30 books like Death in a Prairie House

By William R. Drennan,

Here are 30 books that Death in a Prairie House fans have personally recommended if you like Death in a Prairie House. 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 Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story

Charles Oldham Author Of Ship of Blood: Mutiny and Slaughter Aboard the Harry A. Berwind, and the Quest for Justice

From my list on fascinating but not so well known true crimes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m both a history buff and a criminal defense attorney. I grew up in a small North Carolina town, as the son of two educators who encouraged me to read anything I could get my hands on. My favorite stories were adventures and mysteries, especially courtroom dramas. Clarence Darrow was my historical hero, so I guess it wasn’t surprising that I would attend law school and try my hand at legal practice. I practiced criminal law for about 15 years, long enough to get a feel for how investigations and trials really work. That experience had a major impact on my own writing, and how to pick out a really fascinating true story.

Charles' book list on fascinating but not so well known true crimes

Charles Oldham Why did Charles love this book?

In one of my very favorite books of the past twenty years, Tim Tyson describes the brutal racist murder of a Black man in small-town North Carolina in 1970. He also goes into the aftermath, which Tim personally observed with the eyes of the ten-year-old son of the town’s Methodist minister. His father tried sincerely, with little success, to bridge the town’s racial divide as militant young Blacks took to the streets, burning warehouses. Tim is a remarkably poignant storyteller, and every page is stamped with his compassion, his wit, his keen eye for human nature. And most especially, with the wisdom that he learned from his father over the years. Some folks have compared it with To Kill a Mockingbird, and I definitely agree. And on a personal note, Tim’s father, Reverend Dr. Vernon Tyson, was a friend of my family for many years.

By Timothy B. Tyson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blood Done Sign My Name as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The “riveting”* true story of the fiery summer of 1970, which would forever transform the town of Oxford, North Carolina—a classic portrait of the fight for civil rights in the tradition of To Kill a Mockingbird
 
*Chicago Tribune

On May 11, 1970, Henry Marrow, a twenty-three-year-old black veteran, walked into a crossroads store owned by Robert Teel and came out running. Teel and two of his sons chased and beat Marrow, then killed him in public as he pleaded for his life. 
 
Like many small Southern towns, Oxford had barely been touched by the civil rights movement. But in the…


Book cover of A Murder in Virginia: Southern Justice on Trial

Charles Oldham Author Of Ship of Blood: Mutiny and Slaughter Aboard the Harry A. Berwind, and the Quest for Justice

From my list on fascinating but not so well known true crimes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m both a history buff and a criminal defense attorney. I grew up in a small North Carolina town, as the son of two educators who encouraged me to read anything I could get my hands on. My favorite stories were adventures and mysteries, especially courtroom dramas. Clarence Darrow was my historical hero, so I guess it wasn’t surprising that I would attend law school and try my hand at legal practice. I practiced criminal law for about 15 years, long enough to get a feel for how investigations and trials really work. That experience had a major impact on my own writing, and how to pick out a really fascinating true story.

Charles' book list on fascinating but not so well known true crimes

Charles Oldham Why did Charles love this book?

This book tells of the shocking axe murder of a white woman in rural Virginia in 1895, and the trials of three Black women who were accused of the crime. Given the time and place, you would not expect things to go well for those Black defendants. But as with the murder drama that I describe in my book, many things about this case defy expectations. A surprising group of people, Black and white, worked together to achieve some measure of justice. This book definitely served as a model for me as I was writing my own. And the author’s attention to detail, with every fact carefully documented, truly makes it a marvel of historical research. 

By Suzanne Lebsock,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Murder in Virginia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's 1895 in Virginia, and a white woman lies in her farmyard, murdered with an ax. Suspicion soon falls on a young black sawmill hand, who tries to flee the county. Captured, he implicates three women, accusing them of plotting the murder and wielding the ax. In vivid courtroom scenes, Bancroft Prize-winning historian Suzanne Lebsock recounts their dramatic trials and brings us close to women we would never otherwise know: a devout (and pregnant) mother of nine; another hard-working mother (also of nine); and her plucky, quick-tempered daughter. All claim to be innocent. With the danger of lynching high, can…


Book cover of Until You Are Dead

Charles Oldham Author Of Ship of Blood: Mutiny and Slaughter Aboard the Harry A. Berwind, and the Quest for Justice

From my list on fascinating but not so well known true crimes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m both a history buff and a criminal defense attorney. I grew up in a small North Carolina town, as the son of two educators who encouraged me to read anything I could get my hands on. My favorite stories were adventures and mysteries, especially courtroom dramas. Clarence Darrow was my historical hero, so I guess it wasn’t surprising that I would attend law school and try my hand at legal practice. I practiced criminal law for about 15 years, long enough to get a feel for how investigations and trials really work. That experience had a major impact on my own writing, and how to pick out a really fascinating true story.

Charles' book list on fascinating but not so well known true crimes

Charles Oldham Why did Charles love this book?

The story of a horrific miscarriage of justice in rural Canada in 1959. Fourteen-year-old Steven Truscott was charged with the rape and murder of a 12-year-old schoolmate, mostly because he was the last person seen with the victim, riding a bike along a country road. Today, modern crime analysts would look at this case and see immediately that the likely perpetrator was an adult pedophile, not an adolescent boy. But at the time, local law enforcement jumped to the wrong conclusion. Steven was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging, and although the sentence was commuted on humanitarian grounds, he spent ten years in prison. It took more than four decades of work by attorneys, and a few diligent journalists, to clear Steven’s name. This book tells the whole tale.

By Julian Sher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Until You Are Dead as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

FULLY REVISED AND UPDATED

National Bestseller
Winner of the Canadian Authors Association Birks Family Foundation Award for Biography
Finalist for the Writers’ Trust Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing

The investigation that helped Truscott get a new appeal.

In 1959, a popular schoolboy, just 14 years old, was convicted and sentenced to hang for the rape and murder of his 12-year-old classmate. That summer, Canada lost its innocence and the shocking story of Steven Truscott became imprinted on the nation’s memory. First published in 2001, “Until You Are Dead” revealed new witnesses, leads and evidence never presented to the courts.…


Book cover of Met Her on the Mountain: The Murder of Nancy Morgan

Charles Oldham Author Of Ship of Blood: Mutiny and Slaughter Aboard the Harry A. Berwind, and the Quest for Justice

From my list on fascinating but not so well known true crimes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m both a history buff and a criminal defense attorney. I grew up in a small North Carolina town, as the son of two educators who encouraged me to read anything I could get my hands on. My favorite stories were adventures and mysteries, especially courtroom dramas. Clarence Darrow was my historical hero, so I guess it wasn’t surprising that I would attend law school and try my hand at legal practice. I practiced criminal law for about 15 years, long enough to get a feel for how investigations and trials really work. That experience had a major impact on my own writing, and how to pick out a really fascinating true story.

Charles' book list on fascinating but not so well known true crimes

Charles Oldham Why did Charles love this book?

A story of a brutal crime, of a long hunt for justice, and of small-town corruption at its worst. In June 1970, Nancy Morgan was murdered in a remote mountain cove in Madison County, North Carolina. The case lay dormant until 1984, when one of Nancy’s friends was unexpectedly charged with the crime. But the prosecution’s case fell apart at trial, and the author lays out a persuasive theory that the county sheriff—long known for his family’s style of local machine politics—instigated the charges against an innocent man in order to boost his re-election bid, when he knew full well that the real murderer was the son of one of his political supporters. For anyone who has ever posed the question—how bad can politics get?—this story provides a very disturbing answer.

By Mark I. Pinsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Met Her on the Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In June of 1970, the body of 24-year-old Nancy Morgan was found inside a government-owned car in Madison County, North Carolina. It had been four days since anyone had heard from the bubbly, hard-working brunette who had moved to the Appalachian community less than a year prior as an organizer for Volunteers in Service to America. At the time of her death, her tenure in the Tar Heel State was just weeks from ending, her intentions set on New York and nursing school and a new life that she would never see. The initial investigation was thwarted by inept police…


Book cover of The Women Who Changed Architecture

Laura Dushkes Author Of The Architect Says: Quotes, Quips, and Words of Wisdom

From my list on architecture for non-experts.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was young, my parents gave me a book of quotations. I was hooked. Now I’m the solo librarian for NBBJ, a design firm with 12 offices worldwide and I select and buy books for all 12 offices. I search for the best books to inspire the designers I work with. But I’m aware that not everyone who works for an architectural firm is an architect. We have people in accounting, facilities, tech services, and more. I try to have a selection of books for these people, too – people who are interested in architecture, but aren’t experts. I have a Master’s in medieval history and a Master's in Library and Information Science.

Laura's book list on architecture for non-experts

Laura Dushkes Why did Laura love this book?

All of the architects mentioned in my other recommendations are men. Yet many women broke barriers to become noteworthy architects. This recently-published book aims to bring to readers the profiles of dozens of women architects. Organized by the birthdate of the architect, this book also has short essays throughout that bring context to the profiles. Some of the names will likely be new to you (Marion Mahony Griffin) and some well-known (Julia Morgan, Jeanne Gang). This is an excellent corrective to the history of architecture.

By Jan Cigliano Hartman (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A visual and global chronicle of the triumphs, challenges, and impact of over 100 women in architecture, from early practitioners to contemporary leaders.

Marion Mahony Griffin passed the architectural licensure exam in 1898 and created exquisite drawings that buoyed the reputation of Frank Lloyd Wright. Her story is one of the many told in The Women Who Changed Architecture, which sets the record straight on the transformative impact women have made on architecture. With in-depth profiles and stunning images, this is the most comprehensive look at women in architecture around the world, from the nineteenth century to today. Discover contemporary…


Book cover of No Place Like Utopia: Modern Architecture and the Company We Kept

Stephanie Travis Author Of Sketching for Architecture + Interior Design: A Practical Guide on Sketching for Architecture and Interior Design Students

From my list on introducing architecture and interior design to everyone.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a design-obsessed George Washington University (Washington, DC) professor, author, architect, interior designer, sketcher, modernist, city lover, traveler, and University of Michigan alumni who writes about topics on architecture and interior design for people of all ages and backgrounds. Everyone lives in the built environment, but not everyone understands it. For example, sketching is one of the best ways to understand a piece of furniture, interior, or building. You will never see the object the same way after you draw it! All of the books on this list are approachable, interesting, fun, and most importantly inspiring. Enjoy!

Stephanie's book list on introducing architecture and interior design to everyone

Stephanie Travis Why did Stephanie love this book?

Hands down, the best book on modern architecture from someone who lived it. Peter Blake was an architect and renowned critic who ran in serious architectural circles during the modern movement. As editor-in-chief of Architectural Forum, he was an expert on the topic and knew everyone involved. His engaging and approachable writing style makes this a must-read for every budding modernist. I re-read this book every year…it’s that good.

By Peter Blake,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Place Like Utopia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brings to life the masters of twentieth-century architecture and art, sharing anecdotes and memories of Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckminster Fuller, Le Corbusier, Jackson Pollock, and others


Book cover of Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon

Pierce Freelon Author Of Daddy & Me, Side by Side

From my list on children's reads by Black women from North Carolina.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina where I was loved, nurtured, and mentored by several brilliant, creative, and powerful Black women. One of those women was Dr. Maya Angelou, who was close with my Grandmother, Queen Mother Frances Pierce, and was my mom's God-Mother. She and the other authors on this list are all women who I respect professionally and love dearly. I am a picture book author, a Grammy-nominated children's musician, and a father of two. I have read these stories to my children and am so proud to live in the great state of North Carolina with so many talented, genuine, and inspirational Black women.

Pierce's book list on children's reads by Black women from North Carolina

Pierce Freelon Why did Pierce love this book?

Kelly Starling Lyons is a brilliant author of several books for children and young adults.

A personal favorite is her book about my father, Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon. This tells my Dad's story, from struggling to read letters and numbers as a child, to becoming a world renowned architect of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC.

By Kelly Starling Lyons, Laura Freeman (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dream Builder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

You've seen the building. Now meet the man whose life went into it.

Philip Freelon's grandfather was an acclaimed painter of the Harlem Renaissance. His father was a successful businessman who attended the 1963 March on Washington. When Phil decided to attend architecture school, he created his own focus on African American and Islamic designers. He later chose not to build casinos or prisons, instead concentrating on schools, libraries, and museums--buildings that connect people with heritage and fill hearts with joy. And in 2009, Phil's team won a commission that let him use his personal history in service to the…


Book cover of Asterios Polyp

Moro Rogers Author Of City in the Desert

From my list on ideological adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in a household with a fantasy author dad and a philosophy professor mom, I learned to appreciate stories that expressed big ideas. I realized the books and movies I liked weren’t just vehicles for ideology, but that ideas are the hooks that draw me into a story. I’ve also always loved animals and monsters. Like Miyazaki and C.S. Lewis, I was attempting to create a narrative that brought my beliefs and interests together. Now I live in Southern California with my husband, son, and cat, surrounded by rattlesnakes, tarantulas, hawks, and coyotes. It’s an imperfect, beautiful world! 

Moro's book list on ideological adventure

Moro Rogers Why did Moro love this book?

If the other books on my list are about disillusionment, Asterios Polyp provides a good counterpoint as its message runs in the opposite direction. Sometimes people are better than you think. Asterios is an obnoxious architect whose worldview starts with the assumption that everyone else is wrong. After a series of crises (thrown out by wife, apartment fire) he has to flee the city and rent a room in the home of a rightwing redneck married to a hippie, just the sort of people he would never associate with by choice. He learns humility and goes about fixing his life. It’s all pretty predictable but the mix of elegantly cartoonish art and funny storytelling kept me engaged (even when I wanted to smack the hero.)

By David Mazzucchelli,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Asterios Polyp as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The triumphant return of one of comics’ greatest talents, with an engrossing story of one man’s search for love, meaning, sanity, and perfect architectural proportions. An epic story long awaited, and well worth the wait.

Meet Asterios Polyp: middle-aged, meagerly successful architect and teacher, aesthete and womanizer, whose life is wholly upended when his New York City apartment goes up in flames. In a tenacious daze, he leaves the city and relocates to a small town in the American heartland. But what is this “escape” really about?

As the story unfolds, moving between the present and the past, we begin…


Book cover of The Girl Before

Christopher Murphy Author Of Where the Boys Are: Murder, Martinis and Mayhem... Boys Will Be Boys

From my list on twisty thrillers to keep you guessing until the end.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an activist, artist, and author of the breakout thriller, Where The Boys Are and The Other Side of the Mirror. I specialize in thrillers that highlight diverse characters (LGBTQ+ and people of color.) I’m a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and the Hurston/Wright Writers Foundation. As a graphic designer/copywriter/marketer by day and author by night, I can usually be found creating and designing behind the bright neon glow of my laptop. When I’m not writing, I enjoy traveling to new destinations. I live and work out of my home in Las Vegas with “the hubs” and our two yorkies, and I'm currently writing my next novel, The Dark Side of the Mirror.

Christopher's book list on twisty thrillers to keep you guessing until the end

Christopher Murphy Why did Christopher love this book?

I’ve seen the moody tv series adaption – but the book is a must-read for any domestic-thriller list! I really enjoyed this roller coaster ride that takes you through romance, twists, and sometimes creepy revelations. I also found the alternating of character voices and time compelling. Sometimes, it doesn’t work – but I think the author did a great job of this to build up to the surprise ending. Famed and mysterious architect Edward Monkford carefully chooses occupants for a home he rents out who must adhere to an extensive (and peculiar) list of rules in order to live there. The story follows two “lucky” occupants of the property, Emma. 

By JP Delaney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE GLOBAL BESTSELLER • Soon to be a BBC One and HBO Max limited four-part series, starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw (The Morning Show; Misbehaviour) and multiple Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Emmy-nominated actor David Oyelowo (Selma; Les Misérables)
 
“A pitch-perfect novel of psychological suspense” (Lee Child) that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune, and another woman’s mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception

Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

EMMA
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma…


Book cover of The Software Architect Elevator: Redefining the Architect's Role in the Digital Enterprise

Mark Richards Author Of Fundamentals of Software Architecture: An Engineering Approach

From my list on better understanding software architecture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a software architect for a very long time. I love hard problems, and I’m very passionate about collaborating with others to find the right solution to them. Software architecture is a challenging, multi-faceted discipline with very few resources to help you make the right decisions. That’s why I’m recommending these books on software architecture. These books helped me become a more effective software architect, and I hope they can help you become more effective as well.

Mark's book list on better understanding software architecture

Mark Richards Why did Mark love this book?

It is my belief that half of being an effective software architect is mastering people skills.

However soft they are, these skills are the hardest to master. This book focuses on the communication and soft skills necessary to become an effective architect, and it does it superbly. The author’s elevator metaphor is perfect in that it emphasizes the fact that communication must exist on all levels within the organization, and the skills needed at each level differ.

I personally found this book very useful in honing my communication skills as a software architect.

By Gregor Hohpe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As the digital economy changes the rules of the game for enterprises, the role of software and IT architects is also transforming. Rather than focus on technical decisions alone, architects and senior technologists need to combine organizational and technical knowledge to effect change in their company's structure and processes. To accomplish that, they need to connect the IT engine room to the penthouse, where the business strategy is defined.

In this guide, author Gregor Hohpe shares real-world advice and hard-learned lessons from actual IT transformations. His anecdotes help architects, senior developers, and other IT professionals prepare for a more complex…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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