100 books like Faith & Joy

By Fernando Cardenal,

Here are 100 books that Faith & Joy fans have personally recommended if you like Faith & Joy. 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 Whose Heaven, Whose Earth?

Theresa Keeley Author Of Reagan's Gun-Toting Nuns: The Catholic Conflict Over Cold War Human Rights Policy in Central America

From my list on Catholics who joined revolutionary movements in Central America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fascinated by the relationship between people’s religious and political identities. As a kindergartner, I heard about the hunger strikers at our local Irish Center, I was taught anti-communist songs at my Catholic Ukrainian school, and I listened as my dad explained Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers as we passed by the grapes while grocery shopping. Catholicism was not something I saw as just happening inside the walls of a church. It was about how one related to the world and was part of a global community. Those early experiences inspired me to become a human rights lawyer and activist, and later, a U.S. foreign relations historian.

Theresa's book list on Catholics who joined revolutionary movements in Central America

Theresa Keeley Why did Theresa love this book?

How did a U.S. priest and nun who went to Guatemala to convert the poor to “proper” Catholicism and to fight communism join a revolutionary movement?

The married couple Thomas and Marjorie Melville explain how they shared the anti-communist views of the U.S. government and the Catholic Church but living among the poor led them to question both institutions’ roles in supporting inequality in Guatemala. At the time of the book’s publication, 1970, the two were in jail as part of the Catonsville Nine. They, along with other Catholics, broke into a Maryland draft board and poured homemade napalm on stolen files to protest U.S. imperialism, including in Vietnam, and the Catholic Church’s support for it.

Book cover of The Country Under My Skin: A Memoir of Love and War

Theresa Keeley Author Of Reagan's Gun-Toting Nuns: The Catholic Conflict Over Cold War Human Rights Policy in Central America

From my list on Catholics who joined revolutionary movements in Central America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fascinated by the relationship between people’s religious and political identities. As a kindergartner, I heard about the hunger strikers at our local Irish Center, I was taught anti-communist songs at my Catholic Ukrainian school, and I listened as my dad explained Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers as we passed by the grapes while grocery shopping. Catholicism was not something I saw as just happening inside the walls of a church. It was about how one related to the world and was part of a global community. Those early experiences inspired me to become a human rights lawyer and activist, and later, a U.S. foreign relations historian.

Theresa's book list on Catholics who joined revolutionary movements in Central America

Theresa Keeley Why did Theresa love this book?

What prompted an upper-class, Catholic mother to become an armed revolutionary in Nicaragua?

The poet and writer Gioconda Belli shares her journey, including her time living in exile and her later break with the Sandinistas. She details how her experiences differed from her comrades because of her status as a woman and a mother and how they often underestimated and mistreated her because of her gender. Although Belli does not center faith as her primary motivation, she often references her Catholic upbringing and schooling.

By Gioconda Belli,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Lives don't get much more quixotic or passionately driven than that of the Nicaraguan revolutionary Gioconda Belli. She may have been educated by nuns and dazzled all as a well-heeled society girl, but Gioconda lifted her "guilt of privilege" by joining the Sandinistas in her twenties, to serve and then lead in their underground resistance. If part of her wanted to fulfil society's classic code of femininity and produce four children (which she did), there was also part which wanted the privileges of men - the freedom to carry out clandestine operations, to forge the Sandinista resistance effort even with…


Book cover of Priest Under Fire: Padre David Rodríguez, the Catholic Church, and El Salvador's Revolutionary Movement

Theresa Keeley Author Of Reagan's Gun-Toting Nuns: The Catholic Conflict Over Cold War Human Rights Policy in Central America

From my list on Catholics who joined revolutionary movements in Central America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fascinated by the relationship between people’s religious and political identities. As a kindergartner, I heard about the hunger strikers at our local Irish Center, I was taught anti-communist songs at my Catholic Ukrainian school, and I listened as my dad explained Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers as we passed by the grapes while grocery shopping. Catholicism was not something I saw as just happening inside the walls of a church. It was about how one related to the world and was part of a global community. Those early experiences inspired me to become a human rights lawyer and activist, and later, a U.S. foreign relations historian.

Theresa's book list on Catholics who joined revolutionary movements in Central America

Theresa Keeley Why did Theresa love this book?

What persuaded a priest to join El Salvador’s largest guerilla organization, the FPL (Popular Liberation Forces)?

This biography explains the metamorphosis of “Padre David,” as he was known. The book also places his experience within the larger context of the role progressive priests and nuns played in helping the poor to realize their worth, which inspired many to then demand change in society. Because the state crushed all peaceful opposition, especially through violence, many Salvadorans concluded that the only way to work for change – and to simultaneously protect themselves – was to join an armed movement. Padre David was no different. He felt an added sense of responsibility because he trained catechists to work for change who were later killed because the state saw them as threats to the status quo.

By Peter M. Sánchez,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

David Rodriguez, or Padre David as he is known throughout El Salvador, is a diocesan priest who followed the Second Vatican Council's doctrinal mandate to advocate for the poor and oppressed. Along with other progressive clergy committed to liberation theology,Padre David helped drive forward the country's popular movement.

In the 1970s, Padre David joined the largest guerilla organization in El Salvador, the FPL (Popular Liberation Forces). At first, he supported the FPL clandestinely, helping to organize Christian Base Communities, autonomous religious groups dedicated to spreading liberationist ideas and to giving the Salvadoran poor a clear understanding of why their lives…


Book cover of I, Rigoberta Menchú: An Indian Woman in Guatemala

Jorge Aguilar Mora, Josefa Salmón, and Barbara C. Ewell Author Of Anthology of Spanish American Thought and Culture

From my list on seeing the world from a Latin American perspective.

Why are we passionate about this?

As professors of Latin American Studies, with more than 35 years of teaching experience on these topics, and as Latin Americanists who have lived experiences in our countries of origin, we can connect to themes of social justice as well as the wonders that indigenous cultures can offer globally in the fight against climate change as well as social and racial injustices. When we were students in the US, these texts gave us ways to reconnect to our roots; as professors, they offered us ways to connect with today’s students searching for global justice and service to others. These books help us to realize that there are other ways of looking at the world.

Jorge's book list on seeing the world from a Latin American perspective

Jorge Aguilar Mora, Josefa Salmón, and Barbara C. Ewell Why did Jorge love this book?

As a Latin American from a country of such diverse cultures as Mexico, I recommend this book by Rigoberta Menchú because it is the first 20th-century voice from an indigenous woman who has taken up arms in defense of her people. For me this connection also touches my family’s past, because I too, lost a brother to armed conflict, just like Rigoberta. A biography from an author that speaks so personally of this struggle stirs the pages in this book and makes this testimony overwhelmingly moving for any reader. But this deep connection with the reader also creates an international concern for justice. Menchú’s voice puts forward in book form a Maya tradition of community where the collective “we” is stressed in the testimony, as well as a history where experience is one, uniting the writer with the events that are being reported.  

By Rigoberta Menchú,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked I, Rigoberta Menchú as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a global bestseller, the remarkable life of Rigoberta Menchu, a Guatemalan peasant woman, reflects on the experiences common to many Indian communities in Latin America. Menchu suffered gross injustice and hardship in her early life: her brother, father and mother were murdered by the Guatemalan military. She learned Spanish and turned to catechistic work as an expression of political revolt as well as religious commitment. Menchu vividly conveys the traditional beliefs of her community and her personal response to feminist and socialist ideas. Above all, these pages are illuminated by the enduring courage and passionate sense of justice of…


Book cover of Shah of Shahs

Lois Pryce Author Of Revolutionary Ride: On the Road to Shiraz, the Heart of Iran

From my list on understanding modern Iran.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lois Pryce is a British author who has travelled extensively in Iran. Her book, Revolutionary Ride tells the story of her 2013 solo motorcycle tour of the country and was shortlisted for the Edward Stanford ‘Adventure Book of the Year’ Award. Her travels have taken her to over fifty countries and her writing has featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, CNN, BBC, The Telegraph and The Independent.

Lois' book list on understanding modern Iran

Lois Pryce Why did Lois love this book?

Written in a powerful journalistic style, this short but compelling book tells of the last years of the Shah’s reign, focusing in painful detail on the brutality of Savak, his secret police force, his detachment from his subjects, and setting the scene for the inevitable revolution that would seal his downfall. The fear on the streets is palpable.

By Ryszard Kapuściński,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shah of Shahs depicts the final years of the Shah in Iran, and is a compelling meditation on the nature of revolution and the devastating results of fear. Here, Kapuscinski describes the tyrannical monarch, who, despite his cruel oppression of the Iranian people, sees himself as the father of a nation, who can turn a backward country into a great power - a vain hope that proves a complete failure. Yet even as Iran becomes a 'behemoth of riches' and as the Shah lives like a European billionaire, its people live in a climate of fear, terrorized by the secret…


Book cover of Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East

Patricia Goldstone Author Of Aaronsohn's Maps: The Man Who Might Have Created Peace in the Modern Middle East

From my list on changing discussions about the modern Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the Middle East ever since being taken to see Kismet at the age of 3. I travel there extensively, married into it, and have lived inside the Middle East community in the US for the past thirty years. I’m also a journalist, a playwright, and the author of three non-fiction books, Making the World Safe for Tourism, Aaronsohn’s Maps, and INTERLOCK: Art, Conspiracy, and The Shadow Worlds of Mark Lombardi. Although I wouldn't argue that the issue of women’s rights isn't an urgent one, as a woman who focuses on history and geopolitics, I’m often disturbed at how it's being used to whip up popular emotion and obscure other driving forces. 

Patricia's book list on changing discussions about the modern Middle East

Patricia Goldstone Why did Patricia love this book?

I’m going to be sneaky here and wedge two books in for the price of one. Kim Ghattas’ Black Wave is a beautifully written and reported, intimate history of the destructive ideological rivalry between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, a rivalry fuelled by the “tilt” policy of the Ronald Reagan administration that pitted the former allies against each other in an effort to keep them both weak (and unlikely to lead OPEC to attack the West again as they did in 1973). Ghattas, a Beiruti journalist who was friends with Jamal Khashoggi, grounds her history of the devastating cultural and geopolitical upheaval that followed in the personal and highly emotional stories of public intellectuals and other progressive thinkers who fought the Dark Age descending on the Middle East.

She finds her creation moment in the 1979 Iranian revolution, which occurred in the same year as the siege of the…

By Kim Ghattas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Blistering' Sunday Times
'Indispensable' Observer
'Fascinating' The Times
'Brilliant' Peter Frankopan
'Revelatory' Lindsey Hilsum

A timely and unprecedented examination of how the modern Middle East unravelled, and why it started with the pivotal year of 1979. Shortlisted for the Cundhill History Prize 2020

'What happened to us?'

For decades, the question has haunted the Arab and Muslim world, heard across Iran and Syria, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and in the author's home country of Lebanon. Was it always so? When did the extremism, intolerance and bloodletting of today displace the region's cultural promise and diversity?

In Black Wave, award-winning journalist…


Book cover of Days of Revolution: Political Unrest in an Iranian Village

Eric Lob Author Of Iran's Reconstruction Jihad: Rural Development and Regime Consolidation after 1979

From my list on Iranian history, politics, and culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of politics and international relations with a focus on Iran. My passion for the country started while studying Persian or Farsi with an exceptional professor in graduate school. During that time, I had the privilege of traveling to Iran three times to study the language and conduct research on rural politics. This period coincided with the Green Movement uprising, a pivotal moment in the country. Since then, I have been enthralled by Iranian history, politics, and culture. Their richness and complexity make it a subject that can be studied and appreciated for a lifetime.              

Eric's book list on Iranian history, politics, and culture

Eric Lob Why did Eric love this book?

This book was written by one of the few Americans, who lived in Iran during the revolution, and helped inspire and inform my own monograph on the rural politics of the country. Based on years of painstaking ethnographic fieldwork and in-depth interviews, this anthropological work traces the sociopolitical transformations that transpired in an Iranian village located outside the city of Shiraz before and after the Iranian Revolution. The book demonstrates the increasingly blurry boundaries between rural and urban geographies and identities as the country modernized, and the opportunities and challenges behind this process. While previous scholarship contends that villagers refrained from supporting or participating in the revolution, this book paints a more nuanced and complex picture by showing that some in fact did while others did not and explains why this was the case.   

By Mary Elaine Hegland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Outside of Shiraz in the Fars Province of southwestern Iran lies "Aliabad." Mary Hegland arrived in this then-small agricultural village of several thousand people in the summer of 1978, unaware of the momentous changes that would sweep this town and this country in the months ahead. She became the only American researcher to witness the Islamic Revolution firsthand over her eighteen-month stay. Days of Revolution offers an insider's view of how regular people were drawn into, experienced, and influenced the 1979 Revolution and its aftermath.

Conventional wisdom assumes Shi'a religious ideology fueled the revolutionary movement. But Hegland counters that the…


Book cover of The Colonel

Eric Lob Author Of Iran's Reconstruction Jihad: Rural Development and Regime Consolidation after 1979

From my list on Iranian history, politics, and culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of politics and international relations with a focus on Iran. My passion for the country started while studying Persian or Farsi with an exceptional professor in graduate school. During that time, I had the privilege of traveling to Iran three times to study the language and conduct research on rural politics. This period coincided with the Green Movement uprising, a pivotal moment in the country. Since then, I have been enthralled by Iranian history, politics, and culture. Their richness and complexity make it a subject that can be studied and appreciated for a lifetime.              

Eric's book list on Iranian history, politics, and culture

Eric Lob Why did Eric love this book?

This novel was banned in Iran and published outside of it by a renowned Iranian author who grew up in a village and moved to Tehran, where he became a prominent writer and political prisoner. It lends a surreal and personal perspective to the Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War – the two most dramatic and formative events in the Islamic Republic’s forty-year existence. It tells the haunting and heart-wrenching story of an unnamed and disgraced former army colonel, who futilely tries to keep his mind intact and his family together during this tumultuous period. The novel poignantly demonstrates how the revolution and war tore individuals and their loved ones apart to the point of madness and death. It is a microcosm of the deep-seated dissonance and disillusionment that Iranians have experienced over aspirational nationalism and piety, on one side, and endemic fragmentation and repression, on the other. A difficult…

By Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, Tom Patterdale (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2013 Jan Michalski Prize
Longlististed for the Man Asian Literary Prize

A new novel by the master of Iranian letters that directly engages politics in Iran today
 
Ten years in the writing, this fearless novel—so powerful it’s banned in Iran—tells the stirring story of a tortured people forced to live under successive oppressive regimes.
 
It begins on a pitch black, rainy night, when there’s a knock on the Colonel’s door. Two policemen have come to summon him to collect the tortured body of his youngest daughter. The Islamic Revolution is devouring its own children. Set over the…


Book cover of The Priest and the King: An Eyewitness Account of the Iranian Revolution

James Howard-Johnston Author Of The Last Great War of Antiquity

From my list on Iran, past and present.

Why am I passionate about this?

My career has taken me zero millimeters from a large college, Christ Church, to a small, adjacent one, Corpus Christi, in 1971. In my mind, though, I have crisscrossed the world, leaping back in time to late antiquity and the Middle Ages, and nowhere proved more fascinating than Iran, which I have visited twice, in 1998 and 2002. I have written about different facets of its history at the end of antiquity, in particular its dominant role in the India trade and the coming of the Arabs.

James' book list on Iran, past and present

James Howard-Johnston Why did James love this book?

I well remember following the sequence of events–a terrible fire that killed 430 trapped in a cinema in Abadan, riots, mass shootings by the army, strikes, politicization, and Islamicization of students–which culminated in the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Like many others I was both excited and filled with foreboding at the time. To read Desmond Harney’s eyewitness account is to be carried right into the middle of things. I was utterly gripped as the Iranian middle classes grasped at forlorn hopes and as those hopes faded away in the face of the ‘single-mindedness, implacability, fierce puritanism and commanding authority’ of Ayatollah Khomeini. 

By Desmond Harney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The author, a former British diplomat, was living in Tehran during the build-up to the Iranian Revolution and kept a day-to-day account of the events he witnessed, as the priest and the king - the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Shah - squared up to each other. The author's faithfully recorded responses - of hope, fear, confusion, scepticism and ultimately despair - reflect with substantial accuracy the spirit in Iran as the country swung from being a docile, Western-orientated ally to an unpredictable, brooding, revolutionary state. Harney had access to all elements of Iran's political elite, including the Shah, and was…


Book cover of The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran

Eric Lob Author Of Iran's Reconstruction Jihad: Rural Development and Regime Consolidation after 1979

From my list on Iranian history, politics, and culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of politics and international relations with a focus on Iran. My passion for the country started while studying Persian or Farsi with an exceptional professor in graduate school. During that time, I had the privilege of traveling to Iran three times to study the language and conduct research on rural politics. This period coincided with the Green Movement uprising, a pivotal moment in the country. Since then, I have been enthralled by Iranian history, politics, and culture. Their richness and complexity make it a subject that can be studied and appreciated for a lifetime.              

Eric's book list on Iranian history, politics, and culture

Eric Lob Why did Eric love this book?

Importantly, this book reminds the reader that the Iranian Revolution and others are rare and unpredictable events in human history that breed chaos and uncertainty. The book systematically and convincingly debunks the conventional explanations for the revolution related to static structures and processes in the government, military, economy, society, and culture. Instead, the book argues that what ultimately turned the tide of the revolution was the agency of activists who purposively created and exploited these structures and processes, translated initial fear into intensified outrage, drew power in numbers, and became convinced that success in the form of regime change was possible.       

By Charles Kurzman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, would remain on the throne for the foreseeable future: This was the firm conclusion of a top-secret CIA analysis issued in October 1978. One hundred days later the shah--despite his massive military, fearsome security police, and superpower support was overthrown by a popular and largely peaceful revolution. But the CIA was not alone in its myopia, as Charles Kurzman reveals in this penetrating work; Iranians themselves, except for a tiny minority, considered a revolution inconceivable until it actually occurred. Revisiting the circumstances surrounding the fall of the shah, Kurzman offers rare insight into…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Iranian Revolution, Jesuits, and Nicaragua?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Iranian Revolution, Jesuits, and Nicaragua.

The Iranian Revolution Explore 22 books about the Iranian Revolution
Jesuits Explore 17 books about Jesuits
Nicaragua Explore 17 books about Nicaragua