100 books like In Camps

By Jana K. Lipman,

Here are 100 books that In Camps fans have personally recommended if you like In Camps. 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 Americans at the Gate: The United States and Refugees during the Cold War

Maria Cristina Garcia Author Of State of Disaster: The Failure of U.S. Migration Policy in an Age of Climate Change

From my list on U.S. refugee policy.

Why am I passionate about this?

My family and I were among those prioritized for admission to the United States during the Cold War—a migration I discussed in my first book, Havana, USA. Not all who seek refuge are as fortunate, however. Less than one percent of refugees worldwide are ever resettled in the top resettlement nations like the United States. My scholarship examines how US refugee policy has evolved in response to humanitarian, domestic, and foreign policy concerns and agendas.

Maria's book list on U.S. refugee policy

Maria Cristina Garcia Why did Maria love this book?

The United States was conceived as a place of refuge, and the nation has accommodated many different types of refugees since its founding. Despite these ideological origins, a distinct and permanent track for refugee admissions within the immigration bureaucracy was not institutionalized until the Cold War. 

Bon Tempo examines the reasons why this distinct track emerged during the late 1940s, how the track evolved over the next forty years, and how the track was used to accommodate millions of people fleeing communism during the Cold War. By the end of the Cold War, US refugee policy had become intertwined with Cold War foreign policy, and the term “refugee” had become synonymous with anti-communism.

By Carl J. Bon Tempo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Unlike the 1930s, when the United States tragically failed to open its doors to Europeans fleeing Nazism, the country admitted over three million refugees during the Cold War. This dramatic reversal gave rise to intense political and cultural battles, pitting refugee advocates against determined opponents who at times successfully slowed admissions. The first comprehensive historical exploration of American refugee affairs from the midcentury to the present, Americans at the Gate explores the reasons behind the remarkable changes to American refugee policy, laws, and programs. Carl Bon Tempo looks at the Hungarian, Cuban, and Indochinese refugee crises, and he examines major…


Book cover of Body Counts: The Vietnam War and Militarized Refugees

Maria Cristina Garcia Author Of State of Disaster: The Failure of U.S. Migration Policy in an Age of Climate Change

From my list on U.S. refugee policy.

Why am I passionate about this?

My family and I were among those prioritized for admission to the United States during the Cold War—a migration I discussed in my first book, Havana, USA. Not all who seek refuge are as fortunate, however. Less than one percent of refugees worldwide are ever resettled in the top resettlement nations like the United States. My scholarship examines how US refugee policy has evolved in response to humanitarian, domestic, and foreign policy concerns and agendas.

Maria's book list on U.S. refugee policy

Maria Cristina Garcia Why did Maria love this book?

Espiritu’s book is a foundational text in critical refugee studies, an interdisciplinary field of academic inquiry that underscores the agency and resilience of refugees rather than their status as objects of rescue.

Histories of refugee policy often downplay the role resettlement nations have played in the displacement of the populations they resettle. Espiritu reminds us that US militarism in southeast Asia contributed to the forced migration of hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom were then forced to seek refuge in the United States and its territories. Their “rescue” cannot ever legitimize or justify the militarism that produced their displacement.

Espiritu’s examination of Vietnamese displacement is especially important for its discussion of the politics of memory and the commemoration of the Vietnam War.

By Yen Le Espiritu,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Body Counts: The Vietnam War and Militarized Refuge(es) examines how the Vietnam War has continued to serve as a stage for the shoring up of American imperialist adventure and for the (re)production of American and Vietnamese American identities. Focusing on the politics of war memory and commemoration, this book retheorizes the connections among history, memory, and power and refashions the fields of American studies, Asian American studies, and refugee studies not around the narratives of American exceptionalism, immigration, and transnationalism but around the crucial issues of war, race, and violence - and the history and memories that are forged in…


Book cover of Suffer the Little Children: Child Migration and the Geopolitics of Compassion in the United States

Maria Cristina Garcia Author Of State of Disaster: The Failure of U.S. Migration Policy in an Age of Climate Change

From my list on U.S. refugee policy.

Why am I passionate about this?

My family and I were among those prioritized for admission to the United States during the Cold War—a migration I discussed in my first book, Havana, USA. Not all who seek refuge are as fortunate, however. Less than one percent of refugees worldwide are ever resettled in the top resettlement nations like the United States. My scholarship examines how US refugee policy has evolved in response to humanitarian, domestic, and foreign policy concerns and agendas.

Maria's book list on U.S. refugee policy

Maria Cristina Garcia Why did Maria love this book?

The recent arrival of unaccompanied minors at US ports of entry is not a new phenomenon. In this book, Anita Casavantes Bradford examines the history of child migration to the United States since World War II.

Readers learn about the foreign policy, domestic, and humanitarian concerns that shaped U.S. policies towards unaccompanied minors; the governmental and nongovernmental actors who advocated on children’s behalf; and the emerging notions of children’s rights in U.S. society that contributed to the often-heated debates on immigration policy. She provides a much-needed historical context for understanding the challenges child migration poses today.

By Anita Casavantes Bradford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this affecting and innovative global history-starting with the European children who fled the perils of World War II and ending with the Central American children who arrive every day at the U.S. southern border-Anita Casavantes Bradford traces the evolution of American policy toward unaccompanied children. At first a series of ad hoc Cold War-era initiatives, such policy grew into a more broadly conceived set of programs that claim universal humanitarian goals. But the cold reality is that decisions about which endangered minors are allowed entry to the United States have always been and continue to be driven primarily by…


Book cover of Elusive Refuge: Chinese Migrants in the Cold War

Maria Cristina Garcia Author Of State of Disaster: The Failure of U.S. Migration Policy in an Age of Climate Change

From my list on U.S. refugee policy.

Why am I passionate about this?

My family and I were among those prioritized for admission to the United States during the Cold War—a migration I discussed in my first book, Havana, USA. Not all who seek refuge are as fortunate, however. Less than one percent of refugees worldwide are ever resettled in the top resettlement nations like the United States. My scholarship examines how US refugee policy has evolved in response to humanitarian, domestic, and foreign policy concerns and agendas.

Maria's book list on U.S. refugee policy

Maria Cristina Garcia Why did Maria love this book?

Laura Madokoro offers a fascinating discussion of Chinese refugees during the Cold War as they sought protection in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. These historically white settler societies had long restricted or barred Chinese migration for racist reasons, so the accommodation of Chinese refugees fleeing war and persecution was never guaranteed. Indeed, even their refugee status was questioned.

The book examines the governmental, humanitarian, and faith-based actors who shaped national responses to this migration and, ultimately, determined the fates of millions of displaced people.

By Laura Madokoro,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The 1949 Chinese Communist Revolution is a subject of inexhaustible historical interest, but the plight of millions of Chinese who fled China during this tumultuous period has been largely forgotten. Elusive Refuge recovers the history of China's twentieth-century refugees. Focusing on humanitarian efforts to find new homes for Chinese displaced by civil strife, Laura Madokoro points out a constellation of factors-entrenched bigotry in countries originally settled by white Europeans, the spread of human rights ideals, and the geopolitical pressures of the Cold War-which coalesced to shape domestic and international refugee policies that still hold sway today.

Although the United States,…


Book cover of Refugees of the Revolution: Experiences of Palestinian Exile

Anne Irfan Author Of Refuge and Resistance: Palestinians and the International Refugee System

From my list on Palestinian refugees.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian at University College London, where I examine Palestinian refugee history in both my writing and my teaching. I first visited a Palestinian refugee camp 15 years ago, and I’ve spent much of my life since then researching the subject’s history and politics. As I see it, this topic is really the key to understanding the political dynamics of Israel-Palestine today. While a huge amount has been written on Israel-Palestine, I have always found that the most striking and informative works focus on refugees’ own experiences – and that’s the common thread running through the books I’ve chosen here.

Anne's book list on Palestinian refugees

Anne Irfan Why did Anne love this book?

Refugees of the Revolution is an ethnographic study of Shatila refugee camp, which is notorious as the site of a 1982 massacre and has become central to Palestinian nationalist narratives.

In the early 21st century, Allan spent time living in Shatila, originally wanting to research the nationalist discourse there. Instead, she came away with a much more complex study of the refugees’ complex struggles, in both the political and the quotidian sense. In taking an unconventional approach, Allan has something in common with Sayigh, even though they were writing 40 years apart.

For these reasons Refugees of the Revolution is particularly interested to read as a follow-up to Sayigh’s The Palestinians, which is my first pick above. 

By Diana Allan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Some sixty-five years after 750,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homeland, the popular conception of Palestinian refugees still emphasizes their fierce commitment to exercising their "right of return." Exile has come to seem a kind of historical amber, preserving refugees in a way of life that ended abruptly with "the catastrophe" of 1948 and their camps-inhabited now for four generations-as mere zones of waiting. While reducing refugees to symbols of steadfast single-mindedness has been politically expedient to both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict it comes at a tremendous cost for refugees themselves, overlooking their individual memories and aspirations…


Book cover of Unsettled: Refugee Camps and the Making of Multicultural Britain

Wendy Webster Author Of Mixing It: Diversity in World War Two Britain

From my list on migrants and refugees in twentieth-century Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian and writer and worked in universities all my life. I love writing and everything about it—pencils, pens, notebooks, keyboards, Word—not to mention words. I started writing the histories of migrants and refugees in twentieth-century Britain (and their entanglement with the history of the British Empire) in the 1980s and then kept going. When I studied history at university, migrants and refugees were never mentioned. They still weren’t on historians’ radar much when I started writing about them. Here I’ve picked stories that are not widely known and histories that show how paying attention to migrants and refugees changes ideas about what British history is and who made it. 

Wendy's book list on migrants and refugees in twentieth-century Britain

Wendy Webster Why did Wendy love this book?

The history of refugees in twentieth-century Britain is hardly known. A map at the beginning of Unsettled reveals how many places in Britain feature in this history, all given the title ‘refugee camp’. Accommodation was in tents or in facilities that were repurposed including workhouses, holiday camps, wartime barracks, internment camps, air bases, and prisoner-of-war camps. Unsettled tells the story of life in these camps and is also about the impact of refugees and camps on local communities and the contexts in which refugees and local populations encountered each other. A striking finding is that homeless Britons sometimes lived in the camps alongside refugees. Unsettled is an unsettling read—it challenges the widespread forgettings of refugee camps in Britain and records a time before the state had the power to detain asylum seekers and deprive them of the right to work. 

By Jordanna Bailkin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Today, no one really thinks of Britain as a land of camps. Camps seem to happen 'elsewhere', from Greece, to Palestine, to the global South. Yet over the course of the twentieth century, dozens of British refugee camps housed hundreds of thousands of Belgians, Jews, Basques, Poles, Hungarians, Anglo-Egyptians, Ugandan Asians, and Vietnamese. Refugee camps in Britain were never only for refugees. Refugees shared a space with Britons who had been displaced by war and
poverty, as well as thousands of civil servants and a fractious mix of volunteers. Unsettled: Refugee Camps and the Making of Multicultural Britain explores how…


Book cover of Silence Is My Mother Tongue

Helen Benedict Author Of The Good Deed

From my list on honest novels about being a refugee.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a novelist and journalist who has been writing about war and refugees for nearly two decades. In 2018, I went to the Greek island of Samos, which held one of the most inhumane refugee camps in Europe, to talk to people there about their lives and hopes. Out of this, I wrote several articles and later two books, including The Good Deed. My hope is to counteract the demonization of refugees, so rife in the world today, by bringing out all that we humans have in common, such as our need for shelter, food, family, safety, and love. 

Helen's book list on honest novels about being a refugee

Helen Benedict Why did Helen love this book?

This is a poetic, lilting, and truly original novel by an Eritrean-Ethiopian author who based the story on his own childhood in a Sudanese refugee camp.

The main characters are a young sister and brother, both bold, sexually fluid, and eager to break away from the stifling and often defeated culture of a refugee camp around them, which makes the story just as much about desire and love as it is about displacement.

I've never read anything quite like it before. It's surprising at every turn, and the writing is just stunning.

By Sulaiman Addonia,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Silence Is My Mother Tongue as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A sensuous, textured novel of life in a refugee camp, long-listed for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction

On a hill overlooking a refugee camp in Sudan, a young man strings up bedsheets that, in an act of imaginative resilience, will serve as a screen in his silent cinema. From the cinema he can see all the comings and goings in the camp, especially those of two new arrivals: a girl named Saba, and her mute brother, Hagos.

For these siblings, adapting to life in the camp is not easy. Saba mourns the future she lost when she was forced…


Book cover of My Beautiful Birds

Anne Laurel Carter Author Of What the Kite Saw

From my list on picture books on war for young and old from playful to serious.

Why am I passionate about this?

After high school, I traveled, exploring cultures beyond North America. I worked on kibbutzim in Israel for nearly two years. During the Yom Kippur War, exploding bombs drove us into underground shelters until the ceasefire. That experience made me consider the impact of war in new ways. Decades later, I wrote about the issue of "conflict" in my country: the Acadian deportation and World War Two. As a school librarian meeting Palestinian families in 2002, I decided to research and visit families in the West Bank through Christian Peacemaker Teams for my novel The Shepherd’s Granddaughter. A story children told me there inspired my picture book What the Kite Saw.

Anne's book list on picture books on war for young and old from playful to serious

Anne Laurel Carter Why did Anne love this book?

The Syrian refugee crisis is the largest in the world, with over 12 million displaced people. As an elementary school librarian in a diverse city, I would have loved to read this book to every class. I appreciated that the story wasn’t violent yet managed to show what the boy and his family had to escape. I think any aged child from any background could care about this Syrian boy as I did.

Told in first person, the boy misses and worries about the pigeons he raised as his family flees their town (bombed in the distance). I was struck by the illustrator’s palette choice—realistic but respectful of a child’s sensibilities. Dark smoke and flames engulf the town, but the brightly-coloured family survives.

In the refugee camp, the boy’s father plants a life-sustaining, vibrant green garden. In time, the boy feeds and cares for the birds again. When a traumatized…

By Suzanne Del Rizzo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Beautiful Birds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Notable Children's Books selection. The moving story of one boy's refugee experience in the Syrian Civil War and the birds who help him on the road to emotional healing

Behind Sami, the Syrian skyline is full of smoke. The boy follows his family and all his neighbours in a long line, as they trudge through the sands and hills to escape the bombs that have destroyed their homes. But all Sami can think of is his pet pigeons-will they escape too? When they reach a refugee camp and are safe at last, everyone settles into the…


Book cover of When Stars Are Scattered

Alison Prowle Author Of Strength-based Practice with Children and Families

From my list on finding hope following childhood adversity.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in the South Wales Valleys during the 1970s and 80s, I witnessed firsthand the effects of multiple adversities on the lives of those around me. Life was difficult for many families in the area as they battled with poverty, ill health, and lack of opportunity. I watched many amazing, creative, and talented young people fail to realise their potential. This sparked a passion and a career for supportive intervention with families and young children. It is my aim to help equip the workforce to better understand and respond to childhood adversity, be trauma aware, advocate for children’s rights, and make a positive difference in the lives of children and young people.

Alison's book list on finding hope following childhood adversity

Alison Prowle Why did Alison love this book?

It is difficult to imagine a more adverse childhood experience than growing up in a refugee camp.

In 2016 and 2017, I was privileged to spend some time working with children and families in a refugee camp in North France. The living conditions were very difficult, with regular food shortages, ill health, uncertainty, and ever-present danger. However,  I was continually amazed by the resilience, creativity, generosity, and humour shown by the children, even in the face of such difficulties.

When Stars Are Scattered is a beautiful children’s book that tells the true story of Omar and his brother Hassan as they grow up in a Kenyan refugee camp. Filled with beautiful illustrations and thoughtful insights into daily life in the camp, this book exemplifies hope in the face of adversity. 

By Omar Mohamed, Victoria Jamieson,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked When Stars Are Scattered 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?

A National Book Award Finalist, this remarkable graphic novel is about growing up in a refugee camp, as told by a former Somali refugee to the Newbery Honor-winning creator of Roller Girl.

Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would…


Book cover of The Eaves of Heaven: A Life in Three Wars

Christopher Goscha Author Of Vietnam: A New History

From my list on memoirs on the Vietnam Wars from a Vietnamese perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

Who hasn’t seen the classic American movies on the Vietnam War–Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter, or Platoon? They are fine films, but have you ever asked yourself where the Vietnamese are? Save for a few stereotyped cameo appearances, they are remarkably absent. I teach the history of the wars in Vietnam at the Université du Québec à Montréal. My students and I explore the French and the American sides in the wars for Vietnam, but one of the things that I’ve tried to do with them is weave the Vietnamese and their voices into our course; this list provides a window into those Vietnamese voices. 

Christopher's book list on memoirs on the Vietnam Wars from a Vietnamese perspective

Christopher Goscha Why did Christopher love this book?

In this book, Andrew Pham tells the story of his father’s life through three wars for Vietnamthe brutal Japanese occupation of the country during the Second World War, the French colonial assault on Ho Chi Minh’s Vietnam, and the failed American intervention in South Vietnam to protect it from communism.

We see each war through the eyes of Pham Van Thong, from his experiences growing up as a child in contested areas south of Hanoi to his family’s exodus to the south after the division of Vietnam into two halves in 1954.

It’s a tragic story of a wealthy, non-communist family in central Vietnam uprooted by the vagaries of war, but it’s also the record of extraordinary human resiliency. This powerful memoir will not leave you indifferent.

By Andrew X. Pham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of the Ten Best Books of the Year, Washington Post Book World
One of the Los Angeles Times’ Favorite Books of the Year
One of the Top Ten National Books of 2008, Portland Oregonian
A 2009 Honor Book of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association

“Few books have combined the historical scope and the literary skill to give the ­foreign reader a sense of events from a Vietnamese perspective. . . . Now we can add Andrew Pham’s Eaves of Heaven to this list of indispensable books.”
—New York Times Book Review

“Searing . . . vivid–and harrowing . .…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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