land rent by mistrust and menaced by fire and sword. It tells of the rise of the covenanters in Scotland with such leaders as the gallant Montrose and the mysterious Argyll. It tells of Parliament's opposition to the King under the skilful leadership of John Pym. The tragedy of Strafford is linked with the terrible insurrection in Ireland. Miss Wedgewood has sought to convey the vivid day sequence of events as they flooded…


Book cover of The Great Hunger: Ireland: 1845-1849

James Charles Roy Author Of The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland

From my list on Irish history and different aspects of it.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first introduction to Ireland was in 1953 when my parents took the entire family over for two months. We stayed mostly in Dublin as "paying guests" with a threadbare, though incredibly proud, Anglo-Irish mother and her adult daughter in their decrepit apartment. What a learning experience for a seven-year-old boy! My fascination with the country's culture and history has never dampened, climaxed by my purchase of a 16th-century ruin, Moyode Castle, in County Galway, now finally restored. Over the years I have written seven books, six of them on Irish themes, plus innumerable articles in scholarly journals. The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland is my magnum opus as an Irish historian.

James' book list on Irish history and different aspects of it

James Charles Roy Why did James love this book?

When this book was released in 1962, it landed like a bomb, becoming an immediate, worldwide best seller. Woodham-Smith did not "invent" the famine as a topic -- every historian of the period was well aware of this tragedy, and its implications for the future of Ireland (mass emigration, smoldering indignation in the Irish diaspora, seeds for future rebellion) -- but many readers were unaware of the governmental machinations in London that so contributed to this humanitarian disaster. Some of Woodham-Smith's conclusions, and judgments, have been questioned by succeeding historians, but her narrative here is compelling, well researched, beautifully written, and germane to the troubles which afflicted the island well into the twentieth century and beyond.

By Cecil Woodham-Smith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Irish potato famine of the 1840s, perhaps the most appalling event of the Victorian era, killed over a million people and drove as many more to emigrate to America. It may not have been the result of deliberate government policy, yet British 'obtuseness, short-sightedness and ignorance' - and stubborn commitment to laissez-faire 'solutions' - largely caused the disaster and prevented any serious efforts to relieve suffering. The continuing impact on Anglo-Irish relations was incalculable, the immediate human cost almost inconceivable. In this vivid and disturbing book Cecil Woodham-Smith provides the definitive account.

'A moving and terrible book. It combines…


Book cover of The West Wing Script Book

John Gaspard Author Of The Ambitious Card

From my list on for writers who want to write scripts.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started making movies at age 13; to make a movie, you need a script, so I became a screenwriter by default. A dozen low-budget movies (and a couple of TV scripts) later, I started writing fiction: Two mystery series, (The Eli Marks mysteries and The Como Lake Players mysteries), four stand-alone novels, plus a couple of filmmaking “How To” books followed. Over the years, I’ve always searched out the best ideas on how to write, and how to write well. If I were to teach a course on writing, the five books I’ve listed would comprise the reading list.

John's book list on for writers who want to write scripts

John Gaspard Why did John love this book?

Why this book? Two words: Aaron Sorkin. This book collects six of his teleplays, but I think you could get just as much by watching the first four seasons of “The West Wing.” Osmosis, do your thing!

Dialogue, character development, how to get into a scene, how to get out of a scene, juxtaposition … it’s all there, and more in Sorkin’s writing. This book contains some of my favorite episodes (although it doesn’t have my favorite, “Noel”), and some of his best speeches. In particular, Bartlett’s rant in “Two Cathedrals” and Toby’s frustration in “17 People” (“I will bet you all the money in my pockets against all the money in your pockets…”) Sorkin’s mantra (intention and obstacle) is probably the shortest and best advice you can get about how to keep characters alive in a scene. Read this book (and watch the show) to see that mantra…

By Aaron Sorkin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The West Wing Script Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First-time publication of 8 full scripts from the hit NBC showwinner of 9 Emmy Awards, including Best Drama writingselected and introduced by the acclaimed show creator and screenwriter of The American President and A Few Good Men. Here is the first collection of scripts from the show's first two seasons, including the Emmy Award-winning episode "In Excelsis Deo." The NBC show, named "TV Show of the Year" by Entertainment Weekly, stars Rob Lowe, Dule Hill, Allison Janney, Janel Moloney, John Spencer, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford, and Martin Sheen. Reviewers and fans of The West Wing agree that one of the…


Book cover of Transforming Post-Catholic Ireland: Religious Practice in Late Modernity

Crawford Gribben Author Of The Rise and Fall of Christian Ireland

From my list on Christianity in Ireland.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like anyone else who takes an interest in Ireland, I’ve been fascinated by the long and often very difficult history of the island’s experience of religion. Where I live, in county Antrim, religious imagery appears everywhere – in churches and schools, obviously, but also on signboards posted onto trees, and in the colourful rags that are still hung up to decorate holy wells. This book is the fruit of twenty years of thinking about Christian Ireland - its long and difficult history, and its sudden and difficult collapse.

Crawford's book list on Christianity in Ireland

Crawford Gribben Why did Crawford love this book?

Why, from the 1990s, did the Irish Catholic consensus so suddenly disappear? And what might be the effect of this sudden-onset secularisation? This brilliant account of the recent revolution in Irish religion describes the effects of the clerical scandals that brought down a government, demoralised a denomination, and drove social change on a massive and structural scale. Ganiel shows how the older religious monopolies that did so much to shape the institutions and culture of Ireland, north and south, have given way to a much more fluid religious market, in which individuals can believe without belonging just as much as they might formerly have belonged without believing.

By Gladys Ganiel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Transforming Post-Catholic Ireland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Transforming Post-Catholic Ireland is the first major book to explore the dynamic religious landscape of contemporary Ireland, north and south, and to analyse the island's religious transition. It confirms that the Catholic Church's long-standing 'monopoly' has well and truly disintegrated, replaced by a mixed, post-Catholic religious 'market' featuring new and growing expressions of Protestantism, as well as other religions. It describes how people of faith
are developing 'extra-institutional' expressions of religion, keeping their faith alive outside or in addition to the institutional Catholic Church.

Drawing on island-wide surveys of clergy and laypeople, as well as more than 100 interviews, Gladys…


Book cover of Occasions of Sin: Sex and Society in Modern Ireland

Catherine Dunne Author Of The Years That Followed: A Novel

From my list on ‘herstory’: breaking the silence.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Irish writer, perenially fascinated by the question: Who gets to tell the story? Who owns the narrative? I’ve discovered, over and over again, that women often don’t. We are airbrushed out of all kinds of stories: Political, social, and personal. That’s why the power of absence, of silence, has always been at the root of my inspiration as a writer. And Greek myth is a rich source of the silencing of women everywhere. These books that I have listed are but a small sample of the hundreds that have intrigued me over the years, or angered me, but above all, have made me think. 

Catherine's book list on ‘herstory’: breaking the silence

Catherine Dunne Why did Catherine love this book?

The author is one of Ireland’s most respected historians. In this superb analysis, he explores the public and private worlds of Irish sex. 

Over the decades, Irish society, hand-in-hand with a dominant Catholic Church, succeeded in silencing generations of women.

We are still trying to come to terms with the iniquitous system of Magdalen Laundries and mother and baby homes, where pregnant young girls and women were hidden from sight so that the public would not be shamed by their sexual transgressions.

The text is accessible and illuminating. It explores hidden areas of modern Irish society and is a must-read, in my view, for anyone interested in this country.

By Diarmaid Ferriter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ferriter covers such subjects as abortion, pregnancy, celibacy, contraception, censorship, infanticide, homosexuality, prostitution, marriage, popular culture, social life and the various hidden Irelands associated with sexual abuse - all in the context of a conservative official morality backed by the Catholic Church and by legislation. The book energetically and originally engages with subjects omitted from the mainstream historical narrative. The breadth of this book and the richness of the source material uncovered make it definitive in its field and a most remarkable work of social history.


Book cover of Rebel's Knot

Anna Belfrage Author Of In the Shadow of the Storm

From my list on gritty historical fiction with a pinch of love.

Why am I passionate about this?

Give me a castle ruin or guide me through ancient Roman mosaics and you make my day. Accordingly, my preferred reading is historical fiction. I read (and review) lots of it, like 100 books/year. I am also ridiculously romantic. I want there to be some heart with the blood and war, I want characters I can root for despite the horrifying odds facing them. I want protagonists that step out of the past to drag me back with them. When I read, these are the books I choose. When I write, these are the books I aspire to create—Romantic Historical Fiction, if you will.

Anna's book list on gritty historical fiction with a pinch of love

Anna Belfrage Why did Anna love this book?

Rebel Knot is set in 17th-century Ireland, torn apart by religious conflict between Catholics and Protestants. This is a war-ravaged Ireland, a land where hope is in short supply and peace is more of a dream than a possibility. And yet, in the midst of all that violence fragile love can flourish—even between people who belong on opposite sides of the religious fence. Ms. Bazos does a fantastic job of transporting the reader back in time, and her two main characters, Niall and Ainé, are wonderfully complex and relatable. The harshness of the times is vividly depicted—as is the growing attraction between the innocent and traumatised Ainé and her new protector, Niall. 

By Cryssa Bazos,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ireland 1652: In the desperate, final days of the English invasion . . .

A fey young woman, Áine Callaghan, is the sole survivor of an attack by English marauders. When Irish soldier Niall O'Coneill discovers his own kin slaughtered in the same massacre, he vows to hunt down the men responsible. He takes Áine under his protection and together they reach the safety of an encampment held by the Irish forces in Tipperary.

Hardly a safe haven, the camp is rife with danger and intrigue. Áine is a stranger with the old stories stirring on her tongue and rumours…


Book cover of Forsaking All Other

Tony Riches Author Of Drake - Tudor Corsair

From my list on historical fiction about the Elizabethans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born within sight of Pembroke Castle, birthplace of Henry Tudor, who later became King Henry VII and began the Tudor Dynasty, so I’ve always had an interest in his story. I found several biographies, but no novels which brought the truth of his story to life. The idea for the Tudor Trilogy occurred to me when I realised Henry Tudor could be born in book one, ‘come of age’ in book two, and rule England as king in book three. Since then, I’ve continued to follow the Tudor ‘thread’ all the way from Owen Tudor’s first meeting with Catherine of Valois, and culminating with the Elizabethan Series.

Tony's book list on historical fiction about the Elizabethans

Tony Riches Why did Tony love this book?

This well-researched story of duty, honour, and love is an exploration of Elizabethan marriage and religious and intolerance highlights how women were a way of advancing the land, wealth, and influence the status of their families. I liked the accomplished storytelling and the use of historical details of the clothing, food, and domestic routine of a Tudor household to bring the period to life.

By Catherine Meyrick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Love is no game for women; the price is far too high.

England 1585.

Bess Stoughton, waiting woman to the well-connected Lady Allingbourne, has discovered that her father is arranging for her to marry an elderly neighbour. Normally obedient Bess rebels and wrests from her father a year to find a husband more to her liking.

Edmund Wyard, a taciturn and scarred veteran of England's campaign in Ireland, is attempting to ignore the pressure from his family to find a suitable wife as he prepares to join the Earl of Leicester's army in the Netherlands.

Although Bess and Edmund are…


Book cover of Titanic Love Stories: The True Stories of 13 Honeymoon Couples Who Sailed on the Titanic

Carla Louise Robinson Author Of The Light In The Darkness Book One

From my list on the Titanic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a bibliophile who loves dogs and prefers the country to the city. I’m the kid who yelled at my kindergarten teacher because she hadn’t taught me to read by the end of the year. That same tenacity followed me when, at seven years old, I learned that James Cameron was making a movie based on the Titanic. With righteous fury, I yelled at my befuddled parents, before asking why they had not told me about this ship. I pleaded with my parents to take me to see the movie for my upcoming eighth birthday, and they relented, with my mum buying my first fictional Titanic novel. That’s how my Titanic obsession began.

Carla's book list on the Titanic

Carla Louise Robinson Why did Carla love this book?

Gill Paul’s Titanic Love Stories tells the fate of the thirteen honeymoon couples that boarded the doomed ship. It tells stories from society’s elite to third-class passengers from a small country Irish town. Beginning with JJ Astor, Paul tells the story of a man who risked everything for a woman he loved more than anything, showering her with flowers and books to win her favour. In Madeleine, Astor found a future that promised happiness – something he had not had in his previous marriage. Madeleine would love him in a way Astor had never been loved before, who had suffered through a contentious divorce brought by his ex-wife’s extramarital affair. The book finishes with Neal and Eileen McNamee, a newlywed couple that fell in love the moment they met, with Eileen teasing Neal about his moustache and “funny” accent. Eileen converted to Catholicism in order to marry the man she…

By Gill Paul,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Very Good Gently read once. No marks of previous ownership; not an ex-library copy. Binding tight; spine straight and smooth, with no creasing; covers clean and crisp. Minimal signs of handling or shelving. 100% GUARANTEE! Shipped with delivery confirmation, if you're not satisfied with purchase please return item for full refund.


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