100 books like Freedom's Prophet

By Richard S. Newman,

Here are 100 books that Freedom's Prophet fans have personally recommended if you like Freedom's Prophet. 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 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 Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence

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 demonstrates a point that I always try to make to students: the antislavery movement was much more than mass meetings and heroic escapes along the Underground Railroad.

It was far more complex–and, at times, far more violent. Many Black activists in the years before the Civil War turned to the tactics of violence to try and shake a complacent nation into action. They did so in desperation, and only with much anguish–and much controversy.

Jackson's book gets deep into the weeds of how the struggle for antislavery progress actually worked. 

By Kellie Carter Jackson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From its origins in the 1750s, the white-led American abolitionist movement adhered to principles of "moral suasion" and nonviolent resistance as both religious tenet and political strategy. But by the 1850s, the population of enslaved Americans had increased exponentially, and such legislative efforts as the Fugitive Slave Act and the Supreme Court's 1857 ruling in the Dred Scott case effectively voided any rights black Americans held as enslaved or free people. As conditions deteriorated for African Americans, black abolitionist leaders embraced violence as the only means of shocking Northerners out of their apathy and instigating an antislavery war.
In Force…


Book cover of The Collected Prose

Akiko Busch Author Of How to Disappear: Notes on Invisibility in a Time of Transparency

From my list on essays by poets.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am drawn to what happens when writers skilled in one form of expression explore their ideas in another. Poets write with a sense of distillation. Prose allows for something different, the essay form bringing to the surface something more expansive, less concentrated. Clarity is constant, but it takes on a different rhythm, a spaciousness, a sense of one thing leading to another and another.

Akiko's book list on essays by poets

Akiko Busch Why did Akiko love this book?

Because of the way she writes about the past and the way she writes about the present. Because she is at once straightforward and lyrical. Because she writes about places and people with the same acuity and insight. Because she writes with certainty about ambiguity.

By Elizabeth Bishop,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


Presented in two sections, "Memory: Persons and Places" and "Stories," this book offers the collected prose writings of Elizabeth Bishop (1911-79), one of America's most celebrated and admired poets. The selections are arranged not by date of compostion, but in biographical order, such that reading this volume greatly enriches one's understanding of Bishop's life--and thus her poetry as well. "Bishop's admirers will want to consult her Collected Prose for the light it sheds on her poetry," as David Lehman wrote in Newsweek. "They will discover, however, that it is more than just a handsome companion volume to [her] Complete Poems.…


Book cover of Acts and Omissions

Kathleen Jowitt Author Of Speak Its Name

From my list on showing it’s possible to be queer and Christian.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in an eccentric, liberal family, as a member of the Church of England, under the shadow of the British Government’s homophobic Section 28, the messages I received were distinctly mixed. If I’d heard the word ‘bisexual’ before the age of twenty my life might have been very different. And to this day, the most common assumption is that one can’t be simultaneously queer and Christian. As I’ve discovered, and as these books show, that isn’t true – and moving beyond that assumption reveals new and fascinating horizons.

Kathleen's book list on showing it’s possible to be queer and Christian

Kathleen Jowitt Why did Kathleen love this book?

Catherine Fox is intimately familiar with the nuances of the Church of England. She writes about them with wit and affection, and she’s dependably funny in this tale of a married bishop who doesn’t want to look too closely at why he’s quite so patient with his disaster of a chauffeur. The Lindchester series is ongoing, and I’m one of many followers who read along to share the joys and sorrows of the diverse, expanding, and delightful cast of characters. This is the place to start, though.

By Catherine Fox,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Chosen as a Guardian Book of 2014


Book cover of The Confessions: Saint Augustine of Hippo

Hunter Howe Cates Author Of Oklahoma's Atticus: An Innocent Man and the Lawyer Who Fought for Him

From my list on inspiring heroism.

Why am I passionate about this?

While my book Oklahoma’s Atticus is technically true crime, I always viewed it as a story about courage, not unlike the stories of brave heroes that have inspired me for longer than I can remember. But unlike these great figures of history and literature, my book is about a regular man who never saw himself as a hero. I should know, for that man, Elliott Howe, was my grandfather. I can only hope his story inspires others as much as it did me.

Hunter's book list on inspiring heroism

Hunter Howe Cates Why did Hunter love this book?

For most of us, the greatest enemy isn’t from without, but from within. This is true today and was just as true nearly two millennia ago when Saint Augustine of Hippo wrote his Confessions, the first autobiography. His struggles with sin and vice should be relatable to us all, especially his difficulty in abandoning his worldly desires. Would most of us be so brave as to abandon our wants for something far greater?

By Augustine of Hippo, Maria Boulding (translator), David Vincent Meconi (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of a major new Classics series - books that have changed the history of thought, in sumptuous, clothbound hardbacks.

The son of a pagan father and a Christian mother, Saint Augustine spent his early years torn between conflicting faiths and world views. His Confessions, written when he was in his forties, recount how, slowly and painfully, he came to turn away from his youthful ideas and licentious lifestyle, to become instead a staunch advocate of Christianity and one of its most influential thinkers. A remarkably honest and revealing spiritual autobiography, the Confessions also address fundamental issues of Christian doctrine,…


Book cover of The Heretic: A Study of the Life of John William Colenso, 1814-1883

James Oliver Gump Author Of The Dust Rose Like Smoke: The Subjugation of the Zulu and the Sioux

From my list on the rise and fall of the Zulu kingdom.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor emeritus of history at the University of San Diego, and taught courses in African and South African history for over three decades. I have also written a number articles placing African topics in comparative perspective, including “A Spirit of Resistance:  Xhosa, Maori, and Sioux Responses to Western Dominance, 1840-1920” and “Unveiling the Third Force: Toward Transitional Justice in the USA and South Africa, 1973-1994,” as well as three books: The Formation of the Zulu Kingdom in South Africa and two editions of The Dust Rose Like Smoke: The Subjugation of the Zulu and the Sioux

James' book list on the rise and fall of the Zulu kingdom

James Oliver Gump Why did James love this book?

Guy, a prolific historian of Zulu history, writes the definitive biography of John William Colenso, bishop of Natal between 1852 and his death in 1883. Throughout the last decade of his life, Colenso championed the rights of Africans in Natal and Zululand and became a major critic of Britain’s pre-emptive war against the Zulu kingdom. In particular, Colenso came to regard his former friend Theophilus Shepstone (Natal’s Secretary of Native Affairs) as a principal advocate for the Anglo-Zulu War, a conflict Colenso described as “most unjustifiable and wicked.”

By Jeff Guy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

John William Colenso died in 1883, a Mathematician and controversial missionary Bishop of Natal. During his life, he scandalized Victorians by showing that the Bible could not be accepted as the literal word of God. He was subsequently found guilty of heresy and excommunicated by the Anglican Church Undaunted by the antagonism of his contemporaries, Colenso then attempted to expose and rectify the injustices inflicted upon the Africans of Natal and Zululand by the British in the late 19th century.


Book cover of The Case of the Famished Parson

H L Marsay Author Of A Long Shadow

From my list on classic English murder mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up binge-reading murder mysteries and promised myself that some day, I would write one too. A Long Shadow is the first book in my Chief Inspector Shadow series set in York. Luckily, living in a city so full of history, dark corners, and hidden snickelways, I am never short of inspiration. When I’m not coming up with new ways to bump people off, I enjoy red wine, dark chocolate, and blue cheese—not necessarily together! 

H L's book list on classic English murder mysteries

H L Marsay Why did H L love this book?

I first discovered the Inspector Littlejohn stories by George Bellairs when I briefly lived on the Isle of Man. Littlejohn has a dry sense of humour and a sharp tongue. In this story he is called in to investigate the death of a bishop whose emaciated body has been found at the bottom of the cliff at Cape Marvin. Little is known about the bishop and it is up to the inspector to discover if the answer to his death can be found in his past or in the secretive village of Cape Marvin.

By George Bellairs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A corpse belonging to a gentle bishop is found at the base of a cliff on the Isle of Man in an ingenious mystery by the master of the (The New York Times).
Dr James Macintosh, the Bishop of Greyle, is a mysterious man; for a long time, nobody even seems to know his last name. But things suddenly take a turn for the worse when his body is found completely emaciated and battered having being pushed face-first off the edge of a cliff...
Inspector Littlejohn faces an incredibly peculiar case and must figure out how to explain the savage…


Book cover of Thomas Cranmer: A Life

Peter Marshall Author Of Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation

From my list on the English Reformation.

Why am I passionate about this?

Peter Marshall is Professor of History at the University of Warwick, co-editor of the English Historical Review, and the author of nine books and over sixty articles on the religious and cultural history of early modern Europe. His authoritative account of the Reformation in England, Heretics and Believers, was awarded the Wolfson History Prize in 2018. Peter is a native of the Orkney Islands, and currently writing a book on the islanders’ experiences in the Reformation era.

Peter's book list on the English Reformation

Peter Marshall Why did Peter love this book?

The finest historical biographies use the life to illuminate the times, and MacCulloch’s meticulously researched book on the career of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer is also the best single account of the see-saw religious politics of the reign of Henry VIII. Its sympathetic portrayal of a flawed idealist is ultimately very moving as well as consistently enlightening.

By Diarmaid MacCulloch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Thomas Cranmer, the architect of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, was the archbishop of Canterbury who guided England through the early Reformation-and Henry VIII through the minefields of divorce. This is the first major biography of him for more than three decades, and the first for a century to exploit rich new manuscript sources in Britain and elsewhere.
Diarmaid MacCulloch, one of the foremost scholars of the English Reformation, traces Cranmer from his east-Midland roots through his twenty-year career as a conventionally conservative Cambridge don. He shows how Cranmer was recruited to the coterie around Henry VIII that was…


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Interested in African Americans, Slavery, and presidential biography?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about African Americans, Slavery, and presidential biography.

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