76 books like Ghettoside

By Jill Leovy,

Here are 76 books that Ghettoside fans have personally recommended if you like Ghettoside. 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 Madame Bovary

Astrid Carlen-Helmer Author Of The Demon King’s Interpreter

From my list on capturing France's most epic love stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a French-American writer with a passion for young adult stories and flawed female characters. Born and raised in France in a household without a TV, I spent my entire childhood reading avidly, which in turn led me to study Literature and Film. In fact, most of my life, I have been inspired by novels that offer windows into new worlds that open up possibilities. Some of the novels from the list below feature some of my favorite characters, and provide insights into other worlds and other times. 

Astrid's book list on capturing France's most epic love stories

Astrid Carlen-Helmer Why did Astrid love this book?

Madame Bovary is the story of a woman who endlessly struggles to escape the banalities of her provincial life.

This novel makes you feel like you’re in the head of its main characters: first Charles Bovary, then Emma, his second wife and the novel’s eponymous hero. It is so realistic that upon its release, the author was taken to court for public offense against morality.

Still very modern, Emma’s drama is, to me, the discrepancy between illusions and reality. Her quest for happiness outside of her own condition and her inability to be satisfied with what she has are themes that, I believe, still resonate today.

By Gustave Flaubert, Geoffrey Wall (translator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Madame Bovary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A masterpiece' Julian Barnes

Flaubert's erotically charged and psychologically acute portrayal of a married woman's affair caused a moral outcry on its publication in 1857. Its heroine, Emma Bovary, is stifled by provincial life as the wife of a doctor. An ardent devourer of sentimental novels, she seeks escape in fantasies of high romance, in voracious spending and, eventually, in adultery. But even her affairs bring her disappointment, and when real life continues to fail to live up to her romantic expectations, the consequences are devastating. It was deemed so lifelike that many women claimed they were the model for…


Book cover of Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

Christopher Kirchhoff Author Of Unit X: How the Pentagon and Silicon Valley Are Transforming the Future of War

From my list on how technology is changing the future of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I think technology is the closest thing to magic we have in our world, and I’ve always been fascinated by its impact on our lives. During the Obama Administration, I worked as the senior civilian aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the National Security Council, and as a founder of the Pentagon’s Silicon Valley Office, Defense Innovation Unit. This gave me a front-row seat to how quickly technology changes war and geopolitics. I’m passionate about sharing what I’ve seen and think will likely happen shortly and helping people everywhere grapple with the changes unfolding in places like Ukraine and the Middle East.

Christopher's book list on how technology is changing the future of war

Christopher Kirchhoff Why did Christopher love this book?

This book recounts the fascinating history of the Troubles in North Ireland and the period of violence that ensued between Irish separatists seeking freedom from England and the British Army, who essentially occupied entire parts of Ireland and put its citizens under martial law. 

Part the biography of key figures in the Irish Republican Army, part anatomy of how violence happens in inter-communal disputes, the book reminds us that the same dynamics that existed during the Iraq War in Anbar province between occupier and occupied also existed in the United Kingdom in the 1970s.

By Patrick Radden Keefe,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Say Nothing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER •From the author of Empire of Pain—a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions

"Masked intruders dragged Jean McConville, a 38-year-old widow and mother of 10, from her Belfast home in 1972. In this meticulously reported book—as finely paced as a novel—Keefe uses McConville's murder as a prism to tell the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Interviewing people on both sides of the conflict, he transforms the tragic damage and waste of the era into a searing, utterly gripping saga." —New York Times Book Review

Jean McConville's…


Book cover of Black Skin, White Masks

Ilan Kapoor Author Of Global Libidinal Economy

From my list on psychoanalysis and politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a scholar of global politics, and I am drawn to psychoanalysis because it studies the unseen in politics, or rather, those things that are often in plain sight but remain unacknowledged. For example, why is it that, especially in this information economy, we are well aware of the inequality and environmental destruction that our current capitalist system is based on, but we still continue to invest in it (through shopping, taking out loans, using credit cards, etc.)? Psychoanalysis says that it's because we are unconsciously seduced by capitalism—we love shopping despite knowing about the socioeconomic and environmental dangers of doing it. I’m fascinated by that process of disavowal.

Ilan's book list on psychoanalysis and politics

Ilan Kapoor Why did Ilan love this book?

This is one of the first books that “blew my mind” when I was a young university student: it remains the one I constantly return to because it seeks to understand the psychoanalytic foundations of racism under French colonialism.

Fanon was only 27 when his book was first published in 1952, but his reflections provide a stunningly passionate and layered view on how anti-Black racism (de)forms the subjectivity of both white and Black people, locking them into constructions of whiteness/blackness that require constant questioning.

His arguments on the psychoanalytic and political underpinnings of racism remain as relevant today as they were in his time.

By Frantz Fanon, Richard Philcox (translator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Black Skin, White Masks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Few modern voices have had as profound an impact on the black identity and critical race theory as Frantz Fanon, and Black Skin, White Masks  represents some of his most important work. Fanon’s masterwork is now available in a new translation that updates its language for a new generation of readers.
A major influence on civil rights, anti-colonial, and black consciousness movements around the world, Black Skin, White Masks is the unsurpassed study of the black psyche in a white world. Hailed for its scientific analysis and poetic grace when it was first published in 1952, the book remains a…


Book cover of The Holocaust in American Life

Andrew Gumbel Author Of Won’t Lose This Dream: How an Upstart Urban University Rewrote the Rules of a Broken System

From my list on overturning received wisdom.

Why am I passionate about this?

All good books change the way we see the world, whether that’s in big, earth-shaking ways (The Origin of Species, The Communist Manifesto), or because they start a necessary conversation (The Jungle, Silent Spring), or simply because they give us a new language and framework with which to view our lives. As a journalist and author I’ve always loved stories and subjects that challenge the status quo. It’s why I wrote one book exploring the unique, deep-rooted flaws in America’s electoral democracy and another offering an eye-opening fresh account of the Oklahoma City bombing. The list that follows is of books that had a particular impact on me.

Andrew's book list on overturning received wisdom

Andrew Gumbel Why did Andrew love this book?

A book that grapples with the complicated question of historical memory and subverts one assumption after another about the way the Holocaust has come to occupy a central place in our thinking. As Novick shows and as I know from my own family history, our collective memory has in fact zigzagged between willful forgetting, rewriting and mythologizing the past, overhasty moral judgment, and flat-out error. Novick’s is one of a number of brilliant books – Tony Judt’s Postwar is another; Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands yet another – that go beyond the simple exhortation “never forget” and make us realize that if we don’t want to repeat the horrors of World War Two we need to know a lot better what it is we need to remember in the first place.

By Peter Novick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Prize-winning historian Peter Novick illuminates the reasons Americans ignored the Holocaust for so long -- how dwelling on German crimes interfered with Cold War mobilization; how American Jews, not wanting to be thought of as victims, avoided the subject. He explores in absorbing detail the decisions that later moved the Holocaust to the center of American life: Jewish leaders invoking its memory to muster support for Israel and to come out on top in a sordid competition over what group had suffered most; politicians using it to score points with Jewish voters. With insight and sensitivity, Novick raises searching questions…


Book cover of Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America's Schools

Aubrey Fox Author Of Gradual: The Case for Incremental Change in a Radical Age

From my list on how government works in practice – and when it doesn’t.

Why am I passionate about this?

My father advised me that to be a good writer, I should first learn a trade and particular subject matter from the inside out. As a working criminal justice practitioner for the last two decades, I’ve been lucky to work with some of the smartest people and best run organizations in the country. I’ve always been a big reader and someone who likes to link the sometimes brutally practical, day-to-day work of running an organization (I lead New York City’s main pretrial services agency) to larger philosophical issues. My life’s goal is to show how big ideas play themselves out in the day-to-day practice of public policy. 

Aubrey's book list on how government works in practice – and when it doesn’t

Aubrey Fox Why did Aubrey love this book?

We don’t have enough books that celebrate how thoughtful and patient reform strategies can pay big dividends over time.

Journalist and Public Policy Professor David Kirp embedded himself in the community of Union City, New Jersey and documented how the school district has worked to improve educational outcomes in decidedly non-flashy ways.

As Kirp writes, all too often education reform has a “flavor of the month” and faddish quality to it, trapped in seemingly endless cycles of unrealistic big bang-style reforms and inevitable disappointments.

Improbable Scholars provides a hopeful counternarrative, showing that large-scale change is possible beyond a single stand-out school or teacher.

By David L. Kirp,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The conventional wisdom, voiced by everyone from Bill Gates to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, is that public schools are so terrible that simply reforming them won't do the trick. Instead, they must be "transformed," blown up and then rebuilt, if they're going to offer students a good education. We relish stories about electrifying teachers like Jaime Escalante, who made math whizzes out of no-hoper teenagers in East LA, or inner city charter schools like the KIPP
academies. But success in the public schools of an entire city-a poor, crowded city, with more than its share of immigrant Latino youngsters, the…


Book cover of A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles

John Iceland Author Of Why We Disagree about Inequality: Social Justice vs. Social Order

From my list on explaining political polarization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Penn State professor of sociology and demography who is interested in social inequality, demography, and public opinion. My family moved frequently when I was growing up—I lived in Colombia, Greece, and Mexico. I attended Brown University and worked at the U.S. Census Bureau as an analyst and Branch Chief for several years before returning to academia. My interest in inequality dates back to living in different countries with different cultures, politics, and standards of living. While I have long been interested in the demographics of poverty and inequality, in more recent years I’ve become interested in political polarization and why people disagree about a variety of social issues.

John's book list on explaining political polarization

John Iceland Why did John love this book?

Liberals and conservatives strongly disagree on the appropriate scope of government. No book has helped me understand why more than Thomas Sowell’s Conflict of Visions.

He describes how the ideological difference results from disagreements about the malleability of human nature. The unconstrained vision, typically associated with liberals, sees human nature as altruistic and perfectible. The government should be used expansively to promote social justice and equality to realize this vision. 

In contrast, the constrained vision, typically associated with conservatives, sees human nature as limited, selfish, and imperfectible. The government should play a limited role in society, as elites cannot hope to restructure society without unintended destructive consequences.

By Thomas Sowell,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Conflict of Visions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this classic work, Thomas Sowell analyzes the two competing visions that shape our debates about the nature of reason, justice, equality, and power: the constrained" vision, which sees human nature as unchanging and selfish, and the unconstrained" vision, in which human nature is malleable and perfectible. He describes how these two radically opposed views have manifested themselves in the political controversies of the past two centuries, including such contemporary issues as welfare reform, social justice, and crime. Updated to include sweeping political changes since its first publication in 1987, this revised edition of A Conflict of Visions offers a…


Book cover of Order without Design: How Markets Shape Cities

Aubrey Fox Author Of Gradual: The Case for Incremental Change in a Radical Age

From my list on how government works in practice – and when it doesn’t.

Why am I passionate about this?

My father advised me that to be a good writer, I should first learn a trade and particular subject matter from the inside out. As a working criminal justice practitioner for the last two decades, I’ve been lucky to work with some of the smartest people and best run organizations in the country. I’ve always been a big reader and someone who likes to link the sometimes brutally practical, day-to-day work of running an organization (I lead New York City’s main pretrial services agency) to larger philosophical issues. My life’s goal is to show how big ideas play themselves out in the day-to-day practice of public policy. 

Aubrey's book list on how government works in practice – and when it doesn’t

Aubrey Fox Why did Aubrey love this book?

This is one of the most handsomely illustrated books I’ve ever purchased – and one of the most eye-opening.

Bertaud sums up a lifetime of work in over 40 cities, showing that the preoccupation of many urban planners and architects with aesthetically pleasing design ignores the reality that cities work best when they give residents the ability to make their own decisions about where they want to live and help them access good economic opportunities.

Bertaud also chronicles how well-meaning but paternalistic land use rules (minimum lot sizes, height restrictions, excessive historic preservation regimes) have harmed cities by making them inaccessible to diverse newcomers. 

By Alain Bertaud,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Order without Design as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An argument that operational urban planning can be improved by the application of the tools of urban economics to the design of regulations and infrastructure.

Urban planning is a craft learned through practice. Planners make rapid decisions that have an immediate impact on the ground—the width of streets, the minimum size of land parcels, the heights of buildings. The language they use to describe their objectives is qualitative—“sustainable,” “livable,” “resilient”—often with no link to measurable outcomes. Urban economics, on the other hand, is a quantitative science, based on theories, models, and empirical evidence largely developed in academic settings. In this…


Book cover of Policymaking for Social Security

Aubrey Fox Author Of Gradual: The Case for Incremental Change in a Radical Age

From my list on how government works in practice – and when it doesn’t.

Why am I passionate about this?

My father advised me that to be a good writer, I should first learn a trade and particular subject matter from the inside out. As a working criminal justice practitioner for the last two decades, I’ve been lucky to work with some of the smartest people and best run organizations in the country. I’ve always been a big reader and someone who likes to link the sometimes brutally practical, day-to-day work of running an organization (I lead New York City’s main pretrial services agency) to larger philosophical issues. My life’s goal is to show how big ideas play themselves out in the day-to-day practice of public policy. 

Aubrey's book list on how government works in practice – and when it doesn’t

Aubrey Fox Why did Aubrey love this book?

In writing our book, my co-author Greg Berman and I relied heavily on Derthick’s classic 1979 account of the development of Social Security in its first 15 years.

Derthick shows that its intentionally incremental development became the key to its later success as the largest and most successful anti-poverty program ever developed.

Derthick shows how two unheralded government bureaucrats nurtured and protected the program in its early years, including against a very popular and more immediately radical alternative.

The book does a good job of showing that choices made by the architects of government programs in their early days help set their long-term trajectories – an understudied topic.

By Martha A. Derthick,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Policymaking for Social Security as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Comprehensively analyzes the American social security program, considering its history, politics, policies, and troubled future and advocating a realistic and less reverent approach to its modification.


Book cover of My Dark Places: An L.A. Crime Memoir

Stephen Holgate Author Of To Live and Die in the Floating World

From my list on neglected mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

From Poe to Conan Doyle and Christie to the hard-boiled school of Hammett and Chandler and modern practitioners such as Louise Penny and Walter Mosely, I can gobble up mysteries like candy. Their appeal lies not only in compelling storylines but in their promise to restore order to our chaotic world, assure us that justice will triumph and evil geniuses will lose to intrepid paladins. As with wines, art, and sex, tastes vary. While reading various lists of great mysteries to jog my memory to make this list, I realized that few of my favorites were even listed, much less among the top ranks. Like a good detective, I’m determined that justice prevails.

Stephen's book list on neglected mysteries

Stephen Holgate Why did Stephen love this book?

Memoirs don’t often feature mysteries, but Elroy, known for tough, cynical crime novels such as L.A. Confidential, centers his around his obsession with the unsolved murder of his mother in 1958 when Elroy was ten. With allusions to the famous Blue Dahlia case, Elroy writes with brutal frankness about his own pathologies and his weirdly loving relationship with his neglectful, alcoholic father. If nothing else, this absorbing book—hard to read and equally hard to put down—solves the mystery of why Elroy and his novels come off as so creepy.

By James Ellroy,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked My Dark Places as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On 22 June 1958, Geneva "Jean" Hilliker Ellroy was found strangled. Her murderer was never found, but her death had a lasting effect on her ten-year-old son who wasted his early adulthood as a wino, petty burglar and derelict. In this book he tells of his determination to solve his mother's murder.


Book cover of Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

Rob St. Clair Author Of Saving Stacy: The Untold Story of the Moody Massacre

From my list on true crime tragedies.

Why am I passionate about this?

Working as a prosecutor, trial lawyer for defendants, and as a magistrate, I’m always bothered by the misconception most people have of our criminal justice system. Unfortunately, cops are crooked, judges are corrupt, and witnesses lie on the stand. Not everyone, not every day, but more often than you would ever imagine. I write true crime books about cases where the underlying focus is on officials who are incompetent, derelict in their duties, or simply downright corrupt. The cases are always suspenseful, but justice is rarely served, and both the defendant and the public are the ones who lose.

Rob's book list on true crime tragedies

Rob St. Clair Why did Rob love this book?

After you read the book, you need to see Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood.

In the summer of 1969, in Los Angeles, a series of brutal, seemingly random murders captured headlines across America. A thin trail of circumstances eventually tied the Tate-LeBianca murders to Charles Manson, a would-be pop singer of small talent living in the desert with his "family" of devoted young women and men. What was the motivation behind such savagery?

The murders marked the end of the sixties and became an immediate symbol of the dark underside of that era. Vincent Bugliosi was the prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial, and this book is his riveting account of how he built his case from what a defense attorney dismissed as only “two fingerprints and Vince Bugliosi.”

The meticulous detective work with which the story begins, the prosecutor’s view of a complex murder trial, the reconstruction of…

By Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Helter Skelter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the summer of 1969, in Los Angeles, a series of brutal, seemingly random murders captured headlines across America. A famous actress (and her unborn child), an heiress to a coffee fortune, a supermarket owner and his wife were among the seven victims. A thin trail of circumstances eventually tied the Tate-LeBianca murders to Charles Manson, a would-be pop singer of small talent living in the desert with his "family" of devoted young women and men. What was his hold over them? And what was the motivation behind such savagery? In the public imagination, over time, the case assumed the…


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