100 books like Great Soul

By Joseph Lelyveld,

Here are 100 books that Great Soul fans have personally recommended if you like Great Soul. 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 Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?

Bryant Wieneke Author Of Priority One

From my list on political thrillers promoting peaceful solutions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I quit my job in 1994 to write. Fiction. It took me a while to find my niche, but what I realized is that I wanted to write political thrillers that were about more than how to stop the bad guys from killing the good guys by killing them first. There is another way. Starting with Priority One, and continuing to what is currently my tenth novel in the series, I imagine an American foreign policy that promotes the building of a more peaceful world through a combination of economic justice and humanitarianism, applied practically and pragmatically. It’s my dream for my fiction, as well as the real world.

Bryant's book list on political thrillers promoting peaceful solutions

Bryant Wieneke Why did Bryant love this book?

Destined for War is a brilliant study of the circumstances surrounding the global economic competition between the U.S. and China, with the goal of predicting whether or not war is likely. This is a real-life political thriller. Allison cites cases throughout history of a pre-eminent economic power being challenged for supremacy, and then describes why, in many cases, the competition became fierce enough to erupt into war. He also describes situations in the past where there was no war, and he explains how and why war was avoided. To me, as a fiction writer, who actually pushes the U.S. and China to the brink of war in his novels, this book was an important education and resource.

By Graham Allison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Sunday Times and FT Book of the Year

When a rising power threatens to displace a ruling one, the most likely outcome is war.

In this razor-sharp analysis, Harvard scholar Graham Allison examines the phenomenon known as Thucydides's Trap, which is currently playing out between the world's two biggest superpowers: the US and China.

Through uncanny historical parallels, Destined for War shows how close we are to the unthinkable. Yet, stressing that war is not inevitable, Allison also reveals how clashing powers have kept the peace in the past - and what painful steps international leaders can and must…


Book cover of Cat's Cradle

Maithreyi Karnoor Author Of Sylvia

From my list on striking while the ‘irony’ is hot.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write fiction and poetry in English and translate literary works from Kannada, a South Indian language. I was shortlisted for the Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize, and twice in a row for the Montreal International Poetry Prize. I had the Charles Wallace India Trust Fellowship in writing and translation at LAF and UWTSD in 2022. As a reader, I admire original and clever use of language, writing that portrays with humour the profundity in the absurdity of life, that which makes the quotidian quotable – writing that strikes while the ‘irony’ is hot. These are qualities that I think are intuitive in my own writing. I've enjoyed the following books for these reasons. 

Maithreyi's book list on striking while the ‘irony’ is hot

Maithreyi Karnoor Why did Maithreyi love this book?

This book was my introduction to Kurt Vonnegut. I marvel at the author’s genius in bringing together science and religion, two of the most profound subjects known to mankind, in such a playful way.

The unsentimental objectivity of science (and scientists) and a ‘perfect’ religion, whose greatest act of faith is to look at itself with a rather jaundiced eye, join hands to expertly manoeuvre, explain and let chaos be. It is the kind of hilariousness that makes you gaze into space rather than fall out of your chair.

I have always thought that poetry is important to allow prose to not take itself too seriously. Vonnegut has demonstrated how to do this.

By Kurt Vonnegut,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked Cat's Cradle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of America's greatest writers gives us his unique perspective on our fears of nuclear annihilation

Experiment.

Told with deadpan humour and bitter irony, Kurt Vonnegut's cult tale of global destruction preys on our deepest fears of witnessing Armageddon and, worse still, surviving it.

Solution.

Dr Felix Hoenikker, one of the founding fathers of the atomic bomb, has left a deadly legacy to the world. For he is the inventor of ice-nine, a lethal chemical capable of freezing the entire planet. The search for its whereabouts leads to Hoenikker's three eccentric children, to a crazed dictator in the Caribbean, to…


Book cover of Eye of the Needle

Mark Ellis Author Of The Embassy Murders

From my list on British home front in World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

During WW II, my father served in the Navy, and my mother worked as a secretary. My father contracted a lung disease while on service in Africa and died in 1960 when I was seven. My mother happily lived to a ripe old age and enjoyed discussing her wartime experiences. Her stories included ones of going up to London for jolly weekends at a time when the city was being bombed. When I asked her why she took such risks, she said the Germans were not going to stop her having a life. It is in this context that I became fascinated with WW II.

Mark's book list on British home front in World War II

Mark Ellis Why did Mark love this book?

Follett is a master at writing compelling page-turners, and this is one of my all-time favorite spy thrillers.

The story is about a Nazi spy in England during World War II who learns some vital information about D-Day. He is unable to transmit this information back by radio, and he has to make his way to Scotland for a rendezvous with a U-boat, with MI5 on his heels.

One of those books you can read in one or two sittings, so gripping is the development of the plot. A great read!

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Eye of the Needle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The worldwide phenomenon from the bestselling author of The Pillars of the Earth, World Without End, A Column of Fire, and The Evening and the Morning

His code name was "The Needle." He was a German aristocrat of extraordinary intelligence-a master spy with a legacy of violence in his blood, and the object of the most desperate manhunt in history. . . .

But his fate lay in the hands of a young and vulnerable English woman, whose loyalty, if swayed, would assure his freedom-and win the war for the Nazis. . . .


Book cover of Hard Rain

Bryant Wieneke Author Of Priority One

From my list on political thrillers promoting peaceful solutions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I quit my job in 1994 to write. Fiction. It took me a while to find my niche, but what I realized is that I wanted to write political thrillers that were about more than how to stop the bad guys from killing the good guys by killing them first. There is another way. Starting with Priority One, and continuing to what is currently my tenth novel in the series, I imagine an American foreign policy that promotes the building of a more peaceful world through a combination of economic justice and humanitarianism, applied practically and pragmatically. It’s my dream for my fiction, as well as the real world.

Bryant's book list on political thrillers promoting peaceful solutions

Bryant Wieneke Why did Bryant love this book?

As I set about the task of writing political thrillers, I read many gifted novelists in this genre. I found that the plots often revolved around shoot-‘em-ups and egregiously evil militant groups. Barry Eisler is an exception. He is a superb writer who casts a talented and likeable character into a career as an assassin. John Rain chooses this life because his actions deter greater acts of violence. And isn’t that the choice many of us face in the modern world? Isn’t going to war about saving lives by killing the bad guys? In my books, I try to be sensitive to the issue that peace does not come easy in a violent world, and sometimes the trade-offs to secure peace are not at all pleasant.

By Barry Eisler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Previously published as Hard Rain and Blood from BloodAll John Rain wants is to get out of the killing business. But with his discretion, his reliability, and his unique talent for death by "natural causes," no one is willing to let him just retire. So when an old nemesis from the Japanese national police force comes to him with a new job-eliminate Murakami, a killer even more fearsome than Rain himself-Rain knows he can't refuse.Aided by an achingly desirable half Brazilian, half Japanese exotic dancer he knows he shouldn't trust, Rain pursues his quarry through underground no-holds-barred fight clubs, mobbed-up…


Book cover of Gandhi Before India

Todd Hasak-Lowy Author Of We Are Power: How Nonviolent Activism Changes the World

From my list on inspirational nonviolent leaders.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the early years of the Trump presidency, I looked for a subject that would inspire young readers, and keep me from falling into despair. I loved researching this topic and finding ways to do justice to the incredible people and the movements at the center of my book. Simply put, it was a joy to become an expert on this important topic. There are so many reasons to be pessimistic about the state of the world, but these stories give me hope that together we can create a better future for everyone.

Todd's book list on inspirational nonviolent leaders

Todd Hasak-Lowy Why did Todd love this book?

We all know the Gandhi in sandals and white khadi robes, but how did Gandhi become Gandhi? Guha narrates the remarkable transformation of Gandhi from a timid, London-trained lawyer into a bold, inventive activist advocating for the rights of the Indian immigrant community in South Africa. This engaging, meticulously researched book describes the emergence of Gandhi’s intertwined philosophy and politics, which together reintroduced nonviolence as a potent force to the tumultuous twentieth century.

By Ramachandra Guha,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Gandhi Before India as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Notable Book and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year

A revelatory work of biography, Gandhi Before India is an illuminating portrait of the life, the work, and the historical context of one of the most abidingly influential—and controversial—men in modern history. From Gandhi’s birth in 1869, through his upbringing in Gujarat and his years as a student in London, to his two decades as a lawyer and community organizer in South Africa, acclaimed author Ramachandra Guha brings the past to light with extraordinary grace and clarity. Drawing on a wealth of newly uncovered…


Book cover of The Un-Gandhian Gandhi: The Life and Afterlife of the Mahatma

David Hardiman Author Of Gandhi in His Time and Ours: The Global Legacy of His Ideas

From my list on Mahatma Gandhi and his life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have for over fifty years studied and written about the Indian nationalist movement, examining it from many different angles. I lived and worked for many years in India. I have throughout had an appreciative but often troubled relationship with Gandhi – admiring him for much of what he stood for, while finding it hard to accept many of his beliefs and actions. This will be apparent to anyone reading the books that I have written. Despite this, I have a deep respect for a man who was undoubtedly a towering figure in twentieth-century history.   

David's book list on Mahatma Gandhi and his life

David Hardiman Why did David love this book?

Markowitz starts with the iconic images of Gandhi – Father of the Indian Nation, the modern saint, the apostle of nonviolence, and so on – and unpicks them to show how selective they are. He examines with great insight the way that Gandhi’s image was created in the West from the 1920s onwards, with him often being compared to Christ. Attenborough’s influential film on Gandhi is reviewed in revealing ways. He also examines the many biographies of Gandhi, showing how they have tended to focus on aspects of his message and fail to bring out the huge complexities of the man. 

He shows how Gandhi’s reputation as a serious political and economic thinker was shaped in the West first by pacifists and alternative thinkers, and much later by academic social scientists. He also provides some excellent analysis of Gandhi’s career in South Africa and India. The book is full of…

By Claude Markovits,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This major study reconsiders the creation of the Gandhian legend through the myriad texts and images that helped spread it through both India and the Western world.


Book cover of Gandhi: A Political and Spiritual Life

David Hardiman Author Of Gandhi in His Time and Ours: The Global Legacy of His Ideas

From my list on Mahatma Gandhi and his life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have for over fifty years studied and written about the Indian nationalist movement, examining it from many different angles. I lived and worked for many years in India. I have throughout had an appreciative but often troubled relationship with Gandhi – admiring him for much of what he stood for, while finding it hard to accept many of his beliefs and actions. This will be apparent to anyone reading the books that I have written. Despite this, I have a deep respect for a man who was undoubtedly a towering figure in twentieth-century history.   

David's book list on Mahatma Gandhi and his life

David Hardiman Why did David love this book?

Tidrick explores with much insight the influences on Gandhi that shaped his spiritual and political life, ranging from the vegetarian movement, theosophy, esoteric Christianity, nineteenth-century authors and thinkers such as Ruskin, Thoreau, and Tolstoy, along with his sometimes-eccentric understanding of Hinduism. She shows how he saw his mission as divinely-inspired, and his belief that – so long as he upheld his ‘truth’ with rigour – he would have the power to change the world. Gandhi had at times his doubts as to his purity and thus his abilities in this respect, leading him into some ‘experiments’ that could disturb his close followers, as when he sought to test his chastity. In this book, Tidrick reveals Gandhi’s idiosyncrasies in illuminating ways.   

By Kathryn Tidrick,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Throughout his long and turbulent career as an Indian leader, first in South Africa and then in India, Gandhi sought to fulfill his religious aspirations through politics, and to reconcile politics with his private religious discipline. The Gandhi revealed here is not the secular saint of popular renown, but a difficult and self-obsessed man driven by a sense of unique personal destiny. Penetrating and provocative, Tidrick draws on material previously ignored by Gandhi's biographers and explores the paradoxes within his life and beliefs. Did the nationalist leader truly believe that he was not just fighting for Indian independence but also…


Book cover of Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth

David Hardiman Author Of Gandhi in His Time and Ours: The Global Legacy of His Ideas

From my list on Mahatma Gandhi and his life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have for over fifty years studied and written about the Indian nationalist movement, examining it from many different angles. I lived and worked for many years in India. I have throughout had an appreciative but often troubled relationship with Gandhi – admiring him for much of what he stood for, while finding it hard to accept many of his beliefs and actions. This will be apparent to anyone reading the books that I have written. Despite this, I have a deep respect for a man who was undoubtedly a towering figure in twentieth-century history.   

David's book list on Mahatma Gandhi and his life

David Hardiman Why did David love this book?

Gandhi wrote this book, his autobiography, between 1925 and 1929, when he was in his late fifties. It focuses on his formative years, showing how he forged his distinctive style of activism in South Africa and India. It is remarkable for its honesty, even when Gandhi had shameful memories to relate, as when he struck his wife, Kasturba, in anger.  His aim is to show how he changed himself in ways that would make such violent behavior on his part impossible. His ‘truth’ is that of nonviolence and he describes the experiments that he undertook in establishing his nonviolence at both a personal and political level. It is a compelling read that brings out brilliantly Gandhi’s style of thinking and his personality. It is in my opinion a classic of twentieth-century literature. 

By Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Who was Gandhi? In the midst of resurging interest in the man who freed India, inspired the American Civil Rights Movement, and is revered, respected, and misunderstood all over the world, the time is proper to listen to Gandhi himself — in his own words, his own "confessions," his Autobiography.
  
Gandhi made scrupulous truth-telling a religion, and his Autobiography inevitably reminds one of other saints who have suffered and burned for their lapses. He gives a simply narrated account of his boyhood in Gujarat, marriage at age 13, legal studies in England, and a growing desire for purity and reform.…


Book cover of Threads of Peace: How Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Changed the World

Tina Athaide Author Of Orange for the Sunsets

From my list on historical events unfolding.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I loved escaping into my character’s world—solving mysteries with Nancy Drew, getting into trouble like Anne from Anne of Green Gables, and diving into adventures with Enid Blyton’s Famous Five. But I never saw anyone like myself in those books. A girl with black hair and coffee-colored skin, who licked the last samosa crumb off her fingers. That's one of the reasons I write and read historical fiction. It allows you to take a ride with a person from that place and time, and the first rule of time travel is that you cannot change the past. But when you finish reading you may discover that the past has changed you. 

Tina's book list on historical events unfolding

Tina Athaide Why did Tina love this book?

I greatly admire Mohandas Gandhi and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., so I was intrigued when I heard about this book that looked at the common threads between two amazing historical figures who shared a goal of social reform. Being South Asian, I am very familiar with Mohandas Gandhi, and after moving to the United States, I learned a lot about the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., and this book revealed what led these two men down the path of peace. Even today, it saddens me that both Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. met their end to life by assassinations. I have only recently added this book to my classroom library, but anticipate it will be a popular choice among my students.

By Uma Krishnaswami,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Threads of Peace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

"Inviting and original." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Mohandas Gandhi and Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. both shook and changed the world in their quest for peace among all people, but what threads connected these great activists together in their shared goal of social revolution?

A lawyer and activist, tiny of stature with giant ideas, in British-ruled India at the beginning of the 20th century.

A minister from Georgia with a thunderous voice and hopes for peace at the height of the civil rights movement in America.

Born more than a half-century apart, with seemingly little in common except one shared…


Book cover of The Life of Mahatma Gandhi

John Dear Author Of A Persistent Peace: One Man's Struggle for a Nonviolent World

From my list on the greatest modern peacemakers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent my entire life in pursuit of peace and nonviolence, and tried to be a peacemaker to our poor world of permanent warfare, extreme poverty, systemic violence, nuclear weapons, and environmental destruction. I’ve organized hundreds of demonstrations, spoken to a million people, written some forty books on peace and nonviolence, been arrested 85 times, traveled the warzones of the world—all the while trying to practice peace and nonviolence, and not doing a good job of it. That’s why I look to the examples of legendary peacemakers who lived the life of peace and changed the world with their disarming presence, people like Gandhi, Dr. King, Dorothy Day, Daniel Berrigan and Thomas Merton.

John's book list on the greatest modern peacemakers

John Dear Why did John love this book?

I consider Mahatma Gandhi one of the greatest peacemakers in history. He showed us how to use nonviolence at every level, even how to get the British empire to leave India peacefully. I have read the entire 100 volumes of Gandhi’s writings and many biographies, and edited my own collection but Fischer is the best and knew Gandhi personally. His biography continues to inspire me forty years after I first read it because he brings out some of Gandhi’s strongest teachings on nonviolence, including the connections with self-denial, prayer, fasting, and being willing to go to prison to stop injustice and war. I think he captures the radical spirit of Gandhi best. This book is my go-to book for peacemaking inspiration.

By Louis Fischer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a biography of Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948). He led the fight for Indian independence from British rule, who tirelessly pursued a strategy of passive resistance, and who was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic only a few months after independence was achieved.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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