100 books like King Leopold's Ghost

By Adam Hochschild,

Here are 100 books that King Leopold's Ghost fans have personally recommended if you like King Leopold's Ghost. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Africa Bites: Scrapes and escapes in the African Bush

Peter Allison Author Of Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide

From my list on African wildlife and safaris.

Why am I passionate about this?

Peter Allison became a safari guide by accident. Healthy fear is outweighed by overwhelming curiosity, which has led to misadventures on all continents, detailed in the books Whatever You Do, Don’t Run (A New York Times Notable Book of the Year); Don’t Look Behind You; and How To Walk A Puma.

Peter's book list on African wildlife and safaris

Peter Allison Why did Peter love this book?

Yes, Lloyd is a friend of mine but despite the number of campfires we have sat around swapping tales there were many in this book I had never heard. Like all good guides, Lloyd is a natural storyteller, but he is also a great reader and that has a positive effect on this, his first book. His writing shines, the stories move along briskly like a startled warthog, and in no time it is over and you want more.

By Lloyd Camp,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Africa can be scary. And thrilling. Often, that's the same thing!Lloyd Camp takes you on an evocative journey through some of the wildest places in Africa as he re-lives colourful vignettes from his adventurous childhood and long career as a safari guide. This is a charming, funny, thoughtful and often hair-raising series of short stories that illustrate Lloyd's enthusiastic delight in leading his clients into the wilderness areas of Africa. Forthright yet light-hearted, Lloyd's suspenseful narrative emphasises both his love of the African bush and the courage and resilience of the Africans that he encounters in his odysseys. In the…


Book cover of Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer and the African Adventure the Victorian World by Storm

Bonnie J. Fladung Author Of When Eagles Roar: The Amazing Journey of an African Wildlife Adventurer

From my list on obsession with African wildlife and adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author specializing in nature, travel, and adventure writing. I’ve been fortunate to travel to many of the places featured in my books – including Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. I even to travelled to Morocco to study the art of storytelling with the last of the great storytellers. I’ve always been intrigued by stories that tell a personal journey about overcoming obstacles, especially if the story takes the reader to exotic places. So no wonder I jumped at the opportunity to co-author a book with a game ranger and conservationist in Africa that combines historical perspectives, larger-than-life characters, and dangerous experiences with wildlife. 

Bonnie's book list on obsession with African wildlife and adventure

Bonnie J. Fladung Why did Bonnie love this book?

I love nonfiction adventure books that immerse you in the details of an adventure while providing enough background information to understand the historical, cultural, and scientific perspectives of an era. In the mid-19th century, Paul du Chaillu spent years in Western Africa tracking down the njena, the mythical beast. This book makes for interesting reading as the author weaves the true-life adventure story of the discovery of the gorilla with Darwin’s evolutionary debate, and the challenges a Victorian-era scientist faced to prove his credibility. 

By Monte Reel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1856, Paul Du Chaillu ventured into the African jungle in search of a mythic beast, the gorilla. After wild encounters with vicious cannibals, deadly snakes, and tribal kings, Du Chaillu emerged with 20 preserved gorilla skins—two of which were stuffed and brought on tour—and walked smack dab into the biggest scientific debate of the time: Darwin's theory of evolution. Quickly, Du Chaillu's trophies went from objects of wonder to key pieces in an all-out intellectual war. With a wide range of characters, including Abraham Lincoln, Arthur Conan Doyle, P.T Barnum, Thackeray, and of course, Charles Darwin, this is a…


Book cover of Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa

Peter Allison Author Of Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide

From my list on African wildlife and safaris.

Why am I passionate about this?

Peter Allison became a safari guide by accident. Healthy fear is outweighed by overwhelming curiosity, which has led to misadventures on all continents, detailed in the books Whatever You Do, Don’t Run (A New York Times Notable Book of the Year); Don’t Look Behind You; and How To Walk A Puma.

Peter's book list on African wildlife and safaris

Peter Allison Why did Peter love this book?

Godwin’s brilliant memoir of growing up in what was then Southern Rhodesia, fighting in a war, then defending as a lawyer some of those who he’d fought against is told with enormous wit and great literary flair. It’s a travesty that no film has ever been made of this book, but perhaps no one would believe the stories.

By Peter Godwin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mukiwa opens with Peter Godwin, six years old, describing the murder of his neighbor by African guerillas, in 1964, pre-war Rhodesia. Godwin's parents are liberal whites, his mother a governement-employed doctor, his father an engineer. Through his innocent, young eyes, the story of the beginning of the end of white rule in Africa unfolds. The memoir follows Godwin's personal journey from the eve of war in Rhodesia to his experience fighting in the civil war that he detests to his adventures as a journalist in the new state of Zimbabwe, covering the bloody return to Black rule. With each transition…


Book cover of A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons

Anthony Ham Author Of The Last Lions of Africa: Stories from the Frontline in the Battle to Save a Species

From my list on wild Africa.

Why am I passionate about this?

For more than two decades, I have been travelling to the wild places of this planet looking for stories. Africa in all its diversity has always been my first love. Whether I’m off the grid in the Kalahari, or scanning the far horizon of the Serengeti looking for lions, Africa feels like home to me, and I’m passionate about finding, and then telling the stories of the people I meet, and the wildlife I encounter, along the way. And driving me every step of the way is my great belief in the power of the written word and that of a good story to transform the way we think about, and interact with, the natural world. 

Anthony's book list on wild Africa

Anthony Ham Why did Anthony love this book?

Funny and wise in equal measure, A Primate’s Memoir is a window on baboon social dynamics with plenty of forays into the world of safari tourism that he observes from askance. Sapolsky has since gone on to become one of the science world’s keenest observers of human behaviour, and his portrayals of baboon and human interactions are priceless.

By Robert M. Sapolsky,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked A Primate's Memoir as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the tradition of Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, Robert Sapolsky, a foremost science writer and recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant, tells the mesmerizing story of his twenty-one years in remote Kenya with a troop of Savannah baboons.

“I had never planned to become a savanna baboon when I grew up; instead, I had always assumed I would become a mountain gorilla,” writes Robert Sapolsky in this witty and riveting chronicle of a scientist’s coming-of-age in remote Africa.

An exhilarating account of Sapolsky’s twenty-one-year study of a troop of rambunctious baboons in Kenya, A Primate’s Memoir interweaves serious scientific…


Book cover of Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong about the World--And Why Things Are Better Than You Think

Gerard Pasterkamp Author Of Painted Science: The history of scientific discoveries, explorers and technological developments captured in painting

From my list on trying to explain basics in human behavior and decision making in a scientific manner.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a scientist in the field of medicine, and I like to read books that provide a surprising insight into our thinking and decision-making with a scientific basis. It is special how we think we are acting rationally while much of our action is influenced by the environment and news that comes our way. Some of the books in my list provide special insights that are refreshing and hold a mirror up to us.

Gerard's book list on trying to explain basics in human behavior and decision making in a scientific manner

Gerard Pasterkamp Why did Gerard love this book?

It's amazing how our thinking is influenced by a biased statement. This book shows that there is still hope when you look at the real facts.

The author asks a number of questions that require basic knowledge of everyday data that we read a lot about in the press. Questions such as: "How many people in the world are illiterate?" or "How many women are not educated?" are answered incorrectly by politicians, bankers, and scientists, those who determine our policy.

It is confronting to realize that more questions could have been answered correctly by simply guessing.

By Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Ola Rosling

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A hopeful book about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases.' BARACK OBAMA

'One of the most important books I've ever read - an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world.' BILL GATES

*#1 Sunday Times bestseller * New York Times bestseller * Observer 'best brainy book of the decade' * Irish Times bestseller * Guardian bestseller * audiobook bestseller *

Factfulness: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts.

When asked simple questions about global trends - why the world's population is increasing; how…


Book cover of A Fortune-Teller Told Me: Earthbound Travels in the Far East

Idanna Pucci Author Of The Lady of Sing Sing: An American Countess, an Italian Immigrant, and Their Epic Battle for Justice in New York's Gilded Age

From my list on far-flung places and times.

Why am I passionate about this?

Early in life, I felt the presence of a “guardian angel” who would take my hand and accompany my mind to imagine distant cultures. I grew up in Florence, and in our history, there were so many tales of people coming from afar, and of Florentines traveling across deserts and oceans. And as time passed, I would be drawn to beautifully written true stories which opened windows onto different epochs and dramas of life in both near and far-flung places of the world.

Idanna's book list on far-flung places and times

Idanna Pucci Why did Idanna love this book?

Warned by a Hong-Kong fortune-teller not to risk flying for a whole year, the author – a vastly experienced Far East war and revolutions correspondent of the German Der Spiegel – took what he called “the first step into an unknown world.” It turned out to be one of the most extraordinary years he ever spent: he was marked by death and instead he was reborn. Geography expanded under his feet. Magnificently written in the best traditions of travel literature. A full immersion into the invisible world and belief systems that shape Southeast Asian cultures.

By Tiziano Terzani,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Fortune-Teller Told Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Warned by a fortune-teller not to risk flying, the author - a seasoned correspondent - took to travelling by rail, road and sea. Consulting fortune-tellers and shamans wherever he went, he learnt to understand and respect older ways of life and beliefs now threatened by the crasser forms of Western modernity.

William Shawcross in the Literary Review praised Terzani for 'his beautifully written adventure story... a voyage of self-discovery... He sees fortune-tellers, soothsayers, astrologers, chiromancers, seers, shamans, magicians, palmists, frauds, men and women of god (many gods) all over Asia and in Europe too... Almost every page and every story…


Book cover of The Ten Thousand Things

Idanna Pucci Author Of The Lady of Sing Sing: An American Countess, an Italian Immigrant, and Their Epic Battle for Justice in New York's Gilded Age

From my list on far-flung places and times.

Why am I passionate about this?

Early in life, I felt the presence of a “guardian angel” who would take my hand and accompany my mind to imagine distant cultures. I grew up in Florence, and in our history, there were so many tales of people coming from afar, and of Florentines traveling across deserts and oceans. And as time passed, I would be drawn to beautifully written true stories which opened windows onto different epochs and dramas of life in both near and far-flung places of the world.

Idanna's book list on far-flung places and times

Idanna Pucci Why did Idanna love this book?

This true story occurred over twenty years starting in 1920. A haunted garden on a small island of the Indonesian Maluku archipelago. Here, Felicia has spent her early childhood with her grandmother, the last of an old line of Dutch spice growers. Felicia returns from Europe, after a ruinous marriage, with her baby son Willem. The plantation, overgrown and abandoned, reaches down to the blue-green waters. Felicia and her grandmother settle down again together to the ebb and flow of life surrounded by clove and nutmeg trees, and mystery. But slowly strange events happen in that Garden of Eden and a fascinating story of violence and murder unfolds in a world dominated by the psychic forces of nature, where nothing is predictable or a cliche. 

By Maria Dermout,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Wild, Cheryl Strayed writes of The Ten Thousand Things: "Each of Dermoût’s sentences came at me like a soft knowing dagger, depicting a far-off land that felt to me like the blood of all the places I used to love.” And it's true, The Ten Thousand Things is at once novel of shimmering strangeness—and familiarity. It is the story of Felicia, who returns with her baby son from Holland to the Spice Islands of Indonesia, to the house and garden that were her birthplace, over which her powerful grandmother still presides. There Felicia finds herself wedded to an uncanny…


Book cover of The Guardian of Mercy: How an Extraordinary Painting by Caravaggio Changed an Ordinary Life Today

Idanna Pucci Author Of The Lady of Sing Sing: An American Countess, an Italian Immigrant, and Their Epic Battle for Justice in New York's Gilded Age

From my list on far-flung places and times.

Why am I passionate about this?

Early in life, I felt the presence of a “guardian angel” who would take my hand and accompany my mind to imagine distant cultures. I grew up in Florence, and in our history, there were so many tales of people coming from afar, and of Florentines traveling across deserts and oceans. And as time passed, I would be drawn to beautifully written true stories which opened windows onto different epochs and dramas of life in both near and far-flung places of the world.

Idanna's book list on far-flung places and times

Idanna Pucci Why did Idanna love this book?

In this wondrous book on Caravaggio, the world of Naples unfolds from the inside through an electrifying reading experience. Written with grace, almost every sentence imparts an epiphany. The author challenges us to undertake soul-work, even if one is a secular reader. Reading becomes an act of empathy and passion. In the words of Wallace Stevens, potential readers will become ‘necessary angels’.

By Terence Ward,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Profound New Look at the Italian Master and His Lasting Legacy

Now celebrated as one of the great painters of the Renaissance, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio fled Rome in 1606 to escape retribution for killing a man in a brawl. Three years later he was in Naples, where he painted The Seven Acts of Mercy. A year later he died at the age of thirty-eight under mysterious circumstances. Exploring Caravaggio's singular masterwork, in The Guardian of Mercy Terence Ward offers an incredible narrative journey into the heart of his artistry and his metamorphosis from fugitive to visionary.

Ward's guide…


Book cover of The Tale of Genji: The Arthur Waley Translation of Lady Murasaki's Masterpiece with a New Foreword by Dennis Washburn

Idanna Pucci Author Of The Lady of Sing Sing: An American Countess, an Italian Immigrant, and Their Epic Battle for Justice in New York's Gilded Age

From my list on far-flung places and times.

Why am I passionate about this?

Early in life, I felt the presence of a “guardian angel” who would take my hand and accompany my mind to imagine distant cultures. I grew up in Florence, and in our history, there were so many tales of people coming from afar, and of Florentines traveling across deserts and oceans. And as time passed, I would be drawn to beautifully written true stories which opened windows onto different epochs and dramas of life in both near and far-flung places of the world.

Idanna's book list on far-flung places and times

Idanna Pucci Why did Idanna love this book?

This masterpiece - believed to be the oldest full-length ‘novel’ in existence - is an extraordinary exploration of human feelings, emotions, and relations as fresh and beguiling today as when it was first written one thousand years ago. I include this as non-fiction because it is a true account of daily life at the Heian Japanese court. Lady Murasaki’s characters draw the reader into their passion and terrors in an uncannily modern way, still so alive today. Readers will find themselves immersed in a strange and distant culture whose inhabitants’ loves, rivalries, suffering and follies they can easily identify with. It is an astonishing diary disguised as a “novel”, one of the greatest classics of all time, surprisingly written by a woman. 

By Murasaki Shikibu, Arthur Waley (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"What Waley did create is literary art of extraordinary beauty that brings to life in English the world Murasaki Shikibu imagined. The beauty of his art has not dimmed, but like the original text itself retains the power to move and enlighten."-Dennis Washburn, from his foreword

Centuries before Shakespeare, Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji was already acknowledged as a classic of Japanese literature. Over the past century, this book has gained worldwide acceptance as not only the world's first novel but as one of the greatest works of literature of all time.

The hero of the tale, Prince Genji,…


Book cover of Heart of Darkness

Tristan Nettles Author Of The Shepherd: A Bronze Age Tale

From my list on books to read when living on a small island.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up reading, mostly due to a speech impediment that left me awkward and shy. I was lucky enough to experience world travel at a young age. My parents' divorce set me on a different path. Five middle schools and seven high schools later, I volunteered as a Marine Corps infantryman. I left the USA in 2015 to travel the world, from Micronesia to Nepal to Honduras and even Ukraine, where I fought with the Ukrainian Foreign Legion. 

Tristan's book list on books to read when living on a small island

Tristan Nettles Why did Tristan love this book?

This macabre classic offers a glimpse into the darker realms of man and the depravities made capable. This is a book which pits man against his most dangerous foe, himself.

There are no Hollywood endings here. Just the real bloody nature of expansion into the wild Congo by a single ruthless man who infuses the mystical with the divine to maintain a brutal domination. 

By Joseph Conrad,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Heart of Darkness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although Polish by birth, Joseph Conrad (1857–1924) is regarded as one of the greatest writers in English, and Heart of Darkness, first published in 1902, is considered by many his "most famous, finest, and most enigmatic story." — Encyclopaedia Britannica. The tale concerns the journey of the narrator (Marlow) up the Congo River on behalf of a Belgian trading company. Far upriver, he encounters the mysterious Kurtz, an ivory trader who exercises an almost godlike sway over the inhabitants of the region. Both repelled and fascinated by the man, Marlow is brought face to face with the corruption and despair…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in colonialism, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Africa?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about colonialism, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Africa.

Colonialism Explore 97 books about colonialism
The Democratic Republic Of The Congo Explore 14 books about the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Africa Explore 251 books about Africa