100 books like Closing the Gate

By Andrew Gyory,

Here are 100 books that Closing the Gate fans have personally recommended if you like Closing the Gate. 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 From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality

Joseph A. Ranney Author Of Bridging Revolutions: The Lives of Chief Justices Richmond Pearson and John Belton O'Neall

From my list on the role states played in American law and history.

Who am I?

I'm a retired trial lawyer and a legal history professor and fellow at Marquette Law School in Wisconsin. As a young lawyer, I was struck by how much Americans focus on federal lawmakers and judges at the expense of their state counterparts, even though state law has a much greater effect on people's daily lives than federal law. The scholar Leonard Levy once said that without more study of state legal history, “there can be no … adequate history of [American] civilization.” I want to help fill that need through my books and articles, and I enjoy sharing this fascinating world with my readers.  

Joseph's book list on the role states played in American law and history

Joseph A. Ranney Why did Joseph love this book?

This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to fully understand the century-long struggle after the Civil War to end legally-sanctioned discrimination against Black Americans. Prof. Klarman provides a richly detailed account of that century-long struggle, an account that describes the legal battles that took place in individual states and puts them in the context of the larger national debate. The book requires some effort on the reader's part, but the story that Klarman tells of the U.S. Supreme Court's gradual turn against segregation and its clashes with Southern state lawmakers and courts is ultimately a deeply moving one. 

By Michael J. Klarman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From Jim Crow to Civil Rights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A monumental investigation of the Supreme Court's rulings on race, From Jim Crow To Civil Rights spells out in compelling detail the political and social context within which the Supreme Court Justices operate and the consequences of their decisions for American race relations. In a highly provocative interpretation of the decision's connection to the civil rights movement, Klarman argues that Brown was more important for mobilizing southern white opposition to racial change than for encouraging direct-action protest. Brown unquestioningly had a significant impact-it brought race issues to public attention and it mobilized supporters of the ruling. It also, however, energized…


Book cover of The Southern Judicial Tradition: State Judges and Sectional Distinctiveness, 1790-1890

Joseph A. Ranney Author Of Bridging Revolutions: The Lives of Chief Justices Richmond Pearson and John Belton O'Neall

From my list on the role states played in American law and history.

Who am I?

I'm a retired trial lawyer and a legal history professor and fellow at Marquette Law School in Wisconsin. As a young lawyer, I was struck by how much Americans focus on federal lawmakers and judges at the expense of their state counterparts, even though state law has a much greater effect on people's daily lives than federal law. The scholar Leonard Levy once said that without more study of state legal history, “there can be no … adequate history of [American] civilization.” I want to help fill that need through my books and articles, and I enjoy sharing this fascinating world with my readers.  

Joseph's book list on the role states played in American law and history

Joseph A. Ranney Why did Joseph love this book?

The South is endlessly fascinating to history fans, and Prof. Huebner gives us short, thought-provoking biographies of six important Southern state judges. He recounts the contributions that each judge made to American law – for example, Virginia chief justice Spencer Roane's ultimately futile effort to persuade Americans that state courts could interpret the federal Constitution for themselves, independent of federal authority; Tennessee Justice John Catron's efforts to embed Jacksonian principles in American law; and North Carolina chief justice Thomas Ruffin's clear-eyed assessment of the inherent conflict between slaveowners' views of slaves as human beings and as tools for maximizing agricultural production and profit. Huebner skillfully combines fascinating personal stories with sharp insights into each judge's legal legacy. 

By Timothy S. Huebner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An exploration of the emergence of a southern judiciary and the effects of regional attitudes on legal development. It draws on the opinions and correspondence of six chief justices to analyze their conception of their roles and the substance of their attitudes to various cases.


Book cover of James Kent: A Study in Conservatism, 1763-1847

Joseph A. Ranney Author Of Bridging Revolutions: The Lives of Chief Justices Richmond Pearson and John Belton O'Neall

From my list on the role states played in American law and history.

Who am I?

I'm a retired trial lawyer and a legal history professor and fellow at Marquette Law School in Wisconsin. As a young lawyer, I was struck by how much Americans focus on federal lawmakers and judges at the expense of their state counterparts, even though state law has a much greater effect on people's daily lives than federal law. The scholar Leonard Levy once said that without more study of state legal history, “there can be no … adequate history of [American] civilization.” I want to help fill that need through my books and articles, and I enjoy sharing this fascinating world with my readers.  

Joseph's book list on the role states played in American law and history

Joseph A. Ranney Why did Joseph love this book?

Although he is virtually unknown today, New York chancellor James Kent ranks as one of America's greatest state judges. Kent was an old-time Federalist, a believer in government by gentlemen. During his lifetime his views steadily lost ground to Jeffersonian and Jacksonian democracy, but he made a permanent imprint on American law. Among other things, he authored the first general treatise on American law and arranged for national circulation of New York judicial decisions, thus giving his state an outsize role in shaping American law, and he helped preserve the central place of federal authority and protection of private property in the law. Kent deserves a modern biography, but until one is written, readers interested in New York history and legal history will find John Horton's older 1939 biography a lively and easy-to-read book, well worth their time.

By John Theodore Horton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Reprint of the first and only edition. Originally published: New York: D. Appleton-Century Co., [1939]. xi, 354 pp. Well-annotated, with a thorough bibliography and index.


Book cover of Jefferson's Louisiana: Politics and the Clash of Legal Traditions

Joseph A. Ranney Author Of Bridging Revolutions: The Lives of Chief Justices Richmond Pearson and John Belton O'Neall

From my list on the role states played in American law and history.

Who am I?

I'm a retired trial lawyer and a legal history professor and fellow at Marquette Law School in Wisconsin. As a young lawyer, I was struck by how much Americans focus on federal lawmakers and judges at the expense of their state counterparts, even though state law has a much greater effect on people's daily lives than federal law. The scholar Leonard Levy once said that without more study of state legal history, “there can be no … adequate history of [American] civilization.” I want to help fill that need through my books and articles, and I enjoy sharing this fascinating world with my readers.  

Joseph's book list on the role states played in American law and history

Joseph A. Ranney Why did Joseph love this book?

Jefferson's Louisiana is an absorbing study of a clash of cultures that helped to shape America's legal empire as it moved westward. Louisiana, governed by Spain and France under civil law codes for nearly a century before it became part of the United States, was a crossroads at which English law (dominant elsewhere in the new nation) and European law collided. Prof. Dargo first describes the uneasy cultural accommodation that French and Spanish settlers made with American immigrants at the turn of the nineteenth century, an accommodation made more challenging by Aaron Burr's simultaneous efforts to foment revolution in the trans-Appalachian West. Dargo then tells the story of how American and old-settler jurists collaborated to shape a new Louisiana code amalgamating common and civil law. 

By George Dargo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Purchase of all of Louisiana in 1803 brought the new American nation into contact with the French Creole population of the Lower Mississippi Basin. The Spanish called it Baja Luisiana. While the settlement in and around the city of New Orleans (the capital of the province when it was ruled by Spain) was not large, it had well established governmental and legal institutions. Which system of law would prevail in this volatile corner of the North American continent, a region that was distant and strategically vulnerable to rival European powers -- Spain, France and Great Britain - who still…


Book cover of The Legend of Auntie Po

Sylvie Kantorovitz Author Of Sylvie

From my list on middle-grade depicting different cultures.

Who am I?

When I was five, my family moved from Morocco to France. We were Jewish in a very homogeneously Catholic world. My French upbringing didn’t include much exposure to other cultures and I often felt uncomfortably different. I would have liked to know more about various lifestyles, cultures, and traditions than those I observed around me. I now love to learn about other cultures through personal accounts, stories, and memoirs. I feel engaged and interested in a way I never experienced with textbooks. Reading about people who live a different life from our own can be an eye-opening experience.

Sylvie's book list on middle-grade depicting different cultures

Sylvie Kantorovitz Why did Sylvie love this book?

I love learning about life in another time period through a story. This one transported me to a logging camp in 1885. I learned about the life of the camp, the hard and dangerous work, and the treatment of the Chinese workers. 

Mei is the daughter of a Chinese cook. She dreams of studying at the university, but doubts she will ever be able to, because of her Chinese origins. 

I loved the deep but complex friendships between Mei and the foreman’s daughter and between Mei’s father and the foreman himself. I loved the affection between Mei and her father, their observance of Chinese traditions, and I loved Mei’s story-telling, re-casting Paul Bunyan as a benevolent Auntie Po.

By Shing Yin Khor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Legend of Auntie Po as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

A NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
 
Part historical fiction, part fable, and 100 percent adventure. Thirteen-year-old Mei reimagines the myths of Paul Bunyan as starring a Chinese heroine while she works in a Sierra Nevada logging camp in 1885.

Cover may vary.
 
Aware of the racial tumult in the years after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Mei tries to remain blissfully focused on her job, her close friendship with the camp foreman's daughter, and telling stories about Paul Bunyan--reinvented as Po Pan Yin (Auntie Po), an elderly Chinese matriarch.

Anchoring herself with stories of Auntie Po, Mei navigates the…


Book cover of The Chinese in America: A Narrative History

Michael A. DeMarco Author Of Wuxia America: The Timely Emergence of a Chinese American Hero

From my list on uniquely fantastic, yet possible heroic skills.

Who am I?

Life is pretty dull without passion. Since early childhood I was attracted to Chinese philosophy, then to all the cultural aspects that reflect it. At the same time, I felt the blood in my veins drawing me to ancestral roots. Learning about other cultures helps us learn about our own. I’ve been driven by sympathy for the immigrant experience, the suffering, and sacrifices made for a better, peaceful life. What prepared me to write Wuxia America includes my academic studies, living and working in Asia, and involvement in martial arts. My inspiration for writing stems from a wish to encourage ways to improve human relations.

Michael's book list on uniquely fantastic, yet possible heroic skills

Michael A. DeMarco Why did Michael love this book?

The life and writings of Iris Chang portray a woman with a passion for learning about her cultural heritage. Like a soldier, she gave her life in the pursuit.

The Chinese in America brings into focus just how it was for early Chinese immigrants to live in this land and their place in America today. The book not only sheds light on the Chinese American experience, but indirectly on all immigrant groups as well.

I value Chang’s encompassing work enlightening for understanding Chinese Americans as much as for understanding my own heritage.

By Iris Chang,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A quintessiantially American story chronicling Chinese American achievement in the face of institutionalized racism by the New York Times bestselling author of The Rape of Nanking

In an epic story that spans 150 years and continues to the present day, Iris Chang tells of a people’s search for a better life—the determination of the Chinese to forge an identity and a destiny in a strange land and, often against great obstacles, to find success. She chronicles the many accomplishments in America of Chinese immigrants and their descendents: building the infrastructure of their adopted country, fighting racist and exclusionary laws and…


Book cover of Watercress

Ying Chang Compestine Author Of Dragon Noodle Party

From my list on Asian stories and voices.

Who am I?

Ying Chang Compestine is the multi-talented author of 25 books including fiction, picture books, and cookbooks. Frequently sought after by the media, Ying has been featured on numerous national television programs, is regularly profiled in prestigious news media outlets, and has been named one of the "50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading" by The Author's Show. Her keen interest in cuisine has led her to weave food into all of her writing–including cookbooks, novels, and picture books for young readers. Ying grew up in Wuhan, China during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. She uses these experiences, as well as her passion for food, in all her writing.

Ying's book list on Asian stories and voices

Ying Chang Compestine Why did Ying love this book?

In Watercress, Andrea Wang tells a heartfelt story highlighting the importance of appreciating one’s heritage.

She takes what was initially an embarrassing moment from her childhood and gives it a new meaning. Reading this book reminded me of how many of my own childhood memories have inspired my writing career.

By Andrea Wang, Jason Chin (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Watercress as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Caldecott Medal Winner
Newbery Honor Book
APALA Award Winner

A story about the power of sharing memories—including the painful ones—and the way our heritage stays with and shapes us, even when we don’t see it. 

New England Book Award Winner
A New York Times Best Children’s Book of the Year
A Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book

While driving through Ohio in an old Pontiac, a young girl's Chinese immigrant parents spot watercress growing wild in a ditch by the side of the road.  They stop the car, grabbing rusty scissors and an old paper bag, and the whole family wades…


Book cover of The Hundred Secret Senses

Lisa Boyle Author Of Signed, A Paddy

From my list on badass women (that do not take place during WWII).

Who am I?

I have always been a history lover, but often find myself thinking about the untold stories. The people who were not writing the history books or commanding armies or ruling countries. I’ve always been more inspired by everyday people, especially women, who fought daily battles we know very little about. I find myself seeking out their stories. I love to imagine these women’s lives. What motivated them, what frightened them, what angered them. That’s what I’m most passionate about. Finding and telling their stories.

Lisa's book list on badass women (that do not take place during WWII)

Lisa Boyle Why did Lisa love this book?

Amy Tan is a master at telling stories that explore the complex dynamics of family relationships.

I’ve read a lot of her books, but The Hundred Secret Senses is my favorite because I adore Kwan, the main character’s half-sister from China. Kwan has a special secret that she can see and speak to ghosts, but Olivia always dismisses her as a little crazy and only pretends to believe her stories.

I love this book because it made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions and because it was so relatable.

We all have family members that we both love and can’t stand at the same time. This book goes back and forth between the 1990s and the 1800s.

If you love books about sisters, you need to read this one!

By Amy Tan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stunning reissue of an international bestseller, from the author of 'The Joy Luck Club' and 'The Bonesetter's Daughter'.

Olivia Yee is only five years old when Kwan, her older sister from China, comes to live with the family and turns her life upside down, bombarding her day and night with ghostly stories of strange ancestors from the world of Yin. Olivia just wants to lead a normal American life.

For the next thirty years, Olivia endures visits from Kwan and her ghosts, who appear in the living world to offer advice on everything from restaurants to Olivia's failed marriage. But…


Book cover of New from Here

Ying Chang Compestine Author Of Dragon Noodle Party

From my list on Asian stories and voices.

Who am I?

Ying Chang Compestine is the multi-talented author of 25 books including fiction, picture books, and cookbooks. Frequently sought after by the media, Ying has been featured on numerous national television programs, is regularly profiled in prestigious news media outlets, and has been named one of the "50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading" by The Author's Show. Her keen interest in cuisine has led her to weave food into all of her writing–including cookbooks, novels, and picture books for young readers. Ying grew up in Wuhan, China during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. She uses these experiences, as well as her passion for food, in all her writing.

Ying's book list on Asian stories and voices

Ying Chang Compestine Why did Ying love this book?

The middle-grade novel, New from Here, really hits home for me. The main character, Knox, a resilient young boy protecting his friends during the COVID-19 pandemic, makes this book incredibly relatable to young readers.

The book combats racism and promotes togetherness, issues that I am passionate about in my own writing.  

By Kelly Yang,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked New from Here as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Don't miss the stunning no.1 New York Times bestseller.
New country. New life. Whole new world . . .

When the coronavirus hits Hong Kong, ten-year-old Knox's mom makes the last-minute decision to move him and his siblings to California, where they think they will be safe from the virus.

But life in America isn't easy. At Knox's new school, the other kids think that because he is from Asia, he must have brought over the virus. At home, Mom's freaking out because she just got fired, and Dad doesn't know when he'll see them all again, because all flights…


Book cover of From Canton Restaurant to Panda Express: A History of Chinese Food in the United States

Jonathan Clements Author Of The Emperor's Feast: A History of China in Twelve Meals

From my list on Chinese food.

Who am I?

Jonathan Clements is a historian specialising in East Asia, and the author of A Brief History of China, The Art of War: A New Translation, and Confucius: A Biography. Several of his books have been translated and published in Chinese. He has presented three seasons of Route Awakening (National Geographic), an award-winning TV series about icons of Chinese culture. From 2013-2019, he was a visiting professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University, China.

Jonathan's book list on Chinese food

Jonathan Clements Why did Jonathan love this book?

It was hard finding just one book out of the many that have been written about Chinese food’s fortune’s abroad, but Liu ably chronicles a love-affair that is as old as the United States themselves, which begins with would-be rebels throwing chests of Fujian tea into Boston harbor. Liu points to the long history of Chinese in America, and the impact they have had as laborers, miners and cooks, particularly for low-income groups who welcomed the rarity of the warm hash dishes that came to be known as chop suey. This is a book that allows the reader the chance to appreciate the degree to which “Chinese” food in America is in a world, and a class, all of its own.

By Haiming Liu,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From Canton Restaurant to Panda Express as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Canton Restaurant to Panda Express takes readers on a compelling journey from the California Gold Rush to the present, letting readers witness both the profusion of Chinese restaurants across the United States and the evolution of many distinct American-Chinese iconic dishes from chop suey to General Tso's chicken. Along the way, historian Haiming Liu explains how the immigrants adapted their traditional food to suit local palates, and gives readers a taste of Chinese cuisine embedded in the bittersweet story of Chinese Americans.

Treating food as a social history, Liu explores why Chinese food changed and how it has influenced…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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