21 books like Going Dark

By Julia Ebner,

Here are 21 books that Going Dark fans have personally recommended if you like Going Dark. 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 Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America

Matthew Dallek Author Of Birchers: How the John Birch Society Radicalized the American Right

From my list on the far-right and its influence in US politics.

Who am I?

I am a historian and a professor of political management at George Washington University, and I became interested in the John Birch Society when I encountered the group while writing my first book, on Ronald Reagan's 1966 California governor's campaign. I'm also fascinated by debates about political extremism in modern America including such questions as: how does the culture define extremism in a given moment? How does the meaning of extremism shift over time? And how do extremists sometimes become mainstream within the context of American politics? These were some of the puzzles that motivated me to write Birchers

Matthew's book list on the far-right and its influence in US politics

Matthew Dallek Why did Matthew love this book?

A classic in the genre, Belew’s book traces the rise of the white power movement to “the aftermath of the Vietnam War.”

Bring the War Home examines how a blend of apocalyptic ideas, obsession with guns rights, hardline antigovernment views, and white power beliefs became a current in modern America. I admire its groundbreaking research, bold argument, and impact.

By Kathleen Belew,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Bring the War Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Guardian Best Book of the Year

"A gripping study of white power...Explosive."
-New York Times

"Helps explain how we got to today's alt-right."
-Terry Gross, Fresh Air

The white power movement in America wants a revolution.

Returning to a country ripped apart by a war they felt they were not allowed to win, a small group of Vietnam veterans and disgruntled civilians who shared their virulent anti-communism and potent sense of betrayal concluded that waging war on their own country was justified. The command structure of their covert movement gave women a prominent place. They operated with discipline, made…


Book cover of Entitled: How Male Privilege Hurts Women

Cynthia Miller-Idriss Author Of Hate in the Homeland: The New Global Far Right

From my list on radicalization and extremism.

Who am I?

I first became interested in how societies grapple with extremism when I studied abroad in Germany and learned about post-World War II education about the Holocaust. I then spent two decades studying and writing about how German schools were working to combat rising far-right extremism in the 1990s and 2000s. Today, I find there is much to learn globally, including in my own country of the U.S., from the German approach to combating extremism, which is rooted in the idea of “defensive democracy”—the notion that we can’t only combat the fringe itself, but also must equip the mainstream with the tools to be resilient to it.

Cynthia's book list on radicalization and extremism

Cynthia Miller-Idriss Why did Cynthia love this book?

Manne’s book is required reading for anyone who wants to understand how patriarchy and misogyny shape our everyday lives and interactions. I have probably thought more about this book since I read it than anything else I’ve read. It’s impossible to understand the rise of “incel” violence or other violence against women without this essential book.

By Kate Manne,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Kate Manne is the Simone de Beauvoir of the 21st century' - Amanda Marcotte

'I want to press this book on every schoolgirl who thinks that feminism is uncool, any woman who thinks the most important gender battles are won, pretty much every man I know, and say, have you thought about this?' Sophie McBain, New Statesman

Male entitlement takes many forms. To sex, yes, but more insidiously to admiration, bodily autonomy, knowledge, power, even care. In this urgent intervention, philosopher Kate Manne offers a radical new framework for understanding misogyny.

In clear-sighted, powerful prose, she ranges widely across the…


Book cover of Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism

Ellen T. Armour Author Of Seeing and Believing: Religion, Digital Visual Culture, and Social Justice

From my list on social media’s impact on us.

Who am I?

My own experience on Facebook piqued my interest in digital photography and social media. My emotional response to what I saw there ran the gamut from super anxious or angry to happy and even optimistic. As a scholar of religion with some expertise in traditional media and photography, I wanted to know why and how so I could respond better. I turned to experts in these new technologies – particularly those who write good books aimed at curious people, not just their peers! – for help. I learned a lot from these books and I’m confident you will, too!

Ellen's book list on social media’s impact on us

Ellen T. Armour Why did Ellen love this book?

I rarely think about why I see what I see online. Yes, I know algorithms had something to do with it, but they’re just algebra on steroids, right? Well, not so fast!

This book opened my eyes to how and why bias – in this case, racial bias – shows up online and what we can do about it. I learned a lot about the intricate connections between our online lives and our real ones. 

By Safiya Umoja Noble,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A revealing look at how negative biases against women of color are embedded in search engine results and algorithms
Run a Google search for "black girls"-what will you find? "Big Booty" and other sexually explicit terms are likely to come up as top search terms. But, if you type in "white girls," the results are radically different. The suggested porn sites and un-moderated discussions about "why black women are so sassy" or "why black women are so angry" presents a disturbing portrait of black womanhood in modern society.
In Algorithms of Oppression, Safiya Umoja Noble challenges the idea that search…


Book cover of A Lot of People Are Saying: The New Conspiracism and the Assault on Democracy

Cynthia Miller-Idriss Author Of Hate in the Homeland: The New Global Far Right

From my list on radicalization and extremism.

Who am I?

I first became interested in how societies grapple with extremism when I studied abroad in Germany and learned about post-World War II education about the Holocaust. I then spent two decades studying and writing about how German schools were working to combat rising far-right extremism in the 1990s and 2000s. Today, I find there is much to learn globally, including in my own country of the U.S., from the German approach to combating extremism, which is rooted in the idea of “defensive democracy”—the notion that we can’t only combat the fringe itself, but also must equip the mainstream with the tools to be resilient to it.

Cynthia's book list on radicalization and extremism

Cynthia Miller-Idriss Why did Cynthia love this book?

Extremist movements today are not just driven by violent hate and ideologies—they are also deeply embedded in a wide range of conspiracy theories. Muirhead and Rosenblum’s book helped me understand how those conspiracy theories spread and why they are so dangerous to democracies around the world—especially for the ways they disorient individuals, delegitimize expertise, and carry antisemitic and Islamophobic ideas into the mainstream.

By Nancy L. Rosenblum, Russell Muirhead,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Lot of People Are Saying as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How the new conspiracists are undermining democracy-and what can be done about it

Conspiracy theories are as old as politics. But conspiracists today have introduced something new-conspiracy without theory. And the new conspiracism has moved from the fringes to the heart of government with the election of Donald Trump. In A Lot of People Are Saying, Russell Muirhead and Nancy Rosenblum show how the new conspiracism differs from classic conspiracy theory, how it undermines democracy, and what needs to be done to resist it.


Book cover of Them: Adventures with Extremists

Elizabeth Greenwood Author Of Love Lockdown: Dating, Sex, and Marriage in America's Prisons

From my list on true crime-adjacent stories.

Who am I?

When asked to describe the nonfiction genre I work in, I often say “true crime-adjacent,” meaning that while there is crime in my books, I’m more interested in the people, circumstances, and culture in which those crimes occur than the act itself. I love books that go deep into character analysis and motivation, as well as the author’s inclination toward the subject. These true crime-adjacent books are all-absorbing, thought-provoking page-turners, with stories so wild you won’t believe they’re completely real. 

Elizabeth's book list on true crime-adjacent stories

Elizabeth Greenwood Why did Elizabeth love this book?

I always describe this as “the book I wish I’d written,” and was completely formative in defining the kind of nonfiction writing I do. Ronson hangs out with conspiracy-minded groups who on the outset would likely hate each other (neo-Nazis and Jihadists, for example) but all believe the same thing: a cabal of powerful people run the world. It shows that Qanon and its ilk are nothing new, and somehow Ronson walks the line of being with repugnant people yet also reveling in their inherent ridiculousness. 

By Jon Ronson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A wide variety of extremist groups -- Islamic fundamentalists, neo-Nazis -- share the oddly similar belief that a tiny shadowy elite rule the world from a secret room. In Them, journalist Jon Ronson has joined the extremists to track down the fabled secret room.

As a journalist and a Jew, Ronson was often considered one of "Them" but he had no idea if their meetings actually took place. Was he just not invited? Them takes us across three continents and into the secret room. Along the way he meets Omar Bakri Mohammed, considered one of the most dangerous men in…


Book cover of The Secret Agent

David Hagerty Author Of They Tell Me You Are Wicked

From my list on political crime fiction.

Who am I?

I grew up in Chicago in the waning days of Mayor Richard J. Daley’s machine, which politicized everything from schools to loading zones. Everyone—whether they were civil servants or small business owners—had to pledge loyalty to Da Boss, Hizzoner, or suffer the consequences. As a result, I’ve always gravitated to crime stories with a political element, one showing the effects of big conflicts on regular people. And I’ve written about the same. 

David's book list on political crime fiction

David Hagerty Why did David love this book?

One of the first political thrillers, and still one of the best, this tale is based on a true story about an anarchist devoted to blowing up the Greenwich observatory—if only his family will stop getting in the way. It portrays spies as not the superhumans of most thrillers but ordinary men bumbling through their private lives while trying to steer the public toward their grander schemes. A welcome antidote to the superhero model we see in James Bond and 24.

By Joseph Conrad,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Secret Agent is Joseph Conrad's dark satire on English society, edited with an introduction and notes by Michael Newton in Penguin Classics.

In the only novel Conrad set in London, The Secret Agent communicates a profoundly ironic view of human affairs. The story is woven around an attack on the Greenwich Observatory in 1894 masterminded by Verloc, a Russian spy working for the police, and ostensibly a member of an anarchist group in Soho. His masters instruct him to discredit the anarchists in a humiliating fashion, and when his evil plan goes horribly awry, Verloc must deal with the…


Book cover of Hegemony How-To: A Roadmap for Radicals

Raina Lipsitz Author Of The Rise of a New Left: How Young Radicals Are Shaping the Future of American Politics

From my list on American politics for open-minded readers.

Who am I?

I’ve been obsessed with politics and social justice since I was a kid, have been writing professionally for over a decade, and have twice interviewed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I wrote The Rise of a New Left because I was covering a new generation of political candidates who were challenging old orthodoxies, and I was curious about the leftward shift in U.S. politics: where it came from, who was driving it, how deep it went, and how durable it might be. I try to convey a broader and more nuanced view of the American left and give young women and people of color the credit they deserve for reinvigorating it.

Raina's book list on American politics for open-minded readers

Raina Lipsitz Why did Raina love this book?

Essentially a field manual for progressive organizers, this personal and engaging book offers hard-won insights into what works, what doesn’t, and how left-wing organizations can break the too-common cycle of isolation and marginalization and broaden their reach. Smucker imparts valuable lessons without being hectoring or pedantic; he is admirably generous and self-critical, and he writes like a real person rather than a jargon-spewing robot. This book reminded me why I got interested in politics in the first place and renewed my faith in our power to change our communities.

By Jonathan Matthew Smucker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hegemony How-To as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A guide to political struggle for a generation that is deeply ambivalent about power. While many activists gravitate toward mere self-expression and identity-affirming rituals at the expense of serious political intervention, Smucker provides an apologia for leadership, organization, and collective power, a moral argument for its cultivation, and a discussion of dilemmas that movements must navigate in order to succeed.


Book cover of The Devil’s Historians: How Modern Extremists Abuse the Medieval Past

K. Patrick Fazioli Author Of The Mirror of the Medieval: An Anthropology of the Western Historical Imagination

From my list on the use and abuse of the medieval past.

Who am I?

I’m not ashamed to admit that my childhood fascination with the distant past was sparked by hours of leafing through The Kingfisher Illustrated History of the World and countless viewings of the “Indiana Jones” movies. Today, I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities at Mercy College and an archaeologist specializing in the eastern Alpine region during Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. The author of three books and numerous scholarly articles, my research interests include ceramic technology, social identity, and the appropriation of the medieval past by modern ideologies.    

K.'s book list on the use and abuse of the medieval past

K. Patrick Fazioli Why did K. love this book?

If you want to understand why everything you think you know about the Middle Ages is (probably) wrong, go pick up a copy of The Devil’s Historians, which chronicles how everyone from the Brothers Grimm and George R. R. Martin to ISIS and Donald Trump have invented a medieval past that reflects their own ideological preoccupations rather than historical reality. With chapters on nationalism, gender, race, and religion, Amy Kaufman and Paul Sturtevant’s book sharply contrasts the one-dimensional Middle Ages found in pop culture and political propaganda with the more complicated, even contradictory, medieval world revealed by contemporary scholarship. 

By Amy Kaufman, Paul Sturtevant,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Amy S. Kaufman and Paul B. Sturtevant examine the many ways in which the medieval past has been manipulated to promote discrimination, oppression, and murder. Tracing the fetish for "medieval times" behind toxic ideologies like nationalism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, and white supremacy, Kaufman and Sturtevant show us how the Middle Ages have been twisted for political purposes in every century that followed. The Devil's Historians casts aside the myth of an oppressive, patriarchal medieval monoculture and reveals a medieval world not often shown in popular culture: one that is diverse, thriving, courageous, compelling, and complex.


Book cover of Intellectual Origins of American Radicalism

David Ellerman Author Of Neo-Abolitionism: Abolishing Human Rentals in Favor of Workplace Democracy

From my list on a fair and just private property market economy.

Who am I?

Ever since my graduate student days in philosophy and economics, I have slowly come to understand more and more the case for workplace democracy based on normative principles (i.e., the inalienability, property, and democratic principles), not just the obvious consequentialist or pragmatic arguments based on increased productivity (people working jointly for themselves), less worker alienation, and eliminating the divide down the middle of most enterprises between employers and employees. In addition to two decades of teaching university economics, I have co-founded several consulting companies dedicated to implementing these principles in practice, the Industrial Cooperative Association in Massachusetts (now the ICA Group) and the Institute for Economic Democracy in Slovenia, where I have retired.

David's book list on a fair and just private property market economy

David Ellerman Why did David love this book?

This short book by the late Staughton Lynd is the best summary of the radical principles upon which America was founded. Lynd goes deep into the intellectual history of the underlying principles in English and European history. In spite of writing such an important book and perhaps due to his outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War, Lynd was not given tenure as a historian at Yale University. He then became a labor lawyer and lived the rest of his life as a labor activist.

By Staughton Lynd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Intellectual Origins of American Radicalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now an established classic, Intellectual Origins of American Radicalism was the first book to explore this alternative current of American political thought. Stemming back to the seventeenth-century English Revolution, many questioned private property, the sovereignty of the nation-state, and slavery, and affirmed the common man's ability to govern. By the time of the American Revolution, Thomas Paine was the great exemplar of the alternative intellectual tradition. In the nineteenth century, the antislavery movement took hold of Thomas Paine's ideas and fashioned them into an ideology that ultimately justified civil war. This updated edition contains a preface by the author, which…


Book cover of The Bloody Flag: Mutiny in the Age of Atlantic Revolution

Wim Klooster Author Of Revolutions in the Atlantic World: A Comparative History

From my list on the Age of Revolutions.

Who am I?

To an Atlantic historian like me, the era of revolutions is one of the most dramatic historical periods, which erased many of the structures on which the Atlantic world had been built for centuries. It raised many hopes, which were often defeated, but lasting advances were made nonetheless.  

Wim's book list on the Age of Revolutions

Wim Klooster Why did Wim love this book?

Beautifully written, this book focuses on the many mutinies that took place in the 1790s in the Dutch, English, and French navies. Some of the mutinies were massive and lasted for weeks. They were a consequence of the ever-growing exploitation of sailors as international rivalry increased. English mutineers tried but failed to set up a radical maritime republic. 

By Niklas Frykman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The global legacy of mutiny and revolution on the high seas.

Mutiny tore like wildfire through the wooden warships of the age of revolution. While commoners across Europe laid siege to the nobility and enslaved workers put the torch to plantation islands, out on the oceans, naval seamen by the tens of thousands turned their guns on the quarterdeck and overthrew the absolute rule of captains. By the early 1800s, anywhere between one-third and one-half of all naval seamen serving in the North Atlantic had participated in at least one mutiny, many of them in several, and some even on…


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