100 books like In the Name of Identity

By Amin Maalouf, Barbara Bray (translator),

Here are 100 books that In the Name of Identity fans have personally recommended if you like In the Name of Identity. 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 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 Identity Crisis: The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Battle for the Meaning of America

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?

Identity Crisis delivers a compelling account of the 2016 Presidential campaign.

The book explains how the election played out and what factors led to Trump’s seemingly surprising victory.

The authors explore the many plausible reasons for the outcome, eventually concluding that the racially charged language of the campaign, particularly from Trump, provoked voters’ pre-existing divisions on racial issues and prompted them to vote based on identity.

In addition, they address how identity compared to factors such as economic anxiety and dissatisfaction as explanations for Trump’s success. The 2016 election was indicative of a more apparent American crisis that raised issues such as who is American and what the values of the country are.

By John Sides, Michael Tesler, Lynn Vavreck

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A gripping in-depth look at the presidential election that stunned the world

Donald Trump's election victory resulted in one of the most unexpected presidencies in history. Identity Crisis provides the definitive account of the campaign that seemed to break all the political rules-but in fact didn't. Featuring a new afterword by the authors that discusses the 2018 midterms and today's emerging political trends, this compelling book describes how Trump's victory was foreshadowed by changes in the Democratic and Republican coalitions that were driven by people's racial and ethnic identities, and how the Trump campaign exacerbated these divisions by hammering away…


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 The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border

Brad Asher Author Of The Most Hated Man in Kentucky: The Lost Cause and the Legacy of Union General Stephen Burbridge

From my list on the Civil War and the Lost Cause in Kentucky.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian based in Louisville, Kentucky. When I moved here two decades ago, I could tell the vibe was different than other places I had been. Southern—but not like Tennessee. Midwestern—but not like Illinois. So I started reading, and eventually writing, about the state’s history. I have a Ph.D. in United States history so I lean toward academic books. I like authors who dig into the primary sources of history and then come out and make an argument about the evidence that they uncovered. I also lean toward social and cultural history—rather than military history—of the Civil War.

Brad's book list on the Civil War and the Lost Cause in Kentucky

Brad Asher Why did Brad love this book?

To outsiders, Kentucky is clearly part of the South. For those of us who live here—especially those who know a little about the state’s history—it can be a little more nebulous. Phillips’ book helps explain why. Kentucky had a lot in common with its fellow states of the first West like Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois, and those northern states could be a lot more “southern” than commonly understood. Phillips’s book shows how the Civil War remade those regional boundaries, turning the Ohio River into a line of separation between “North” and “South.”

By Christopher Phillips,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Most Americans believe that the Ohio River was a clearly defined and static demographic and political boundary between North and South, an extension of the Mason-Dixon Line. Once settled, the new states west of the Appalachians - the slave states of Kentucky and Missouri and of the free states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kansas - formed a fixed boundary between freedom and slavery, extending the border that inevitably produced the war. None of this is true,
except perhaps the outcome of war. But the centrality of the Civil War and its outcome in the making of these tropes is…


Book cover of Gender as Love: A Theological Account of Human Identity, Embodied Desire, and Our Social Worlds

Amy Peeler Author Of Women and the Gender of God

From my list on understanding the historic and modern roles of men and women in Christianity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was the little girl who always wanted to be at church, who felt compelled to tell people about the goodness of God, but because my religious communities did not allow women to be church leaders, I never imagined this was a path I could pursue. As an undergraduate, I was captured by the academic study of the Bible and could not imagine doing anything else with my life. Now, for the past 20+ years, I have been teaching the Bible in academic and ecclesial settings and have become one of many good scholars who are making a case that the Christian God fully values men and women.

Amy's book list on understanding the historic and modern roles of men and women in Christianity

Amy Peeler Why did Amy love this book?

No other book has helped me understand the categories of sex and gender and given me the language to define them. Even more important, that clarity has given me the confidence to affirm the goodness of different created bodies and allow the beautiful variety in which those bodies serve God’s kingdom.

By Fellipe Do Vale, Beth Jones,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In recent years, the issue of gender has become a topic of great importance and has generated discussion from the kitchen table to the academy. It is an issue that churches and Christian educational institutions are grappling with as well, since gender is a crucial aspect of identity, affecting how we engage socially and understand our embodiment. Upstream from all these conversations lies a more basic question: What is gender?

In Gender as Love, Fellipe do Vale takes a theological approach to understanding gender, employing both biblical exegesis and historical theology and emphasizing the role human love plays in shaping…


Book cover of Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

Sarah Pegrum Author Of Break the Binds of Weight Stigma: Free Yourself from Body Image Struggles Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

From my list on getting perspective about life and be inspired.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a clinical psychologist, which gifts me the experience of being part of people's journey of looking at their lives differently and transforming. Early in my career, throughout my academic studies, I was particularly curious about and drawn to existential perspectives. Sadly, with multiple losses of close loved ones, I was pushed into grappling with existential questions at a more personal level. Yet the pain of loss created shifts in perspective that have helped shape who I am, and the work that I do. I have found that connecting with people, travel, and books are avenues that help me continue to ask questions about life and inspire new directions. 

Sarah's book list on getting perspective about life and be inspired

Sarah Pegrum Why did Sarah love this book?

Braving the Wilderness sparked a shift in my perspective on self and relationships.

What struck me most was the separation of belonging and fitting in. I realized how much energy I had put into fitting in, all the while betraying what was true to me. Not only did Braving the Wilderness get me thinking, but it also provided practical steps on how to do things differently.

Since reading the book I have changed how I interact with others, steering away from connection through shared enemies, and instead moving towards connection through authenticity and vulnerability.

My favorite quote: “We can spend our entire life betraying ourself and choosing fitting in over standing alone. But once we've stood up for ourself and our beliefs, the bar is higher. A wild heart fights fitting in and grieves betrayal.”

By Brene Brown,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Braving the Wilderness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A timely and important new book that challenges everything we think we know about cultivating true belonging in our communities, organizations, and culture, from the #1 bestselling author of Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, and The Gifts of Imperfection.

'True belonging doesn't require us to change who we are. It requires us to be who we are.' Social scientist Brene Brown, PhD, LMSW has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives - experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame and empathy. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an…


Book cover of Rome's Cultural Revolution

Judith Harris Author Of Pompeii Awakened: A Story of Rediscovery

From my list on the joys of life in classical antiquity.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a freelance journalist in Italy, I covered, for Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and others, tough topics: terrorism, the Mafia, the heroin traffic which passed via Sicilian laboratories to the U.S. At a certain point I found this overly negative. After taking a course in Rome on archaeology, by chance I was asked to direct a BBC half-hour documentary on Pompeii. In so doing, I realized that it was  time to focus upon the many positive elements of Italian life and history. From that life-changing documentary came this book on Pompeii, on which I worked for five rewarding years. My next book was on historical Venice.

Judith's book list on the joys of life in classical antiquity

Judith Harris Why did Judith love this book?

Classicist Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, a professor at Sidney Sussex College, was for fourteen years director of the British School in Rome. Among his highly recommended books are Rome's Cultural Revolution and Herculaneum: Past and Future. Prof. Wallace-Hadrill, OBE, who directed the Herculaneum Conservation Project for fifteen years, currently specializes in studying the impact the ancient city has had upon the world.

By Andrew Wallace-Hadrill,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The period of Rome's imperial expansion, the late Republic and early Empire, saw transformations of its society, culture and identity. Drawing equally on archaeological and literary evidence, this book offers an original and provocative interpretation of these changes. Moving from recent debates about colonialism and cultural identity, both in the Roman world and more broadly, and challenging the traditional picture of 'Romanization' and 'Hellenization', it offers instead a model of overlapping cultural identities in dialogue with one another. It attributes a central role to cultural change in the process of redefinition of Roman identity, represented politically by the crisis of…


Book cover of Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging

Susie Orbach Author Of Bodies

From my list on contemporary memoirs by women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Memoirs have crept up on me as favorites. I could list many more. Please let me! As a psychoanalyst, I listen to the pains and struggles of individuals trying to become more at ease with themselves. They engage with their demons and try to make sense of how to manage the way their personal history has created their worldview and how to expand it enough to enter a present. Memoirs are another way of addressing such struggles. They have an elegance and a universality that emerges out of their individual stories. We learn about the other and we learn about ourselves.

Susie's book list on contemporary memoirs by women

Susie Orbach Why did Susie love this book?

Afua’s father is from a Jewish refugee family, her mother is Ghanian. She grows up in an affluent middle-class suburb of London. As she explores her Black and Ghanian identity she looks at what it means to be British; the political heritage, race, and identity from the inside of a loving mix raced family. It is an important commentary on her experience of being in more than one place at the same time.

By Afua Hirsch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Brit(ish) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From Afua Hirsch - co-presenter of Samuel L. Jackson's major BBC TV series Enslaved - the Sunday Times bestseller that reveals the uncomfortable truth about race and identity in Britain today.

You're British.

Your parents are British.

Your partner, your children and most of your friends are British.

So why do people keep asking where you're from?

We are a nation in denial about our imperial past and the racism that plagues our present. Brit(ish) is Afua Hirsch's personal and provocative exploration of how this came to be - and an urgent call for change.

'The book for our divided…


Book cover of Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism

Emily Paulson Author Of Hey, Hun: Sales, Sisterhood, Supremacy, and the Other Lies Behind Multilevel Marketing

From my list on nonfiction about cults, scams, and schemes.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent 7 years in a commercial cult. I was indoctrinated into, rose to the top of, and finally escaped from a multilevel marketing company. When I started my exit, I wondered how I had become so brainwashed, which led me to do research into coercive control. I started to understand that different types of authoritarian control; behavior, information, thought, and emotional, drove me further into the cult and away from my outside friends and family. I read as many cult books and watched as many documentaries as I could find, and became fascinated with uncovering why people find themselves in the same situation I was in.  

Emily's book list on nonfiction about cults, scams, and schemes

Emily Paulson Why did Emily love this book?

Amanda is a language whiz, and does an amazing job showing how cultism is a spectrum; that we are all victims of undue influence.

She talks about the language that communities and organizations use as the key to gaining undue influence over people, and that this influence pervades everything from startups to skincare to workout programs.

It’s well researched and fascinating to read, and will make you question your strong affiliations to the most basic things. 

By Amanda Montell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The author of the widely praised Wordslut analyzes the social science of cult influence: how cultish groups from Jonestown and Scientology to SoulCycle and social media gurus use language as the ultimate form of power.

What makes "cults" so intriguing and frightening? What makes them powerful? The reason why so many of us binge Manson documentaries by the dozen and fall down rabbit holes researching suburban moms gone QAnon is because we're looking for a satisfying explanation for what causes people to join-and more importantly, stay in-extreme groups. We secretly want to know: could it happen to me? Amanda Montell's…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in collective identity, individualism, and Lebanon?

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