10 books like Irresistible Empire

By Victoria de Grazia,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Irresistible Empire. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Albion's Seed

By David Hackett Fischer,

Book cover of Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America

This masterpiece is the equivalent of an MRI scan of America’s cultural history. Its 900 pages are packed with scintillating insight into patterns of behaviour and belief underpinning the lives of ordinary Americans. Fischer uncovers ways of thinking and acting that traveled with migrants from the British Isles: Puritans from East Anglia, Cavaliers from the South of England, Quakers from the North Midlands, and English/Scottish Borderers. The author explores and explains American ideas of liberty, time, property, family, ways of working, law and order, and so much more.

Albion's Seed

By David Hackett Fischer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Eighty percent of Americans have no British ancestors. According to David Hackett Fischer, however, their day-to-day lives are profoundly influenced by folkways transplanted from Britain to the New World with the first settlers. Residual, yet persistent, aspects of these 17th Century folkways are indentifiable, Fischer argues, in areas as divers as politics, education, and attitudes towards gender, sexuality, age, and child-raising. Making use of both traditional
and revisionist scholarship, this ground-breaking work documents how each successive wave of early emigration-Puritans to the North-East; Royalist aristocrats to the South; the Friends to the Delaware Valley; Irish and North Britons to the…


The Americans

By Daniel J. Boorstin,

Book cover of The Americans: The Colonial Experience

The joy of this book (and its sister volumes on the “national” and the democratic” experience) comes from the panoramic journey across space and time that the reader is taken on. This work is, above all, a positive, life-enhancing view of the United States with its focus on continuity rather than conflict. There is an idealistic and romantic strain to this vision, as he pictures a young nation sloughing off the rigid carapace of the Old World, with the idea of a calling replaced by an idea of opportunity. Boorstin is an exemplary guide: his canvas is rich and complex, with countless stories brilliantly picked out to illuminate his vision. Examples include: the utopian vision for the State of Georgia known as “The Margravate of Azalia”; the creation of the Minnesota Pioneer as a dynamic editor loaded a press on a steamboat going up the Mississippi to the future state…

The Americans

By Daniel J. Boorstin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This first volume in "The Americans" trilogy defines the unique qualities of the American nation and rediscovers the American character and way of life as it was shaped in the decisive years between the coming of the Pilgrims and the winning of Independence.


Inventing America

By Garry Wills,

Book cover of Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence

I’m torn between recommending this book and Lincoln at Gettysburg by the same author. Wills combines brilliant analysis of language (the meaning and feeling of words and phrases; the syncopation of sentences) with a scholarly understanding of the cultural and intellectual context within which these seminal texts are written. As he unpacks the Declaration, Wills connects the document to Jefferson's own reading and learning. "To understand any text remote from us in time," he writes "we must reassemble a world around that text. The preconceptions of the original audience, its tastes, its range of reference, must be recovered, so far as that is possible. We must forget what we learned, or what occurred, in the interval between our time and the text's." Brilliant stuff.

Inventing America

By Garry Wills,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From acclaimed historian Garry Wills, author of Lincoln at Gettysburg, a celebrated re-appraisal of the meaning and the source of inspiration of The Declaration of Independence, based on a reading of Jefferson's original draft document.

Inventing America upended decades of thinking about The Declaration of Independence when it was first published in 1978 and remains one of the most influential and important works of scholarship about this founding document. Wills challenged the idea that Jefferson took all his ideas from John Locke. Instead, by focussing on Jefferson's original drafts, he showed Jefferson's debt to Scottish Enlightenment philosophers such as Lord…


Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass

By Walt Whitman,

Book cover of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass

This fifth pick isn’t fiction. But like the best fiction, poetry can pierce through to the very essence. Although shaggy poet Whitman was the furthest thing from a soldier imaginable, he was deeply involved in the war effort nonetheless. After the Battle of Fredericksburg, Whitman traveled to Virginia to find his wounded brother. He then chose to remain in Washington, DC, nursing wounded soldiers. Whitman’s war-time experiences gave rise to some of the finest poems in Leaves of Grass such as “The Wound-Dresser,” “Come Up from the Fields Father,” and “A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim.”

Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass

By Walt Whitman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This Library of America edition is the biggest and best edition of Walt Whitman's writings ever published. It includes all of his poetry and what he considered his complete prose. It is also the only collection that includes, in exactly the form in which it appeared in 1855, the first edition of Leaves of Grass. This was the book, a commercial failure, which prompted Emerson’s famous message to Whitman: “I greet you at the beginning of a great career.” These twelve poems, including what were later to be entitled “Song of Myself” and “I Sing the Body Electric,” and a…


"Don't You Know Who I Am?" How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility

By Ramani S. Durvasula,

Book cover of "Don't You Know Who I Am?" How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility

If you feel like the world has become more narcissistic and entitled, then this book is for you. It examines the root of narcissism and how we can and should remove toxic narcissists from our lives. If you have ever witnessed egregious, inappropriate, and downright nasty behavior from others, you will get a deeper understanding of it and how to disengage from it in your own life.

"Don't You Know Who I Am?" How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility

By Ramani S. Durvasula,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked "Don't You Know Who I Am?" How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's time to take our lives back from a world of narcissism, entitlement, and toxic relationships.

"Don't You Know Who I Am?" has become the mantra of the famous and infamous, the entitled and the insecure. It's the tagline of the modern narcissist.

Health and wellness campaigns preach avoidance of unhealthy foods, sedentary lifestyles, tobacco, drugs, and alcohol, but rarely preach avoidance of unhealthy, difficult or toxic people. Yet the health benefits of removing toxic people from your life may have far greater benefits to both physical and psychological health. We need to learn to be better gatekeepers for our…


Waste and Want

By Susan Strasser, Alice Austen (photographer),

Book cover of Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash

How many times have you tossed something in the trash without thinking about it? That throwaway mentality would be unrecognizable to earlier generations of Americans, who reused and repurposed and made do, because they had to. As I went through the process of emptying out my mother’s overstuffed house, I wondered when our things had gotten the better of us. Susan Strasser, a historian who’s also written about housework and consumerism, explains how and why Americans’ attitudes toward trash have shifted so radically since the country’s early days.

Waste and Want

By Susan Strasser, Alice Austen (photographer),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An unprecedented look at that most commonplace act of everyday life-throwing things out-and how it has transformed American society.

Susan Strasser's pathbreaking histories of housework and the rise of the mass market have become classics in the literature of consumer culture. Here she turns to an essential but neglected part of that culture-the trash it produces-and finds in it an unexpected wealth of meaning.

Before the twentieth century, streets and bodies stank, but trash was nearly nonexistent. With goods and money scarce, almost everything was reused. Strasser paints a vivid picture of an America where scavenger pigs roamed the streets,…


Cairo

By Maria Golia,

Book cover of Cairo: City of Sand

The book gives the reader a deep layered understanding of Egypt before the 2011 uprising to look at the state of the nation and into the heart of Cairo, an ancient city but now a metropolis of over 20 million. Written with a novelist's flare this is an intimate portrait of the lives of Cairenes that explores hidden aspects of this mysterious city. The author builds an intriguing story on the religious beliefs, family values, negotiating tactics, driving habits, and attitudes towards foreigners. This is a reflection on a wonderous city, a place of sadness and of hope, which uses the metaphor of Saharan desert sand blowing in to shape the sand castle politics of the Mubarak era that would come crashing down in the 2011 Revolution.

Cairo

By Maria Golia,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cairo is a 1,400-year-old metropolis whose streets are inscribed with sagas, a place where the pressures of life test people's equanimity to the very limit. Virtually surrounded by desert, sixteen million Cairenes cling to the Nile and each other, proximities that colour and shape lives. Packed with incident and anecdote "Cairo: City of Sand" describes the city's given circumstances and people's attitudes of response. Apart from a brisk historical overview, this book focuses on the present moment of one of the world's most illustrious and irreducible cities. Cairo steps inside the interactions between Cairenes, examining the roles of family, tradition…


Consumed

By Aja Barber,

Book cover of Consumed: The Need for Collective Change: Colonialism, Climate Change, and Consumerism

My secret theory (or formerly secret, anyway) is that if books had best friends, my book's BFF would be this book. Aja and I were clearly on the same wavelength when writing our books, and there are many common threads, but Consumed takes a much deeper dive into consumerism broadly and the fashion industry specifically, tying environmental and worker exploitation concerns together seamlessly. You’ll come away with real resolve to consume much less, as well as clarity on how to push producers of goods you buy to do much, much better.

Consumed

By Aja Barber,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

***

'This powerful, speaking-truth-to-power book is an essential read for everybody who wants to stop feeling clueless and helpless about the impacts of cosumerism, and start doing their part to help create a more sustainable world' - Layla Saad

'A critique on what we buy, how it's made and the systems behind it that make an unfair and broken cycle' - New York Times

'The book is a blueprint for anyone who wants to do better' - VOGUE

'SUCH integrity. Aja is no bullsh*t.' - Florence Given

'Consumed takes us through the hideously complex topic of fashion and sustainability, from…


Friday Black

By Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah,

Book cover of Friday Black

Such a rule breaker. A complete disregard for the laws of nature. That can’t happen! I shouldn’t feel so for those characters! And yet, and yet! The characters that people these pages are real and convincing. Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah takes us in and out of realities. His world is dark sibling to our everyday world, but even his most flawed characters resonate with dignity, and through skillful well-crafted revelation, the reader comes to understand why these characters struggle—often against societal forces larger/older/engrained—and even when his characters make bad decisions (lord knows a misbehaving character is what good fiction is about) a glimmer of the potential for human goodness is exposed. This a contemporary voice, fierce and fresh, and worth paying attention to.

Friday Black

By Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The instant New York Times bestseller
'An unbelievable debut' New York Times

Racism, but "managed" through virtual reality

Black Friday, except you die in a bargain-crazed throng

Happiness, but pharmacological

Love, despite everything

A Publisher's Weekly Most Anticipated Book for Fall 2018

Friday Black tackles urgent instances of racism and cultural unrest, and explores the many ways we fight for humanity in an unforgiving world. In the first, unforgettable story of this collection, The Finkelstein Five, Adjei-Brenyah gives us an unstinting reckoning of the brutal prejudice of the US justice system. In Zimmer Land we see a far-too-easy-to-believe imagining of…


How Modernity Forgets

By Paul Connerton,

Book cover of How Modernity Forgets

A concise and lucid sociological treatise that relates forgetting to the transitions and rapid changes of contemporary urban life, which has eroded the ways in which societies traditionally remembered the past.

How Modernity Forgets

By Paul Connerton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Why are we sometimes unable to remember events, places and objects? This concise overview explores the concept of 'forgetting', and how modern society affects our ability to remember things. It takes ideas from Francis Yates classic work, The Art of Memory, which viewed memory as being dependent on stability, and argues that today's world is full of change, making 'forgetting' characteristic of contemporary society. We live our lives at great speed; cities have become so enormous that they are unmemorable; consumerism has become disconnected from the labour process; urban architecture has a short life-span; and social relationships are less clearly…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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