100 books like In the Camps

By Darren Byler,

Here are 100 books that In the Camps fans have personally recommended if you like In the Camps. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang

Grayson Slover Author Of Middle Country: An American Student Visits China's Uyghur Prison-State

From my list on the Uyghur Genocide.

Why am I passionate about this?

I traveled to Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the summer of 2019, where I saw for myself many of the tools of surveillance and control that the Chinese Communist Party has used to turn the region into an open-air prison. Since returning to the United States, I have tried to draw attention to the Uyghur genocide through my published articles and through my book, Middle Country, where I tell the story of the Uyghur genocide by weaving facts, history, and analysis into a narrative account of the week I spent in Xinjiang. I hope that my book can make this profoundly complex and multifaceted issue more accessible to the average person.

Grayson's book list on the Uyghur Genocide

Grayson Slover Why did Grayson love this book?

Eurasian Crossroads is an essential resource for anyone seeking to learn about the complex historical context of the genocide taking place in Xinjiang today. James Millward, who is widely regarded as the leading historian of Chinese Central Asia, provides an accessible-yet-thorough examination of the various peoples and empires that have called the region home. 

By James Millward,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Since antiquity, the vast Central Eurasian region of Xinjiang, or Eastern Turkestan, has stood at the crossroads of China, India, the Middle East, and Europe, playing a pivotal role in the social, cultural, and political histories of Asia and the world. Today, it comprises one-sixth of the territory of the People's Republic of China and borders India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Mongolia.

Eurasian Crossroads is an engaging and comprehensive account of Xinjiang's history and people from earliest times to the present day. Drawing on primary sources in several Asian and European languages, James A. Millward surveys Xinjiang's…


Book cover of Down a Narrow Road: Identity and Masculinity in a Uyghur Community in Xinjiang China

Nick Holdstock Author Of China's Forgotten People: Xinjiang, Terror and the Chinese State

From my list on the concentration camps in Xinjiang.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was living in Xinjiang on 9/11 and got to witness the swiftness with which the state imposed strict regulations that harmed the Uyghur community. For me, this was an indelible lesson in the abuses of power and authority on people who just wanted to work, raise families, and enjoy their lives. Since then I’ve tried to raise awareness, first in my memoir, The Tree That Bleeds, then in my journalism. I hope my work helps people think about how to respond as both politically engaged citizens and consumers to one of the worst human rights violations of the 21st century.

Nick's book list on the concentration camps in Xinjiang

Nick Holdstock Why did Nick love this book?

This book is an ethnographic account of Uyghur suburban life in the mid-1990s, which might sound very far removed from the political and humanitarian crisis going on in the region today. Yet the portrait it offers of Uyghur family life, market trading, informal socializing, and forms of religious devotion has arguably never been more important, given that the Chinese state has been targeting precisely these benign, everyday practices and beliefs in recent years by separating children from their parents, sending officials to live with Uyghur families, and destroying traditional Uyghur homes. Reading it is an immersive, often funny, experience, which should make people understand the consequences of the state-sponsored violence these communities have been subjected to.

By Jay Dautcher,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Down a Narrow Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Uyghurs, a Turkic group, account for half the population of the Xinjiang region in northwestern China. This ethnography presents a thick description of life in the Uyghur suburbs of Yining, a city near the border with Kazakhstan, and situates that account in a broader examination of Uyghur culture. Its four sections explore topics ranging from family life to market trading, from informal socializing to forms of religious devotion. Uniting these topics are an emphasis on the role folklore and personal narrative play in helping individuals situate themselves in and create communities and social groups, and a focus on how…


Book cover of Oil and Water: Being Han in Xinjiang

Nick Holdstock Author Of China's Forgotten People: Xinjiang, Terror and the Chinese State

From my list on the concentration camps in Xinjiang.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was living in Xinjiang on 9/11 and got to witness the swiftness with which the state imposed strict regulations that harmed the Uyghur community. For me, this was an indelible lesson in the abuses of power and authority on people who just wanted to work, raise families, and enjoy their lives. Since then I’ve tried to raise awareness, first in my memoir, The Tree That Bleeds, then in my journalism. I hope my work helps people think about how to respond as both politically engaged citizens and consumers to one of the worst human rights violations of the 21st century.

Nick's book list on the concentration camps in Xinjiang

Nick Holdstock Why did Nick love this book?

Since 1949 the demographics of Xinjiang have been altered radically by waves of migration of Han Chinese, initially with the paramilitary bingtuan organisation, but in recent decades by economic migrants. Cliff’s book is an important reminder of how their presence functions in a neo-colonial fashion, and the influence that their needs and concerns have on official policy in the region – which to put it simplistically, is to keep them happy. Though he emphasises that Han in Xinjiang are far from a homogenous social group – something that often gets forgotten or obscured – the common viewpoints and concerns that emerge from his interviews are a sobering reminder of the difficulties in finding common ground between Han and Uyghur in the region.

By Tom Cliff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For decades, China's Xinjiang region has been the site of clashes between long-residing Uyghur and Han settlers. Up until now, much scholarly attention has been paid to state actions and the Uyghur's efforts to resist cultural and economic repression. This has left the other half of the puzzle-the motivations and ambitions of Han settlers themselves-sorely understudied.

With Oil and Water, anthropologist Tom Cliff offers the first ethnographic study of Han in Xinjiang, using in-depth vignettes, oral histories, and more than fifty original photographs to explore how and why they became the people they are now. By shifting focus to the…


Book cover of The War on the Uyghurs: China's Internal Campaign Against a Muslim Minority

Nick Holdstock Author Of China's Forgotten People: Xinjiang, Terror and the Chinese State

From my list on the concentration camps in Xinjiang.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was living in Xinjiang on 9/11 and got to witness the swiftness with which the state imposed strict regulations that harmed the Uyghur community. For me, this was an indelible lesson in the abuses of power and authority on people who just wanted to work, raise families, and enjoy their lives. Since then I’ve tried to raise awareness, first in my memoir, The Tree That Bleeds, then in my journalism. I hope my work helps people think about how to respond as both politically engaged citizens and consumers to one of the worst human rights violations of the 21st century.

Nick's book list on the concentration camps in Xinjiang

Nick Holdstock Why did Nick love this book?

Roberts is one of the foremost authorities on the ‘terrorism’ issue in Xinjiang. The strong argument of this book is that the Chinese government has opportunistically used the US-led War on Terror as an excuse to repress all forms of dissent in the region by grossly exaggerating the threats they faced, which eventually became a self-fulfilling prophecy. In his view, the concentration camps, destruction of mosques, attacks on Uyghur intellectuals, and attempts to marginalise the Uyghur language amount to a ‘cultural genocide’. The book provides a concise and forceful recapitulation of Chinese policy in the region over the last two decades.

By Sean R. Roberts,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How China is using the US-led war on terror to erase the cultural identity of its Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region

Within weeks of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, the Chinese government warned that it faced a serious terrorist threat from its Uyghur ethnic minority, who are largely Muslim. In this explosive book, Sean Roberts reveals how China has been using the US-led global war on terror as international cover for its increasingly brutal suppression of the Uyghurs, and how the war's targeting of an undefined enemy has emboldened states around the globe to persecute…


Book cover of Sakhalin Island

Sara Wheeler Author Of Mud and Stars: Travels in Russia with Pushkin, Tolstoy, and Other Geniuses of the Golden Age

From my list on to read when visiting Russia.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sara Wheeler is a prize-winning non-fiction author. Sara is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Contributing Editor of The Literary Review, a Trustee of The London Library, and former chair of the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year award. She contributes to a wide range of publications in the UK and US and broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio. Her five-part series, ‘To Strive, To Seek’,  went out on Radio 4, and her book Cherry was made into a television film. 

Sara's book list on to read when visiting Russia

Sara Wheeler Why did Sara love this book?

The writer’s account of a journey across Siberia and into the Russian Far East to investigate prison conditions on an island in the Sea of Okhotsk north of Japan. A book of investigative journalism and a finely worked travel narrative conjuring spongy mud, ‘smoky, dreamy mountains’ and ‘lithe’ rivers while the author dreams of turbot, asparagus and kasha.

By Anton Chekhov,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1890, the thirty-year-old Chekhov, already knowing that he was ill with tuberculosis, undertook an arduous eleven-week journey from Moscow across Siberia to the penal colony on the island of Sakhalin. Now collected here in one volume are the fully annotated translations of his impressions of his trip through Siberia and the account of his three-month sojourn on Sakhalin Island, together with his notes and extracts from his letters to relatives and associates. Highly valuable both as a detailed depiction of the Tsarist system of penal servitude and as an insight into Chekhov's motivations and objectives for visiting the colony…


Book cover of For the Term of His Natural Life

Paul Wood Author Of How to Escape from Prison

From my list on escaping prison and helping you change your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was imprisoned for murder as an 18-year-old. I was a high school dropout who was addicted to drugs and didn’t have any hope for the future. Each of the books recommended contributed to my own journey of transformation. I read them all while I was in prison. Some of them while I was in maximum security or solitary confinement. Each recommendation helped me escape that life and its horrors. 

Paul's book list on escaping prison and helping you change your life

Paul Wood Why did Paul love this book?

This is a novel about the savagery of convict life in the Australian penal colony.

It made me realize that the idea of escape is often better than the reality. That sometimes you are better off with the misery you have than the consequences of trying to escape it. This was particularly relevant to me as I was planning a prison escape around this time. Had I followed through with that escape my life would not be what it is today.

By Marcus Clarke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked For the Term of His Natural Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For the Term of His Natural Life (1874) is a novel by Marcus Clarke. Inspired by a journey taken by the author to the penal colony of Port Arthur, Tasmania, the novel was originally serialized in The Australian Journal between 1870 and 1872. For its depictions of the brutality and inhumanity of Australia's penal colonies, the novel has been recognized as a powerful realist novel and one of the first works of Tasmanian Gothic literature. In the year 1827, a young British aristocrat is implicated in the murder and robbery of Lord Bellasis, his birth father. Sent to Van Diemen's…


Book cover of The Soldier's Curse

David Cairns Author Of The Case of the Wandering Corpse

From my list on 19th century murder, mystery and mayhem.

Why am I passionate about this?

History has always been a captivating adventure for me, a stage to rekindle the echoes of times long past. My journey began amid musty archives in Hobart, where I stumbled upon a handwritten prison record about my wife's feisty ancestor, transported in the 1830s. There and then, I resolved to breathe life into the fading embers of her existence, and after extensive research, I wrote my first novel, a tapestry of historical events intertwined with the resurrection of long-forgotten souls. Since then, I've applied lessons from masters like Conan Doyle to create exciting, atmospheric stories that turn us all into time travelers on an exhilarating voyage.

David's book list on 19th century murder, mystery and mayhem

David Cairns Why did David love this book?

This is a gripping, suspenseful, atmospheric mystery set in colonial Australia with an enigmatic pairing of a convict and a housekeeper who investigate a series of murders in the penal colony of New South Wales.

It has an intricate plot that keeps the reader guessing and is built upon a historical foundation that adds authenticity to the tale. The brutality of the transportation system contrasts with the humanity and tenacity of those who rail against it. 

As my stories all have a colonial Australian focus, with a commitment to accurate history, this book rings a bell for me. There is much about the background, the atmosphere, the setting, and the language that resonates with me, and it is a cracking good read to boot. 

By Meg Keneally, Tom Keneally,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Soldier's Curse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fast-paced, witty and gripping historical crime opener to The Monsarrat Series from Tom Keneally and his eldest daughter Meg

In an Australian penal colony at the edge of the known world, gentleman convict Hugh Monsarrat has risen from convicted forger to trusted clerk of the settlement's commandant.

Not long after the commandant heads off in search of a rumoured river, his beautiful wife Honora falls ill with a sickness the doctor is unable to identify. And when Honora dies, it becomes clear she has been slowly poisoned.

Monsarrat and perceptive housekeeper Mrs Mulrooney feel suspicious as regards the motives…


Book cover of The Fatal Shore

Ken Banks Author Of The Pursuit of Purpose: Part Memoir, Part Study - A Book About Finding Your Way in the World

From my list on living unusual, adventurous or alternative lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

From a young age, I was not only curious but obsessively driven to find some sort of purpose in life. I was also incredibly sensitive, and always felt I was put on the earth for a reason. My search took me across the world, taking many turns as I grabbed at every opportunity. Thanks to a motorbike accident in Nigeria, scattered pieces of my past suddenly began to fall into place. Finding our own purpose is exploration in its purest form, and I’ve long been fascinated by other curious minds – those that either struggle to find it, and those that find it and live it, or those that turn their back on convention. 

Ken's book list on living unusual, adventurous or alternative lives

Ken Banks Why did Ken love this book?

I thought I’d finish my list with something a little different. Everyone else in the books I’ve chosen made some kind of personal decision to take their life in a different direction, but the people in this last book didn’t. The Fatal Shore is about the earliest convicts, banished to Australia to start new lives in unfamiliar, hostile territory. The first chapter alone is fascinating, documenting peoples from a ‘civilised’ part of the world struggling for survival while aboriginal ‘savages’ thrived. It’s more than just a story of survival in a new world, but also a fantastic example of where we went wrong, turning our backs and our noses up to indigenous knowledge in the assumption that we know best. This book is a brilliant example of where Western civilisation went wrong, and how dangerous assumptions can be. 

By Robert Hughes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An award-winning epic on the birth of Australia

In 1787, the twenty-eighth year of the reign of King George III, the British Government sent a fleet to colonise Australia.

Documenting the brutal transportation of men, women and children out of Georgian Britain into a horrific penal system which was to be the precursor to the Gulag and was the origin of Australia, The Fatal Shore is the definitive, masterfully written narrative that has given its true history to Australia.

'A unique phantasmagoria of crime and punishment, which combines the shadowy terrors of Goya with the tumescent life of Dickens' Times


Book cover of The Commonwealth of Thieves

Peter Grose Author Of Ten Rogues: The unlikely story of convict schemers, a stolen brig and an escape from Van Diemen's Land to Chile

From my list on the history of Australia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve now written four books, of which three are Australian history. My first two books were World War 2 military history. My publishers persist in calling each book a best-seller, and who am I to disagree? I live in France and my third book A Good Place To Hide is about a French community that rescued Jews from the Nazis. My fourth book Ten Rogues took me back to Australian history, telling the story of a bunch of ten convicts who in 1834 nicked a brig and sailed it from Tasmania to Chile without a map or a compass.

Peter's book list on the history of Australia

Peter Grose Why did Peter love this book?

Tom is an old mate, and a magician with words. He is also a prodigious researcher. Books: yes. The bibliography in The Commonwealth of Thieves runs to seven tight-packed pages, divided between primary sources (three pages) and secondary sources. The bibliography is underpinned by no fewer than 27 pages of notes. The Australian history I was taught at school was hogwash. Tom has set it straight in this brilliantly researched and off-the-wall history of our early days.

By Thomas Keneally,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this spirited history of the remarkable first four years of the convict settlement of Australia, Thomas Keneally offers us a human view of a fascinating piece of history. Combining the authority of a renowned historian with a brilliant narrative flair, Keneally gives us an inside view of this unprecedented experiment from the perspective of the new colony’s governor, Arthur Phillips. Using personal journals and documents, Keneally re-creates the hellish overseas voyage and the challenges Phillips faced upon arrival: unruly convicts, disgruntled officers, bewildered and hostile natives, food shortages, and disease. He also offers captivating portrayals of Aborigines and of…


Book cover of 1788: The Brutal Truth of the First Fleet: The Biggest Single Overseas Migration the World Had Ever Seen

Victoria Twead Author Of Dear Fran, Love Dulcie: Life and Death in the Hills and Hollows of Bygone Australia

From my list on Australia (to read before you visit).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Victoria Twead, the New York Times bestselling author of Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools and the Old Fools series. However, after living in a remote mountain village in Spain for eleven years, and owning probably the most dangerous cockerel in Europe, we migrated to Australia to watch our new granddaughters thrive amongst kangaroos and koalas. We love Australia, it is our home now. Another joyous life-chapter has begun.

Victoria's book list on Australia (to read before you visit)

Victoria Twead Why did Victoria love this book?

David Hill’s research is incredible and results in a mind-blowing account of how not only convicts, but their guards and sailors, would colonise Australia, enduring the most brutal hardships. The transportation is described, and it is a miracle that anyone ever reached the destination in the leaky, unseaworthy ships. The enterprise was poorly-planned and underfunded, resulting in appalling suffering.

With such a shocking start, it is a wonder that Australia ever developed into the wonderful, successful country that it is now.

By David Hill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 1788 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set against the backdrop of Georgian England with its peculiar mix of elegance, prosperity, progress, and squalor, the story of the First Fleet is one of courage, shortsightedness, tragedy, but above all, extraordinary resilience. Separated from loved ones and traveling in cramped conditions for the months-long journey to Botany Bay, the first European Australians suffered the most unbearable hardship upon arrival on Australian land, where a near famine dictated that rations be cut to the bone. Questions such as Why was the settlement of New South Wales proposed in the first place? and Who were the main players in a…


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