100 books like Identity Crisis

By John Sides, Michael Tesler, Lynn Vavreck

Here are 100 books that Identity Crisis fans have personally recommended if you like Identity Crisis. 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 Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity

Friederike Otto Author Of Angry Weather: Heat Waves, Floods, Storms, and the New Science of Climate Change

From my list on starting to think about the much abused idea of freedom.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a physicist who ended up doing their PhD in philosophy, because the “so what” question for me always was more interesting to answer than finding out how the physical world is changing. Working as a climate scientist I see how climate change and extreme weather devastate livelihoods on a daily basis. It makes me very aware I know nothing, but also that the philosophical and humanist ideas we build our societies upon are much more important to solve the climate crisis than physics and technology. One of the most important ones is to reclaim freedom and actually allow people to live good lives.

Friederike's book list on starting to think about the much abused idea of freedom

Friederike Otto Why did Friederike love this book?

Identity isn’t personal, it is shaped by all sorts of influences, some of them we are very aware of and some of them we have never thought about. To be free means to be aware of all of them.

Appiah shows that while you cannot escape identity, you can pick and choose much more than most people make us believe. There is no inevitability and that is extremely liberating.

As a white woman, it made me see much better how not to equate privilege with guilt only, but responsibility and agency. 

By Kwame Anthony Appiah,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Lies That Bind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Who do you think you are? That's a question bound up in another: What do you think you are? Gender. Religion. Race. Nationality. Class. Culture. Such affiliations give contours to our sense of self, and shape our polarized world. Yet the collective identities they spawn are riddled with contradictions, and cratered with falsehoods.

Kwame Anthony Appiah's The Lies That Bind is an incandescent exploration of the nature and history of the identities that define us. It challenges our assumptions about how identities work. We all know there are conflicts between identities, but Appiah shows how identities are created by conflict.…


Book cover of In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong

Uzi Rabi Author Of The Return of the Past: State, Identity, and Society in the Post-Arab Spring Middle East

From my list on political identity and divisions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the Director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University. My interest lies in modern history and evolution of states and societies in the Middle East: Iranian- Arab relations, oil and politics, and Sunni- Shi’i dynamics. It is a particularly important period in time for the Middle East as there is a changing paradigm of geopolitics in the region. During the course of the last decade, we have seen repercussions of the Arab Spring, withdrawal of US troops from the region and signing of the Abraham Accords. I follow these developments and frequently provide expert commentary and analysis in various forums. 

Uzi's book list on political identity and divisions

Uzi Rabi Why did Uzi love this book?

In the Name of Identity challenges our thinking about how we decide who we are as individuals, as groups and what makes us behave as we do with each other.

Maalouf addresses the dangers of defining people solely on a singular component of their identity rather than their identity as a whole. He examines his own identity, and acknowledges that it is complex.

He is Arab and Christian, both Lebanese and French. Yet his identity is more than the aggregate of these components. He urges the reader to avoid generalizing based on a singular component of one’s identity and convincingly argues how this can lead to violence.

Maalouf’s wisdom on how we use our identities to define ourselves against each other can help us understand how to avoid hatred and violence. 

By Amin Maalouf, Barbara Bray (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Makes for compelling reading in America today.”—New York Times Book Review.

“I want to try and understand why so many people commit crimes in the name of identity,” writes Amin Maalouf. Identity is the crucible out of which we come: our background, our race, our gender, our tribal affiliations, our religion (or lack thereof), all go into making up who we are. All too often, however, the notion of identity—personal, religious, ethnic, or national—has given rise to heated passions and even massive crimes.

Moving across the world’s history, faiths, and politics, he argues against an oversimplified and hostile interpretation of…


Book cover of Latinx: The New Force in American Politics and Culture

Uzi Rabi Author Of The Return of the Past: State, Identity, and Society in the Post-Arab Spring Middle East

From my list on political identity and divisions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the Director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University. My interest lies in modern history and evolution of states and societies in the Middle East: Iranian- Arab relations, oil and politics, and Sunni- Shi’i dynamics. It is a particularly important period in time for the Middle East as there is a changing paradigm of geopolitics in the region. During the course of the last decade, we have seen repercussions of the Arab Spring, withdrawal of US troops from the region and signing of the Abraham Accords. I follow these developments and frequently provide expert commentary and analysis in various forums. 

Uzi's book list on political identity and divisions

Uzi Rabi Why did Uzi love this book?

The Hispanic community represents nearly 20% of the American population and is one of the fastest-growing minorities.

In spite of this, the community is rarely featured in conversations about race and ethnicity. Latinx (a gender-neutral term describing people of Latin heritage) provides an in-depth understanding of the community. Morales focuses on what Latinx means and how Latinx cultures of the past have shaped how the community understands its identity.

Through his analysis, Morales points out that identifying as Latinx creates a political identity that embodies an idea of ‘mixedness’ or ‘hybridity’, but at the same time challenges the black/ white racial binary which is prevalent in American history.

As Latinx increase, their political empowerment could reform the balance of forces within the country. 

By Ed Morales,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Latinx" (pronounced "La-teen-ex") is the gender-neutral term that covers the largest racial minority in the United States, and the poorest but fastest-growing American group, whose political empowerment is altering the balance of forces in a growing number of states. In this groundbreaking discussion, Ed Morales explains how Latinx political identities are tied to a long Latin American history of mestizaje, translatable as "mixedness" or "hybridity", and that this border thinking is both a key to understanding Latinx cultures and a challenge to America's infamously black-white racial regime.


Book cover of Myanmar's Enemy Within: Buddhist Violence and the Making of a Muslim 'Other'

Uzi Rabi Author Of The Return of the Past: State, Identity, and Society in the Post-Arab Spring Middle East

From my list on political identity and divisions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the Director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University. My interest lies in modern history and evolution of states and societies in the Middle East: Iranian- Arab relations, oil and politics, and Sunni- Shi’i dynamics. It is a particularly important period in time for the Middle East as there is a changing paradigm of geopolitics in the region. During the course of the last decade, we have seen repercussions of the Arab Spring, withdrawal of US troops from the region and signing of the Abraham Accords. I follow these developments and frequently provide expert commentary and analysis in various forums. 

Uzi's book list on political identity and divisions

Uzi Rabi Why did Uzi love this book?

The Enemy Within discusses the factors that instigated violence in June 2012 between the Buddhists and Muslims within Myanmar. This violence had disastrous results for several ethnic communities, especially the Rohingya.

The book focuses on two main ideas: the development and maintenance of ethnic identity over a long period of time, that turns minorities into the ‘other’ in their own country, and Myanmar government’s practice of political violence that eliminates religious and racial diversity.

Wade describes how the discussion over an ethnic minority’s identity was manipulated by Buddhist extremists as well as the military junta. He also illustrates that by constantly threatening the identity and beliefs of groups of people in the country, the government was able to undertake a program of exclusion and persecution.

By Francis Wade,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 2017, Myanmar's military launched a campaign of violence against the Rohingya minority that UN experts later said amounted to a genocide. More than seven hundred thousand civilians fled to Bangladesh in what became the most concentrated flight of refugees since the Rwanda genocide of 1994. The warning signs of impending catastrophe that had built over years were downplayed by Western backers of the political transition, and only when the exodus began did the world finally come to acknowledge a catastrophe that had been long in the making.

In this updated edition of the book that foreshadowed a genocide, Francis…


Book cover of Campaign of the Century: Kennedy, Nixon, and the Election of 1960

Geoff Shepard Author Of The Nixon Conspiracy: Watergate and the Plot to Remove the President

From my list on recent books about Richard Nixon.

Why am I passionate about this?

I joined the Nixon administration as a White House Fellow upon Harvard Law School graduation in 1969, so I wasn’t part of Nixon’s 1968 campaign. I served for five years, rising to associate director of the Domestic Council and ending as deputy counsel on Nixon’s Watergate defense team. Given my personal involvement at the time, coupled with extensive research over the past fifteen years, I’m among the foremost authorities on the Watergate scandal, but essentially unknowledgeable about people and events preceding the Nixon presidency. My five recommended books have nicely fill that gap – principally by friends and former colleagues who were actually “in the arena” during those heady times. 

Geoff's book list on recent books about Richard Nixon

Geoff Shepard Why did Geoff love this book?

Gellman is a nationally-recognized historian, whose writings reflect thorough and insightful research. His earlier books – on Nixon’s time in Congress (The Contender) and as Eisenhower’s vice president (The President and the Apprentice) – meticulously debunked derogatory stories about Nixon, and this one on the 1960 campaign does the same. Many believe Theodore White’s Making of the President,1960 is the only authoritative account of that contest, but Gellman points out how White set out to idolize Kennedy and villainize Nixon – never once actually speaking to Nixon, either during or following the campaign. Gellman is an excellent writer, putting his readers right in the center of historic events. His final chapter, bringing the campaign all together is simply outstanding.

By Irwin F. Gellman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Based on massive new research, a compelling and surprising account of the twentieth century's closest election

"[Gellman] offers as detailed an exploration of the 1960 presidential race as can be found."-Robert W. Merry, Wall Street Journal

"A brilliant work . . . the research is absolutely phenomenal . . . This book should receive every accolade the publishing industry can give it, including the Pulitzer Prize."-John Rothmann, KGO's "The John Rothmann Show"

The 1960 presidential election between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon is one of the most frequently described political events of the twentieth century, yet the accounts to…


Book cover of The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority

Geoff Shepard Author Of The Nixon Conspiracy: Watergate and the Plot to Remove the President

From my list on recent books about Richard Nixon.

Why am I passionate about this?

I joined the Nixon administration as a White House Fellow upon Harvard Law School graduation in 1969, so I wasn’t part of Nixon’s 1968 campaign. I served for five years, rising to associate director of the Domestic Council and ending as deputy counsel on Nixon’s Watergate defense team. Given my personal involvement at the time, coupled with extensive research over the past fifteen years, I’m among the foremost authorities on the Watergate scandal, but essentially unknowledgeable about people and events preceding the Nixon presidency. My five recommended books have nicely fill that gap – principally by friends and former colleagues who were actually “in the arena” during those heady times. 

Geoff's book list on recent books about Richard Nixon

Geoff Shepard Why did Geoff love this book?

Pat Buchanan joined Nixon’s staff in 1966 and was the conservative guru on his White House staff throughout Nixon’s terms in office. Totally written off for dead after his 1962 loss to Edmund “Pat” Brown as California’s governor, Nixon remerged to be sworn in as our 37th President in January 1969 – and Pat was with him every step of the way. This book is Buchanan’s insider account of how that recovery was planned, executed, and ultimately achieved. Its stories reflect lessons and insights for everyone interested in national campaigns. I served alongside Pat in the Nixon White House, but this volume fills in intimate details of Nixon’s wilderness years – before he took the oath of office.

By Patrick J. Buchanan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Patrick J. Buchanan, bestselling author and senior advisor to Richard Nixon, tells the definitive story of Nixon's resurrection from the political graveyard and his rise to the presidency.

After suffering stinging defeats in the 1960 presidential election against John F. Kennedy, and in the 1962 California gubernatorial election, Nixon's career was declared dead by Washington press and politicians alike. Yet on January 20, 1969, just six years after he had said his political life was over, Nixon would stand taking the oath of office as 37th President of the United States. How did Richard Nixon resurrect a ruined career and…


Book cover of The Steal: The Attempt to Overturn the 2020 Election and the People Who Stopped It

Anita Bartholomew Author Of Siege: An American Tragedy

From my list on plots to overthrow the US government.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a long-time contributor to Reader's Digest (and former contributing editor), specializing in narrative nonfiction who has covered social and geopolitical issues for the magazine. I'm also a political junkie who loves to dig into little-known aspects of history and current events. 

Anita's book list on plots to overthrow the US government

Anita Bartholomew Why did Anita love this book?

The Steal documents what happened in the weeks between the 2020 presidential election and January 6th in swing states that Biden won, where Trump persuaded local loyalists that the election had been rigged. Avid Trump supporters embraced every wild conspiracy theory Trump World tossed their way—imagining minor glitches to be bulletproof evidence of massive fraud. 

As the author of another narrative about the collateral damage wrought by purveyors of the Big Lie, I had obvious reasons to be drawn to The Steal. It deftly see-saws between besieged election workers and officials trying to do their jobs in the face of unrelenting pressure, and those who—truth, law, and logic be damned—applied that pressure. The Steal fascinates, both as a commentary on human nature and a ground-level account of an attempted coup.  

By Mark Bowden, Matthew Teague,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A gripping ground-level narrative…a marvel of reporting: tightly wound… but also panoramic.”—Washington Post

“A lean, fast-paced and important account of the chaotic final weeks.”—New York Times

In The Steal, veteran journalists Mark Bowden and Matthew Teague offer a week-by-week, state-by-state account of the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

In the sixty-four days between November 3 and January 6, President Donald Trump and his allies fought to reverse the outcome of the vote. Focusing on six states—Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—Trump’s supporters claimed widespread voter fraud.

Caught up in this effort were scores of activists, lawyers, judges,…


Book cover of The Election of the Evangelical: Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and the Presidential Contest of 1976

Robert L. Fleegler Author Of Brutal Campaign: How the 1988 Election Set the Stage for Twenty-First-Century American Politics

From my list on explaining today’s polarized US politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a history professor at the University of Mississippi and I've been a political junkie for a long time. I really began following politics during the 1988 presidential election and I vividly remember reading about the race in the newspaper every morning and then watching the evening news coverage each night. Thus, it seemed like the perfect topic for my second book. It was really fascinating to see the similarities and differences between my memories and the sources from the time.

Robert's book list on explaining today’s polarized US politics

Robert L. Fleegler Why did Robert love this book?

Williams’ book is an excellent look at an earlier election with many similarities to 1988. 

As opposed to today’s elections where candidates work to motivate their bases, Democrat Jimmy Carter and Republican Gerald Ford worked to build broad electoral coalitions in 1976. They had to concern themselves with both liberal and conservative constituencies within their own parties. 

In the end, Carter was able to unite the old New Deal coalition for one last hurrah while Ford nearly provided a last gasp for traditional establishment conservatism. By 1988, the two parties were not the same big tents they were in 1976 but still featured much greater ideological diversity than they do today.

By Daniel K. Williams,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From where we stand now, the election of 1976 can look like an alternate reality: southern white evangelicals united with African Americans, northern Catholics, and Jews in support of a Democratic presidential candidate; the Republican candidate, a social moderate whose wife proudly proclaimed her support for Roe v. Wade, was able to win over Great Plains farmers as well as cultural liberals in Oregon, California, Connecticut, and New Jersey - even as he lost Ohio, Texas, and nearly the entire South. The Election of the Evangelical offers an unprecedented, behind-the-headlines analysis of this now almost unimaginable political moment, which proved…


Book cover of Peril

Georg Loefflmann Author Of The Politics of Antagonism: Populist Security Narratives and the Remaking of Political Identity

From my list on understand how populism works.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Lecturer in US Foreign Policy at Queen Mary University of London, and I work on issues of national security and identity, political rhetoric and the role of the everyday in shaping politics, especially media and popular culture. I have written extensively on American politics and US foreign policy over these past years with two published monographs and more than a dozen articles in peer-reviewed academic journals, plus a couple of op-eds and multiple TV and radio appearances. My most recent research project explores the role of populism under the Trump presidency and its political impact in the United States.

Georg's book list on understand how populism works

Georg Loefflmann Why did Georg love this book?

Of the three books written by legendary Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward about the Trump Presidency (Fear, Rage, Peril), I thought Peril was the one that best demonstrated the danger that Trump’s style of populism, his authoritarian tendencies, and his post-truth rhetoric presented to the survival of liberal democracy in the US.

I was fascinated by the insider’s look Woodward offered; he makes you feel like you are in the room in Washington DC, when some of the most momentous developments in American politics in recent times unfold, from the Covid-19 pandemic, to the Black Lives Matter protests, and the January 6th riot at the Capitol—great and scary book.    

By Bob Woodward, Robert Costa,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER
THE NEW YORK TIMES NO 1 BESTSELLER
The storming of the Capitol on 6 January 2021 revealed the transition from President Trump to President Biden to be one of the most dangerous periods in American history, with the result of the election called into question by the sitting president.

But, as internationally bestselling author Bob Woodward and acclaimed reporter Robert Costa reveal for the first time, it was far more than just a domestic political crisis. At the highest level of the US military, secret action was taken to prevent Trump from possibly starting…


Book cover of Vindicating Andrew Jackson: The 1828 Election and the Rise of the Two-Party System

Mark R. Cheathem Author Of Andrew Jackson, Southerner

From my list on explaining Andrew Jackson.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became interested in Andrew Jackson as an undergraduate student who worked at his Nashville plantation, The Hermitage. Nearly thirty years later, I am still fascinated by Old Hickory. We wouldn’t be friends, and I wouldn’t vote for him, but I consider him essential to understanding the United States’ development between his ascension as a national hero during the War of 1812 and his death in 1845. That we still argue about Jackson’s role as a symbol both of patriotism and of genocide speaks to his enduring significance to the national conversation about what the United States has represented and continues to represent.  

Mark's book list on explaining Andrew Jackson

Mark R. Cheathem Why did Mark love this book?

Cole is an underappreciated historian of the Jacksonian era. Unlike Remini’s classic overview of the 1828 presidential election, which is long on narrative and short on critical analysis, Cole provides a more in-depth examination of one of the dirtiest campaigns in U.S. history. It is the go-to book if you want to understand the inner workings of how Jackson was elected.  

By Donald B. Cole,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The presidential election of 1828 is one of the most compelling stories in American history: Andrew Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans and man of the people, bounced back from his controversial loss four years earlier to unseat John Quincy Adams in a campaign notorious for its mudslinging. With his victory, the torch was effectively passed from the founding fathers to the people. This study of Jackson's election separates myth from reality to explain why it had such an impact on present-day American politics. Featuring parades and public participation to a greater degree than had previously been seen,…


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