82 books like Knocking on Labor's Door

By Lane Windham,

Here are 82 books that Knocking on Labor's Door fans have personally recommended if you like Knocking on Labor's Door. 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 The Invention of the White Race Vol II

Greta de Jong Author Of You Can't Eat Freedom: Southerners and Social Justice after the Civil Rights Movement

From my list on race and class in the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of the African American freedom struggle with more than two decades of experience researching and teaching on this topic. My work focuses especially on the connections between race and class and the ways Black people have fought for racial and economic justice in the twentieth century. I write books and articles that are accessible for general audiences and that help them to understand the historical origins of racism in the United States, the various forms it has taken, and the reasons why it has persisted into the present.

Greta's book list on race and class in the United States

Greta de Jong Why did Greta love this book?

In colonial North America, plantation owners were equal opportunity exploiters who mistreated European and African laborers alike, and workers frequently resisted by running away, stealing or destroying property, and engaging in occasional rebellions. Theodore Allen explains how colonial elites invented America’s racial divide through a series of laws that ended up enslaving most African Americans for life and reserving the rights of freedom and citizenship for European Americans. Since then, race and class have been intertwined, laying the basis for white supremacist practices and beliefs that shaped the development of the United States and continue to allocate wealth and power unequally today.

By Theodore W. Allen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Invention of the White Race Vol II as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, Martin Luther King declared his dream of a racially integrated, non-discriminatory American society. Some three centuries before, that dream had in many ways been a reality, since white skin privilege was recognized neither in law nor in the social practices of the labouring classes. But by the early decades of the eighteenth century, racial oppression would be the norm in the plantation colonies, and African Americans would continue to suffer under its yoke for more than two centuries. In this second volume of his acclaimed study of the origins of racial…


Book cover of Nothing But Freedom: Emancipation and Its Legacy

Greta de Jong Author Of You Can't Eat Freedom: Southerners and Social Justice after the Civil Rights Movement

From my list on race and class in the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of the African American freedom struggle with more than two decades of experience researching and teaching on this topic. My work focuses especially on the connections between race and class and the ways Black people have fought for racial and economic justice in the twentieth century. I write books and articles that are accessible for general audiences and that help them to understand the historical origins of racism in the United States, the various forms it has taken, and the reasons why it has persisted into the present.

Greta's book list on race and class in the United States

Greta de Jong Why did Greta love this book?

This short and accessible book places the end of slavery in the United States in a comparative global context, illuminating the strategies used by employers in the American South, Haiti, the British Caribbean, and British colonies in Africa to deny economic independence to Black workers and ensure a continued source of cheap labor. The book is especially useful for its clear demonstration of how law and policy (rather than invisible market forces) structure economic relations. Foner shows that the fortunes of working people can shift dramatically depending on who controls the government and makes the laws—essential knowledge for countering the arguments of economic theorists and political leaders who claim that vast inequalities of wealth are natural or inevitable.

By Eric Foner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nothing But Freedom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nothing But Freedom examines the aftermath of emancipation in the South and the restructuring of society by which the former slaves gained, beyond their freedom, a new relation to the land they worked on, to the men they worked for, and to the government they lived under. Taking a comparative approach, Eric Foner examines Reconstruction in the southern states against the experience of Haiti, where a violent slave revolt was followed by the establishment of an undemocratic government and the imposition of a system of forced labor; the British Caribbean, where the colonial government oversaw an orderly transition from slavery…


Book cover of Race Rebels : Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class

Erica J. Ryan Author Of When the World Broke in Two: The Roaring Twenties and the Dawn of America's Culture Wars

From my list on culture’s role in shaping race, class, and gender in modern America.

Why am I passionate about this?

How do ideas about gender, sexuality, and race show up in our political culture? And how do people’s political needs play a role in constructions of race, sex, and gender? I’ve been researching the intersections between ideas about gender, sexuality, and political culture in the modern United States for almost twenty years. And I think history can show us the ways ideas about sex, gender, and race suffuse political culture, revealing hierarchies of power that often discriminate, alienate, and silence. By reading books like the ones on this list we can understand how this power works, we can recognize it more clearly in the present, and we can find ways to dismantle it.

Erica's book list on culture’s role in shaping race, class, and gender in modern America

Erica J. Ryan Why did Erica love this book?

This book is a brilliant collection of essays highlighting “race rebels,” where Kelley looks outside of traditional politics and organized movements to find Black resistance to forces such as white supremacy, labor exploitation, and war. Kelley focuses in on the everyday lives of working-class Black men and women, highlighting a “hidden transcript” of expression and resistance in things like music, language, dance, and choice of dress.  He elevates the political potential found in these cultural elements, urging historians to see these “style politics” in the social and economic contexts which give rise to them, for they are powerful and worthy of our attention.

By Robin D. G. Kelley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Many black strategies of daily resistance have been obscured--until now. Race rebels, argues Kelley, have created strategies of resistance, movements, and entire subcultures. Here, for the first time, everyday race rebels are given the historiographical attention they deserve, from the Jim Crow era to the present.


Book cover of Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America

Robert L. Tsai Author Of Demand the Impossible: One Lawyer's Pursuit of Equal Justice for All

From my list on the role of race and poverty in the criminal justice system.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a law professor at Boston University who has studied and written about constitutional law, democracy, and inequality for over 20 years. I’m troubled by America’s rise to become the world’s leader in imprisoning its own citizens and the continued use of inhumane policing and punishment practices. These trends must be better understood before we can come up with a form of politics that can overcome our slide into a darker version of ourselves. 

Robert's book list on the role of race and poverty in the criminal justice system

Robert L. Tsai Why did Robert love this book?

Forman’s book is a must-read to learn why the War on Crime was not merely the work of one party or one racial group in society. Indeed, a number of people of color, including black mayors and black chiefs of police, strongly supported tough-on-crime measures.

The book raises the question of what it will take to reverse the trends of mass incarceration, given these realities.

By James Forman Jr.,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Locking Up Our Own as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction

Longlisted for the National Book Award

One of the New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2017

Former public defender James Forman, Jr. is a leading critic of mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on people of colour. In LOCKING UP OWN OWN, he seeks to understand the war on crime that began in the 1970s and why it was supported by many African American leaders in the nation's urban centres.

Forman shows us that the first substantial cohort of black mayors, judges and police chiefs took office amid…


Book cover of The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality

Clifford F. Thies Author Of Global Economics: A Holistic Approach

From my list on the global economy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the Eldon R. Lindsey Chair of Free Enterprise and Professor of Economics and Finance at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia. Most of my writing is academic, including in the Independent Review, Journal of Markets and Morality, and Presidential Studies Quarterly recently. Before pursuing my doctoral degree, I served in the U.S. Army and worked for an insurance company.

Clifford's book list on the global economy

Clifford F. Thies Why did Clifford love this book?

Angus Deaton presents his own work and summarizes the work of others to describe the beginning of sustained economic growth, what is sometimes called the industrial revolution.

Not only does this sustained economic growth result in much greater health and wealth, but also in inequality.

Before, only a very small number of people enjoyed leisure and what were the luxuries of the time. After, increasing percentages of people escaped the so-called iron law of wages.

By Angus Deaton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The world is a better place than it used to be. People are healthier, wealthier, and live longer. Yet the escapes from destitution by so many has left gaping inequalities between people and nations. In The Great Escape, Angus Deaton--one of the foremost experts on economic development and on poverty--tells the remarkable story of how, beginning 250 years ago, some parts of the world experienced sustained progress, opening up gaps and setting the stage for today's disproportionately unequal world. Deaton takes an in-depth look at the historical and ongoing patterns behind the health and wealth of nations, and addresses what…


Book cover of A Theory of Economic History

Peter Temin Author Of The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy

From my list on racial and economic inequality in the USA.

Why am I passionate about this?

Peter Temin is an economist and economic historian, currently a professor at MIT and the former head of the Economics Department. His research interests include macroeconomic history, the Great Depression, industry studies in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and ancient Rome. 

Peter's book list on racial and economic inequality in the USA

Peter Temin Why did Peter love this book?

I love this book for two reasons. It condenses a massive amount of economic history into a small book, and it shows how our unequal societies are backtracking to older models of the economy.

By Sir John R. Hicks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Theory of Economic History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Theory of Economic History


Book cover of Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science

Kathleen E. Akers Author Of Law and Economics in Jane Austen

From my list on love, law, and money.

Why am I passionate about this?

The fundamental connection between law and economics rules most of the world. This is especially true in romantic relationships, whether the parties realize it or not. Being “Janites” ourselves, in addition to our day jobs of family law professor and economic consultant, we could not help but read Jane Austen and be blown away by her genius understanding of both law and economics. Moreover, the principles she draws out that govern much of her characters’ decision-making are just as applicable today in the world of online dating and Tinder. We hope our book enlightens you on law and economics in new, surprising, and romantic ways.

Kathleen's book list on love, law, and money

Kathleen E. Akers Why did Kathleen love this book?

The world is driven by incentives. Much of economics is not obscure theory but practically understanding how incentives affect decision-making.

Charles Wheelan’s Naked Economics provides a solid foundation for understanding how our lives revolve around economics and why understanding economic principles is critically important for evaluating the social and geopolitical world around us. 

This book was important in our analysis of Jane Austen’s work, as her use of economic principles in romance is what causes her work to be loved for centuries.

By Charles Wheelan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a new edition of the best-selling economics book that won't put you to sleep. In our challenging economic climate, this perennial favourite of students and general readers includes commentary on hot topics such as automation, trade and income inequality. Ten years after the financial crisis, Naked Economics examines how policymakers managed the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.


Book cover of The College Dropout Scandal

Peter Temin Author Of The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy

From my list on racial and economic inequality in the USA.

Why am I passionate about this?

Peter Temin is an economist and economic historian, currently a professor at MIT and the former head of the Economics Department. His research interests include macroeconomic history, the Great Depression, industry studies in both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and ancient Rome. 

Peter's book list on racial and economic inequality in the USA

Peter Temin Why did Peter love this book?

This is a positive book that shows how education can help Blacks and other minorities get an education that will help them stay out of mass incarceration. It is good to have a positive program as we attempt to deal with American racism.

By David Kirp,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Higher education today faces numerous challenges, from quality to cost. But the fact that fewer than sixty percent of college freshmen graduate in six years and fewer than forty percent earn an associate degree in three years turns few heads. The dropout problem is especially acute for black and Latino students, those from poor families, and those who are first in their families to go to college. In short, millions of students are leaving college without a degree,
saddled with debt, and little to show for it.

In The College Dropout Scandal, David Kirp outlines the scale of the problem…


Book cover of The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality

Dietrich Vollrath Author Of Fully Grown: Why a Stagnant Economy Is a Sign of Success

From my list on the economic challenges of the 2020s.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of economics at the University of Houston, with a focus on long-run growth and development rather than things like quarterly stock returns. I write a blog on growth economics where I try hard to boil down technical topics to their core intuition, and I’m the co-author of a popular textbook on economic growth.

Dietrich's book list on the economic challenges of the 2020s

Dietrich Vollrath Why did Dietrich love this book?

This is a good book to understand the pervasive existence of “rents” in the economy. From the literal rents that homeowners in popular areas can charge, to the rents that accrue to copyright or patent holders, to the rents earned by firms using regulation to block competition, the authors document all the places in our economy where this restricts innovation. It is ultimately a book asking “what is fair?”.

By Brink Lindsey, Steven M. Teles,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For years, America has been plagued by slow economic growth and increasing inequality. In The Captured Economy, Brink Lindsey and Steven M. Teles identify a common factor behind these twin ills: breakdowns in democratic governance that allow wealthy special interests to capture the policymaking process for their own benefit. They document the proliferation of regressive regulations that redistribute wealth and income up the economic scale while stifling
entrepreneurship and innovation. They also detail the most important cases of regulatory barriers that have worked to shield the powerful from the rigors of competition, thereby inflating their incomes: subsidies for the financial…


Book cover of The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future

Tom Malleson Author Of Against Inequality: The Practical and Ethical Case for Abolishing the Superrich

From my list on economic inequality and how to fix it.

Why am I passionate about this?

There are many big problems in the world today–racism, war, climate change, unaccountable governments, exploitative corporations, and so on. But when you scratch the surface of almost any serious problem, what you find is that the root of the problem is inequality: a minority of people are rich and powerful, while those who suffer the most are typically poor and powerless. I’m so passionate about inequality because, in my eyes, it constitutes the heart and soul of what’s wrong with our world and the key to making things better.

Tom's book list on economic inequality and how to fix it

Tom Malleson Why did Tom love this book?

In this already-classic work, Joseph Stiglitz–Nobel Prize winner and chief economist for the World Bank–describes the ways in which the market has been systematically rigged in favour of the rich and big business, leading to an explosion of inequality and the rise of the 1%.

I love how this book illustrates the ways in which inequality acts as a cancer on society, eating it apart from the inside. But Stiglitz also helped me to understand how such problems can be dealt with a realistic way.  

By Joseph E. Stiglitz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The top 1 percent of Americans control some 40 percent of the nation's wealth. But as Joseph E. Stiglitz explains in this best-selling critique of the economic status quo, this level of inequality is not inevitable. Rather, in recent years well-heeled interests have compounded their wealth by stifling true, dynamic capitalism and making America no longer the land of opportunity that it once was. They have made America the most unequal advanced industrial country while crippling growth, distorting key policy debates, and fomenting a divided society. Stiglitz not only shows how and why America's inequality is bad for our economy…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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