100 books like Good Muslim, Bad Muslim

By Mahmood Mamdani,

Here are 100 books that Good Muslim, Bad Muslim fans have personally recommended if you like Good Muslim, Bad Muslim. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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

Book cover of Disciplining Terror: How Experts Invented 'Terrorism'

Daniel S. Chard Author Of Nixon's War at Home: The FBI, Leftist Guerrillas, and the Origins of Counterterrorism

From my list on the history of terrorism and counterterrorism.

Who am I?

I’m a history professor at Western Washington University. I first got interested in understanding social movements, power, and political violence in the late 1990s and early ‘00s as a young anarchist. Later, while studying history in graduate school, I realized that much of what I thought I knew about the FBI, violence, and radical movements of the 1960s and ‘70s was inaccurate. I don’t have any magic solutions to the problems facing humanity, but I believe that studying history—including the history of political violence—can help us better understand our present moment and how we might build a more just and peaceful world.

Daniel's book list on the history of terrorism and counterterrorism

Daniel S. Chard Why did Daniel love this book?

This book turned the field of Terrorism Studies on its head. Historical sociologist Lisa Stampnitzky demonstrates that the legion of terrorism experts who rose to prominence in North America, Western Europe, and Israel in the 1970s were not neutral analysts of political violence. Rather, through their intellectual work, much of it funded with government grants, terrorism scholars helped construct the contemporary meaning of terrorism as a threat to society fundamentally different from other forms of violence, crime, and political activity. This book made it clear that we can’t understand the history of “terrorism” without analyzing the history of the term itself, and how the use of this term in law, academia, politics, international relations, and popular culture has shaped political power and violent conflicts between states and insurgents.

By Lisa Stampnitzky,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Since 9/11 we have been told that terrorists are pathological evildoers, beyond our comprehension. Before the 1970s, however, hijackings, assassinations, and other acts we now call 'terrorism' were considered the work of rational strategic actors. Disciplining Terror examines how political violence became 'terrorism', and how this transformation ultimately led to the current 'war on terror'. Drawing upon archival research and interviews with terrorism experts, Lisa Stampnitzky traces the political and academic struggles through which experts made terrorism, and terrorism made experts. She argues that the expert discourse on terrorism operates at the boundary - itself increasingly contested - between science…


Book cover of Killing Strangers: How Political Violence Became Modern

Daniel S. Chard Author Of Nixon's War at Home: The FBI, Leftist Guerrillas, and the Origins of Counterterrorism

From my list on the history of terrorism and counterterrorism.

Who am I?

I’m a history professor at Western Washington University. I first got interested in understanding social movements, power, and political violence in the late 1990s and early ‘00s as a young anarchist. Later, while studying history in graduate school, I realized that much of what I thought I knew about the FBI, violence, and radical movements of the 1960s and ‘70s was inaccurate. I don’t have any magic solutions to the problems facing humanity, but I believe that studying history—including the history of political violence—can help us better understand our present moment and how we might build a more just and peaceful world.

Daniel's book list on the history of terrorism and counterterrorism

Daniel S. Chard Why did Daniel love this book?

Prior to this book, most works on the long history of terrorism applied contemporary definitions of the term to various incidents throughout world history. Wilson turned the page on this framework. Killing Strangers analyzes the gamut of political violence in Western Europe and North America since the late eighteenth century to explain how we’ve arrived at a contemporary reality characterized, in part, by recurring fear of impersonal atrocities carried out in public gathering spaces. Wilson shows how, on one hand, the rise of the modern bureaucratic state’s “monopoly” on legitimate force pushed most violent challengers to the fringes of society. On the other hand, various technological innovations—from dynamite and automobiles to commercial airlines and satellite television—offered new possibilities for those intent on violent havoc. 

By T. K. Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A bewildering feature of so much contemporary political violence is its stunning impersonality. Every major city centre becomes a potential shooting gallery; and every metro system a potential bomb alley. Victims just happen, as the saying goes, to 'be in the wrong place at the wrong time'.

We accept this contemporary reality - at least to some degree. But we rarely ask: where has it come from historically? Killing Strangers tackles this question head on. It examines how such violence became 'unchained' from inter-personal relationships. It traces the rise of such impersonal violence by examining violence in conjunction with changing…


Book cover of Does Terrorism Work? A History

Daniel S. Chard Author Of Nixon's War at Home: The FBI, Leftist Guerrillas, and the Origins of Counterterrorism

From my list on the history of terrorism and counterterrorism.

Who am I?

I’m a history professor at Western Washington University. I first got interested in understanding social movements, power, and political violence in the late 1990s and early ‘00s as a young anarchist. Later, while studying history in graduate school, I realized that much of what I thought I knew about the FBI, violence, and radical movements of the 1960s and ‘70s was inaccurate. I don’t have any magic solutions to the problems facing humanity, but I believe that studying history—including the history of political violence—can help us better understand our present moment and how we might build a more just and peaceful world.

Daniel's book list on the history of terrorism and counterterrorism

Daniel S. Chard Why did Daniel love this book?

The field of terrorism research is dominated overwhelmingly by social scientists. However, Richard English has established himself as a leader in the historical study of terrorism and counterterrorism. As the title suggests, this book tackles a difficult, frequently avoided question. Using four case studies—al-Qaida, the Provisional IRA, Hamas, and the Basque ETA in Spain—English demonstrates that the answers are complex, and best explicated through long-term historical analysis. Terrorism has augmented other types of political action, enflamed broader political crises, and provoked disproportionate state responses, frequently with high costs and unintended consequences. While terrorism sometimes has achieved some of its perpetrators’ political goals, it also often has backfired. English shows that terrorism history is not only bloody, but messy, and entwined with wider conflicts between states and dissidents.

By Richard English,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Does Terrorism Work? A History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Terrorism is one of the most significant security threats that we face in the twenty-first century. Not surprisingly, there is now a plethora of books on the subject, offering definitions of what terrorism is and proffering advice on what causes it and how states should react to it.

But one of the most important questions about terrorism has, until now, been left remarkably under-scrutinized: does it work? Richard English now brings thirty years of professional expertise studying terrorism to the task of answering this complex-and controversial - question.

Focussing principally on four of the most significant terrorist organizations of the…


Book cover of To Deter and Punish: Global Collaboration Against Terrorism in the 1970s

Daniel S. Chard Author Of Nixon's War at Home: The FBI, Leftist Guerrillas, and the Origins of Counterterrorism

From my list on the history of terrorism and counterterrorism.

Who am I?

I’m a history professor at Western Washington University. I first got interested in understanding social movements, power, and political violence in the late 1990s and early ‘00s as a young anarchist. Later, while studying history in graduate school, I realized that much of what I thought I knew about the FBI, violence, and radical movements of the 1960s and ‘70s was inaccurate. I don’t have any magic solutions to the problems facing humanity, but I believe that studying history—including the history of political violence—can help us better understand our present moment and how we might build a more just and peaceful world.

Daniel's book list on the history of terrorism and counterterrorism

Daniel S. Chard Why did Daniel love this book?

The 1970s was a pivotal decade in the history of terrorism and counterterrorism. Airplane hijacking became widespread and widely televised during this period, as did other forms of politically motivated hostage-taking, bombings, and assassinations. Drawing from archival research in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany, Zoller explains how states of the Global North responded with efforts at international cooperation, particularly as Palestinian nationalist militants and their allies traversed borders to enact ostensibly anticolonial violence far beyond contested territories in the Global South. International antiterrorism accords met limited success, however, as they frequently conflicted with various states’ geopolitical interests. Zoller demonstrates that by the early 1980s, multilateralism had given way to a militarized form of counterterrorism led by the United States that established a precedent for the post-9/11 War on Terrorism.

By Silke Zoller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, governments in North America and Western Europe faced a new transnational threat: militants who crossed borders with impunity to commit attacks. These violent actors cooperated in hijacking planes, taking hostages, and organizing assassinations, often in the name of national liberation movements from the decolonizing world. How did this form of political violence become what we know today as "international terrorism"-lacking in legitimacy and categorized first and foremost as a crime?

To Deter and Punish examines why and how the United States and its Western European allies came to treat nonstate "terrorists" as a…


Book cover of The Insiders' Game: How Elites Make War and Peace

Andrew Payne Author Of War on the Ballot: How the Election Cycle Shapes Presidential Decision-Making in War

From my list on the politics of war.

Who am I?

I take great pride in having somehow turned a passion for visiting presidential libraries into an academic career. I’ve now conducted extensive research at eight of them, and have future projects lined up to get me to the rest. This experience means I can and frequently do ruin family gatherings by challenging distant relations to quizzes about obscure details involving presidential pets. But it has also left me well-placed to write a number of articles and books exploring how domestic politics shapes the development and execution of U.S. foreign policy. I’ve done this while affiliated with the University of Oxford and, more recently, at City, University of London. 

Andrew's book list on the politics of war

Andrew Payne Why did Andrew love this book?

Unlike the other recommendations on my list, this is a work of political science. But the qualitative components of this text rival that of any work of history.

In fact, it was this author’s first book that provided the model for my own, blending deeply researched case studies with conceptual innovations in the study of foreign policy decision-making. Her latest contribution, The Insiders’ Game, will set the agenda for the next generation of scholarship on the politics of war.

It reminds us that the public is not the only audience that leaders need to worry about when making decisions to initiate, escalate, or conclude a war. Maintaining the support of advisers, legislators, and military officials is also essential. As a result, it is often the bargains struck with these small groups of political elites that determine how democratic leaders wage war.

By Elizabeth N. Saunders,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How elites shape the use of force in American foreign policy

One of the most widely held views of democratic leaders is that they are cautious about using military force because voters can hold them accountable, ultimately making democracies more peaceful. How, then, are leaders able to wage war in the face of popular opposition, or end conflicts when the public still supports them? The Insiders' Game sheds light on this enduring puzzle, arguing that the primary constraints on decisions about war and peace come from elites, not the public.

Elizabeth Saunders focuses on three groups of elites-presidential advisers, legislators,…


Book cover of American Assassin

John Clark Payne Author Of In Defense of Patch Schubert

From my list on action mystery stories that energize my writing.

Who am I?

In college I minored in Military History and spent over twenty active duty years in the military. My earlier books were primarily murder/mystery stories, and I had the urge to write a historical romance. The War between States (not civil but ruthless) has always enthralled me. I visited most of the battlefields in the East and Southeast but never in the West. I researched the war’s end and found the last battle at Palmetto Ranch near Brownsville, Texas was near my home in San Antonio. Strange things happened on this dysfunctional battlefield. Little did I realize the involvement of Mexico, France, and Spain and their attempts to influence this conflict.

John's book list on action mystery stories that energize my writing

John Clark Payne Why did John love this book?

Vince Flynn has a unique ability of highlighting his main character in such a realistic way that the character is facing you and waiting for your next question.  His description of action-oriented scenes leaves no doubt as to the severity and authenticity of what is happening to hold you glued to the pages. I'm left with great anticipation for his next book using the same main character. My goal is consistent with Vince Flynn's.

I've been told that my characters "jump off the page and slap you in the face."

By Vince Flynn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a major motion picture starring Dylan O'Brien (Maze Runner), Taylor Kitsch (True Detective) and Michael Keaton.

Tensions in the Middle East are simmering when Central Intelligence Agency Director Irene Kennedy pays a visit to Syracuse University, where she hopes to recruit none other than Mitch Rapp, a student who has quickly climbed up the academic and athletic ranks. At first glance, he appears like any other smart, good-looking American college kid. Under the surface, however, a tempest rages.

Nine months later, after gruelling training, Mitch finds himself in Istanbul on his first assignment. He hits his target but quickly…


Book cover of The Spy Who Saved the World: How a Soviet Colonel Changed the Course of the Cold War

Steve Vogel Author Of Betrayal in Berlin: The True Story of the Cold War's Most Audacious Espionage Operation

From my list on accurate non-fiction about Cold War espionage.

Who am I?

I am an author and veteran journalist who reported for The Washington Post for more than two decades, and I write frequently about military history and intelligence. My father worked for the CIA, and I was born in Berlin when he was stationed there as a case officer. Later I was based in Germany as a foreign correspondent when the Berlin Wall came down. So it’s not too surprising that I am interested in Cold War espionage and history. As a reporter, author, and reader, I’ve always been attracted to stories off the beaten track, the ones that most people know little or nothing about. 

Steve's book list on accurate non-fiction about Cold War espionage

Steve Vogel Why did Steve love this book?

Schecter, a journalist, and Deriabin, a KGB officer who defected to the U.S., tell the inside story of Oleg Penkovsky, the history-changing Soviet GRU colonel who delivered critical information that helped the CIA and President John F. Kennedy avoid nuclear disaster during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The inside account delivers fascinating details about Penkovsky’s motivations, actions, and tragic demise, as well as a gripping narration of how the CIA handled one of the Cold War’s most important intelligence operations.

By Jerrold L. Schecter, Peter S. Deriabin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Spy Who Saved the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Examines how Oleg Penkovsky provided U.S. intelligence with data on Soviet nuclear capabilities


Book cover of Spy Runner

Beth McMullen Author Of Mrs. Smith's Spy School for Girls

From my list on spy reads for kids with espionage escapades.

Who am I?

All my books, for adults and kids, include the theme that things are seldom what they seem. I link this to the slow realization when I was young that my family had an uncommon history. Novels featuring spies go deep into this theme, as a good spy is always manipulating their environment and presenting versions of themselves that may or may not be true. When my own children were little, we read so many of these novels. That reading is what inspired the Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls series.

Beth's book list on spy reads for kids with espionage escapades

Beth McMullen Why did Beth love this book?

I am so in for this combination of mystery, history and intrigue set during the Cold War. I feel like this pivotal period is untapped as a setting pulsing with paranoia, propaganda, high-stakes politics, and general unease.

Young Jake stumbles into a world of espionage and must rely on his bravery and resourcefulness to navigate his newfound circumstances. I’m a sucker for a ‘things are not as they seem’ novel and this one delivers. Yelchin is a beautiful writer and the art adds to the dark, moody vibe of this book.

By Eugene Yelchin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spy Runner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

It's 1953 and the Cold War is on. Communism threatens all that the United States stands for, and America needs every patriot to do their part. So when a Russian boarder moves into the home of twelve-year-old Jake McCauley, he's on high alert. What does the mysterious Mr. Shubin do with all that photography equipment? And why did he choose to live so close to the Air Force base? Jake's mother says that Mr. Shubin knew Jake's dad, who went missing in action during World War II. But Jake is skeptical; the facts just don't add up. And he's determined…


Book cover of George F. Kennan: An American Life

Robert D. Kaplan Author Of In Europe's Shadow: Two Cold Wars and a Thirty-Year Journey Through Romania and Beyond

From my list on the Cold War from a journalist who lived it.

Who am I?

I began my career as a foreign correspondent in Cold War Eastern Europe, under communist domination. I lived in Greece, a Cold War battleground, in the 1980s, from where I made regular forays into the Balkans and Central Europe. Those journeys left a vivid, lifelong impression on me.

Robert's book list on the Cold War from a journalist who lived it

Robert D. Kaplan Why did Robert love this book?

This is the comprehensive, definitive biography of the greatest Soviet area specialist whose strategy of containment was successfully employed by American presidents throughout the entire length of the Cold War. It is both compelling and highly readable. A great strategy is never obvious at the time it is adopted. It only looks great from hindsight.

By John Lewis Gaddis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Biography

Widely and enthusiastically acclaimed, this is the authorized, definitive biography of one of the most fascinating but troubled figures of the twentieth century by the nation's leading Cold War historian. In the late 1940s, George F. Kennan—then a bright but, relatively obscure American diplomat—wrote the "long telegram" and the "X" article. These two documents laid out United States' strategy for "containing" the Soviet Union—a strategy which Kennan himself questioned in later years. Based on exclusive access to Kennan and his archives, this landmark history illuminates a life that both mirrored and shaped…


Book cover of Kolymsky Heights

Robert Craven Author Of A Kind of Drowning

From my list on spies, spying and cold war thrillers.

Who am I?

I am the author of six espionage books, 5 featuring allied spy, Eva Molenaar operating at the highest levels of Hitler’s Reich. The 6th The Road of a Thousand Tigers, is my homage to le Carre and Ian Fleming. I have loved the spy genre since I first read The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers and grew up seeing every Bond movie since The Man with the Golden Gun at the cinema.

Robert's book list on spies, spying and cold war thrillers

Robert Craven Why did Robert love this book?

Written in 1994 after the collapse of the USSR, it is a spy story, but much more than that, a Homeric quest. A letter is smuggled out of Siberia, addressed to Jonny Porter, a Canadian of indigenous extract and who is then recruited by the CIA to go into Russia, posing as a Korean sailor to undertake a rescue mission. Porter’s journey into Russia is layered with unremitting tension as near his final destination, his identity is discovered, and he is hunted across the frozen tundra by Soviet forces.

Kolymsky Heights is my first port of call when I’m preparing to write my novels. It is a masterclass in plotting and immersing the reader into a world and country we still know so little about. Davidson is a very underrated writer and deserves a wider audience, this is the perfect introduction to his work.

By Lionel Davidson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Kolymsky Heights. A Siberian permafrost hell lost in endless night, the perfect setting for an underground Russian research station. One so secret it doesn't officially exist. Once there, scientists cannot leave. But someone has got a message out to the West - a message summoning the only man alive capable of achieving the impossible.'One of the most powerful thrillers I have ever read'Michael James, The Times'A breathless story of fear and courage' Daily Telegraph'A tremendous thriller' Observer


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Cold War, Muslims, and Afghanistan?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Cold War, Muslims, and Afghanistan.

The Cold War Explore 230 books about the Cold War
Muslims Explore 78 books about Muslims
Afghanistan Explore 77 books about Afghanistan