100 books like Force and Freedom

By Kellie Carter Jackson,

Here are 100 books that Force and Freedom fans have personally recommended if you like Force and Freedom. 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 Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family

Kathleen DuVal Author Of Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution

From my list on the American Revolution beyond the Founding Fathers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professional historian and life-long lover of early American history. My fascination with the American Revolution began during the bicentennial in 1976, when my family traveled across the country for celebrations in Williamsburg and Philadelphia. That history, though, seemed disconnected to the place I grew up—Arkansas—so when I went to graduate school in history, I researched in French and Spanish archives to learn about their eighteenth-century interactions with Arkansas’s Native nations, the Osages and Quapaws. Now I teach early American history and Native American history at UNC-Chapel Hill and have written several books on how Native American, European, and African people interacted across North America.

Kathleen's book list on the American Revolution beyond the Founding Fathers

Kathleen DuVal Why did Kathleen love this book?

Annette Gordon-Reed’s book introduces readers to the enslaved family of a Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson.

What I love about this book is that it upends the traditional picture of Jefferson while neither vilifying nor excusing him. It’s a full picture of a complicated man and the fascinating people who were part of his life. After all, the historian’s task is not to make heroes or villains but to show the full complexity of human beings.

At the center of the story is Sally Hemings, the half-sister of Jefferson’s wife and the mother of some of Jefferson’s children. The book also shows how a careful historian can interpret and evaluate different kinds of evidence, including documents, oral history, and DNA.

By Annette Gordon-Reed,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Hemingses of Monticello as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This epic work-named a best book of the year by the Washington Post, Time, the Los Angeles Times, Amazon, the San Francisco Chronicle, and a notable book by the New York Times-tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. Now, historian and legal scholar Annette Gordon-Reed traces the Hemings family from its origins in Virginia in the 1700s to the family's dispersal after Jefferson's death in 1826.


Book cover of Illusions of Emancipation: The Pursuit of Freedom and Equality in the Twilight of Slavery

Frank J. Cirillo Author Of The Abolitionist Civil War: Immediatists and the Struggle to Transform the Union

From my list on the long and difficult fight against slavery in America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent many a night growing up glued to the television, watching Ken Burns’ Civil War. But as I got older, I found my interests stretching beyond the battles and melancholic music on the screen. I decided to become a historian of abolitionism–the radical reform movement that fought to end the evils of slavery and racial prejudice. Through my research, I seek to explain the substantial influence of the abolitionist movement as well as its significant limitations. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 2017, and have since held positions at such institutions as The New School, the University of Bonn, and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Frank's book list on the long and difficult fight against slavery in America

Frank J. Cirillo Why did Frank love this book?

Reidy's book is an elegant and engaging read, but it is not an easy one.

It illustrates how the process of emancipation actually played out on the ground after Abraham Lincoln issued his famed Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. It takes us away from the marble edifices of Civil War Washington and into the dirt, showing us how messy the process of implementing freedom truly was.

It does so, moreover, by centering our attention on the actual men and women fighting for their own freedom. Reidy offers us historians a seminal reminder: change is not made solely from on high.

By Joseph P. Reidy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As students of the Civil War have long known, emancipation was not merely a product of Lincoln's proclamation or of Confederate defeat in April 1865. It was a process that required more than legal or military action. With enslaved people fully engaged as actors, emancipation necessitated a fundamental reordering of a way of life whose implications stretched well beyond the former slave states. Slavery did not die quietly or quickly, nor did freedom fulfill every dream of the enslaved or their allies. The process unfolded unevenly.

In this sweeping reappraisal of slavery's end during the Civil War era, Joseph P.…


Book cover of Degrees of Equality: Abolitionist Colleges and the Politics of Race

Frank J. Cirillo Author Of The Abolitionist Civil War: Immediatists and the Struggle to Transform the Union

From my list on the long and difficult fight against slavery in America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent many a night growing up glued to the television, watching Ken Burns’ Civil War. But as I got older, I found my interests stretching beyond the battles and melancholic music on the screen. I decided to become a historian of abolitionism–the radical reform movement that fought to end the evils of slavery and racial prejudice. Through my research, I seek to explain the substantial influence of the abolitionist movement as well as its significant limitations. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 2017, and have since held positions at such institutions as The New School, the University of Bonn, and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Frank's book list on the long and difficult fight against slavery in America

Frank J. Cirillo Why did Frank love this book?

This book does a fantastic job of illustrating something that I explore in my own work: pro-slavery (and anti-Black) white Americans were not the only obstacles facing abolitionists in the fight for racial equality.

The abolitionist movement itself was often divided along racial lines. Black abolitionists pushed for radical, egalitarian change in all aspects of American life. When push came to shove, however, many of their white counterparts had a limit as to how far they would go.

Bell shows how this dynamic played out at progressive colleges like Oberlin before, during, and after the Civil War. The implications of this book, however, stretch far beyond those campuses–and far beyond that time.

By John Frederick Bell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The abolitionist movement not only helped bring an end to slavery in the United States but also inspired the large-scale admission of African Americans to the country's colleges and universities. Oberlin College changed the face of American higher education in 1835 when it began enrolling students irrespective of race and sex. Camaraderie among races flourished at the Ohio institution and at two other leading abolitionist colleges, Berea in Kentucky and New York Central, where Black and white students allied in the fight for emancipation and civil rights. After Reconstruction, however, color lines emerged on even the most progressive campuses. For…


Book cover of Freedom's Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers

Frank J. Cirillo Author Of The Abolitionist Civil War: Immediatists and the Struggle to Transform the Union

From my list on the long and difficult fight against slavery in America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent many a night growing up glued to the television, watching Ken Burns’ Civil War. But as I got older, I found my interests stretching beyond the battles and melancholic music on the screen. I decided to become a historian of abolitionism–the radical reform movement that fought to end the evils of slavery and racial prejudice. Through my research, I seek to explain the substantial influence of the abolitionist movement as well as its significant limitations. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 2017, and have since held positions at such institutions as The New School, the University of Bonn, and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Frank's book list on the long and difficult fight against slavery in America

Frank J. Cirillo Why did Frank love this book?

Newman's work opened my eyes to a remarkable man I had previously known little about: Bishop Richard Allen, the founder and leader of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Born into slavery, Allen freed himself and dedicated his life to a singular cause: providing enslaved African Americans a safe space where they would be treated as dignified human beings rather than property. His AME Church changed the course of African American history.

Newman demonstrates how Allen was also a forceful abolitionist whose invocations of patriotism to win over white Americans proved a lasting influence on the cause. Quite simply, it is a wonderful biography.

By Richard S. Newman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Gold Winner of the 2008 Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award, Biography Category
Brings to life the inspiring story of one of America's Black Founding Fathers, featured in the forthcoming documentary The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song
Freedom's Prophet is a long-overdue biography of Richard Allen, founder of the first major African American church and the leading black activist of the early American republic. A tireless minister, abolitionist, and reformer, Allen inaugurated some of the most important institutions in African American history and influenced nearly every black leader of the nineteenth century, from Douglass…


Book cover of Violence: Six Sideways Reflections

Andrew Hiscock Author Of Shakespeare, Violence and Early Modern Europe

From my list on thinking about how violence can shape our lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor of Early Modern Literature at Bangor University, Wales UK and Research Fellow at the Institut de Recherche sur la Renaissance, l'Âge Classique et les Lumières, Université Paul-Valéry, Montpellier 3, France. I am someone who has been interested throughout his career in all aspects of what used to be called the European Renaissance and especially in establishing a dialogue between cultural debates raging four hundred years ago and those which dominate our own everyday lives in the twenty-first century. In the past, my work has addressed ideas, for example, concerned with social theory, the construction of cultural space, and the significance of memory.

Andrew's book list on thinking about how violence can shape our lives

Andrew Hiscock Why did Andrew love this book?

This book is a meditation on the ways in which violence has come to shape everyday life in the modern age, from the international political stage to scenes of our own daily routines.

Particularly poignant and thought-provoking are Žižek’s considerations of how inactivity, passivity, and reluctance to engage may ultimately be the most violent courses of action to adopt.

By Slavoj Zizek,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Violence in War and Peace: An Anthology

T.M. Lemos Author Of Violence and Personhood in Ancient Israel and Comparative Contexts

From my list on the comparative history of violence.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a biblical scholar who has become a historian of violence because I could no longer ignore the realities of the present or my own past. I write of violence for my childhood self, who was bullied for a decade and used to run away from school.  I write of it for my grandfather, who was born of exploitation.  I write of it for my African-American wife and daughter, in the hopes that I might contribute to the elimination of hierarchies that threaten their dignity and sometimes their lives.  Doing this work is not just intellectual for me—it is a memorialization and a ritual of healing. 

T.M.'s book list on the comparative history of violence

T.M. Lemos Why did T.M. love this book?

The editors of this volume are two of the most important and influential medical anthropologists in the world and major scholars of violence. In addition to collecting a set of useful texts on violence, the introduction to the volume is a piece of writing that I have returned to many times.

By Nancy Scheper-Hughes (editor), Philippe I. Bourgois (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Violence in War and Peace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Hannah Arendt's 'banality of evil' to Joseph Conrad's 'fascination of the abomination', humankind has struggled to make sense of human-upon-human violence. Edited by two of anthropology's most passionate voices on this subject, "Violence in War and Peace: An Anthology" is the only book of its kind available: a single volume exploration of social, literary, and philosophical theories of violence. It brings together a sweeping collection of readings, drawn from a remarkable range of sources, that look at various conceptions and modes of violence.The book juxtaposes the routine violence of everyday life against the sudden outcropping of extraordinary violence such…


Book cover of The Commander's Dilemma: Violence and Restraint in Wartime

Leigh Binford Author Of From Popular to Insurgent Intellectuals: Peasant Catechists in the Salvadoran Revolution

From my list on violence and restraint in wartime.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an anthropologist, trained in political economy, who began doing fieldwork in southern Mexico in the early 1980s. While there, Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees were flowing into the area from Chiapas. I visited El Salvador in 1986 and in 1991 made several trips to an FMLN-controlled area. After the war ended I made nine field trips to northern Morazán, the last in 2012. My interests in catechists and liberation theology developed early on as I sought to reconstruct the region’s pre-war history. I wrote one book on the El Mozote massacre and am currently working on a third book on the area.

Leigh's book list on violence and restraint in wartime

Leigh Binford Why did Leigh love this book?

Green investigates The Commander’s Dilemma in the Salvadoran Revolution through a combination of questionnaires with ex-combatants from the FMLN and government forces, interviews, documents, and secondary resources. She argues that all military commanders everywhere confront the dilemma of ensuring that troops are skilled in meting out violence but that they reign in their violent tendencies so as to respect the human rights of civilians and adversaries that have been wounded and captured. The rebel FMLN educated its troops far more than the government military and according to the United Nations and other organizations committed but a small percentage of the wartime human rights violations.

By Amelia Hoover Green,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Why do some military and rebel groups commit many types of violence, creating an impression of senseless chaos, whereas others carefully control violence against civilians? A classic catch-22 faces the leaders of armed groups and provides the title for Amelia Hoover Green's book. Leaders need large groups of people willing to kill and maim-but to do so only under strict control. How can commanders control violence when fighters who are not under direct supervision experience extraordinary stress, fear, and anger? The Commander's Dilemma argues that discipline is not enough in wartime. Restraint occurs when fighters know why they are fighting…


Book cover of Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?

Andrew Hiscock Author Of Shakespeare, Violence and Early Modern Europe

From my list on thinking about how violence can shape our lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor of Early Modern Literature at Bangor University, Wales UK and Research Fellow at the Institut de Recherche sur la Renaissance, l'Âge Classique et les Lumières, Université Paul-Valéry, Montpellier 3, France. I am someone who has been interested throughout his career in all aspects of what used to be called the European Renaissance and especially in establishing a dialogue between cultural debates raging four hundred years ago and those which dominate our own everyday lives in the twenty-first century. In the past, my work has addressed ideas, for example, concerned with social theory, the construction of cultural space, and the significance of memory.

Andrew's book list on thinking about how violence can shape our lives

Andrew Hiscock Why did Andrew love this book?

This book is particularly enlightening concerning the ways in which cultural value may be attributed to individual bodies, armed conflict, and, indeed, to human life itself in different political, geographical, and military circumstances.

Butler compels us to examine our own practices of compassion, partisanship, and/or habits of interpretation as we (or the media) move from one location to another around the globe.

By Judith Butler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this urgent response to violence, racism and increasingly aggressive methods of coercion, Judith Butler explores the media's portrayal of armed conflict, a process integral to how the West prosecutes its wars. In doing so, she calls for a reconceptualization of the Left, one united in opposition and resistance to the illegitimate and arbitrary effects of interventionist military action.


Book cover of Lethal Intersections: Race, Gender, and Violence

Why am I passionate about this?

I come from the Dusun hilltribes of Indigenous Borneo. My mountain is Kinabalu, and my river is Kiulu. My upbringing gives me a new way to talk about the world. I have participated in ongoing rituals, witnessed the loss of once-abundant wilderness, and shared in stories that are filled with ancient wisdom. My Elders’ knowledge about the land, sea, and sky is etched in my memory, grounding me to cultural roots and prompting reflection on life’s essential questions. In my travels, I have found that these universal questions intersect with the stories and experiences of Indigenous communities worldwide. This worldview urges me to not let these stories fade.

Olivia's book list on books about Indigenous experiences by Indigenous writers (about us by us and why that matters)

Olivia Guntarik Why did Olivia love this book?

This one is left field as it doesn’t fall neatly into the list. I included this book to avoid the impression that only Indigenous writers can write about Indigenous experiences. It’s important that we do, of course, but this book puts a slightly different slant on the “self-representation” question from an intersectional perspective.

Black feminist writer, Patricia Hill Collins, introduces the concept of intersecting lives and experiences, highlighting common struggles among Indigenous, Black, Minority, and Queer communities and how we are affected by violence in different and shared ways, invisible and public.

I encountered this work during a period of similar oppressions, finding it to be a transformative gift. Patricia’s ideas expand my world to new possibilities beyond institutional thinking. I love how the writing is so accessible, and the pages just fly along. Love this woman!

By Patricia Hill Collins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

School shootings, police misconduct, and sexual assault where people are injured and die dominate the news. What are the connections between such incidents of violence and extreme harm?

In this new book, world-renowned sociologist Patricia Hill Collins explores how violence differentially affects people according to their class, sexuality, nationality, and ethnicity. These invisible workings of overlapping power relations give rise to what she terms "lethal intersections," where multiple forms of oppression converge to catalyze a set of violent practices that fall more heavily on particular groups. Drawing on a rich tapestry of cases, Collins challenges readers to reflect on what…


Book cover of War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation's Veterans from Post-Tramatic Stress Disorder

Ryan Smithson Author Of Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI

From my list on turning PTSD into post-traumatic growth.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an equipment operator for the Army Corps of Engineers, I didn’t serve in a “combat” role, per se, but the engineers go wherever the military needs things built, so we were often repairing IED damage, hauling supplies outside the wire, or fortifying bases so the infantry, cavalry, etc. could do their job effectively. Coming home, I owe a lot of my successful reintegration to my writing and the many people who encouraged me to share it with the world. Now with my Master of Arts in English, I’ve taught college courses on military culture, and I present for veteran art groups, writing workshops, and high schools and colleges around the country.

Ryan's book list on turning PTSD into post-traumatic growth

Ryan Smithson Why did Ryan love this book?

As a young psychologist during the Vietnam War, Edward Tick served his country not by enlisting himself but through tireless efforts to help those who returned from war traumatized. This was the first book that helped me understand that posttraumatic stress is not just some “disorder” that I’d suffer from forever. Rather, it is simply the human mind’s normal—probably unavoidable—response to combat, and, Tick argues, there is also such a thing as posttraumatic growth. He examines how ancient and modern societies train their warrior classes, noting that the ritualistic civilian-to-soldier process (we’d call it “boot camp” or “basic training”) often lacks a necessary counterpart today: that is, a formal soldier-to-civilian process, and this only compounds the issues of PTSD and the American military-civilian divide.

By Edward Tick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

War and PTSD are on the public's mind as news stories regularly describe insurgency attacks in Iraq and paint grim portraits of the lives of returning soldiers afflicted with PTSD. These vets have recurrent nightmares and problems with intimacy, can’t sustain jobs or relationships, and won’t leave home, imagining “the enemy” is everywhere. Dr. Edward Tick has spent decades developing healing techniques so effective that clinicians, clergy, spiritual leaders, and veterans’ organizations all over the country are studying them. This book, presented here in an audio version, shows that healing depends on our understanding of PTSD not as a mere…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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