100 books like Heaven's Command

By James Morris,

Here are 100 books that Heaven's Command fans have personally recommended if you like Heaven's Command. 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 The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence, and the Pillage of an Empire

Sathnam Sanghera Author Of Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain

From my list on the British Empire's impact on the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was in my 40s before I began exploring the topic of the British Empire. It came after I realised it explained so much about me (my Sikh identity, the emigration of my parents, my education) and so much about my country (its politics, psychology, wealth…) and yet I knew very little. It turned out that millions of people feel the same way… and I hope I provide an accessible introduction and summary of the massive topic. 

Sathnam's book list on the British Empire's impact on the world

Sathnam Sanghera Why did Sathnam love this book?

The East India Company was an unusual organization, to say the least, beginning as a conventional international trading corporation, dealing in silks and spices, and becoming an aggressive colonial power.

Its complicated nature is one of the reasons why the British empire is so poorly understood: people struggle to comprehend how a company could have been imperial. Dalrymple does a great job of explaining it in this incredibly accessible book.

One of my all-time favourite books on Indian history.

By William Dalrymple,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Anarchy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE TOP 5 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S BEST BOOKS OF 2019 THE TIMES HISTORY BOOK OF THE YEAR FINALIST FOR THE CUNDILL HISTORY PRIZE 2020 LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION 2019 A FINANCIAL TIMES, OBSERVER, DAILY TELEGRAPH, WALL STREET JOURNAL AND TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR 'Dalrymple is a superb historian with a visceral understanding of India ... A book of beauty' - Gerard DeGroot, The Times In August 1765 the East India Company defeated the young Mughal emperor and forced him to establish a new administration in his richest provinces. Run by English…


Book cover of Railways & the Raj: How the Age of Steam Transformed India

Sathnam Sanghera Author Of Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain

From my list on the British Empire's impact on the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was in my 40s before I began exploring the topic of the British Empire. It came after I realised it explained so much about me (my Sikh identity, the emigration of my parents, my education) and so much about my country (its politics, psychology, wealth…) and yet I knew very little. It turned out that millions of people feel the same way… and I hope I provide an accessible introduction and summary of the massive topic. 

Sathnam's book list on the British Empire's impact on the world

Sathnam Sanghera Why did Sathnam love this book?

Approaching the subject not as an imperial historian but as a specialist on transport, Wolmar dismantles the lie at the heart of a thousand TV documentaries: that the British bestowed railways on India in an act of benevolence.

Every TV commissioner in Britain should be made to read this.

By Christian Wolmar,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Railways & the Raj as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

India was the jewel in the crown of the British Empire, an Empire that needed a rail network to facilitate its exploitation and reflect its ambition. But, by building India's railways, Britain radically changed the nation and unwittingly planted the seed of independence. As Indians were made to travel in poor conditions and were barred from the better paid railway jobs a stirring of resentment and nationalist sentiment grew.

The Indian Railways network remains one of the largest in the world, serving over 25 million passengers each day. In this expertly told history, Christian Wolmar reveals the full story, from…


Book cover of The Trader, The Owner, The Slave: Parallel Lives in the Age of Slavery

Sathnam Sanghera Author Of Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain

From my list on the British Empire's impact on the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was in my 40s before I began exploring the topic of the British Empire. It came after I realised it explained so much about me (my Sikh identity, the emigration of my parents, my education) and so much about my country (its politics, psychology, wealth…) and yet I knew very little. It turned out that millions of people feel the same way… and I hope I provide an accessible introduction and summary of the massive topic. 

Sathnam's book list on the British Empire's impact on the world

Sathnam Sanghera Why did Sathnam love this book?

Coming in at just over 250 pages of generously spaced text, this is not the longest book on the subject. Nor is it the most famous.

But in efficiently telling the stories of three men  –  John Newton, the captain of a slave ship, who later became a preacher, Thomas Thistlewood, a slave owner who made a small fortune from a plantation in Jamaica, and the black slave Olaudah Equiano.

Walvin deftly reveals how slavery, like so many aspects of the empire, has been erased from the British consciousness and conscience.

By James Walvin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

There has been nothing like Atlantic slavery. Its scope and the ways in which it has shaped the modern world are so far-reaching as to make it ungraspable. By examining the lives of three individuals caught up in the enterprise of human enslavement. James Walvin offers a new and an original interpretation of the barbaric world of slavery and of the historic end to the slave trade in April 1807.

John Newton (1725-1807), author of 'Amazing Grace', was a slave captain who marshalled his human cargoes with a brutality that he looked back on with shame and contrition. Thomas Thistlewood's…


Book cover of Bloody Foreigners: The Story of Immigration to Britain

Sathnam Sanghera Author Of Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain

From my list on the British Empire's impact on the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was in my 40s before I began exploring the topic of the British Empire. It came after I realised it explained so much about me (my Sikh identity, the emigration of my parents, my education) and so much about my country (its politics, psychology, wealth…) and yet I knew very little. It turned out that millions of people feel the same way… and I hope I provide an accessible introduction and summary of the massive topic. 

Sathnam's book list on the British Empire's impact on the world

Sathnam Sanghera Why did Sathnam love this book?

In peerless prose, Winder proffers a simple thesis: that Britain is a nation of immigrants.

Despite our German royal family, and all those businesses created by Jews and Indians, we have long been a nation in denial about the immigrant blood flowing through our veins. To such a degree in the Windrush Scandal we have seen actual British citizens being threatened with deportation to countries they barely know.

This important book also challenges the dominant political narrative of my lifetime: that immigrants come here uninvited to take advantage of British hospitality.

If there was one book I could wish onto the National Curriculum, it would be this.

By Robert Winder,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Immigration is one of the most important stories of modern British life, yet it has been happening since Caesar first landed in 53 BC. Ever since the first Roman, Saxon, Jute and Dane leaped off a boat we have been a mongrel nation. Our roots are a tangled web. From Huguenot weavers fleeing French Catholic persecution in the 18th century to South African dentists to Indian shopkeepers; from Jews in York in the 12th century (who had to wear a yellow star to distinguish them and who were shamefully expelled by Edward I in 1272) to the Jamaican who came…


Book cover of The King's Peace: Law and Order in the British Empire

Christian R. Burset Author Of An Empire of Laws: Legal Pluralism in British Colonial Policy

From my list on the rise of the British Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a legal historian with a particular interest in eighteenth-century Britain and the United States. My research has investigated the history of arbitration, historical connections between law and politics, and changing attitudes to the rule of law. Since 2018, I’ve been a professor at Notre Dame Law School, where I teach courses in legal history, civil procedure, conflict of laws, and the rule of law.

Christian's book list on the rise of the British Empire

Christian R. Burset Why did Christian love this book?

The British Empire underwent a profound transformation in the eighteenth century—so much so that historians sometimes draw a line between the “first” and “second” British Empires.

One aspect of that transformation concerned how colonies were governed. Until the 1760s, most British colonies enjoyed strong legislatures, a limited role for the military in everyday life, and the protections of English law. That changed during the Age of Revolutions, as Britain embraced an increasingly autocratic style of colonial rule.

The King’s Peace charts this transformation in an engaging and accessible way by weaving its arresting case studies into an ambitious argument about how modern states exercise authority. It gave me a keen sense of how the empire could simultaneously feel fragile and crushingly strong.

By Lisa Ford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How the imposition of Crown rule across the British Empire during the Age of Revolution corroded the rights of British subjects and laid the foundations of the modern police state.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the British Empire responded to numerous crises in its colonies, from North America to Jamaica, Bengal to New South Wales. This was the Age of Revolution, and the Crown, through colonial governors, tested an array of coercive peacekeeping methods in a desperate effort to maintain control. In the process these leaders transformed what it meant to be a British subject.

In the decades after…


Book cover of Reordering the World: Essays on Liberalism and Empire

Dillon S. Tatum Author Of Liberalism and Transformation: The Global Politics of Violence and Intervention

From my list on liberalism and politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dillon Stone Tatum is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Francis Marion University. His research interests are on the history, development, and politics of liberal internationalism, international political theory, and critical security studies.

Dillon's book list on liberalism and politics

Dillon S. Tatum Why did Dillon love this book?

Duncan Bell’s collection of essays, Reordering the World, analyzes Victorian (and Victorian-adjacent) liberal imaginaries of empire and world politics. Of specific interest for Bell is the central place settler colonialism had in the constitution of liberal intellectual traditions, and the complex relationship between liberalism as an ideology and liberalism as part-and-parcel of the British empire. Of particular note in this collection are the essays in part I, which I have found to be indispensable in my own grappling with the contours of liberalism as a political and intellectual tradition.

By Duncan Bell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A leading scholar of British political thought explores the relationship between liberalism and empire

Reordering the World is a penetrating account of the complexity and contradictions found in liberal visions of empire. Focusing mainly on nineteenth-century Britain-at the time the largest empire in history and a key incubator of liberal political thought-Duncan Bell sheds new light on some of the most important themes in modern imperial ideology.

The book ranges widely across Victorian intellectual life and beyond. The opening essays explore the nature of liberalism, varieties of imperial ideology, the uses and abuses of ancient history, the imaginative functions of…


Book cover of Empires Without Imperialism: Anglo-American Decline and the Politics of Deflection

Dillon S. Tatum Author Of Liberalism and Transformation: The Global Politics of Violence and Intervention

From my list on liberalism and politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dillon Stone Tatum is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Francis Marion University. His research interests are on the history, development, and politics of liberal internationalism, international political theory, and critical security studies.

Dillon's book list on liberalism and politics

Dillon S. Tatum Why did Dillon love this book?

Over the past decade, there has been an enormous amount written about the “decline of global liberalism,” and particularly the so-called US-led liberal international order. Jeanne Morefield’s book Empires without Imperialism examines the nostalgia of liberal orders in comparing nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Britain and contemporary Anglo-American debates about liberalism and world politics. Morefield takes us through arguments from a diverse cast of characters including classicists like Alfred Zimmern and Donald Kagan, historians like Niall Ferguson, and political actors like Jan Smuts and Michael Ignatieff in order to understand how liberals draw on history as part of their political projects.

By Jeanne Morefield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Empires Without Imperialism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The end of the Cold War ushered in a moment of nearly pure American dominance on the world stage, yet that era now seems ages ago. Since 9/11 many informed commentators have focused on the relative decline of American power in the global system. While some have welcomed this as a salutary development, outspoken proponents of American power-particularly neoconservatives-have lamented this turn of events. As Jeanne Morefield argues in Empires Without
Imperialism, the defenders of a liberal international order steered by the US have both invoked nostalgia for a golden liberal past and succumbed to amnesia, forgetting the decidedly illiberal…


Book cover of Time's Monster: History, Conscience and Britain's Empire

Naoíse Mac Sweeney Author Of The West: A New History in Fourteen Lives

From my list on why the past matters for the future.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love stories, and as a child I found that some of the best and most powerful stories I ever heard were those that people told about the past. When I grew up, I pursued a career as an academic archaeologist and historian, and I am now Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Vienna. But while I am of course interested in the past, in recent years I have been increasingly thinking about the politics of the past as well. Why do we choose to celebrate some stories about the past and not others? I have found these books all useful in helping me to think through this.

Naoíse's book list on why the past matters for the future

Naoíse Mac Sweeney Why did Naoíse love this book?

This is an absolutely stonker of a book. Elegant and erudite, and yet tackling one of the hottest and most debated questions surrounding history right now.

It doesn’t only consider how we remember the British Empire (this issue is a bit of a political hot potato right now), but also reflects more broadly on the role of the historian. I am still digesting it!

By Priya Satia,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

CHOSEN AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR BY NEW STATESMAN AND BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE

'In this searing book, Priya Satia demonstrates, yet again, that she is one of our most brilliant and original historians' Sunil Amrith, author of Unruly Waters

For generations, the history of the British empire was written by its victors. British historians' accounts of conquest guided the consolidation of imperial rule in India, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean. Their narratives of the development of imperial governance licensed the brutal suppression of colonial rebellion. Their reimagining of empire during the two world wars compromised the force…


Book cover of Pirate Nests and the Rise of the British Empire, 1570-1740

Rebecca Simon Author Of Why We Love Pirates: The Hunt for Captain Kidd and How He Changed Piracy Forever

From my list on the lives of pirates.

Why am I passionate about this?

I always had an interest in pirates, being a SoCal native who went to Disneyland every year, and history was always my favorite subject in school. I went on to grad school and decided to make piracy my subject. My Master’s was about how the novel Treasure Island changed perceptions of piracy. I then continued my studies and earned my doctorate at King’s College London in 2017 about public executions of pirates and their cultural/legal representations in the British-Atlantic World. Since then, I have been featured on numerous podcasts such as History Hit, History Extra, and You’re Dead To Me, and on documentaries such as BBC’s Britain’s Rogues, History Channels Oak Island, and Netflix’s Lost Pirate Kingdom while publishing both academic and popular articles before my first book.

Rebecca's book list on the lives of pirates

Rebecca Simon Why did Rebecca love this book?

This book is pretty recent, having been published in 2015. In my opinion, it is the best book ever written about Atlantic piracy. Hanna dissects pirates to examine who they were and why they became pirates. What is unique about this work, is that he argues that pirates were just as significant on land as they were at sea. Without pirates, there would be no rise of a British Empire in the American colonies. This book was released during the last year of my doctoral research and I probably would not have been as successful in its completion without Pirate Nests!

By Mark G. Hanna,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pirate Nests and the Rise of the British Empire, 1570-1740 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Analyzing the rise and subsequent fall of international piracy from the perspective of colonial hinterlands, Mark G. Hanna explores the often overt support of sea marauders in maritime communities from the inception of England's burgeoning empire in the 1570s to its administrative consolidation by the 1740s. Although traditionally depicted as swashbuckling adventurers on the high seas, pirates played a crucial role on land. Far from a hindrance to trade, their enterprises contributed to commercial development and to the economic infrastructure of port towns.

English piracy and unregulated privateering flourished in the Pacific, the Caribbean, and the Indian Ocean because of…


Book cover of Colonizing Animals

Shira Shmuely Author Of The Bureaucracy of Empathy: Law, Vivisection, and Animal Pain in Late Nineteenth-Century Britain

From my list on getting familiar with multispecies history.

Why am I passionate about this?

My fascination and emotional connection with animals have been lifelong. However, it wasn't until my second year as an undergrad student that I realized that human-animal relationship could be examined from philosophical, historical, and anthropological perspectives. Over the past couple of decades, the conversations around the roles of non-human animals in diverse cultural, social, and material contexts have coalesced under the interdisciplinary field known as Animal Studies. I draw upon this literature and use my training in law and PhD in the history of science to explore the ties between knowledge and ethics in the context of animal law.  

Shira's book list on getting familiar with multispecies history

Shira Shmuely Why did Shira love this book?

The newest publication on my list, this book offers future directions for researching the history of human-animal relations. 

Arguing against the Eurocentrism of animal history, the book brings in multiple species into the historical inquiry of colonial Myanmar. Saha explores colonized people's interspecies relationships, with a particular emphasis on commodification processes.

I recommend the book to those who are interested not only in a captivating analysis, but also in a thought-provoking theoretical discussion about the intersection of animal studies and postcolonial scholarship.  

By Jonathan Saha,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Animals were vital to the British colonization of Myanmar. In this pathbreaking history of British imperialism in Myanmar from the early nineteenth century to 1942, Jonathan Saha argues that animals were impacted and transformed by colonial subjugation. By examining the writings of Burmese nationalists and the experiences of subaltern groups, he also shows how animals were mobilized by Burmese anticolonial activists in opposition to imperial rule. In demonstrating how animals - such as elephants, crocodiles, and rats - were important actors never fully under the control of humans, Saha uncovers a history of how British colonialism transformed ecologies and fostered…


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