50 books like Heaven on Earth

By Joshua Muravchik,

Here are 50 books that Heaven on Earth fans have personally recommended if you like Heaven on Earth. 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 Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies

Andrei Znamenski Author Of Socialism as a Secular Creed: A Modern Global History

From my list on the history of socialism.

Who am I?

Andrei Znamenski spent 35 years exploring religions, ideologies, and utopias. Formerly Associate Professor at Alabama State University, a resident scholar at the US Library of Congress, and then a visiting professor at Hokkaido University in Japan, he is currently Professor of History at the University of Memphis. Znamenski studied indigenous religions of Siberia and North America, including Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism. At some point, he became intrigued with Western idealization and romanticization of non-Western cultures and spiritualities, the topic that he covered in his The Beauty of the Primitive: Shamanism and Western Imagination. His Socialism as a Secular Creed, which is a logical follow-up to that project, is an attempt to examine the socialist phenomenon as a political religion of the modern age.

Andrei's book list on the history of socialism

Andrei Znamenski Why did Andrei love this book?

This volume complements well the Muravchik book. Written in an easy user-friendly language, the text represents a set of short essays that deal with socialist construction in various countries (Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, Kim Il Sung North Korea, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Castor’s Cuba, Chavez Venezuela). Besides these well-known cases of socialism, Niemietz, a libertarian scholar of a German extract, gives an excellent succinct analysis of the Eastern German communist regime from 1945 to its collapse in 1989.  The reader should also benefit from reading his comprehensive introductory chapter on the enduring appeal of socialism. Both high and home school and college instructors, who want to challenge the dominant socialism-friendly educational mainstream, may want to use Muravchik’s book and this one as textbooks.

By Christian Niemietz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Socialism is strangely impervious to refutation by real-world experience.
Over the past hundred years, there have been more than two dozen attempts to build a socialist society, from the Soviet Union to Maoist China to Venezuela. All of them have ended in varying degrees of failure.
But, according to socialism's adherents, that is only because none of these experiments were "real socialism".
This book documents the history of this, by now, standard response.
It shows how the claim of fake socialism is only ever made after the event. As long as a socialist project is in its prime, almost nobody…


Book cover of Socialism: A Very Short Introduction

Andrei Znamenski Author Of Socialism as a Secular Creed: A Modern Global History

From my list on the history of socialism.

Who am I?

Andrei Znamenski spent 35 years exploring religions, ideologies, and utopias. Formerly Associate Professor at Alabama State University, a resident scholar at the US Library of Congress, and then a visiting professor at Hokkaido University in Japan, he is currently Professor of History at the University of Memphis. Znamenski studied indigenous religions of Siberia and North America, including Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism. At some point, he became intrigued with Western idealization and romanticization of non-Western cultures and spiritualities, the topic that he covered in his The Beauty of the Primitive: Shamanism and Western Imagination. His Socialism as a Secular Creed, which is a logical follow-up to that project, is an attempt to examine the socialist phenomenon as a political religion of the modern age.

Andrei's book list on the history of socialism

Andrei Znamenski Why did Andrei love this book?

This short book by a UK humanities professor represents a very brief sympathetic history of socialism written from the left perspective that currently dominates our academic mainstream. In a benign manner and downplaying the dark sides of socialism, Newman narrates the history of the socialist phenomenon from the 1820s “utopian socialism” and Marxism to the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution (Stalinist terror has been totally skipped), and to the current eco-socialism and socialist feminism. The best and most informative parts of the book are chapters on Cuban communism and the so-called Swedish model of socialism. I recommend this brochure as a textbook to those who are either committed to the socialist creed or reluctant to critically approach this phenomenon.

By Michael Newman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What is socialism? Does it have a future, or has it become an outdated ideology in the 21st century?

This Very Short Introduction considers the major theories in socialism, and explores its historical evolution from the French Revolution to the present day. Michael Newman argues that socialism has always been a diverse doctrine, while nevertheless containing a central core of interconnected values and goals: a critique of capitalism; an optimistic view of human beings; and the belief that it is possible to establish societies based on egalitarianism, social solidarity, and
co-operation. In this new edition, he draws on case studies…


Book cover of Stalked by Socialism: An Escapee from Communism Shows How We'Re Sliding into Socialism

Andrei Znamenski Author Of Socialism as a Secular Creed: A Modern Global History

From my list on the history of socialism.

Who am I?

Andrei Znamenski spent 35 years exploring religions, ideologies, and utopias. Formerly Associate Professor at Alabama State University, a resident scholar at the US Library of Congress, and then a visiting professor at Hokkaido University in Japan, he is currently Professor of History at the University of Memphis. Znamenski studied indigenous religions of Siberia and North America, including Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism. At some point, he became intrigued with Western idealization and romanticization of non-Western cultures and spiritualities, the topic that he covered in his The Beauty of the Primitive: Shamanism and Western Imagination. His Socialism as a Secular Creed, which is a logical follow-up to that project, is an attempt to examine the socialist phenomenon as a political religion of the modern age.

Andrei's book list on the history of socialism

Andrei Znamenski Why did Andrei love this book?

This is a captivating, personalized memoir that simultaneously explores the current ascent of socialism in the United States. The author escaped Eastern European communism in 1988, during its decaying stage, and moved to the United States in hope that she would enjoy freedom of speech and individual liberty in this country. Yet, to her surprise, she had to deal with the escalating rise of the left in the United States that has been recently seeking to curtail the freedom of speech and impose a greater regulation, trying to replace equality of opportunity with the equality of outcomes. Designed as a warning for Western audiences, Kandlove’s book samples the miseries of her daily life under socialism in Czechoslovakia in the 1970s and the 1980s. She also provides revealing anecdotes of her encounters with various Western “useful idiots” who peddle socialism and do not want to learn from history.

By Jana Kandlova,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1988, 19 year-old Jana Kandlova (aka Jane Benson) escaped from communist Czechoslovakia and came to the United States to live and thrive in a free country. Upon her arrival, her euphoria was so intense she could actually "smell the freedom." But, thirty years later, she has become alarmed and anxious as she witnesses the United States heading towards many of the same socialistic/communist ideals she fought so hard to get away from. In this fascinating story, she sounds a serious warning to all who believe in "free lunch."


Book cover of The Socialist Phenomenon

Andrei Znamenski Author Of Socialism as a Secular Creed: A Modern Global History

From my list on the history of socialism.

Who am I?

Andrei Znamenski spent 35 years exploring religions, ideologies, and utopias. Formerly Associate Professor at Alabama State University, a resident scholar at the US Library of Congress, and then a visiting professor at Hokkaido University in Japan, he is currently Professor of History at the University of Memphis. Znamenski studied indigenous religions of Siberia and North America, including Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism. At some point, he became intrigued with Western idealization and romanticization of non-Western cultures and spiritualities, the topic that he covered in his The Beauty of the Primitive: Shamanism and Western Imagination. His Socialism as a Secular Creed, which is a logical follow-up to that project, is an attempt to examine the socialist phenomenon as a political religion of the modern age.

Andrei's book list on the history of socialism

Andrei Znamenski Why did Andrei love this book?

A Soviet dissident scientist and prominent conservative ideologist of Russian nationalism, Shafarevich (1923-2017) traces the roots of modern socialism to statist and collectivist experiments in ancient Egypt, China, and Inca civilizations. He also explores the aggressive egalitarianism of modern socialism’s predecessors among European eschatological movements in medieval and early modern Europe (e.g., Lollards in England, Taborites in Bohemia, Peasants’ War during the Protestant Reformation in Germany, and the Jesuit state in Paraguay). Among other things, the author examines in detail the early 1920s Bolshevik activities in Russia, Maoist assaults on traditional society in China, and the rise of the Western New Left in the 1960s. According to Shafarevich, each time leading to disastrous and suicidal results, socialism represents humanity’s “death wish”; the writer implies that one might slow down this enduring and recurrent dark side of human existence, but, ultimately, we will always have to deal with the socialist phenomenon…

By Igor Shafarevich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Socialist Phenomenon is a powerful survey  of socialism  and socialist thought from ancient times to the present day. Most assume that socialism and communism began with the writings of Karl Marx, but through his book Shafarevich lays out with amazing clarity that socialism is an evil that has been present in man’s thoughts and actions for thousands of years. 

In the age of “democratic socialism” and other modern iterations, The Socialist Phenomenon reminds us of the truth about socialism and the dangers that come when societies embrace socialist policies and ideals.


Book cover of People's Power: Reclaiming the Energy Commons

Danny Katch Author Of Socialism....Seriously: A Brief Guide to Human Liberation

From my list on winning socialism in our lifetime.

Who am I?

I’ve been a socialist for my entire adult life and a wise-ass for even longer. As a writer I’ve found a way to combine these two passions, using humor to introduce complex economic and political ideas to a new audience, as well as poke fun at politicians, CEOs, and even myself and my fellow activists. Not all of the books on this list use humor the way I do, but they have all helped me keep my sunny disposition by giving me inspiration that the socialist cause is more dynamic and multifaceted than ever. 

Danny's book list on winning socialism in our lifetime

Danny Katch Why did Danny love this book?

In order to have socialism, we need to have a planet on which to be socialists—preferably a planet that isn’t constantly on fire or under water from climate change. So we need to convert our energy systems from fossil fuels to renewables like solar and wind, but as Ashley Dawson argues in this great book, we can’t afford to then let energy corporations start owning sunlight and air the way they do oil and coal. 

People’s Power introduces us to the age-old idea of commonly owned natural resources and looks to modern examples from around the world where cities, towns, and countries and pioneering ways to make the “energy commons” a reality.

By Ashley Dawson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked People's Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The science is conclusive: to avoid irreversible climate collapse, the burning of all fossil fuels will have to end in the next decade. In this concise and highly readable intervention, Ashley Dawson sets out what is required to make this momentous shift: simply replacing coal-fired power plants with for-profit solar energy farms will only maintain the toxic illusion that it is possible to sustain relentlessly expanding energy consumption. We can no longer think of energy as a commodity. Instead we must see it as part of the global commons, a vital element in the great stock of air, water, plants,…


Book cover of Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis

Xenia A. Cherkaev Author Of Gleaning for Communism: The Soviet Socialist Household in Theory and Practice

From my list on the possibility of collectivist modern life.

Who am I?

I am interested in how regimes of ethics and property interrelate, and how this interrelation informs political thought: in questions of cooperatives and collectives, customary use-rights, and household economies. I'm an anthropologist by training and geographically I work in Russia. I've written about socialist property law and stolen late-Soviet penguins, Stalin-era mine-detection dogs and perestroika-era saints, möbius bands, 19th-century Russian cheese-making co-operatives, New World Order theories of “The Golden Billion” and other important matters.

Xenia's book list on the possibility of collectivist modern life

Xenia A. Cherkaev Why did Xenia love this book?

Mises' warnings about socialism bringing about the end of civilization have entered popular lore a sort of common sense, so it's worthwhile to read the original.

This book is less a scientific analysis than an ode to market liberalism: to “the desperate struggle of lovers of freedom prosperity and civilization against the rising tide of totalitarian barbarism.” At stake is the very possibility of non-market modernity.

Mises argues that modern society cannot function without a market defined by acquisitive trade: individuals' peaceful cooperation hinges on their ability to make rational choices about their production and consumption of things, and such choices are possible only when a system of competitive market price expresses the true value of every commodity.

“The socialist order of society,” he warns, “is not realizable” and will lead to the collapse of (western) civilization itself: “Nomad tribes from the Eastern steppes would again raid and pillage Europe,…

By Ludwig Von Mises,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a newly annotated edition of the classic first published in German in 1922. It is the definitive refutation of nearly every type of socialism ever devised. Mises presents a wide-ranging analysis of society, comparing the results of socialist planning with those of free-market capitalism in all areas of life. Friedrich Hayek's foreword comments on the continuing relevance of this great work: "Most readers today will find that Socialism has more immediate application to contemporary events than it had when it first appeared."


Book cover of Woman Under Socialism

Kristen R. Ghodsee Author Of Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence

From my list on women and socialism.

Who am I?

As an ethnographer, I have been studying the lives of ordinary women in socialist and post-socialist countries in Eastern Europe for over twenty-five years. I have always been fascinated by the differences in women’s life options in the presence or absence of robust social safety nets. As a scholar, I’ve spent decades working in archives and interviewing people across the region, and I have written eight books about the various gendered experiences of everyday life in Eastern Europe. As a professor, I have taught a course called “Sex and Socialism,” almost every year for eighteen years and I am always reading widely in this field to look for new material for my syllabi.

Kristen's book list on women and socialism

Kristen R. Ghodsee Why did Kristen love this book?

Written while August Bebel was serving a jail term under Germany’s anti-socialist laws, Woman and Socialism was published in over fifty editions and in more than twenty languages between 1879 and 1914. The first English edition was published in 1908 and became something of a sensation in the United Kingdom and the United States. Unlike other men in the labor movement at the time, Bebel believed that women were the full equals of men and should have the same economic, social, and political rights. More importantly, he argued that socialism would give women economic independence, and that this would allow them more freedom in their personal lives, including in their choice of a sexual partner. The book sometimes feels as radical today as it was 150 years ago.

By August Bebel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This collection of literature attempts to compile many of the classic works that have stood the test of time and offer them at a reduced, affordable price, in an attractive volume so that everyone can enjoy them.


Book cover of The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State

Kristen R. Ghodsee Author Of Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence

From my list on women and socialism.

Who am I?

As an ethnographer, I have been studying the lives of ordinary women in socialist and post-socialist countries in Eastern Europe for over twenty-five years. I have always been fascinated by the differences in women’s life options in the presence or absence of robust social safety nets. As a scholar, I’ve spent decades working in archives and interviewing people across the region, and I have written eight books about the various gendered experiences of everyday life in Eastern Europe. As a professor, I have taught a course called “Sex and Socialism,” almost every year for eighteen years and I am always reading widely in this field to look for new material for my syllabi.

Kristen's book list on women and socialism

Kristen R. Ghodsee Why did Kristen love this book?

Engels provides the canonical theoretical framework for understanding how capitalism uniquely impacts women’s lives and how a more collectivized economy lays the foundation for women’s full emancipation. While many subsequent feminist and socialist scholars have disagreed with this book, The Origin of the Family is a classic that has inspired countless generations of theorists and activists. 

By Friedrich Engels,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State: in the Light of the Researches of Lewis H. Morgan (German: Der Ursprung der Familie, des Privateigenthums und des Staats) is an 1884 historical materialist treatise by Friedrich Engels. It is partially based on notes by Karl Marx to Lewis H. Morgan's book Ancient Society (1877). The book is an early anthropological work and is regarded as one of the first major works on family economics.

Following the death of his friend and co-thinker Karl Marx in 1883, Friedrich Engels served as his literary executor, actively organizing and preparing for…


Book cover of Women, the State and Revolution: Soviet Family Policy and Social Life, 1917 1936

Kristen R. Ghodsee Author Of Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence

From my list on women and socialism.

Who am I?

As an ethnographer, I have been studying the lives of ordinary women in socialist and post-socialist countries in Eastern Europe for over twenty-five years. I have always been fascinated by the differences in women’s life options in the presence or absence of robust social safety nets. As a scholar, I’ve spent decades working in archives and interviewing people across the region, and I have written eight books about the various gendered experiences of everyday life in Eastern Europe. As a professor, I have taught a course called “Sex and Socialism,” almost every year for eighteen years and I am always reading widely in this field to look for new material for my syllabi.

Kristen's book list on women and socialism

Kristen R. Ghodsee Why did Kristen love this book?

This deeply researched book explores the massive upheavals that followed the Bolshevik Revolution in the young Soviet Union. By mining a rich body of archival research, Goldman reveals just how radical Soviet policies to emancipate women really were in their historical context. More importantly, she uncovers the heated debates that characterized this early period of Soviet history before the rigidity and paranoia of Stalinism takes over and he reverses many of the early gains.

By Wendy Z. Goldman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women, the State and Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917, they believed that under socialism the family would 'wither away.' They envisioned a society in which communal dining halls, daycare centres, and public laundries would replace the unpaid labour of women in the home. Yet by 1936 legislation designed to liberate women from their legal and economic dependence had given way to increasingly conservative solutions aimed at strengthening traditional family ties and women's reproductive role. This book explains the reversal, focusing on how women, peasants, and orphans responded to Bolshevik attempts to remake the family, and how their opinions and experiences in…


Book cover of Better to Have Loved: the Life of Judith Merril

Lavie Tidhar Author Of The Circumference of the World

From my list on science fiction’s golden age.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by the Golden Age of science fiction, when a group of young dreamers formed the genre as we know it today. I grew up far away from their world, on a small kibbutz in Israel, and the lives of those god-like beings seemed as remote and as impossible as the moon. I grew up to eventually write stories of my own, and even got to meet some of my childhood heroes, and eventually I thought it would be fun to write a book that was partially about them. I read every book I could get my hands on to try and better understand that time when science fiction was born.

Lavie's book list on science fiction’s golden age

Lavie Tidhar Why did Lavie love this book?

Merrill, a brilliant editor and writer in her own right, was a rare woman to cut through the chauvinistic world of the Golden Age writers.

The book recounts her journey as a writer (she wrote the classic SF story “That Only a Mother”), editor (as in the ground-breaking 60s anthology England Swings SF), her short-lived marriage to Fred Pohl and her fascination with socialism. It certainly gives you a different view of the male-dominated world of science fiction at the time, and an insight into one of SF’s important practitioners.

By Judith Merril, Emily Pohl-Weary,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Better to Have Loved as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Judith merril was a pioneer of twentieth-century science fiction, a proflific author, and editor. She was also a passionate social and political activist. In fact, her life was a constant adventure within the alternative and experimental worlds of science fiction, left politics, and Canadian literature.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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