100 books like Floating Coast

By Bathsheba Demuth,

Here are 100 books that Floating Coast fans have personally recommended if you like Floating Coast. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of A Public Empire: Property and the Quest for the Common Good in Imperial Russia

Paul W. Werth Author Of 1837: Russia's Quiet Revolution

From my list on Russian history—with an imperial twist.

Who am I?

I have been studying Russia and its history for over 30 years and find that it continues to intrigue me. Having previously focused my attention on religion and its imperial dimensions (including The Tsar’s Foreign Faiths, with Oxford University Press in 2014), I have more recently sought to understand the importance of Russia’s nineteenth century and I am now exploring the history of Russia’s territory with a view to writing a history of the longest border in the world. I teach at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

Paul's book list on Russian history—with an imperial twist

Paul W. Werth Why did Paul love this book?

This is a remarkable book that defies categorization. Establishing a concept of property that existed between private property and the property of the state, Pravilova imaginatively unites a seemingly unrelated collection of topics: forests, rivers, icons, copyright, archaeological treasures, and much more besides. She offers a profoundly new way of thinking about property and about Russians’ attitudes towards ownership. Deeply rooted in the particularities of Russia, the book also raises issues of universal significance.

By Ekaterina Pravilova,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Property rights" and "Russia" do not usually belong in the same sentence. Rather, our general image of the nation is of insecurity of private ownership and defenselessness in the face of the state. Many scholars have attributed Russia's long-term development problems to a failure to advance property rights for the modern age and blamed Russian intellectuals for their indifference to the issues of ownership. A Public Empire refutes this widely shared conventional wisdom and analyzes the emergence of Russian property regimes from the time of Catherine the Great through World War I and the revolutions of 1917. Most importantly, A…


Book cover of The Baron's Cloak: A History of the Russian Empire in War and Revolution

Paul W. Werth Author Of 1837: Russia's Quiet Revolution

From my list on Russian history—with an imperial twist.

Who am I?

I have been studying Russia and its history for over 30 years and find that it continues to intrigue me. Having previously focused my attention on religion and its imperial dimensions (including The Tsar’s Foreign Faiths, with Oxford University Press in 2014), I have more recently sought to understand the importance of Russia’s nineteenth century and I am now exploring the history of Russia’s territory with a view to writing a history of the longest border in the world. I teach at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

Paul's book list on Russian history—with an imperial twist

Paul W. Werth Why did Paul love this book?

This is a book of uncommon imagination and historical reconstruction. It focuses on the life of the eccentric Baron von Ungern-Shternberg and uses the Baltic German aristocrat’s adventures to reveal key characteristics of the late Russian Empire and the early Soviet years. Especially striking is the book’s geographical scope, which ranges from Austria to Mongolia and stops at many places in between. Written in engaging and fluid prose, the book is a truly original work of historical imagination that allows one to understand Russia and its place in the wider world—and in Asia, in particular.

By Willard Sunderland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Baron Roman Fedorovich von Ungern-Sternberg (1885-1921) was a Baltic German aristocrat and tsarist military officer who fought against the Bolsheviks in Eastern Siberia during the Russian Civil War. From there he established himself as the de facto warlord of Outer Mongolia, the base for a fantastical plan to restore the Russian and Chinese empires, which then ended with his capture and execution by the Red Army as the war drew to a close.

In The Baron's Cloak, Willard Sunderland tells the epic story of the Russian Empire's final decades through the arc of the Baron's life, which spanned the vast…


Book cover of A Sacred Space Is Never Empty: A History of Soviet Atheism

Paul W. Werth Author Of 1837: Russia's Quiet Revolution

From my list on Russian history—with an imperial twist.

Who am I?

I have been studying Russia and its history for over 30 years and find that it continues to intrigue me. Having previously focused my attention on religion and its imperial dimensions (including The Tsar’s Foreign Faiths, with Oxford University Press in 2014), I have more recently sought to understand the importance of Russia’s nineteenth century and I am now exploring the history of Russia’s territory with a view to writing a history of the longest border in the world. I teach at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.

Paul's book list on Russian history—with an imperial twist

Paul W. Werth Why did Paul love this book?

This very compelling book explores a critical topic in the history of the USSR. In clear and expressive prose, it tells a crucial story that reveals a great deal about the Soviet project, about the relationship between ideology and politics, and about the scope and limits of authoritarian state power. It ultimately shows the striking irony that the USSR’s atheistic establishment found itself trying to replicate the spiritual and emotional offerings of the religion(s) that it simultaneously sought to destroy.

By Victoria Smolkin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Sacred Space Is Never Empty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the Bolsheviks set out to build a new world in the wake of the Russian Revolution, they expected religion to die off. Soviet power used a variety of tools--from education to propaganda to terror-to turn its vision of a Communist world without religion into reality. Yet even with its monopoly on ideology and power, the Soviet Communist Party never succeeded in overcoming religion and creating an atheist society.

A Sacred Space Is Never Empty presents the first history of Soviet atheism from the 1917 revolution to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Drawing on a wealth of…


Book cover of The Jewish Century

Ari Joskowicz Author Of Rain of Ash: Roma, Jews, and the Holocaust

From my list on uncovering hidden and marginalized histories.

Who am I?

I am a scholar of European history who spent the last twenty years studying how minorities relate to each other and how their efforts to communicate their silenced histories are entwined. I remain fascinated by the many ways we think we know—and so frequently fail—to grasp the suffering and ambitions of others. All of this makes me ultimately a historian of the hidden stories of marginalized people and of the struggle to document and understand them.

Ari's book list on uncovering hidden and marginalized histories

Ari Joskowicz Why did Ari love this book?

While other books use small subjects to make big points, Slezkine’s book is nothing if not ambitious in its breadth.

A provocative book that is not afraid to make sweeping claims, Slezkine manages to convey the story of twentieth-century Russian Jews as a transnational drama between the Soviet Union, Israel, and the United States on an epic scale. Hidden histories need not be small.

By Yuri Slezkine,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Jewish Century as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This masterwork of interpretative history begins with a bold declaration: "The Modern Age is the Jewish Age, and the twentieth century, in particular, is the Jewish Century." The assertion is, of course, metaphorical. But it drives home Yuri Slezkine's provocative thesis: Jews have adapted to the modern world so well that they have become models of what it means to be modern. While focusing on the drama of the Russian Jews, including emigres and their offspring, The Jewish Century is also an incredibly original account of the many faces of modernity-nationalism, socialism, capitalism, and liberalism. Rich in its insight, sweeping…


Book cover of Creatures of Empire: How Domestic Animals Transformed Early America

Shira Shmuely Author Of The Bureaucracy of Empathy: Law, Vivisection, and Animal Pain in Late Nineteenth-Century Britain

From my list on getting familiar with multispecies history.

Who am I?

My fascination and emotional connection with animals have been lifelong. However, it wasn't until my second year as an undergrad student that I realized that human-animal relationship could be examined from philosophical, historical, and anthropological perspectives. Over the past couple of decades, the conversations around the roles of non-human animals in diverse cultural, social, and material contexts have coalesced under the interdisciplinary field known as Animal Studies. I draw upon this literature and use my training in law and PhD in the history of science to explore the ties between knowledge and ethics in the context of animal law.  

Shira's book list on getting familiar with multispecies history

Shira Shmuely Why did Shira love this book?

Anderson examines how domestic animals played into English colonization of the Chesapeake and New England in the seventeenth century.

She shows how the English conceptions of the natural world, which clashed with Native American visions, directed their territorial expansion. At the same time, the new environment transformed the English methods of livestock husbandry.

I learned from this book how to discern the role of animals in even the most commonplace legal arrangements. For example, legislation related to damages done by free-ranged cattle raised fundamental questions about the ownership of nature.  

By Virginia DeJohn Anderson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When we think of the key figures of early American history, we think of explorers, or pilgrims, or Native Americans-not cattle, or goats, or swine. But as Virginia DeJohn Anderson reveals in this brilliantly original account of colonists in New England and the Chesapeake region, livestock played a vitally important role in the settling of the New World.
Livestock, Anderson writes, were a central factor in the cultural clash between colonists and Indians as well as a driving force in the expansion west. By bringing livestock across the Atlantic, colonists believed that they provided the means to realize America's potential.…


Book cover of The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in Victorian Age

Shira Shmuely Author Of The Bureaucracy of Empathy: Law, Vivisection, and Animal Pain in Late Nineteenth-Century Britain

From my list on getting familiar with multispecies history.

Who am I?

My fascination and emotional connection with animals have been lifelong. However, it wasn't until my second year as an undergrad student that I realized that human-animal relationship could be examined from philosophical, historical, and anthropological perspectives. Over the past couple of decades, the conversations around the roles of non-human animals in diverse cultural, social, and material contexts have coalesced under the interdisciplinary field known as Animal Studies. I draw upon this literature and use my training in law and PhD in the history of science to explore the ties between knowledge and ethics in the context of animal law.  

Shira's book list on getting familiar with multispecies history

Shira Shmuely Why did Shira love this book?

In this field-defining classic, Ritvo boldly showed the academic world that the relations between humans and other animals are worthy of historical inquiry.

The book delves into various subjects in Victorian life: hunting and the designation of nature reserves, the emergence of pet shows and their relations to class formation, meat consumption, and its national symbolism. The book’s impressive breadth of sources spans from popular newspapers’ illustrations to agricultural studbooks.

While primarily focused on nineteenth-century England, Ritvo's insights have inspired researchers, including myself, to examine similar themes in different cultures and historical periods.

By Harriet Ritvo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When we think about the Victorian age, we usually envision people together with animals: the Queen and her pugs, the sportsman with horses and hounds, the big game hunter with his wild kill, the gentleman farmer with a prize bull. Harriet Ritvo here gives us a vivid picture of how animals figured in English thinking during the nineteenth century and, by extension, how they served as metaphors for human psychological needs and sociopolitical aspirations.

Victorian England was a period of burgeoning scientific cattle breeding and newly fashionable dog shows; an age of Empire and big game hunting; an era of…


Book cover of Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science

Rachel Mundy Author Of Animal Musicalities: Birds, Beasts, and Evolutionary Listening

From my list on having a voice if you’re not (fully) human.

Who am I?

When I was a doctoral student in historical musicology, I went to Paris to study postwar government budgets for music, but it was really boring. So I started hanging out listening to Parisian songbirds instead. The more I learned about birdsong, the more I realized it raised some really big questions, like why biologists and musicians have completely different standards of evidence. Those questions led me to write my book, which is about what it means to sing if you’re not considered fully human, and most of my work today is about how thinking about animals can help us understand what we value in those who are different.

Rachel's book list on having a voice if you’re not (fully) human

Rachel Mundy Why did Rachel love this book?

For me, this was the book that changed everything!

Haraway does an amazing job of showing how the private lives and experiences of primate specialists were an important part of science. There’s even a chapter that shows how one of the dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History has a taxidermy gorilla whose painted landscape depicts the gravesite of the guy who shot him (you still see it in person today if you are in New York City). This and other stories in the book transformed my thinking about the lines separating “animals” from other Others.

By Donna J. Haraway,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Haraway's discussions of how scientists have perceived the sexual nature of female primates opens a new chapter in feminist theory, raising unsettling questions about models of the family and of heterosexuality in primate research.


Book cover of Colonizing Animals

Shira Shmuely Author Of The Bureaucracy of Empathy: Law, Vivisection, and Animal Pain in Late Nineteenth-Century Britain

From my list on getting familiar with multispecies history.

Who am I?

My fascination and emotional connection with animals have been lifelong. However, it wasn't until my second year as an undergrad student that I realized that human-animal relationship could be examined from philosophical, historical, and anthropological perspectives. Over the past couple of decades, the conversations around the roles of non-human animals in diverse cultural, social, and material contexts have coalesced under the interdisciplinary field known as Animal Studies. I draw upon this literature and use my training in law and PhD in the history of science to explore the ties between knowledge and ethics in the context of animal law.  

Shira's book list on getting familiar with multispecies history

Shira Shmuely Why did Shira love this book?

The newest publication on my list, this book offers future directions for researching the history of human-animal relations. 

Arguing against the Eurocentrism of animal history, the book brings in multiple species into the historical inquiry of colonial Myanmar. Saha explores colonized people's interspecies relationships, with a particular emphasis on commodification processes.

I recommend the book to those who are interested not only in a captivating analysis, but also in a thought-provoking theoretical discussion about the intersection of animal studies and postcolonial scholarship.  

By Jonathan Saha,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Animals were vital to the British colonization of Myanmar. In this pathbreaking history of British imperialism in Myanmar from the early nineteenth century to 1942, Jonathan Saha argues that animals were impacted and transformed by colonial subjugation. By examining the writings of Burmese nationalists and the experiences of subaltern groups, he also shows how animals were mobilized by Burmese anticolonial activists in opposition to imperial rule. In demonstrating how animals - such as elephants, crocodiles, and rats - were important actors never fully under the control of humans, Saha uncovers a history of how British colonialism transformed ecologies and fostered…


Book cover of More from Less: The Surprising Story of How We Learned to Prosper Using Fewer Resources--And What Happens Next

Alessio Terzi Author Of Growth for Good: Reshaping Capitalism to Save Humanity from Climate Catastrophe

From my list on the relationship between the economy and nature.

Who am I?

As an economist at the European Commission, Adjunct Professor in Paris, former fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and now a first-time author, I thrive at the intersection of academia, think-tanks, and policy-making. My academic soul leads me to seek answers to the big questions: what is economic growth and how does it relate to the success of civilization, to science and technology, to people’s wellbeing, and to nature. My practical focus leads me to draw the policy implications of all this for how we ought to fight climate change. My critics accuse me of being an optimist. I take it as a compliment: the future of humanity is in our hands.

Alessio's book list on the relationship between the economy and nature

Alessio Terzi Why did Alessio love this book?

All of McAfee’s work is a testament to the power of human ingenuity and technology in changing the world.

This important book marks no exception, addressing the key problem of managing scarce natural resources in spite of a growing human population and economy. In the process, McAfee challenges some widely-held views, such as the idea that ‘you cannot have an ever-growing economy on a finite planet.’

As a matter of fact, you can and the book shows that since the mid-1990s the US economy has continued to expand while extraction of the 72 raw materials tracked by the US Geological Survey, from aluminum to timber, has diminished (even when considering imports).

To me, More from Less is a testament to the power of technical progress.

By Andrew McAfee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Everyone knows we're doomed by runaway overpopulation, pollution, or resource depletion, whichever comes first. Not only is this view paralysing and fatalistic, but, as Andrew McAfee shows in this exhilarating book, it's wrong... More from Less is fascinating, enjoyable to read, and tremendously empowering' Steven Pinker
Bestselling author and co-director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy Andrew McAfee says there's a new reason for optimism: we're past the point of 'peak stuff' - from here on out, it'll take fewer resources to make things, and cost less to lead a comfortable life.

This turn of events invalidates the…


Book cover of Walking with the Comrades

Jeremy Seabrook Author Of People Without History: India's Muslim Ghettos

From my list on the daily lives of poor people in India.

Who am I?

As a child of a worker in the boot and shoe industry of the English Midlands, I have written for more than half a century about poverty in its many guises – from the want and misery of early industrialism in Britain to the modernised poverty of a form of affluence which mimics prosperity without providing either satisfaction or sufficiency. Writing about the landscapes of poverty in the 1980s, I went to India and Bangladesh, and saw there in patterns of urbanization familiar echoes of what we in Britain had experienced. It seems to me that poor people are always poor in the same way, although this may be hidden behind differences in culture, tradition, ethnicity, and faith.

Jeremy's book list on the daily lives of poor people in India

Jeremy Seabrook Why did Jeremy love this book?

This book, part polemic, part reportage, is an account of Arundhati Roy’s journey into the forests of Chattisgarh, where groups of ‘Naxalites’ or Maoists have taken up arms against the Indian state, in defence of Adivasis, the indigenous inhabitants of India, for whom the forests, rivers, and hills are sacred. Unhappily these are cover vast deposits of minerals and precious resources required as ‘raw materials’ by a rapidly industrializing India. As a result, the State, which throughout the colonial period and in the early years of Independence, had, in turn, neglected and cheated the forest-dwellers, has now turned upon them with militaristic intensity to wrest resources from them. I found this narrative so powerful because Arundhati Roy makes us understand the violence of the despairing, without overtly supporting it.

By Arundhati Roy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the award-winning author of The Ministry of Utmost Happiness and The God of Small Things comes a searing frontline exposé of brutal repression in India

In this fiercely reported work of nonfiction, internationally renowned author Arundhati Roy draws on her unprecedented access to a little-known rebel movement in India to pen a work full of earth-shattering revelations. Deep in the forests, under the pretense of battling Maoist guerillas, the Indian government is waging a vicious total war against its own citizens-a war undocumented by a weak domestic press and fostered by corporations eager to exploit the rare minerals buried…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in natural resources, environmental issues, and the arctic?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about natural resources, environmental issues, and the arctic.

Natural Resources Explore 17 books about natural resources
Environmental Issues Explore 44 books about environmental issues
The Arctic Explore 54 books about the arctic