81 books like City on the Verge

By Mark Pendergrast,

Here are 81 books that City on the Verge fans have personally recommended if you like City on the Verge. 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 Leaving Atlanta

Destiny O. Birdsong Author Of Nobody's Magic

From my list on novellas written by Black people on Black people.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nobody’s Magic began, not as the series of novellas it became, but as a collection of stories I couldn’t stop telling. And it wasn’t just my characters’ comings and goings that enthralled me. It was the way they demanded I let them tell their own stories. I enjoy reading and writing novellas because they allow space for action, voice, and reflection, and they can tackle manifold themes and conversations in a space that is both large and small. At the same time, they demand endings that are neither predictable nor neat, but rather force the reader to speculate on what becomes of these characters they’ve come to know and love. 

Destiny's book list on novellas written by Black people on Black people

Destiny O. Birdsong Why did Destiny love this book?

I have loved Black literature written in Southern AAVE since reading Charles Chesnutt’s The Conjure Woman in graduate school. But perhaps what I love most about the narrator, Octavia (also known as Sweet Pea), is that she’s fluent in many languages: the language of the hood where she lives, of the classroom where she excels, and of the playground, where her poverty is often a cause for ridicule, but where her sassy, outspoken nature is treated with grudging respect. Early 1980s Atlanta is an unsafe place for children: drugs, gangs, and the Atlanta Child Murders are threatening their very existence, and like many of the stories on my list, Octavia’s triptych also ends with a departure. However, her wit and savvy make clear that, wherever she lands, she’s going to be alright. 

By Tayari Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the summer of 1979 black children were disappearing from the streets of Atlanta. By the time this heinous killing spree was over, 29 children were dead. This haunting menace provides a powerful backdrop to the stories of three young children fighting the painful everyday battle of adolescence. Tasha, Rodney and Octavia each has a unique voice and story and each is struggling to find a path through the turmoil. Tasha, who is coping with the separation of her parents, is discovering the first sweet pain of a crush on a tough but tender boy named Jashante from the rough…


Book cover of Atlanta, Cradle of the New South: Race and Remembering in the Civil War's Aftermath

Wendy Hamand Venet Author Of Gone But Not Forgotten: Atlantans Commemorate the Civil War

From my list on 19th century Atlanta Georgia.

Why am I passionate about this?

Wendy Hamand Venet is an emeritus professor of history at Georgia State University. She is the author or editor of three books about Atlanta, Sam Richards’s Civil War Diary: A Chronicle of the Atlanta Home Front (edited work); A Changing Wind: Commerce and Conflict in Civil War Atlanta; Gone but not Forgotten: Atlantans Commemorate the Civil War.

Wendy's book list on 19th century Atlanta Georgia

Wendy Hamand Venet Why did Wendy love this book?

This book looks at Atlanta’s role in the emergence of a “New South” and the way that journalist and civic leader Henry Grady used the story of Atlanta’s wartime burning and destruction and its postwar rebuilding to rebrand the city. While supporting segregation in the South, Grady urged northern Whites to invest in the New South economy and denied that the region had a race problem. Black Atlantans presented an alternate narrative, one that emphasized the war as a first step in the fight for freedom and equality. The Atlanta Race Riot of 1906 left Grady’s New South concept “tattered and frayed”; the term was seldom used after that.

By William A. Link,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Atlanta, Cradle of the New South as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After conquering Atlanta in the summer of 1864 and occupying it for two months, Union forces laid waste to the city in November. William T. Sherman's invasion was a pivotal moment in the history of the South and Atlanta's rebuilding over the following fifty years came to represent the contested meaning of the Civil War itself. The war's aftermath brought contentious transition from Old South to New for whites and African Americans alike. Historian William Link argues that this struggle defined the broader meaning of the Civil War in the modern South, with no place embodying the region's past and…


Book cover of Secret Yankees: The Union Circle in Confederate Atlanta

Wendy Hamand Venet Author Of Gone But Not Forgotten: Atlantans Commemorate the Civil War

From my list on 19th century Atlanta Georgia.

Why am I passionate about this?

Wendy Hamand Venet is an emeritus professor of history at Georgia State University. She is the author or editor of three books about Atlanta, Sam Richards’s Civil War Diary: A Chronicle of the Atlanta Home Front (edited work); A Changing Wind: Commerce and Conflict in Civil War Atlanta; Gone but not Forgotten: Atlantans Commemorate the Civil War.

Wendy's book list on 19th century Atlanta Georgia

Wendy Hamand Venet Why did Wendy love this book?

Founded as a rail center in the 1830s, Atlanta was dependent on commercial ties with the North which explains the city’s Unionism before the Civil War. In the pivotal election of 1860 where Lincoln carried the northern states and a “southern rights” candidate carried the deep South, Atlantans voted overwhelmingly for Unionist candidates John Bell and Stephen A. Douglas. Although their numbers diminished after secession, a small cadre of Unionists remained in the city during the war, including Cyrena Stone, whose secret (and fascinating) diary is both a major source for and an appendix in this book.

By Thomas G. Dyer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During the American Civil War, a small group of Unionists found themselves trapped in the largest Southern city between Richmond and New Orleans. Atlanta was a Confederate bastion. The military ruled, and it brooked little dissent. But, as this work demonstrates, the Confederate military hadn't reckoned on Cyrena Stone. A Vermont native, Cyrena moved to Atlanta with her husband, Amherst, in 1854. After war broke out Amherst escaped to the North, but Cyrena remained behind. Hiding her small Union flag in her sugar bowl, suppressing but not moderating her well-known pro-Northern views, she belonged to a secret circle of Unionists…


Book cover of Atlanta, 1847-1890: City Building in the Old South and the New

Wendy Hamand Venet Author Of Gone But Not Forgotten: Atlantans Commemorate the Civil War

From my list on 19th century Atlanta Georgia.

Why am I passionate about this?

Wendy Hamand Venet is an emeritus professor of history at Georgia State University. She is the author or editor of three books about Atlanta, Sam Richards’s Civil War Diary: A Chronicle of the Atlanta Home Front (edited work); A Changing Wind: Commerce and Conflict in Civil War Atlanta; Gone but not Forgotten: Atlantans Commemorate the Civil War.

Wendy's book list on 19th century Atlanta Georgia

Wendy Hamand Venet Why did Wendy love this book?

This book provides an excellent overview of Atlanta’s rise from humble beginnings as a rail hub before the Civil War to a thriving commercial center by the end of the century. Russell argues that the war accelerated Atlanta’s commercial and industrial development, but its path was already set before General William T. Sherman’s army arrived during the Civil War. White business elites dominated city politics until the election of Atlanta’s first Black mayor, Maynard Jackson, in 1973.

Book cover of White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism

Kyle Burke Author Of Revolutionaries for the Right: Anticommunist Internationalism and Paramilitary Warfare in the Cold War

From my list on the history of American conservatism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of modern US and global history at Hartwick College in upstate New York. I have been reading and researching the history of conservative and right-wing movements in the United States and the wider world for almost two decades. My first book, Revolutionaries for the Right: Anticommunist Internationalism and Paramilitary Warfare in the Cold War, was published by University of North Carolina Press in 2018. My articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in Jacobin, Diplomatic History, Terrorism and Political Science, H-War, and H-Diplo. I’m currently at work on two projects: a history of the transatlantic white power movement and a film documentary about the short-lived white supremacist nation of Rhodesia and its contemporary legacies.

Kyle's book list on the history of American conservatism

Kyle Burke Why did Kyle love this book?

The rise of the right was in many ways a southern phenomenon as the Old South transformed into the Sun Belt. White Flight explores how white supremacy and fears over desegregation propelled the conservative movement in Atlanta and on the national stage. As federal initiatives spelled the end for segregation in the 1950s and 1960s, southern whites managed to preserve racial discrimination through more subtle avenues. Whites fled Atlanta’s urban core for its suburbs where they reformed the world of white supremacy, giving birth to new causes such as tax revolts, tuition vouchers, and the privatization of public services.

By Kevin M. Kruse,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During the civil rights era, Atlanta thought of itself as "The City Too Busy to Hate," a rare place in the South where the races lived and thrived together. Over the course of the 1960s and 1970s, however, so many whites fled the city for the suburbs that Atlanta earned a new nickname: "The City Too Busy Moving to Hate." In this reappraisal of racial politics in modern America, Kevin Kruse explains the causes and consequences of "white flight" in Atlanta and elsewhere. Seeking to understand segregationists on their own terms, White Flight moves past simple stereotypes to explore the…


Book cover of The House Next Door

Charlotte Greene Author Of Gnarled Hollow

From my list on haunted houses to scare the bejesus out of you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer of sapphic horror and romance fiction, and a professor of nineteenth and twentieth literature and Women’s and Gender Studies. I’ve been an avid reader of ghost-focused fiction since I was a little kid. This fascination was, in part, encouraged by my horror-loving parents, but I think I’ve just always loved being scared, and for me, the scariest thing imaginable is a haunted house. I’ve read widely in the genre, by turns spooked, thrilled, and baffled, and this reading eventually encouraged me to write my own haunted house novels. If you love a chilling tale, you’re going to love the books on this list.

Charlotte's book list on haunted houses to scare the bejesus out of you

Charlotte Greene Why did Charlotte love this book?

This is a significant departure from the notion of a “haunted house” most of us are familiar with. We expect an old house, haunted by the past, far from humankind, and left to rot and fester in isolation somewhere remote. The haunted house in Siddons’s novel, however, is right in the middle of an upper-class neighborhood in Atlanta, and it’s a brand-new build. Rather than being haunted by the ghosts of the past inhabitants, the house itself is a force of evil, corrupting all who cross its threshold in terrible, terrifying, and often deadly ways.

By Anne Rivers Siddons,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The House Next Door as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An unparalleled picture of that vibrant but dark intersection where the Old and the New South collide.

Thirtysomething Colquitt and Walter Kennedy live in a charming, peaceful suburb of newly bustling Atlanta, Georgia. Life is made up of enjoyable work, long, lazy weekends, and the company of good neighbors. Then, to their shock, construction starts on the vacant lot next door, a wooded hillside they'd believed would always remain undeveloped. Disappointed by their diminished privacy, Colquitt and Walter soon realize something more is wrong with the house next door. Surely the house can’t be haunted, yet it seems to destroy…


Book cover of Race and the Atlanta Cotton States Exposition of 1895

Wendy Hamand Venet Author Of Gone But Not Forgotten: Atlantans Commemorate the Civil War

From my list on 19th century Atlanta Georgia.

Why am I passionate about this?

Wendy Hamand Venet is an emeritus professor of history at Georgia State University. She is the author or editor of three books about Atlanta, Sam Richards’s Civil War Diary: A Chronicle of the Atlanta Home Front (edited work); A Changing Wind: Commerce and Conflict in Civil War Atlanta; Gone but not Forgotten: Atlantans Commemorate the Civil War.

Wendy's book list on 19th century Atlanta Georgia

Wendy Hamand Venet Why did Wendy love this book?

The 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition, a seminal moment in Atlanta’s history, is best remembered as the setting for Booker T. Washington’s opening day address in which he suggested that the races could be “as separate as the fingers” in “all things social.” Theda Perdue considers the white supremacist attitudes of the fair’s organizers and the ways in which people of color were represented. The designated Negro Building allowed Black educators and artists to showcase their accomplishments in a segregated setting, but exhibits about Native Americans by the Smithsonian and Office of Indian Affairs treated them as ancient cultures of the past and not as vibrant cultures of the present.

By Theda Perdue,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Race and the Atlanta Cotton States Exposition of 1895 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Cotton States Exposition of 1895 was a world's fair in Atlanta held to stimulate foreign and domestic trade for a region in an economic depression. This uses the exposition to examine the competing agendas of white supremacist organizers and the peoples of colour who participated.


Book cover of Triptych

Polly Iyer Author Of Murder Deja Vu

From my list on characters who overcome adversity.

Why am I passionate about this?

One review of my books mentioned that I make heroes out of damaged people, so it’s natural I would read that kind of book. I love to see lost souls, losers, battlers for justice, and the underdogs rise above all the elements that hold them down. I think most people root for the underdogs, whether in life, in sports, or the weaker in any competition. It’s in our nature to do so. I’m a wife, mother, writer, former commercial artist, former store owner, former importer, which makes me ripe to be something new. But I think I’m done. I’ve shot my wad, done my best at whatever, and it’s always been fun.

Polly's book list on characters who overcome adversity

Polly Iyer Why did Polly love this book?

Will Trent is a most unlikely hero of a series, especially as a GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) agent. Why? Will is severely dyslexic. He can barely read and write. So why is he a top agent? His disability gives him an unusual way of looking at crimes, making his disadvantage an important element in solving those crimes. Raised in a series of orphanages and cruel foster homes, Will is like the injured puppy you want to care for and make his life better. His relationship with women is complicated, including his first-love Angie, who shares some of the same orphanage experiences; Amanda, his demanding boss; Faith, his partner; and Sarah, his true love. Will is naïve and street-smart at the same time, which makes him a fascinating hero.

By Karin Slaughter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Atlanta police detective Michael Ormewood is called out to a murder scene at the notorious Grady Homes, he finds himself faced with one of the most brutal killings of his career: Aleesha Monroe is found in the stairwell in a pool of her own blood, her body horribly mutilated. As a one-off killing it's shocking, but when it becomes clear that it's just the latest in a series of similar attacks, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are called in, and Ormewood is forced into working with Special Agent Will Trent of the Criminal Apprehension Team - a man he…


Book cover of Peachtree Road

Claire Fullerton Author Of Mourning Dove

From my list on Southern books that touch upon culture, history, and society.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the multiple, award-winning author of 4 novels and one novella, raised in Memphis, Tennessee, and now living in Southern California. The geographical distance gives me a laser-sharp, appreciative perspective of the South, and I celebrate the literary greats from the region. The South is known as the last romantic place in America, and I believe this to be true. The South’s culture, history, and social mores are part and parcel to its fascinating characters, and nothing is more important in the South than the telling of a good story. As a writer, I'm in love with language. I love Southern turns of phrase and applaud those writers who capture Southern nuance. It is well worth writing about Southern sensibilities.

Claire's book list on Southern books that touch upon culture, history, and society

Claire Fullerton Why did Claire love this book?

Peachtree Road is considered a modern-day Gone with The Wind, in that it is set in the pivotal, changing times of 1960’s Atlanta, and concerns the opulent area of Buckhead, where the privileged who built modern-day Atlanta live. The story is narrated in lyrical language by Shep Bondurant, an insightful young man born to privilege, who tells the coming-of-age story of Southern traditions and hypocrisy, and the impact of growing up alongside his troubled cousin, Lucy. A deeply probing story on multiple levels concerning society and the impact of family. 

By Anne Rivers Siddons,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A blockbuster of a novel. . . . Peachtree Road is the meaty and absorbing story of a city turned on to power and of the privileged inhabitants who led it to its current station as a mecca of business, culture, and progress. . . . To say this book is potent does not come close to doing it justice. More than merely powerful, it is mesmerizing, enthralling, and totally unforgettable.”  — Chattanooga Free Press

A masterful tale of love, hate, and rebellion set in an elite world of class and wealth, New York Times bestselling author Anne Rivers Siddons's…


Book cover of Daring to Educate: The Legacy of the Early Spelman College Presidents

Nancy Woloch Author Of The Insider: A Life of Virginia C. Gildersleeve

From my list on women’s colleges and their histories.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a teacher of US women’s history and educational history, I have long been interested in women’s colleges—in their faculties, administrators, students, alumnae, goals, and achievements. Most recently, as the biographer of a woman educator (a dean of Barnard College in the early 20th century), I became more deeply involved with the literature on single-sex schools. Major books focus on the older women’s colleges, the “Seven Sisters,” but devote attention to other colleges as well. I am impressed with the talents of historians, with their skill at asking questions of their subjects, with the intensity of mission at the women’s schools, and with changing styles of campus culture.

Nancy's book list on women’s colleges and their histories

Nancy Woloch Why did Nancy love this book?

Recent concern with intersectionality (instances where categories of race and gender overlap) makes research into Black women’s colleges vital. Founded in 1881 as a Baptist female seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, Spelman College became a leading women’s liberal arts college. The book tracks the impact of four college presidents from the outset to the 1950s. The authors show how the formal academic curriculum, extra-curriculum (college-sponsored activities), and hidden curriculum (informal and even inadvertent influences) instilled an imperative to excel.

By Yolanda L. Watson, Sheila T. Gregory,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Presents the history of Spelman's foundation through the tenure of its fourth president, Florence M. Read, in1953. The story is brought up to date by the contributions of Spelman's current president, Beverly Daniel Tatum, and by Johnnetta B. Cole.

The book chronicles how the vision each of these women presidents, and their response to changing social forces, both profoundly shaped Spelman's curriculum and influenced the lives and minds of thousands of young Black women.


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