100 books like Dueling

By Kevin McAleer,

Here are 100 books that Dueling fans have personally recommended if you like Dueling. 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 Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic

David S. Parker Author Of The Pen, the Sword, and the Law: Dueling and Democracy in Uruguay

From my list on dueling that explain why people fought duels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a social and legal historian of late 19th and early 20th Century Latin America, and the majority of my work is about the emergence of the middle class. I first got interested in researching dueling because I had the idea that the duel probably played a role in creating and enforcing a social dividing line between the upper elite and the middle class. But once I got immersed in the historical documents I realized how wrong my initial hypothesis had been, how little dueling had to do with social class, and how much it was about maintaining—or sometimes gaming for advantage—the norms of decorum in politics and the press.

David's book list on dueling that explain why people fought duels

David S. Parker Why did David love this book?

This is one of the books that inspired and provided source material for the musical Hamilton. Freeman is a Pulitzer prize-winning historian of post-1776 United States. This masterful history of the early American republic shows how dueling needs to be understood as politics by other means, as part of the mad scramble for power and prestige in the context of never-ending “paper wars” in the partisan press. They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but I’ll never forget how much the cover art captured my imagination, and how brilliantly it reflects what you will find inside.

This book is not just about duels; it also covers political alliances, gossip, insults, and elections.  But that is Freeman’s whole point, that they are all interconnected, and dueling is just one piece of a larger picture.

By Joanne B. Freeman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A major reassessment of American political culture in the days of Jefferson, Hamilton, and Burr

"[A] landmark study of Hamilton and the founders."-Jeff Sharlet, Chronicle of Higher Education

"Demands the attention of everyone with a serious interest in the history of American politics."-Pauline Maier, Washington Post

In this extraordinary book, Joanne Freeman offers a major reassessment of political culture in the early years of the American republic. By exploring both the public actions and private papers of key figures such as Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, and Alexander Hamilton, Freeman reveals an alien and profoundly unstable political world grounded on the…


Book cover of Politics of the Sword: Dueling, Honor, and Masculinity in Modern Italy

David S. Parker Author Of The Pen, the Sword, and the Law: Dueling and Democracy in Uruguay

From my list on dueling that explain why people fought duels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a social and legal historian of late 19th and early 20th Century Latin America, and the majority of my work is about the emergence of the middle class. I first got interested in researching dueling because I had the idea that the duel probably played a role in creating and enforcing a social dividing line between the upper elite and the middle class. But once I got immersed in the historical documents I realized how wrong my initial hypothesis had been, how little dueling had to do with social class, and how much it was about maintaining—or sometimes gaming for advantage—the norms of decorum in politics and the press.

David's book list on dueling that explain why people fought duels

David S. Parker Why did David love this book?

This study of Italian dueling from 1860s unification to 1930s Fascism makes a convincing case that the duel was not some holdover from an aristocratic past, but a modern phenomenon that arose out of liberal politics and a free press. The book covers Italy’s long and active debate about how to curb a practice that clearly violated the law but was rarely ever punished in practice. When I first read this book I was in the middle of my own research, and Hughes was the first writer who seemed to get everything right, or at least to have discovered for Italy the same things that I was finding for South America. A great window into dueling and an even better window into liberal Italy and its politics.

By Steven C. Hughes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Following its creation as a country in 1861, Italy experienced a wave of dueling that led commentators to bemoan a national “duellomania” evidenced by the sad spectacle of a duel a day. Pamphlets with titles like “Down with the Duel” and “The Shame of the Duel” all communicated the passion of those who could not believe that a people supposedly just returned to the path of progress and civilization had wholeheartedly embraced such a “barbaric” custom. Yet these critics were consistently countered by sober-minded men of rank and influence who felt that the duel was necessary for the very health…


Book cover of Masculinity and Male Codes of Honor in Modern France

David S. Parker Author Of The Pen, the Sword, and the Law: Dueling and Democracy in Uruguay

From my list on dueling that explain why people fought duels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a social and legal historian of late 19th and early 20th Century Latin America, and the majority of my work is about the emergence of the middle class. I first got interested in researching dueling because I had the idea that the duel probably played a role in creating and enforcing a social dividing line between the upper elite and the middle class. But once I got immersed in the historical documents I realized how wrong my initial hypothesis had been, how little dueling had to do with social class, and how much it was about maintaining—or sometimes gaming for advantage—the norms of decorum in politics and the press.

David's book list on dueling that explain why people fought duels

David S. Parker Why did David love this book?

A recognized classic, and one of the first books to bring gender theory, masculinity studies, and the new cultural history to the academic study of dueling. Nye looks at French dueling in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as a manifestation of evolving ideals and norms of masculine honor, at a time when France was becoming less aristocratic and more bourgeois. This is the book that first convinced me that dueling could be a legitimate topic for serious historical research, and not just some quirky random sideshow.

By Robert A. Nye,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Masculinity and Male Codes of Honor in Modern France as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After a decade of works on women's history, historians are becoming aware of the dearth of literature on men's history. Professor Nye addresses this gap in a study of evolving definitions of masculinity in France since the eighteenth century. He examines specifically the aristocratic ethos of male honour, rooted in a society of landlords, hunters, and warriors, adapted to a society motivated by utilitarian values, urban life, and rational law. He focuses on the
cultural practices and mentality of middle and upper class men and the appeal of their codes to men throughout French society.


Book cover of Pistols, Politics and the Press: Dueling in 19th Century American Journalism

David S. Parker Author Of The Pen, the Sword, and the Law: Dueling and Democracy in Uruguay

From my list on dueling that explain why people fought duels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a social and legal historian of late 19th and early 20th Century Latin America, and the majority of my work is about the emergence of the middle class. I first got interested in researching dueling because I had the idea that the duel probably played a role in creating and enforcing a social dividing line between the upper elite and the middle class. But once I got immersed in the historical documents I realized how wrong my initial hypothesis had been, how little dueling had to do with social class, and how much it was about maintaining—or sometimes gaming for advantage—the norms of decorum in politics and the press.

David's book list on dueling that explain why people fought duels

David S. Parker Why did David love this book?

Covers some of the same ground as Joanne Freeman, regarding dueling, reputation, politics, and the press in the antebellum U.S.A. But what I really like about this book is how it makes those historical issues relatable to our contemporary era by drawing parallels and connections between the politicized press of the 19th century and present-day debates about free speech in social media. If modern Twitter warriors had lived in the 1800s, they would have needed to know how to handle a sword. 

By Ryan Chamberlain,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pistols, Politics and the Press as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book argues that dueling should be looked at as a fundamental part of the history of journalism. By examining the nineteenth century Code Duello, the accepted standards under which a duel could be conducted, the author examines the causes of combative responses between journalists. Each chapter examines an aspect of this relationship from the nineteenth century until the present, including the connections between the ritualized aggression of the nineteenth century and the feuding among blog journalists today. A comprehensive bibliography as well as an overview of accepted practices under the Code of Honor as faced by nineteenth century journalists…


Book cover of Total Espionage: Germany's Information and Disinformation Apparatus 1932-40

Robert Temple Author Of Drunk on Power Vol 1: A Senior Defector's Inside Account of the Nazi Secret Police State

From my list on the inner workings of Nazi Germany.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I find a big story that has not come out, which has massive relevance for history and for the entire world, I go all out to bring it to light, as I have done with this book. Most of the books I have written have been devoted to telling big, unknown stories that concern the world. (Examples: alien intelligence, the origins of ancient civilisations, the Chinese contribution to the history of inventions, the existence of optical technology in antiquity, who were the people who tried and executed King Charles I and why did they do it.) I simply had to expose this information to the public.

Robert's book list on the inner workings of Nazi Germany

Robert Temple Why did Robert love this book?

This crucial book was originally published by Putnam’s, New York, in 1941. 

Riess admitted in his autobiography (which exists only in German) that the book was largely a compilation of material from various sources, much of it handed to him personally by Robert Vansittart, the head of British Intelligence at the time. Large portions of the book were in fact written by Heinrich Pfeifer, and supplied to British Intelligence, part of it on Pfeifer’s two trips to London, and part passed across via Vansittart’s agent Walker in Lucerne.

Riess was a Jewish refugee from Germany who was trusted by Vansittart to aid him in helping to persuade the American public to enter the War against Germany. The book is one of the most astonishing books of its kind ever written, full of breathtaking revelations. It deserves to be widely known and to be a classic text for historical studies.

Its…

By Curt Riess,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Total Espionage was first published shortly before Pearl Harbor and is fresh in its style, retaining immediacy unpolluted by the knowledge of subsequent events. It tells how the whole apparatus of the Nazi state was geared towards war by its systematic gathering of information and dissemination of disinformation. The author, a Berlin journalist, went into exile in 1933 and eventually settled in Manhattan in where he wrote for the Saturday Evening Post. He maintained a network of contacts throughout Europe and from inside the regime to garner his facts. The Nazis made use of many people and organizations: officers' associations…


Book cover of Little Tiger, Get Well Soon

Lisa Cinar Author Of Monster Problems

From my list on destined to be classics but flying under the radar.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author, illustrator, and designer who has always been passionate about books, and especially picture books. As a child I loved to look at the pictures, listen to my mom read them out loud to me, and dream about them. Today I am making my own! Knowing that now it’s my books that kids are reading, gives me a true sense of purpose and joy. A few of the things I care about (other than books) are spending time in nature with my cute senior dog, learning new things, riding my bike, neurodiversity, climate advocacy, and new ways of thinking and problem-solving.

Lisa's book list on destined to be classics but flying under the radar

Lisa Cinar Why did Lisa love this book?

I wanted to introduce a book and author who is very famous in Germany but practically unheard of here in North America. This one was one of my favourites when I was a little kid. In Little Tiger, Get Well Soon, Tiger is not feeling well and Bear takes care of him. When Bear brings Tiger to the hospital, it turns out one of the tiger's stripes has gotten dislocated and needs to be adjusted. A touching and hilarious story about two friends who are always there for each other but also about how going to the hospital doesn’t have to be scary at all! 

By Janosch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Little Tiger, Get Well Soon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Goebbels: A Biography

Debbie Rix Author Of The German Mother

From my list on WW2 books that will inform and inspire.

Why am I passionate about this?

My parents both fought in the Second World War – my father as a bomber pilot, my mother as a Wren.  Dad often entertained us at family mealtimes with tales of his wartime adventures – of how was shot down over Germany, captured, imprisoned, but finally escaped. My interest in the period grew from there, and my first ‘wartime’ novel The Secret Letter was in fact largely based on my parents experiences.  Since then, I have become increasingly fascinated by the period, with now a total of four novels set in WW2, culminating in my present book The German Mother.

Debbie's book list on WW2 books that will inform and inspire

Debbie Rix Why did Debbie love this book?

Joseph Goebbels was the Minister for Propaganda in Hitler’s Nazi Germany, and is one of the central characters in my latest novel. I recommend Longerich’s biography of this complex man in its own right, and not just because I plundered it for information when writing my novel.

Scholarly but written in a lively style, the book will appeal to anyone interested in what made the ‘master of the dark arts of propaganda’ tick. Drawing heavily on Goebbels’ own diaries (which run to an astonishing twenty-nine volumes), Longerich has written the definitive history of this complex and fascinating man, who was so attracted to Nazi ideology that he ultimately lost his soul to evil.

By Peter Longerich, Alan Bance (translator), Jeremy Noakes (translator) , Lesley Sharpe (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Joseph Goebbels was one of Adolf Hitler's most loyal acolytes. But how did this club-footed son of a factory worker rise from obscurity to become Hitler's malevolent minister of propaganda, most trusted lieutenant and personally anointed successor?

In this definitive one-volume biography, renowned German Holocaust historian Peter Longerich sifts through the historical record - and thirty thousand pages of Goebbels's own diary entries - to answer that question. Longerich paints a chilling picture of a man driven by a narcissistic desire for recognition who found the personal affirmation he craved within the virulently racist National Socialist movement - and whose…


Book cover of Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewish Woman

Peter Wortsman Author Of Ghost Dance in Berlin: A Rhapsody in Gray

From my list on capturing the spirit of Berlin.

Why am I passionate about this?

The American-born son of Jewish refugees, I would have every reason to revile the erstwhile capital of The Third Reich. But ever since my first visit, as a Fulbright Fellow in 1973, Berlin, a city painfully honest about its past, captured my imagination. A bilingual, English-German author of fiction, nonfiction, plays, poetry, travel memoir, and translations from the German, Ghost Dance in Berlin charts my take as a Holtzbrinck Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin in a villa on Wannsee, Berlin’s biggest lake, an experience marked by memorable encounters with derelicts, lawyers, a taxi driver, a hooker, et al, and with cameo appearances by Henry Kissinger and the ghost of Marlene Dietrich.

Peter's book list on capturing the spirit of Berlin

Peter Wortsman Why did Peter love this book?

This idiosyncratic biography of Rahel Levin Varnhagen, a 19th-century German-Jewish Berlin literary salon hostess may at first seem esoteric to the general reader. A prickly, contradictory character, Arendt’s portrayal of Rahel’s outsider status as a Jew in a largely hostile Christian society, her proto-feminist self-affirmation of her womanhood at a time when women were essentially groomed for marriage, and her paradoxical mix of intellectual self-assurance and crippling emotional insecurities make for a riveting read. You don’t have to be Jewish or a woman to appreciate the complexities of this prototypical Berliner.

By Hannah Arendt, Clara Winston (translator), Richard Winston (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Born in 1771 as the daughter of a Jewish merchant, Rahel Varnhagen would come to host one of the most prominent salons of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Hannah Arendt discovered her writings some time in the mid-1920s, and soon began to re-imagine Rachel's inner life and write her biography. Arendt draws a lively and complex portrait of a woman during the period of the Napoleonic wars and the early emancipation of the Jews, a figure who met and corresponded with some of the most celebrated authors, artists, and politicians of her time. She documents Rahel's attempts to…


Book cover of An Uncompromising Generation: The Nazi Leadership of the Reich Security Main Office

Herlinde Pauer-Studer Author Of Konrad Morgen: The Conscience of a Nazi Judge

From my list on Nazi perpetrators.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Vienna (Austria), interested in ethics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of law. I am fascinated by the work of classical philosophers—foremost, Immanuel Kant and David Hume. A particularly interesting question for me concerns how political and legal systems shape people's identity and self-understanding. One focus of my research is on the distorted legal framework of National Socialist Germany. I wrote, together with Professor J. David Velleman (New York University), Konrad Morgen: The Conscience of a Nazi Judge. In German: "Weil ich nun mal ein Gerechtigkeitsfanatiker bin." Der Fall des SS-Richters Konrad Morgen. 

Herlinde's book list on Nazi perpetrators

Herlinde Pauer-Studer Why did Herlinde love this book?

The Reich Security Main Office, founded in September 1939, under the leadership of Reinhard Heydrich (until his death in 1942), and which included the Security Service and the Gestapo, was the organizational center of the Nazis’ murderous racial policy.

The historian Wildt's book shows how extermination plans were prepared and worked out in this office—in part by young, career-minded academics. Some of them were not just "desk perpetrators" but were directly involved in the mass murder as leaders of the notorious Einsatzgruppen operating in the occupied Soviet territories. One famous case is Otto Ohlendorf, head of Einsatzgruppe D, who openly confessed to killing 90,000 Jews in his trial.

Wildt discusses the post-war trials of these men by the American authorities, as well as the German publics’ growing ambivalence towards the trials.

By Michael Wildt, Tom Lampert (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked An Uncompromising Generation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In ""An Uncompromising Generation"", Michael Wildt follows the journey of a strikingly homogenous group of young academics - who came from the educated, bourgeois stratum of society - as they started to identify with the Nazi concept of Volksgemeinschaft, which labeled Jews as enemies of the people and justified their murder. Wildt's study traces the intellectual evolution of key members of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) from their days as students until the end of World War II. Established in 1939, this office fused together the Gestapo, the Criminal Police, and the Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service) of the SS. Far…


Book cover of Life and Death in the Third Reich

Thomas A. Kohut Author Of A German Generation: An Experiential History of the Twentieth Century

From my list on seeking to understand Nazi Perpetrators.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of modern Germany. As a teacher and a writer, I seek to get my students and readers to empathize with the people of the past, to think and even feel their way inside those people’s experiences. Because empathy is not sympathy, one can and should empathize with people one finds unsympathetic. We need to empathize with Nazis in order to understand how they and other Germans—human beings not unlike ourselves—could have committed the worst crimes in modern European history, not least the Holocaust.

Thomas' book list on seeking to understand Nazi Perpetrators

Thomas A. Kohut Why did Thomas love this book?

Since its publication, I have assigned this book every time I taught my course on Nazi Germany at Williams College.

Through his use of diaries, letters, and anecdotes, in combination with his profound knowledge of the history of the Third Reich, Fritzsche shows how, after January 1933, when Hitler became Reich Chancellor, the German people came rapidly to support and even to create National Socialism in Germany. The German people here were not simply duped or terrorized by the Nazis. Fritzsche shows how, in various different ways and to various different degrees, Germans became Nazis.

And, through empathy with those Germans, he helps the reader to understand why they did so. If you want to read only one book on the history of the Third Reich, this is the book I would recommend.

By Peter Fritzsche,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Life and Death in the Third Reich as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On January 30, 1933, hearing about the celebrations for Hitler's assumption of power, Erich Ebermayer remarked bitterly in his diary, "We are the losers, definitely the losers." Learning of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935, which made Jews non-citizens, he raged, "hate is sown a million-fold." Yet in March 1938, he wept for joy at the Anschluss with Austria: "Not to want it just because it has been achieved by Hitler would be folly."

In a masterful work, Peter Fritzsche deciphers the puzzle of Nazism's ideological grip. Its basic appeal lay in the Volksgemeinschaft-a "people's community" that appealed to Germans to…


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