78 books like Chaos

By Tom O'Neill, Dan Piepenbring,

Here are 78 books that Chaos fans have personally recommended if you like Chaos. 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 Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

Kayla Anderson Author Of Moon Northern California Road Trip: Drives along the Coast, Redwoods, and Mountains with the Best Stops along the Way

From my list on embarking on epic adventures from your armchair.

Who am I?

I was born and raised in Northern California, right on the banks of the Sacramento River. While I didn’t realize it growing up, it was an epicenter for outdoor adventures. Along with skiing, snowboarding, hiking, wakeboarding, and camping, I always read a lot. My dad was worried that I would have no sense of direction because I was always in the back of our van or RV reading a book. That led to writing…and I had my first article published in a wakeboarding magazine when I was 15 years old. Traveling always took a backburner to reading, but now it’s front and center of my writing. 

Kayla's book list on embarking on epic adventures from your armchair

Kayla Anderson Why did Kayla love this book?

Anyone who has ever worked in the food or hospitality industry—as a cook, a waitress, a hostess, a barista, or otherwisecan identify with this book.

The restaurant business is a different beast, and Anthony Bourdain took a huge risk in writing this and burning bridges with his bosses and coworkers. But in doing so, he unlocked the universal hidden language that food and hospitality workers share.

As a former hostess/waitress myself who spent most of her college years with a part-time job at IHOP and the Golden Waffle, I could relate to a lot of what Bourdain experienced working in NYC, especially with minority groups and how they were treated during that time. He was a huge inspiration to a lot of people, including me. 

By Anthony Bourdain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE CLASSIC BESTSELLER: 'The greatest book about food ever written' 'A compelling book with its intriguing mix of clever writing and kitchen patois ... more horrifically gripping than a Stephen King novel' Sunday Times 'Extraordinary ... written with a clarity and a clear-eyed wit to put the professional food-writing fraternity to shame' Observer _____________________________ After twenty-five years of 'sex, drugs, bad behaviour and haute cuisine', chef and novelist Anthony Bourdain decided to tell all - and he meant all. From his first oyster in the Gironde to his lowly position as a dishwasher in a honky-tonk fish restaurant in Provincetown;…


Book cover of The Gospel of Blood: The crimes and trial of the Vampire of Paris in his own words

Sondra London Author Of The Making of a Serial Killer

From my list on recent true crime books.

Who am I?

I am a  true-crime author. Most recently, I have released a pair of related books: The Making of a Serial Killer: 2d Ed, by Danny Rolling as told to myself; and Danny Rolling Serial Killer: Interviews. Before that, I published Good Little Soldiers: A Memoir of True Horror. Coauthored with Dianne Fitzpatrick, it relates her tale of murder & mind control under the US Army MK Ultra program. Earlier, I wrote True Vampires, an encyclopedic compendium of bloody crimes, and Knockin' on Joe: Voices from Death Row. I also collaborated with serial killer GJ Schaefer on Killer Fiction, a volume of psychopathic musings he wrote for me.

Sondra's book list on recent true crime books

Sondra London Why did Sondra love this book?

At long last the Vampire of Paris crawls from his crypt, a living legend emblazoned with magical sigils and muttering dire imprecations for 666 searing pages. A world-renowned artist and bold aesthete of the macabre, Nico Claux holds a Japanese cannibal as his role model and calls Satan his homeboy. This reclusive genius goes beyond the pale only to reveal himself as a regular bloke, albeit one with a taste for torture and blasphemy. Meant to be read in the darkest night!

By Nico Claux,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Gospel of Blood is the autobiography of Nico Claux, a French morgue attendant whose morbid obsessions led him to grave robbery, cannibalism and murder in the early 1990s. It is a bone-chilling chronicle of a real-life vampire who prowled the Gothic cemeteries of Paris, unearthing coffins and mutilating the bodies inside. A practicing Satanist, Claux escalated to murder after working for a year in several morgues, receiving orders to kill from the corpses he had autopsied.The Gospel of Blood provides a rare insight into a killer’s tortured mind, as he relates the graphic details of his crimes, including never-before…


Book cover of Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control

Christopher Rankin Author Of Ann Marie's Asylum

From my list on mad scientists both real and fictional.

Who am I?

Christopher Rankin is an author, the host of the Vanadium podcast on YouTube, and a scientist in the field of renewable materials. He was awarded a PhD in materials science from the University of Pennsylvania and holds several patents. A lifelong lover of science, Rankin hopes to encourage greater public interest and a broader understanding of technical subjects.

Christopher's book list on mad scientists both real and fictional

Christopher Rankin Why did Christopher love this book?

The historical accounts of the rise and reign of chemist Sidney Gottlieb seem like deep YouTube conspiracy theory. How could a trusted government official, a scientist, be drugging unwitting subjects, civilians, even his own coworkers? This is one of the most bizarre and important tales from American cold war history.

By Stephen Kinzer,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Poisoner in Chief as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The visionary chemist Sidney Gottlieb was the CIA's master magician and gentle hearted torturer - the agency's "poisoner in chief." As head of the MK-ULTRA mind control project, he directed brutal experiments at secret prisons on three continents. He made pills, powders, and potions that could kill or maim without a trace, and he secretly dosed unsuspecting American citizens with mind-altering drugs. His experiments spread LSD across the United States, making him a hidden godfather of the 1960s counterculture, and he was also the chief supplier of spy tools used by CIA officers around the world.

Stephen Kinzer, the author…


Book cover of A Lie Too Big to Fail: The Real History of the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy

Sondra London Author Of The Making of a Serial Killer

From my list on recent true crime books.

Who am I?

I am a  true-crime author. Most recently, I have released a pair of related books: The Making of a Serial Killer: 2d Ed, by Danny Rolling as told to myself; and Danny Rolling Serial Killer: Interviews. Before that, I published Good Little Soldiers: A Memoir of True Horror. Coauthored with Dianne Fitzpatrick, it relates her tale of murder & mind control under the US Army MK Ultra program. Earlier, I wrote True Vampires, an encyclopedic compendium of bloody crimes, and Knockin' on Joe: Voices from Death Row. I also collaborated with serial killer GJ Schaefer on Killer Fiction, a volume of psychopathic musings he wrote for me.

Sondra's book list on recent true crime books

Sondra London Why did Sondra love this book?

In A Lie Too Big to Fail, longtime Kennedy researcher (of both JFK and RFK) Lisa Pease lays out, in meticulous detail, how witnesses with evidence of conspiracy were silenced by the Los Angeles Police Department; how evidence was deliberately altered and, in some instances, destroyed; and how the justice system and the media failed to present the truth of the case to the public. Pease reveals how the trial was essentially a sham, and how the prosecution did not dare to follow where the evidence led.

A Lie Too Big to Fail asserts the idea that a government can never investigate itself in a crime of this magnitude. Was the convicted Sirhan Sirhan a willing participant? Or was he a mind-controlled assassin? It has fallen to independent researchers like Pease to lay out the evidence in a clear and concise manner, allowing readers to form their theories about…

By Lisa Pease,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Lie Too Big to Fail as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In A Lie Too Big to Fail, longtime Kennedy researcher (of both JFK and RFK) Lisa Pease lays out, in meticulous detail, how witnesses with evidence of conspiracy were silenced by the Los Angeles Police Department; how evidence was deliberately altered and, in some instances, destroyed; and how the justice system and the media failed to present the truth of the case to the public. Pease reveals how the trial was essentially a sham, and how the prosecution did not dare to follow where the evidence led.
A Lie Too Big to Fail asserts the idea that a government can…


Book cover of Aberration in the Heartland of the Real: The Secret Lives of Timothy McVeigh

Sondra London Author Of The Making of a Serial Killer

From my list on recent true crime books.

Who am I?

I am a  true-crime author. Most recently, I have released a pair of related books: The Making of a Serial Killer: 2d Ed, by Danny Rolling as told to myself; and Danny Rolling Serial Killer: Interviews. Before that, I published Good Little Soldiers: A Memoir of True Horror. Coauthored with Dianne Fitzpatrick, it relates her tale of murder & mind control under the US Army MK Ultra program. Earlier, I wrote True Vampires, an encyclopedic compendium of bloody crimes, and Knockin' on Joe: Voices from Death Row. I also collaborated with serial killer GJ Schaefer on Killer Fiction, a volume of psychopathic musings he wrote for me.

Sondra's book list on recent true crime books

Sondra London Why did Sondra love this book?

Presenting startling new biographical details about Timothy McVeigh and exposing stark contradictions and errors contained in previous depictions of the "All-American Terrorist," this book traces McVeigh's life from childhood to the Army, throughout the plot to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and the period after his 1995 arrest until his 2001 execution. McVeigh's life, as Dr. Wendy Painting describes it, offers a backdrop for her discussion of not only several intimate and previously unknown details about him, but a number of episodes and circumstances in American History as well. In Aberration in the Heartland, Painting explores Cold War popular culture, all-American apocalyptic fervor, organized racism, contentious politics, militarism, warfare, conspiracy theories, bioethical controversies, mind control, the media's construction of villains and demons, and institutional secrecy and cover-ups.

By Wendy S. Painting,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aberration in the Heartland of the Real as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Presenting startling new biographical details about Timothy McVeigh and exposing stark contradictions and errors contained in previous depictions of the "All-American Terrorist," this book traces McVeigh's life from childhood to the Army, throughout the plot to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and the period after his 1995 arrest until his 2001 execution. McVeigh's life, as Dr. Wendy Painting describes it, offers a backdrop for her discussion of not only several intimate and previously unknown details about him, but a number of episodes and circumstances in American History as well. In Aberration in the Heartland, Painting explores Cold War…


Book cover of The Paranoid Style in American Politics

Mark Fenster Author Of Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture

From my list on understanding conspiracy theories.

Who am I?

I’m a law professor who, among other things, writes about the culture and law of secrecy. I’ve written two books: Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture, the second edition of which was published in 2008, and The Transparency Fix: Secrets, Leaks, and Uncontrollable Government Information (2017). I hold a J.D. from Yale Law School and a Ph.D. from the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and I teach at the University of Florida.

Mark's book list on understanding conspiracy theories

Mark Fenster Why did Mark love this book?

The most influential book on conspiracy theories, by any measure, published in 1966. Its title shouts Hofstadter’s thesis: A longstanding strain in American politics is marginal, dangerous, and a manifestation of political paranoia. Although countless op-ed writers have reduced his thesis to equate conspiracy theory to a paranoid mind, Hofstadter offers in the book’s first half more than simple social psychological analysis of the far right of the 1950s and 1960s, which included Joe McCarthy, Barry Goldwater, and the John Birch Society.

One of the preeminent mid-twentieth century U.S. historians, Hofstadter wrote wonderfully, engaged in big ideas, and if his work ultimately needs updating and deserves critique, Paranoid Style set the terms for a debate that continues today about conspiracy theories’ role in our political order.

By Richard Hofstadter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Paranoid Style in American Politics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This timely reissue of Richard Hofstadter's classic work on the fringe groups that influence American electoral politics offers an invaluable perspective on contemporary domestic affairs.In The Paranoid Style in American Politics, acclaimed historian Richard Hofstadter examines the competing forces in American political discourse and how fringe groups can influence — and derail — the larger agendas of a political party. He investigates the politics of the irrational, shedding light on how the behavior of individuals can seem out of proportion with actual political issues, and how such behavior impacts larger groups. With such other classic essays as “Free Silver and…


Book cover of Routledge Handbook of Conspiracy Theories

Mark Fenster Author Of Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture

From my list on understanding conspiracy theories.

Who am I?

I’m a law professor who, among other things, writes about the culture and law of secrecy. I’ve written two books: Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture, the second edition of which was published in 2008, and The Transparency Fix: Secrets, Leaks, and Uncontrollable Government Information (2017). I hold a J.D. from Yale Law School and a Ph.D. from the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and I teach at the University of Florida.

Mark's book list on understanding conspiracy theories

Mark Fenster Why did Mark love this book?

My book came out around the same time as several others on conspiracy theory from humanities scholars. I could spend all five of my book recommendations on their works—and I’m thinking especially here of books by Clare Birchall, Peter Knight, Timothy Melley, and more recently Michael Butter—but several of the authors are included in this recent collection that also features scholars from throughout Europe. The Routledge Handbook situates conspiracy theories within the political and cultural contexts from which they emerge throughout the world, and it includes in a single volume works from a broad range of disciplines that reveal the diversity and scope of the contemporary academic study of conspiracy theory.

By Michael Butter (editor), Peter Knight (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Routledge Handbook of Conspiracy Theories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Taking a global and interdisciplinary approach, the Routledge Handbook of Conspiracy Theories provides a comprehensive overview of conspiracy theories as an important social, cultural and political phenomenon in contemporary life.

This handbook provides the most complete analysis of the phenomenon to date. It analyses conspiracy theories from a variety of perspectives, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. It maps out the key debates, and includes chapters on the historical origins of conspiracy theories, as well as their political significance in a broad range of countries and regions. Other chapters consider the psychology and the sociology of conspiracy beliefs, in addition…


Book cover of The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory

Mark Fenster Author Of Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture

From my list on understanding conspiracy theories.

Who am I?

I’m a law professor who, among other things, writes about the culture and law of secrecy. I’ve written two books: Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture, the second edition of which was published in 2008, and The Transparency Fix: Secrets, Leaks, and Uncontrollable Government Information (2017). I hold a J.D. from Yale Law School and a Ph.D. from the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and I teach at the University of Florida.

Mark's book list on understanding conspiracy theories

Mark Fenster Why did Mark love this book?

Hofstadter’s Paranoid Style is more a work of historiography than history and attempted to explain the rise of a right-wing “paranoia” to a liberal intellectual audience in the early 1960s. By contrast, Jesse Walker’s book offers a more detailed, engaging, and sympathetic history of U.S. conspiracy theories and the individuals and groups who have made and circulated them. It’s funny and deadpan, with a keen eye for subcultural details and the singular American oddballs that have traveled from the margins to the mainstream. As Walker demonstrates, Qanon is not the first example of a bizarre, syncretic set of beliefs that has attracted a surprisingly large number of adherents.

By Jesse Walker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The United States of Paranoia is a history of America's demons. Conspiracy theories, Walker explains, aren't just a feature of the fringe: They've been a potent force across the political spectrum, in the center as well as the extremes, from the colonial era to the present. Walker argues that conspiracy stories need to be read not just as claims to be either believed or debunked but as folklore. When a tale takes hold, it says something true about the anxieties and experiences of the people who believe and repeat it, even if it says nothing true about the objects of…


Book cover of The Illuminatus! Trilogy

Marc E. Fitch Author Of Boy in the Box

From my list on brilliantly bat-shit stories.

Who am I?

I read widely and in many genres, so coming up with a thematic list was a difficult task. However, in working on my forthcoming novel Dead Ends, in which a quiet neighborhood descends into paranoia and insanity driven by fear, politics, and technology, I sought out novels that engaged with conspiratorial thinking and violence. I admire writers who don’t hold back and fully engage with their characters and material, particularly if it means going to dark, imaginative and strange places in their work. Please keep an eye out for Dead Ends, coming from Flame Tree Press in 2023.

Marc's book list on brilliantly bat-shit stories

Marc E. Fitch Why did Marc love this book?

This trilogy collection is perhaps the granddaddy of conspiracy novels because, frankly, it encompasses nearly all of them — at least at the time it was written — then weaves in fictional mythos, occult religions, fascist political movements, and a post-modern deconstruction of itself. It’s equal parts fun, crazy, confusing, and challenging. The fact that Shea and Wilson had the capacity to create such a mammoth work encompassing so many far-reaching, interconnecting lines of conspiratorial thought makes it work to behold, not only for its brilliance but also for its influence. This is not The DaVinci Code; it’s bigger, deeper, more imaginative, and more complex.

By Robert Shea, Robert Anton Williams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Filled with sex and violence--in and out of time and space--the three books of The Illuminatus are only partly works of the imagination. They tackle all the coverups of our time--from who really shot the Kennedys to why there's a pyramid on a one-dollar bill.


Book cover of Sphere

Nick Allen Brown Author Of Grainger County Tomatoes

From my list on drawing you into another world.

Who am I?

A book has the ability to change who you are as a person. The first time I read Charlotte's Web my perspective on death changed from something horrible to something that's a part of life. I still search for books that draw me into a world and when the book ends, a piece of me feels empty, but in a good way. The good news is that there are thousands of books that we can live in. My favorite quote of all time – “It is the reader that lives a thousand lives.” I've completed more than 80 book signings across the US, and I enjoy helping other writers achieve their goals.

Nick's book list on drawing you into another world

Nick Allen Brown Why did Nick love this book?

The setup of this story is captivating. A psychologist, a marine biologist, an astrophysicist, and a mathematician are called to a crash site in the middle of the ocean. What unfolds gives you, the reader, a chance to live in an underwater habitat as the crash site happens to be a spacecraft at the bottom of the ocean. I love the sense of claustrophobia this book gives me as it is both unsettling and comforting at times.

While the movies I watch tell me that an extra-terrestrial encounter would include little green men, this story gives us an alternative to that. Instead of a being, humanity is instead confronted with an entity. I felt genuine fear while reading this book.

By Michael Crichton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Ingenious and beguiling.”
—Time

“Crichton keeps us guessing at every turn in his best work since The Andromeda Strain.”
—Los Angeles Times

“Sphere may be Crichton’s best novel, but even if it ranked only second or third, it would be a must for suspense fans.”
—Miami Herald

A classic thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Crichton, Sphere is a bravura demonstration of what he does better than anyone: riveting storytelling that combines frighteningly plausible, cutting edge science and technology with pulse-pounding action and serious chills. The gripping story of a group of American scientists sent to the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Charles Manson, the CIA, and conspiracy theories?

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