100 books like Conscience

By Alice Mattison,

Here are 100 books that Conscience fans have personally recommended if you like Conscience. 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 The Cold Millions

Mark Beauregard Author Of The Whale: A Love Story

From my list on witty historical novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved satire. In college, I wrote and performed comedy sketches as part of a two-man team, and most of my work features at least some comic elements. For example, my novel The Whale: A Love Story is a serious historical novel about the relationship between Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne that also offers moments of comedy to honor Melville's comic spirit (Moby-Dick, while ultimately tragic, is a very funny book). The most serious subjects usually contain elements of the absurd, and the books I love find humor in even the gravest situations. 

Mark's book list on witty historical novels

Mark Beauregard Why did Mark love this book?

A tale of labor unrest in the hardscrabble frontier of northwestern America sounds anything but fun or funny, but Walter explores the lives of miners, railroad workers, and Vaudeville performers with surprising verve and a glint of humor on nearly every page.

Set mostly in and around Spokane in the years between the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, this sweeping, satisfying story follows a pair of working-class brothers as they confront corrupt lawmen, scheming actresses, and violent union-busters.

By Jess Walter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A beautiful, lyric hymn to the power of social unrest in American history...funny and harrowing, sweet and violent, innocent and experienced; it walks a dozen tightropes' Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See
_____________________________________________

1909. Spokane, Washington.

The Dolan brothers are living by their wits, jumping freight trains and lining up for work at crooked job agencies. While sixteen-year-old Rye yearns for a steady job and a home, his dashing older brother Gig dreams of a better world, fighting alongside other union men for fair pay and decent treatment.

But then Rye finds himself drawn to suffragette…


Book cover of Heat and Light

Fran Hawthorne Author Of I Meant to Tell You

From my list on ordinary people drawn into social activism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Was it the environmental movement, which burgeoned as I was growing up? Or remnants of Sunday School teachings? For whatever reason, I deeply believe that I have a responsibility to give back to the world more than I take. There are many ways to give back, as my characters Miranda and Russ explore in my novel I Meant to Tell You. In my nonfiction, I’ve investigated the healthcare and financial industries, and also suggested steps we can take in our everyday lives as consumers, parents, and investors. When I’m not writing, I’m organizing environmental clean-ups, collecting supplies for refugees, and phoning public officials.

Fran's book list on ordinary people drawn into social activism

Fran Hawthorne Why did Fran love this book?

I live in the same world where too many modern novels (including mine!) take place—a world of professionals and students, people whose hands get dirty only if we’re repotting our tomato plants. So it’s wonderfully eye-opening to enter the setting of this book, along with farmers, prison guards, nurses, and other rural folks who are actually living out the current debate over natural-gas fracking. While the gas-company officials are clear villains, the townspeople on both sides are portrayed with compassion and complexity. Who are the “good guys” and “bad guys” when a prison guard sells his mineral rights to the frackers for the cash to start a dairy farm? Or when a gas driller has an affair with a woman whose husband died of environmental cancer? 

By Jennifer Haigh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Haigh returns to the Pennsylvania town at the center of her iconic novel Baker Towers in this ambitious, achingly human story of modern America and the conflicting forces at its heart-a bold, moving drama of hope and desperation, greed and power, big business and small-town families. Forty years ago, Bakerton coal fueled the country. Then the mines closed, and the town wore away like a bar of soap. Now Bakerton has been granted a surprise third act: it sits squarely atop the Marcellus Shale, a massive deposit of natural gas. To drill or…


Book cover of All Over Creation

Fran Hawthorne Author Of I Meant to Tell You

From my list on ordinary people drawn into social activism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Was it the environmental movement, which burgeoned as I was growing up? Or remnants of Sunday School teachings? For whatever reason, I deeply believe that I have a responsibility to give back to the world more than I take. There are many ways to give back, as my characters Miranda and Russ explore in my novel I Meant to Tell You. In my nonfiction, I’ve investigated the healthcare and financial industries, and also suggested steps we can take in our everyday lives as consumers, parents, and investors. When I’m not writing, I’m organizing environmental clean-ups, collecting supplies for refugees, and phoning public officials.

Fran's book list on ordinary people drawn into social activism

Fran Hawthorne Why did Fran love this book?

This novel took me into a community that I rarely read about in fiction, to show the human impact of a controversial industry—in this case, GMO agriculture and Idaho potato farmers. From my research for two of my nonfiction books, I started with some understanding of the complex debate, and I appreciate that All Over Creation branches into more subplots beyond simply Big Agriculture versus family farms. In fact, I liked Will, the well-meaning local farmer who sincerely believes that GMO potatoes will save his ailing farm, far more than Yumi, the main character, a single mom who long ago fled potato country. She seems too caught up in her resentments against her father and hometown, to care about anyone but herself. 

By Ruth Ozeki,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A warm and witty saga about agribusiness, environmental activism, and community-from the celebrated author of The Book of Form and Emptiness and A Tale for the Time Being

Yumi Fuller hasn't set foot in her hometown of Liberty Falls, Idaho-heart of the potato-farming industry-since she ran away at age fifteen. Twenty-five years later, the prodigal daughter returns to confront her dying parents, her best friend, and her conflicted past, and finds herself caught up in an altogether new drama. The post-millennial farming community has been invaded by Agribusiness forces at war with a posse of activists, the Seeds of Resistance,…


Book cover of The Nix

Fran Hawthorne Author Of I Meant to Tell You

From my list on ordinary people drawn into social activism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Was it the environmental movement, which burgeoned as I was growing up? Or remnants of Sunday School teachings? For whatever reason, I deeply believe that I have a responsibility to give back to the world more than I take. There are many ways to give back, as my characters Miranda and Russ explore in my novel I Meant to Tell You. In my nonfiction, I’ve investigated the healthcare and financial industries, and also suggested steps we can take in our everyday lives as consumers, parents, and investors. When I’m not writing, I’m organizing environmental clean-ups, collecting supplies for refugees, and phoning public officials.

Fran's book list on ordinary people drawn into social activism

Fran Hawthorne Why did Fran love this book?

At 640 pages, this exuberant saga takes an original approach toward the Sixties. The protagonist’s mother, Faye, got swept into the demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago almost by accident, because it was part of the student scene. That’s only one of about six plotlines in this book, which focuses on Faye’s abandonment of her son, Samuel, when he was a boy; her arrest for throwing gravel at a right-wing presidential candidate decades later; and the paths propelling the potential mother-son reunion. I was captivated by the energy, richness, and plot twists of this novel, which somehow manages to keep all its balls spinning. (PS: The political protests aren’t what they seem.)  

By Nathan Hill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction
A New York Times 2016 Notable Book
Entertainment Weekly's #1 Book of the Year
A Washington Post 2016 Notable Book
A Slate Top Ten Book

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“The Nix is a mother-son psychodrama with ghosts and politics, but it’s also a tragicomedy about anger and sanctimony in America. . . .  Nathan Hill is a maestro.” —John Irving 

From the suburban Midwest to New York City to the 1968 riots that rocked Chicago and beyond, The Nix explores—with sharp humor and a fierce tenderness—the resilience of love and home,…


Book cover of Her Sister's Tattoo

Lillah Lawson Author Of So Long, Bobby

From my list on what it was like to come of age in the 60s and 90s.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an author of historical fiction, I have a number of time periods that I go back to again and again. Both the 1960s (specifically, the late 1960s) and the 1990s are two of those eras that I just can’t get enough of. The parallels between these two time periods are very compelling: both were times of political upheaval and amazing music, with young people leading the charge, hoping to create a better world than the one they were disenchanted with. 

Lillah's book list on what it was like to come of age in the 60s and 90s

Lillah Lawson Why did Lillah love this book?

A tale of close sisters who find themselves at odds as their belief systems are challenged during the height of the Vietnam War; their lives deviating from one another as their priorities change.

A poignant novel about how even the strongest of familial relationships can be torn asunder in times of turmoil and upheaval, but how the purest love can bring them back together again.

By Ellen Meeropol,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rosa and Esther march through downtown Detroit in August 1968 to protest the war in Vietnam. When a bloodied teenager reports that mounted police are beating protestors a few blocks away, the young women hurry to offer assistance. They try to stop the violence, but an officer is injured and the sisters are arrested. Rosa sees an opportunity to protest the war in court. Esther has an infant daughter and wants to avoid prison, which means accepting a plea bargain and testifying against her sister. Told from multiple points of view and through the sisters' never-mailed letters, Her Sister's Tattoo…


Book cover of Hanoi Journal, 1967

Jessica Frazier Author Of Women's Antiwar Diplomacy During the Vietnam War Era

From my list on women and the US war in Vietnam.

Why am I passionate about this?

I fell into researching women’s antiwar activism during the U.S. war in Vietnam by chance when I came across evidence of middle-aged American women traveling to Jakarta, Indonesia in 1965 to meet with women from North Vietnam and the National Liberation Front—the enemies of the United States at the time. Discovering that some of these same U.S. women (and many others), would later travel to Hanoi despite the United States conducting extensive bombing raids over North Vietnam, despite travel to North Vietnam being prohibited, and despite some of the women having young children at home, simply astounded me, and I had to find out more.

Jessica's book list on women and the US war in Vietnam

Jessica Frazier Why did Jessica love this book?

Carol McEldowney, a community organizer in 1967, cut her activist teeth in the student protest movement in the early 1960s as a founding member of Students for a Democratic Society. In 1967, she accepted the opportunity to attend an antiwar conference with Vietnamese diplomats, including Nguyen Thi Binh, in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. Following that meeting, McEldowney and six other Americans traveled on to Hanoi to find out what was happening on the ground. Her transcribed journal tells of this experience, including McEldowney’s anxieties, hopes, and doubts, and presents readers with a glimpse of life for North Vietnamese as well as a window into the questions, concerns, and perceptions of an antiwar activist.

By Carol Cohen McEldowney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hanoi Journal, 1967 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the fall of 1967, Carol McEldowney, a twenty-four-year-old community organizer living in Cleveland, embarked on a remarkable journey. In a climate of growing domestic unrest and international turmoil, she traveled illegally to North Vietnam with fellow members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) to meet the enemy face-to-face. She was determined to understand the foe that had troubled America's leaders in Washington since the end of World War II. With an eye toward history and a recognition of the significance of her journey, McEldowney documented her experiences in the journal reproduced in this book. Through her words we…


Book cover of Vietnam's Prodigal Heroes: American Deserters, International Protest, European Exile, and Amnesty

Alexander Sedlmaier Author Of Protest in the Vietnam War Era

From my list on the international dimensions of the Vietnam War.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a historian and someone who grew up in Cold War Berlin, I am constantly inspired by efforts to curb the devastating effects of industrialised warfare. I love learning about people who had the courage to speak up, and how their historical understanding of the military abuse of power enables us to think differently about present-day warfare. So much of my research has been inspired by social movements and their difficult efforts to improve the world. While I am no expert on Vietnamese history, I have been fortunate to have learned a lot about how ingenious the Vietnamese revolutionaries were in actively pedalling the global emergence of Vietnam War protest. 

Alexander's book list on the international dimensions of the Vietnam War

Alexander Sedlmaier Why did Alexander love this book?

During the height of the war effort in Vietnam, desertion in the US military reached unprecedented levels. Deserters depended on international support networks run by organisations and activists.

Drawing on primary sources from the US, France, Germany, and Sweden, Glatz pulls together a meticulous and nuanced account of strategies of resistance, prosecution, exile, and Vietnam War activism that culminated in an unprecedented visibility of deserters in the public discourse, both internationally and in the US, leading to a major change in traditional images of the deserter.

The account provides fresh new light on the dramatic failures of US military policy in the Vietnam War, the consequences of which are felt to the present day.

By Paul Benedikt Glatz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book examines the critical role of desertion in the international Vietnam War debate. Paul Benedikt Glatz traces American deserters' odyssey of exile and activism in Europe, Japan, and North America to demonstrate how unprecedented levels of desertion in the US military changed the traditional image of the deserter.


Book cover of Winter Soldiers: An Oral History of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War

Amanda Cockrell Author Of Coyote Weather

From my list on the Sixties and the Vietnam War era.

Why am I passionate about this?

Almost all of my books have been historical novels, but this one is the one most dear to me, an attempt to understand the fault line that the Vietnam War laid across American society, leaving almost every man of my generation with scars physical or psychic. My picks are all books that illuminate the multiple upheavals of that time.

Amanda's book list on the Sixties and the Vietnam War era

Amanda Cockrell Why did Amanda love this book?

Winter Soldiers offers firsthand accounts of more than thirty of members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, some of whom first joined the military with a deep belief in the rightness of America’s role in that conflict.

Eventually they made common cause with the protesters against the war and their voices had a role in its ending. Winter Soldiers follows them from their lives before the war, through their service, and into its aftermath.

By Richard Stacewicz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1971, Vietnam veterans testified in public hearings about atrocities they had participated in or witnessed during the war. Here, Stacewicz seeks to tell their story by interviewing more than 30 members of Vietnam Veterans Against War and draws on their archives for supporting evidence.


Book cover of Crash Course: From the Good War to the Forever War

Paul Lauter Author Of Our Sixties: An Activist's History

From my list on how we made change in the 1960's.

Why am I passionate about this?

Over the past 50 years, I've been one of those “tenured radicals” the right-wing loved to bash. But before that, during the 1960s, I worked, often full-time, in the social movements that did change America: civil rights, anti-war, feminism. I was older, so I became a “professor-activist.” As a teacher, I applied what I had learned in the movements to reconstruct ideas about which writers mattered—women as well as men, minorities as well as whites: Zora Neale Hurston, Frederick Douglass, Adrienne Rich as well as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Ernest Hemingway. Using that principle, I led a team that created a very successful collection, The Heath Anthology of American Literature.     

Paul's book list on how we made change in the 1960's

Paul Lauter Why did Paul love this book?

Want to understand today’s America? Noam Chomsky, Dan Ellsberg, Jane Anne Phillips, Kim Stanley Robinson, John Dower all recommend Crash Course, Bruce Franklin’s 20th book. Bruce went from working on tugboats during the bloody war for control of New York Harbor to flying as Air Force intelligence officer and Arctic navigator. Then he became a major figure in "revolutionary" movements of the sixties and seventies, getting fired from his tenured job. FBI documents reveal efforts “neutralize” him, including framing him for various crimes. This book discloses some of his actual underground activities, including helping to set up a Vietnam deserter network in France. As exciting as a thriller novel, Crash Course rewards readers with its deep analysis of modern American history. 

By Howard Bruce Franklin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Growing up during the Second World War, H. Bruce Franklin believed what he was told: that America’s victory would lead to a new era of world peace. Like most Americans, he was soon led to believe in a world-wide Communist conspiracy that menaced the United States, forcing the nation into a disastrous war in Korea. But once he joined the U.S. Air Force and began flying top-secret missions as a navigator and intelligence officer, what he learned was eye-opening. He saw that even as the U.S. preached about peace and freedom, it was engaging in an endless cycle of warfare,…


Book cover of Sisters in the Mirror: A History of Muslim Women and the Global Politics of Feminism

Leela Fernandes Author Of Governing Water in India: Inequality, Reform, and the State

From my list on to understand inequality in a world in crisis.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent close to thirty years researching and teaching about questions of inequality and change. Most of my focus has been on the Global South, with a particular focus on India. I've written about intersecting class, gender, and caste inequalities. I've pursued this research agenda through extensive field research on labor politics, democratization, and the politics of economic reform in India. My interest stems from my background. I am originally from India and have lived and travelled extensively in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. I'm an author, public speaker, and consultant and have been a professor for three decades at the University of Michigan, Rutgers University, The University of Washington, and Oberlin College.

Leela's book list on to understand inequality in a world in crisis

Leela Fernandes Why did Leela love this book?

In the post-9/11 period, we were inundated with images of veiled Muslim women in Afghanistan and elsewhere. However, there is a long and rich history of Muslim women’s feminism that many people don’t know about. This book is an accessible entry point to this history. It also illustrates the interaction between Western feminists and Muslim feminists and shows the limits and possibilities of transnational feminism.

By Elora Shehabuddin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A must read."-Choice
A crystal-clear account of the entangled history of Western and Muslim feminisms.

Western feminists, pundits, and policymakers tend to portray the Muslim world as the last and most difficult frontier of global feminism. Challenging this view, Elora Shehabuddin presents a unique and engaging history of feminism as a story of colonial and postcolonial interactions between Western and Muslim societies. Muslim women, like other women around the world, have been engaged in their own struggles for generations: as individuals and in groups that include but also extend beyond their religious identity and religious practices. The modern and globally…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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