100 books like Distant Early Warning

By Alex Kitnick,

Here are 100 books that Distant Early Warning fans have personally recommended if you like Distant Early Warning. 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 The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man

William J. Buxton Author Of Harold Innis on Peter Pond: Biography, Cultural Memory, and the Continental Fur Trade

From my list on By or about the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan (.

Why am I passionate about this?

William J. Buxton is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies and Senior Fellow, Centre for Sensory Studies, at Concordia University Montreal, Qc, Canada. He is also professeur associé au Département d’information et de communication de l’Université Laval, Québec City, Québec, Canada. He has edited and co-edited five books related to the life and works of the Canadian political economist and media theorist, Harold Adams Innis.

William's book list on By or about the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan (

William J. Buxton Why did William love this book?

Largely recognized as McLuhan’s first major work, this book provides a trenchant analysis of 1940’s popular culture in the United States, with particular reference to print-media advertising. To this end, it consists of x chapters, each of which consists of an image culled from newspapers and magazines, accompanied by an insightful—and often ironictext. Dismissed by some as lacking in direction and coherence, the book actually has a tightly woven narrative that sheds considerable light on the gender issues, technology, and power structures of the day. 

By Marshall McLuhan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

OURS is the first age in wruch many thousands of the
best-trained individual minds have made it a full-time
business to get inside the collective public mind. To
get inside in order to manipulate, exploit, control is
the object now. And to generate heat not light is the
intention. To keep everybody in the helpless state
engendered by prolonged mental rutting is the effect
of many ads and much entertainment alike.
Since so many minds are engaged in bringing
about this condition of public helplessness, and since
these programs of commercial education are so much
more expensive and influential than…


Book cover of The Medium and the Light: Reflections on Religion

William J. Buxton Author Of Harold Innis on Peter Pond: Biography, Cultural Memory, and the Continental Fur Trade

From my list on By or about the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan (.

Why am I passionate about this?

William J. Buxton is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies and Senior Fellow, Centre for Sensory Studies, at Concordia University Montreal, Qc, Canada. He is also professeur associé au Département d’information et de communication de l’Université Laval, Québec City, Québec, Canada. He has edited and co-edited five books related to the life and works of the Canadian political economist and media theorist, Harold Adams Innis.

William's book list on By or about the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan (

William J. Buxton Why did William love this book?

Mention has often been made of the extent to which Marshall McLuhan was a devout adherent of the Catholic faith. But little has been known about how he viewed the place of religion in the world particularly with reference to the fate of the Catholic Church. This carefully selected collection of McLuhan’s writings on religion provides one with clarifying insights into his views on a broad range of Church-related issues including the nature of conversion, the spiritualism of youth, the impact of technology on liturgy, and Vatican II.  Overall, by revealing that McLuhan viewed faith as a sense, the volume illuminates the connections he made between religion and media.  

By Marshall McLuhan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Say the name Marshall McLuhan and you think of the great discover's explorations of the media. But throughout his life, McLuhan never stopped reflecting profoundly on the nature of God and worship, and on the traditions of the Church. Often other intellectuals and artists would ask him incredulously, "Are you really a Catholic?" He would answer, "Yes, I am a Catholic, the worst kind -- a convert," leaving them more baffled than before. Here, like a golden thread lining his public utterances on the media, are McLuhan's brilliant probes into the nature of conversion, the church's understanding of media, the…


Book cover of Re-Understanding Media: Feminist Extensions of Marshall McLuhan

William J. Buxton Author Of Harold Innis on Peter Pond: Biography, Cultural Memory, and the Continental Fur Trade

From my list on By or about the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan (.

Why am I passionate about this?

William J. Buxton is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies and Senior Fellow, Centre for Sensory Studies, at Concordia University Montreal, Qc, Canada. He is also professeur associé au Département d’information et de communication de l’Université Laval, Québec City, Québec, Canada. He has edited and co-edited five books related to the life and works of the Canadian political economist and media theorist, Harold Adams Innis.

William's book list on By or about the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan (

William J. Buxton Why did William love this book?

Using McLuhan’s classic Understanding Media as a point of reference, the editors have assembled an impressive collection of essays that succeed in critically extending his ideas into a range of new directions. These include the biases of contemporary urban planning, transport (from a race perspective), gendered domestic and office space, and Black feminist activism. While remaining true to the exploratory spirit of McLuhan’s “probes,” the essays demonstrate both the shortcomings and potentialities of his body of work.

By Sarah Sharma (editor), Rianka Singh (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Re-Understanding Media as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The contributors to Re-Understanding Media advance a feminist version of Marshall McLuhan's key text, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, repurposing his insight that "the medium is the message" for feminist ends. They argue that while McLuhan's theory provides a falsely universalizing conception of the technological as a structuring form of power, feminist critics can take it up to show how technologies alter and determine the social experiences of race, gender, class, and sexuality. This volume showcases essays, experimental writings, and interviews from media studies scholars, artists, activists, and those who work with and create technology. Among other topics, the…


Book cover of Out of School: Information Art and the Toronto School of Communication

William J. Buxton Author Of Harold Innis on Peter Pond: Biography, Cultural Memory, and the Continental Fur Trade

From my list on By or about the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan (.

Why am I passionate about this?

William J. Buxton is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies and Senior Fellow, Centre for Sensory Studies, at Concordia University Montreal, Qc, Canada. He is also professeur associé au Département d’information et de communication de l’Université Laval, Québec City, Québec, Canada. He has edited and co-edited five books related to the life and works of the Canadian political economist and media theorist, Harold Adams Innis.

William's book list on By or about the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan (

William J. Buxton Why did William love this book?

This book dovetails with those of Kitnick as well as Sharma and Singh. While framed by a broader concern with the emergence of the Toronto School of Communication, it gives particular attention to how McLuhan’s notions about “information art,” came to influence artistic practice through initiatives such as “N.E. Thing and Company” (NETCO), Robert Smithson’s West Coast work and “General Idea.” Echoing some of the issues raised by the Sharma/Singh collection, he examines these ventures through the lens of power and gender. It is impeccably edited and handsomely illustrated, in line with the high production standards of McGill-Queen’s University Press.

By Adam Lauder,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Through a series of focused and interconnected case studies, Out of School explores the long history of information art associated with the Toronto School of Communication. It highlights the perspectives of artists inspired by the speculations of Marshall McLuhan and colleagues as well as the philosophical underpinnings of the Toronto School's ideas about information.

Using pre-Internet media such as telex and the telecopier, the artists explored in this book materialized visionary concepts of information without the aid of computers. Harbingers of contemporary digital culture, Bertram Brooker, N.E. Thing Co., Robert Smithson, Wyndham Lewis, General Idea, and other artists approached information…


Book cover of After the End of Art: Contemporary Art and the Pale of History

Noël Carroll Author Of Philosophy of Art: A Contemporary Introduction

From my list on philosophy that surveys the arts.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of philosophy, specializing in the philosophy of art at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. When I was a practicing critic, notably of cinema, I backed into philosophy insofar as being a practitioner forced me to ask abstract questions about what I was doing. I have written over fifteen books as well as five documentaries. I am also a former Guggenheim fellow. 

Noël's book list on philosophy that surveys the arts

Noël Carroll Why did Noël love this book?

This book is an amazing combination of the philosophy of art, the philosophy of art history, and art criticism. The late Arthur Danto was not only a distinguished philosopher but also an award-winning art critic. In this book, Danto tracks the decline and fall of Modernism (which he describes as “the end of art”) and the advent of our present artistic moment which can be critically characterized as an era of post-historical pluralism. Danto, following GFW Hegel, proposes a partial definition of the artwork as an embodied meaning – thereby addressing the challenge to say what art is -- as it was posed by Clive Bell.

By Arthur C Danto,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked After the End of Art as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally delivered as the prestigious Mellon Lectures on the Fine Arts in 1995, After the End of Art remains a classic of art criticism and philosophy, and continues to generate heated debate for contending that art ended in the 1960s. Arthur Danto, one of the best-known art critics of his time, presents radical insights into art's irrevocable deviation from its previous course and the decline of traditional aesthetics. He demonstrates the necessity for a new type of criticism in the face of contemporary art's wide-open possibilities. This Princeton Classics edition includes a new foreword by philosopher Lydia Goehr.


Book cover of Art Is Everything

Jen Silverman Author Of We Play Ourselves

From my list on to take with you when you’ve blown up your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a playwright and novelist born in the US and raised in a grab-bag of other countries. I grew up moving between cities and languages, and now, as an adult, I move between different modes of artistic practice. My first book, The Island Dwellers, is an interlinked story collection set partially in the US and partially in Japan and my second book begins with someone fleeing NY for LA; perhaps one of the impulses I understand most is to abandon ship and start over. I’m compelled by stories in which people seek to transform themselves or to refashion their lives. I think it takes a great daring (and a great desperation) to do either. 

Jen's book list on to take with you when you’ve blown up your life

Jen Silverman Why did Jen love this book?

Art Is Everything is a book about obsession, about love, about artistry, about the limits of aesthetics within an industry in which the marketplace is an unspoken but all-powerful factor. When I began reading it, I was amazed and exhilarated by how clearly it is in conversation with the preoccupations of my own novel, although from a different standpoint. Also: this book is hilarious. The humor is sharp, wry, sometimes skewering, but never inhumane. I laughed so hard reading it – and this was in 2020, so I wasn’t doing much laughing otherwise. I would walk up and down the floors of my apartment and read entire sections out loud to my partner. I do believe in the bold declaration of its title, and by the time I finished reading, I felt sure the author did too. 

By Yxta Maya Murray,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In her funny, idiosyncratic, and propulsive new novel, Art Is Everything, Yxta Maya Murray offers us a portrait of a Chicana artist as a woman on the margins. L.A. native Amanda Ruiz is a successful performance artist who is madly in love with her girlfriend, a wealthy and pragmatic actuary named Xochitl. Everything seems under control: Amanda's grumpy father is living peacefully in Koreatown; Amanda is about to enjoy a residency at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and, once she gets her NEA, she's going to film a groundbreaking auto-critical documentary in Mexico.

But then everything starts to fall…


Book cover of Seven Days in the Art World

Gareth Southwell Author Of Pale Kings

From my list on understanding the crazy world of contemporary art.

Why am I passionate about this?

From the moment I could pick up a pencil, I’ve loved to draw. Since then, my art career has developed alongside my writing, and I’m now a professional illustrator. Despite this background, I still feel alienated from the “art world”. Contemporary art seems like a scam. Its pieces leave me cold, there’s rarely any skill to be appreciated, and their “meaning” is often obscure or trivial – at the end of the day, a pickled sheep is a pickled sheep, right? Pale Kings is a satire of all this, where a group of chancers set out to scam the scammers at their own game. But would anyone really buy a hole?

Gareth's book list on understanding the crazy world of contemporary art

Gareth Southwell Why did Gareth love this book?

Where Thompson concentrates on the economic aspects of the art market, Thornton takes a sociological perspective.

She is like an anthropologist exploring a strange culture, and in the best participative tradition, takes pains to understand it non-judgementally, on its own terms.

The seven days refer to seven distinct events that make up the ecosystem of the contemporary art world: the auction house where pieces are sold, the university where artists learn their craft, the fair where collectors find new talent, the prize that spotlights tomorrow’s stars, the magazine that critiques and identifies the latest trends, the studio where the artist works, and the exhibition where the triumphant art is displayed and celebrated.

If Thompson’s book is about the finance of art, this is about people.

By Sarah Thornton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seven Days in the Art World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sarah Thornton's vivid ethnography-an international hit, now available in twenty translations-reveals the inner workings of the sophisticated subcultures that make up the contemporary art world. In a series of day-in-the-life narratives set in New York, Los Angeles, London, Basel, Venice, and Tokyo, Seven Days in the Art World explores the dynamics of creativity, taste, status, money, and the search for meaning in life.


Book cover of The Ecological Eye: Assembling an Ecocritical Art History

Leopoldine Prosperetti Author Of Woodland Imagery in Northern Art, c. 1500 - 1800: Poetry and Ecology

From my list on the woodlands before the Industrial Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am not a naturalist but consider myself a practitioner of ”lyrical naturalism.” My interest is in the descriptions of nature by poets and artists in previous centuries. The dream is to inspire people to look at the natural environment through the lens of art and poetry rather than the somewhat dry frameworks of botany. My great hero is John Ruskin, a British writer whose lyrical prose has never stopped enchanting its readers. I was very happy to publish a book of essays titled Woodland Imagery in Northern Art, c. 1500-1800: Poetry and Ecology. I hope that its richly illustrated essays will inspire readers to look at the environment with renewed wonder. 

Leopoldine's book list on the woodlands before the Industrial Revolution

Leopoldine Prosperetti Why did Leopoldine love this book?

This book accuses art historians of being indifferent to environmental issues… It is a wake-up call for the profession. I certainly took heed and experimented in my essays in a variety of ways to reconnect. The artistic vision of nature to great works of art. 

In 2018 Andrew Patrizio published a book titled The Ecological Eye, which exposed the lack of environmental thinking in the practice of art historians. Here is what he wrote: “How can we awaken, define and orientate an ecological sensibility within the history of art?” Building on the latest work in the discipline, this book provides the blueprint for an 'ecocritical art history,' one that is prepared to meet the challenges of the Anthropocene, climate change, and global warming. Without ignoring its own histories, the book looks beyond – at politics, posthumanism, new materialism, feminism, queer theory, and critical animal studies – invigorating the art-historical practices…

By Andrew Patrizio,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the popular imagination, art history remains steeped in outmoded notions of tradition, material value and elitism. How can we awaken, define and orientate an ecological sensibility within the history of art? Building on the latest work in the discipline, this book provides the blueprint for an 'ecocritical art history', one that is prepared to meet the challenges of the Anthropocene, climate change and global warming. Without ignoring its own histories, the book looks beyond - at politics, posthumanism, new materialism, feminism, queer theory and critical animal studies - invigorating the art-historical practices of the future.


Book cover of I Love Dick

Laura Catherine Brown Author Of Made by Mary

From my list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women.

Why am I passionate about this?

My favorite books are funny/sad. In my own writing, I aspire for balance between satire and sympathy, going to dark places and shining a light of hilarity on them. I’m compelled by the psychological complexities of desire, particularly in female characters—flawed, average women, struggling for empowerment. For me, desire is inextricably bound with loss. I’m inspired by loss both superficial and profound, from misplaced keys to dying fathers. Many voices clamor in my head, vying for my attention. I’m interested in ambitious misfits, enraged neurotics, pagans, shamans, healers, dealers, grifters, and spiritual seekers who are forced to adapt, construct, reinvent and contort themselves as reality shifts around them.

Laura's book list on smart, sarcastic, funny-sad-angry women

Laura Catherine Brown Why did Laura love this book?

I love I Love Dick! This is a hilarious, shocking, keenly intelligent interrogative adventure into the art world and ideas about stalking a muse and being female. The book was published in 1997 but I didn’t discover it until a decade later, so I was late to the game. In her forward, Eileen Myles describes Chris Kraus as “marching boldly into self-abasement and self-advertisement,” which is a perfect way of putting it. Shredding the veil between reality and fiction, in her relentless pursuit of Dick (a real person), Chris Kraus embraces the world, no holds barred. If you’re curious about being female, being an artist, being a failure (whatever that means), chasing your desires, and fighting your way out of limitations both within and without, this riveting, lacerating, revealing, surprising book is for you.

By Chris Kraus,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked I Love Dick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Chris Kraus, an unsuccessful artist pushing 40, spends an evening with a rogue academic named Dick, she falls madly and inexplicably in love, enlisting her husband in her haunted pursuit. Dick proposes a kind of game between them, but when he fails to answer their letters Chris continues alone, transforming an adolescent infatuation into a new form of philosophy.

Blurring the lines of fiction, essay and memoir, Chris Kraus's novel was a literary sensation when it was first published in 1997. Widely considered to be the most important feminist novel of the past two decades, I Love Dick is…


Book cover of Duty Free Art: Art in the Age of Planetary Civil War

David Joselit Author Of Heritage and Debt: Art in Globalization

From my list on art and globalization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been professionally involved with contemporary art since the 1980s, when I was a curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. In the forty years since I've seen an enormous shift in the orientation of American curators and scholars from Western art to a global perspective. After earning my PhD at Harvard, and writing several books on contemporary art, I wanted to tackle the challenge of a truly comparative contemporary art history. To do so, I've depended on the burgeoning scholarship from a new more diverse generation of art historians, as well as on many decades of travel and research. My book Heritage and Debt is an attempt to synthesize that knowledge. 

David's book list on art and globalization

David Joselit Why did David love this book?

Hito Steyerl is one of the most prominent artists and media theorists in the world. Her essays draw unexpected and always stimulating connections between media technologies, surveillance, war, and political power. They are short, concise, and a pleasure to read, but they always engage with big ideas around the ethical and social challenges of a world made global through the framework of the Internet and digital communication more broadly.

By Hito Steyerl,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Duty Free Art, filmmaker and writer Hito Steyerl wonders how we can appreciate, or even make art, in the present age. What can we do when arms manufacturers sponsor museums, and some of the world's most valuable artworks are used as a fictional currency in a global futures market that has nothing to do with the work itself? Can we distinguish between creativity and the digital white noise that bombards our everyday lives? Exploring artefacts as diverse as video games, Wikileaks files, the proliferation of spam, and political actions, she exposes the paradoxes within globalization, political economies, visual culture,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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