100 books like Chief Bender's Burden

By Tom Swift,

Here are 100 books that Chief Bender's Burden fans have personally recommended if you like Chief Bender's Burden. 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 This Tender Land

Brenda Smith Author Of Becoming Fearless: Finding Courage in the African Wilderness

From my list on surviving and finding courage in the wilderness.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the daughter of a prim and proper New England family, expectations were that I would follow societal norms: attend college, get married, and raise a family. I knew practically nothing about the world outside the United States, nor had I any curiosity about it. Everything changed in 1980 when I took a job as an accountant working for one of the world’s greatest adventurers, Richard Bangs. He literally dragged me, kicking and screaming, into the remotest heart of Africa, where I became infected by wanderlust. Ever since, as a single woman, I have embraced a life of adventure traveling around our amazing planet.

Brenda's book list on surviving and finding courage in the wilderness

Brenda Smith Why did Brenda love this book?

This story also tells of a river journey by four young orphans who in 1932 escape from a horrid Indian training school and travel for months down the Mississippi River. They head into the unknown, unprotected from the perils they encounter.

On my journey, I needed to be constantly vigilant for natural predators like lions, hippos, and crocs. These children had to be on the lookout for human predators: the search party sent looking for them, drifters, grifters, and traveling faith healers. Facing each obstacle we encountered on our trips, we managed not only to survive but actually thrive in hostile surroundings.

By William Kent Krueger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

1932, Minnesota-the Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to an orphan named Odie O'Banion, a lively boy whose exploits earn him the superintendent's wrath. Forced to flee, he and his brother Albert, their best friend Mose, and a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi and a place to call their own.

Over the course of one unforgettable summer, these four orphans will fly into the unknown and cross paths with others…


Book cover of The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

Joe Wilkins Author Of The Entire Sky

From my list on books about rural America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on the high plains of eastern Montana. Like most rural folks, we lived close to the bone, even in the best of times. Then, when I was nine, my father died—and things got even harder. We finally had to put our acres up for lease, and I made a goal to leave that hard place. Though I worked hard for this new life I find myself leading—I studied, won scholarships, earned an MFA, and became a professor—ever since I left Montana, I’ve been trying to understand the distance between there and where I find myself now. I’ve been trying to understand rural America.

Joe's book list on books about rural America

Joe Wilkins Why did Joe love this book?

I’ve read and deeply admired nearly everything Erdrich has written, from Love Medicine to The Roundhouse. Erdrich’s language is always incantatory, and her stories are full of magic, landscape, and history. But this one is my absolute favorite. Even the title is amazing!

The story moves back and forth across the decades, and characters shift and transform before your eyes. Erdrich reminds me of Faulkner or even Homer; though deeply rooted in the lives and experiences of the Ojibwe communities of eastern North Dakota, Erdrich’s novels have a timeless, mythic feel. 

By Louise Erdrich,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A powerfully involving novel from one of America's finest writers, and winner of America's prestigious National Book Award for Fiction 2012

Sister Cecilia lives for music, for those hours when she can play her beloved Chopin on the piano. It isn't that she neglects her other duties, rather it is the playing itself - distilled of longing - that disturbs her sisters. The very air of the convent thickens with the passion of her music, and the young girl is asked to leave. And so it is that Sister Cecilia appears before Berndt Vogel on his farm, destitute, looking for…


Book cover of My Name Is Joe Lavoie

Curt Brown Author Of Minnesota, 1918: When Flu, Fire, and War Ravaged the State

From my list on Minnesota stories to get through a long winter.

Why am I passionate about this?

After more than 30 years in daily journalism in Minnesota, I moved to a trout stream near Durango, Colo., to stage a second act. Editors at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where I worked for 26 years, gave me a freelance contract to write a Minnesota History column every Sunday. It’s morphed into a popular crowd-sourcing of history with readers feeding me delicious family stories. I’m the lucky one who gets to weave these stories—enriching my knowledge of what being Minnesotans is all about.

Curt's book list on Minnesota stories to get through a long winter

Curt Brown Why did Curt love this book?

A master of nonfiction crime writing, William Swanson uses his W.A. Winter pen name for fictional works, including this 2022 book that clung to my thoughts weeks after the last page. Based loosely on a Minnesota crime spree in the 1950s, Winter takes readers into the mind of Joe Lavoie—the wheelchair-bound lone survivor of three brothers who engaged in a shootout with police in 1953. Set in 1991, 38 years after the crippling police gunshot, the taut writing takes you into Joe’s mind and explores his dysfunctional family on what turns out to be his last stand.

By W.A. Winter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Name Is Joe Lavoie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Minneapolis, 1953—A wild crime spree stuns the Upper Midwest, leaving a trail of blood and betrayal that terrifies a region and shatters the family at its core. 

Thirty-eight years later, the tattered remnants of the notorious LaVoie crime family—sisters, brothers, and children too young to remember or understand—gather for an edgy reunion in a Minneapolis suburb. Among the guests is Joe LaVoie, sole survivor of the fraternal gang behind the ’50s bloodshed, a convicted cop-killer crippled by a police bullet during the final shootout. Now, an old man facing his own death, Joe is both desperate and terrified to learn…


Book cover of The Gift of the Deer

Curt Brown Author Of Minnesota, 1918: When Flu, Fire, and War Ravaged the State

From my list on Minnesota stories to get through a long winter.

Why am I passionate about this?

After more than 30 years in daily journalism in Minnesota, I moved to a trout stream near Durango, Colo., to stage a second act. Editors at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, where I worked for 26 years, gave me a freelance contract to write a Minnesota History column every Sunday. It’s morphed into a popular crowd-sourcing of history with readers feeding me delicious family stories. I’m the lucky one who gets to weave these stories—enriching my knowledge of what being Minnesotans is all about.

Curt's book list on Minnesota stories to get through a long winter

Curt Brown Why did Curt love this book?

This quirky 1966 memoir comes from a Chicago couple who traded in their big-city careers for a cabin at the end of the Gunflint Trail in Minnesota’s remote northeastern Arrowhead country. She had been a top-notch metallurgist—fiddling with a new way to temper steel for farm implements at International Harvester’s research lab near Chicago. He had been an art director for a textbook publisher. No one thought they’d make it through one Minnesota winter but they endured for 17 years on the edge of the wilderness and write soothingly about their new lives amid nature.

By Helen Hoover,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The classic story of a family of deer and the humans who loved them

One Christmas Eve an emaciated deer stumbled across the yard of Helen Hoover's remote cabin in northern Minnesota. Barely surviving the brutal winter, gaunt from starvation, blind in one eye from a hunting wound, he became the central character in Hoover's best-selling book, The Gift of the Deer.

Hoover and her husband Adrian named this deer Peter and nursed him back to health, setting out cedar branches, corn, and carrots. From that Christmas on, the Hoovers observed Peter and his growing clan for four years. Hoover…


Book cover of God Almighty Hisself: The Life and Legacy of Dick Allen

David Vaught Author Of Spitter: Baseball's Notorious Gaylord Perry

From my list on deep-dive baseball biographies.

Why am I passionate about this?

Writing this book brought back memories from my childhood—of watching Perry pitch in the late 1960s and, more deeply, of relations with my parents. My father (a math prof at UC Berkeley) and mother cared little for sports, but by the time I turned seven, an identity uniquely my own emerged from my infatuation with the San Francisco Giants. By age ten, I regularly sneaked off to Candlestick Park, which required two long bus rides and a hike through one of the city’s worst neighborhoods. I knew exactly when I had to leave to retrace my journey to get home in time for dinner. Baseball was, and remains, in my blood.

David's book list on deep-dive baseball biographies

David Vaught Why did David love this book?

Nathanson (like me) faced the dilemma of writing biography when the subject declines to be interviewed. His approach showed me the way. The availability of digital newspaper databases has opened up enormous possibilities for research, and Nathanson took advantage of them to provide color, detail, and analysis on a grand scale. The many dozens of reporters and newspaper writers who covered Dick Allen wrote game accounts, opinion columns, and feature stories that informed, inspired, and entertained contemporary readers. They watched the games from the vantage point of the press box, peppered the players and managers with questions in the clubhouse afterward, and often rode the buses and planes with the teams. They had a level of access that is the envy of historians, and Nathanson greatly profited from their work.

By Mitchell Nathanson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When the Philadelphia Phillies signed Dick Allen in 1960, fans of the franchise envisioned bearing witness to feats never before accomplished by a Phillies player. A half-century later, they're still trying to make sense of what they saw.
Carrying to the plate baseball's heaviest and loudest bat as well as the burden of being the club's first African American superstar, Allen found both hits and controversy with ease and regularity as he established himself as the premier individualist in a game that prided itself on conformity. As one of his managers observed, "I believe God Almighty hisself would have trouble…


Book cover of The Contagious City: The Politics of Public Health in Early Philadelphia

Andrew M. Wehrman Author Of The Contagion of Liberty: The Politics of Smallpox in the American Revolution

From my list on understanding health and politics in the early US.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of early American history who discovered the history of medicine somewhat by accident. As a history graduate student, I wanted to understand how ordinary Americans experienced the American Revolution. While digging through firsthand accounts written by average Americans, I came across a diary written by a sailor named Ashley Bowen. Although Bowen wrote made entries daily beginning in the 1760s, he hardly mentioned any of the political events that typically mark the coming of the American Revolution. Instead, day after day, he wrote about outbreaks of smallpox and how he volunteered to help his community. From then on, I began to understand just how central and inseparable health and politics are. 

Andrew's book list on understanding health and politics in the early US

Andrew M. Wehrman Why did Andrew love this book?

Simon Finger’s book, The Contagious City, is a wonderful, concise introduction to the politics of public health in early America. By focusing on Philadelphia, a city literally designed by William Penn to be healthier than European cities, Finger shows how a distinctly American view of public health developed even after that original plan failed to achieve its desired results. Finger describes the growth of the medical community in Philadelphia, its trials during the Revolution, and its failures during the 1793 yellow fever epidemic.

By Simon Finger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

By the time William Penn was planning the colony that would come to be called Pennsylvania, with Philadelphia at its heart, Europeans on both sides of the ocean had long experience with the hazards of city life, disease the most terrifying among them. Drawing from those experiences, colonists hoped to create new urban forms that combined the commercial advantages of a seaport with the health benefits of the country. The Contagious City details how early Americans struggled to preserve their collective health against both the strange new perils of the colonial environment and the familiar dangers of the traditional city,…


Book cover of Fever 1793

Elizabeth Langston Author Of Whisper Falls

From my list on fish out of water” historical novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved learning about the past. Whenever we travel for vacation, my family has become resigned to making a stop at a historical site, especially for Colonial America. It was no surprise to them that I set parts of my first published novel (and series) in 18th century North Carolina. Each novel on my book list is set in a different century and features ordinary people who, when thrown into extraordinary circumstances, respond with strength, courage, and grace. These historical “fish-out-of-water” stories remind us how much people have changed across time—and how they’ve stayed the same. 

Elizabeth's book list on fish out of water” historical novels

Elizabeth Langston Why did Elizabeth love this book?

When I first read Fever 1793—set in Philadelphia during a yellow fever epidemic—I thought it was a well-written and thought-provoking glimpse into how people would respond in a crisis. After re-reading it post-pandemic, I would now add “prophetic.” Mattie is a typical grumpy teen who would rather have fun than work in her family’s coffee house. But there is a deadly fever rapidly spreading through the city. Desperation unleashes her inner strength, allowing her to prevail over disease, fear, food shortages, unscrupulous thieves, and well-intentioned but poorly-managed medical science.

By Laurie Halse Anderson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Fever 1793 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Synopsis coming soon.......


Book cover of Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia

Laura A. Macaluso Author Of Monument Culture: International Perspectives on the Future of Monuments in a Changing World

From my list on monuments in the era of controversies and removal.

Why am I passionate about this?

Laura A. Macaluso researches and writes about monuments, museums, and material culture. Interested in monuments since the 1990s, the current controversies and iconoclasm (monument removals) have reshaped society across the globe. She works at the intersection of public art and public history, at places such as George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Laura's book list on monuments in the era of controversies and removal

Laura A. Macaluso Why did Laura love this book?

Monument Lab is one book to get your hands on, if you are curious to know how a historic city can remake its traditional monumental history to become more inclusive and reflective of a holistic past and present. The book is about the organization called Monument Lab, which works with communities, artists, and more to reshape the monument culture of Philadelphia. Filled with short essays and colorful photographs, Monument Lab and Monument Lab the book model the democratic turn towards inclusive monument making in an American city.

By Paul M. Farber (editor), Ken Lum (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia? That was the question posed by the curators, artists, scholars, and students who comprise the Philadelphia-based public art and history studio Monument Lab. And in 2017, along with Mural Arts Philadelphia, they produced and organized a groundbreaking, city-wide exhibition of temporary, site-specific works that engaged directly with the community. The installations, by a cohort of diverse artists considering issues of identity, appeared in iconic public squares and neighborhood parks with research and learning labs and prototype monuments.

Monument Lab is a fabulous compendium of the exhibition and a critical…


Book cover of Gangsters of Capitalism: Smedley Butler, the Marines, and the Making and Breaking of America's Empire

Jordan Neben Author Of A Lot of Questions, with No Answers

From my list on thinking about history and how we understand it.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like many people, my passions were first ignited when I was a toddler, and I mainly have my maternal grandfather to thank what for interests me. I remember coming to my grandparent’s house when I was young and watching WWII documentaries that my grandfather had on VHS (yes, I’m that old). Since then, I’ve always had a passion for history. It doesn’t really matter the subject, I’m interested in everything; from the Ottoman Empire to the Vietnam War, to the Spanish Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula, to the US-backed coup in Guatemala during the Cold War. I hope that passion for history comes through when readers explore my book.  

Jordan's book list on thinking about history and how we understand it

Jordan Neben Why did Jordan love this book?

Gangsters of Capitalism covers a part of US history that is often deliberately overlooked by Americans, because it clashes with our national myths about ourselves. Katz follows US imperial history from the very end of the 19th century through to the middle of the 20th century, by following the life and career of Smedley Butler, a man who served in the marines for so much of this history. Gangster of Capitalism is in the top five of my favorite books that I have ever read. Katz’s ability to weave a personal biography with sweeping history and how that history still affects us all in the present is superb. 

By Jonathan M. Katz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking journey tracing America’s forgotten path to global power—and how its legacies shape our world today—told through the extraordinary life of a complicated Marine.

Smedley Butler was the most celebrated warfighter of his time. Bestselling books were written about him. Hollywood adored him. Wherever the flag went, “The Fighting Quaker” went—serving in nearly every major overseas conflict from the Spanish War of 1898 until the eve of World War II. From his first days as a 16-year-old recruit at the newly seized Guantánamo Bay, he blazed a path for empire: helping annex the Philippines and the land for the…


Book cover of Mistaken Identity

Garrett Epps Author Of Democracy Reborn: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Fight for Equal Rights in Post-Civil War America

From my list on legal novels that you can't put down.

Why am I passionate about this?

Garrett Epps is the author of two published novels and five works of non-fiction about the U.S. Constitution. He graduated from Duke Law School in 1991; since then he has taught Constitutional Law at the American University, the University of Baltimore, Boston College, Duke University, and the University of Oregon. For ten years he was Supreme Court Correspondent for The Atlantic, and covered from close up cases involving the Affordable Care Act, same-sex marriage, and the Trump Administration’s immigration policies. He is now Legal Affairs Editor of The Washington Monthly, and at work on a novel about crime and justice during the years of Southern segregation. 

Garrett's book list on legal novels that you can't put down

Garrett Epps Why did Garrett love this book?

Scottoline, a former big-firm litigator, has created Benny Rosato, the founder of an all-female firm of defense lawyers, as the master of the world of courts and jails. In Mistaken Identity, however, Benny defends an unexpected client—“Alice Connoly,” who is Rosato herself, a double claiming to be a long-lost twin. What follows raises the question of why (as the mysterious defendant asks) Alice is in jail while Rosato is free, secure, and successful. In a way, Mistaken Identity is a feminist version of The Trial--a fever dream of that same hellish world that Kafka saw beneath K.’s feet--the law, supernatural and inhuman, that waits to devour the innocent and the guilty alike.

By Lisa Scottoline,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Another riveting courtroom thriller from the female John Grisham.

Crack trial lawyer Bennie Rosato is called to the local prison to consult with Alice Connolly, a woman accused of committing cold-blooded murder and who wants Bennie to represent her at the trial. Bennie has no intention of taking the case, until she comes face to face with Connolly: the incarcerated woman is a dead ringer for Bennie - and claims to be her long-lost twin sister. Disbelieving but somehow convinced, Bennie takes on the case against her better judgement, and starts sniffing out the corruption and dangerous cover-up that lies…


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