10 books like Empire of Liberty

By Gordon S. Wood,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Empire of Liberty. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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What Hath God Wrought

By Daniel Walker Howe,

Book cover of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848

A number of books explain the world in which Jackson came to national recognition, but Howe’s provides a decidedly critical view of Old Hickory and his politics. He is clearly sympathetic to the Whigs, opponents of Jackson and his Democratic party; nevertheless, Howe’s book is a good starting point for a broader perspective on Jacksonian America.

What Hath God Wrought

By Daniel Walker Howe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked What Hath God Wrought as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Oxford History of the United States is by far the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. In this prize-winning, critically acclaimed addition to the series, historian Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era when the United States expanded to the Pacific and won control over the richest part of the North American continent. Howe's panoramic narrative portrays revolutionary
improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated the extension of the American empire. Railroads, canals, newspapers, and the telegraph dramatically lowered travel times and spurred the…

Prelude to Civil War

By William W. Freehling,

Book cover of Prelude to Civil War

Though venerable, Freehling’s book remains the standard treatment of this early episode in America’s convulsive sectional crisis. Informed by impeccable research, Freehling depicts the growing tension that pitted hardline states’ rights advocates against resolute nationalists, almost to cause a civil war three decades before it finally happened. Vivid portrayals abound with numerous characters, including the volatile Andrew Jackson and the doctrinaire John C. Calhoun, brought to life in a gemstone of the narrative art.

Prelude to Civil War

By William W. Freehling,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Prelude to Civil War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When William Freehling's Prelude to Civil War first appeared in 1965 it was immediately hailed as a brilliant study of the origins of the American Civil War. Three decades later, its importance remains undiminished and is still considered one of the most significant studies in its field. This vivid description of a society on the brink powerfully conveys the combustive social elements of the Old South, as well as the political manoeuvring and combative
personalities that finally ensured secession and war, and insists upon the central importance of the South's `peculiar institution' in understanding the roots of the Civil War.

The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party

By Michael F. Holt,

Book cover of The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War

A lifetime of research on and writing about the latter span of America’s formative years yield Michael Holt’s masterpiece, a detailed, lively look at the resurgence of federalist philosophy and its consequences. In a fascinating exposition, Holt fashions something resembling Shakespearean tragedy wherein the most well-intentioned politicians cannot stem the tide of sectionalism.

The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party

By Michael F. Holt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The political home of Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Horace Greeley, and the young Abraham Lincoln, the American Whig Party was involved at every level of American politics-local, state, and federal-in the years before the Civil War, and controlled the White House for eight of the twenty-two years that it existed. Now, in The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party, Michael F. Holt gives us the only comprehensive history of the Whigs ever written-a
monumental history covering in rich detail the American political landscape from the Age of Jackson to impending disunion.
In Michael Holt's hands, the history of…

The Age of Federalism

By Stanley Elkins, Eric McKitrick,

Book cover of The Age of Federalism: The Early American Republic, 1788 - 1800

Exhaustively researched, this books illuminates the brief time in early U.S. history when Federalism dominated American politics. It remains the standard source on the Federalists’ political philosophy, the understanding of which is crucial to comprehending everything political that follows it.

The Age of Federalism

By Stanley Elkins, Eric McKitrick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Thomas Jefferson took the oath of office for the presidency in 1801, America had just passed through twelve critical years, years dominated by some of the towering figures of our history and by the challenge of having to do everything for the first time. Washington, Hamilton, Madison, Adams, and Jefferson himself each had a share in shaping that remarkable era--an era that is brilliantly captured in The Age of Federalism. Written by
esteemed historians Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick, The Age of Federalism gives us a reflective, deeply informed analytical survey of this extraordinary period. Ranging over the widest…

Prosthetic Memory

By Alison Landsberg,

Book cover of Prosthetic Memory: The Transformation of American Remembrance in the Age of Mass Culture

I really appreciate Alison Landsberg’s focus on the fact that all of us, regardless, of race, gender, or ethnicity, are able to experience empathy for people whose experience is historically different than our own. I find this argument especially important in an era of alarming race essentialism, such as the protest against a painting of Emmett Till because the artist was White.

Prosthetic Memory

By Alison Landsberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Instead of compartmentalizing American experience, the technologies of mass culture make it possible for anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender to share collective memories-to assimilate as personal experience historical events through which they themselves did not live. That's the provocative argument of this book, which examines the formation and potential of privately felt public memories. Alison Landsberg argues that mass cultural forms such as cinema and television in fact contain the still-unrealized potential for a progressive politics based on empathy for the historical experiences of others. The result is a new form of public cultural memory-"prosthetic" memory-that awakens the…

The Savage Freud and Other Essays on Possible and Retrievable Selves

By Ashis Nandy,

Book cover of The Savage Freud and Other Essays on Possible and Retrievable Selves

Those who know the field of religious violence may find my choice of Ashis Nandy’s book of essays to be a peculiar one since it deals with a variety of issues besides religious violence. But one of his essays, “The Discrete Charms of Indian Terrorists,” is worth the price of the book. In it, Nandy describes the remarkably civil behavior of young Sikh activists who hijacked an Indian plane in the 1980s. He then goes on to disagree with Gandhi that terrorism necessarily absolutizes a conflict, and he rejects the common perspective, especially in the West, that terrorism is always evil. Though Nandy’s analysis does not fit all, or perhaps most, instances of religion-related terrorism it makes us reconsider our assumptions about the use of violence in certain situations.

The Savage Freud and Other Essays on Possible and Retrievable Selves

By Ashis Nandy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Savage Freud and Other Essays on Possible and Retrievable Selves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of India's leading public intellectuals, Ashis Nandy is a highly influential critic of modernity, science, nationalism, and secularism. In this, his most important collection of essays so far, he seeks to locate cultural forms and languages of being and thinking that defy the logic and hegemony of the modern West. The core of the volume consists of two ambitious, deeply probing essays, one on the early success of psychoanalysis in India, the other on the justice meted out by the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal to the defeated Japanese. Both issues are viewed in the context of the psychology of…

Pyongyang

By Guy Delisle, Helge Dascher (translator),

Book cover of Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea

The Canadian animator offers a revealing account of his two-month trip to North Korea to oversee a cartooning project. In deceptively simple words and drawings, Delisle gives us a front-row view of this complex, enigmatic totalitarian society. Everyday life in Pyongyang is rich fodder for this hilariously grumpy author. What’s it really like living in North Korea? Read this book and weep—and laugh. 

Pyongyang

By Guy Delisle, Helge Dascher (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Famously referred to as an "Axis-of-Evil" country, North Korea remains one of the most secretive and mysterious nations in the world today. A series of manmade and natural catastrophes have also left it one of the poorest. When the fortress-like country recently opened the door a crack to foreign investment, cartoonist Guy Delisle found himself in its capital of Pyongyang on a work visa for a French film animation company, becoming one of the few Westerners to witness current conditions in the surreal showcase city. Armed with a smuggled radio and a copy of 1984, Delisle could only explore Pyongyang…

The Beautiful and the Damned

By Siddhartha Deb,

Book cover of The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India

Readers are spoiled for choice when it comes to investigative journalism and narrative non-fiction about contemporary India, but Siddhartha Deb’s collection of essays (titled after F. Scott Fitzgerald) stands out in a crowded field. Though a decade old, it has not lost any of its relevance or punch. Deb profiles a series of unforgettable figures, from a controversial upstart businessman to emigrant engineers, peasant revolutionaries, informal industrial workers, and a waitress who serves the rich and powerful. The book moves seamlessly from the city to the countryside, exposing both the aspirations and the frustrations of capitalism as it is really lived and felt by a wide cross-section of people across India. 

The Beautiful and the Damned

By Siddhartha Deb,

Why should I read it?

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


The United States of Paranoia

By Jesse Walker,

Book cover of The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory

Hofstadter’s Paranoid Style is more a work of historiography than history and attempted to explain the rise of a right-wing “paranoia” to a liberal intellectual audience in the early 1960s. By contrast, Jesse Walker’s book offers a more detailed, engaging, and sympathetic history of U.S. conspiracy theories and the individuals and groups who have made and circulated them. It’s funny and deadpan, with a keen eye for subcultural details and the singular American oddballs that have traveled from the margins to the mainstream. As Walker demonstrates, Qanon is not the first example of a bizarre, syncretic set of beliefs that has attracted a surprisingly large number of adherents.

The United States of Paranoia

By Jesse Walker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The United States of Paranoia is a history of America's demons. Conspiracy theories, Walker explains, aren't just a feature of the fringe: They've been a potent force across the political spectrum, in the center as well as the extremes, from the colonial era to the present. Walker argues that conspiracy stories need to be read not just as claims to be either believed or debunked but as folklore. When a tale takes hold, it says something true about the anxieties and experiences of the people who believe and repeat it, even if it says nothing true about the objects of…

James Madison

By James Madison,

Book cover of James Madison: Writings (Loa #109)

Though this collection spans Madison's career, his letters during the War of 1812 show a cinematic transformation in his leadership style and views on his power as president. 

Because of his pivotal role in securing the U.S. Constitution, President Madison often deferred to Congress as a co-equal branch of government. He was overly trusting with his cabinet members. But the burning of the White House and the U.S. Capitol lit a fire of urgency in him and changed him, like the hero of a movie. After the burning of the White House on August 24, 1814, Madison carefully documented his conversation with his war secretary, General John Armstrong. Madison skillfully confronted Armstrong for disobeying his orders and failing to defend Washington. It's a throw-down in the most gentlemanly way.

James Madison

By James Madison,

Why should I read it?

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


5 book lists we think you will like!

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