100 books like Martin Heidegger

By Rudiger Safranski, Ewald Osers (translator),

Here are 100 books that Martin Heidegger fans have personally recommended if you like Martin Heidegger. 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 I Am Dynamite! A Life of Nietzsche

Adrián Gordaliza Vega Author Of The End of Everything: A society in transition

From my list on biographies for the contemporary reader.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a graduate in Philosophy with a Masters degree in Contemporary Culture so this theme is enormously interesting for me. My passion has been shifting from literature to contemporary society and culture in general. I love to find the connexions between the current state of affairs and the past. I honestly think that if we look at the lives and times of the great thinkers we can get hints about the state of contemporary society. Understanding what makes us behave and think the way we do it is my main motivation. 

Adrián's book list on biographies for the contemporary reader

Adrián Gordaliza Vega Why did Adrián love this book?

Probably this is my favourite and by far the saddest.

The life of Friedich Nietzsche is absolutely essential to understanding his work – perhaps to a greater extent than in any other philosopher. Everything is told here, from the time of his friendship with Wagner, his personal and physical crises and his failed attempts at marriage.

Prideaux's book reads like a novel, although Nietzsche's life is itself a tragic novel. Although it is not a detailed analysis of Nietzsche's Philosophy, this book helps to better understand the work of an essential philosopher to understand the current era. 

By Sue Prideaux,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked I Am Dynamite! A Life of Nietzsche as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Times Biography of the Year
Longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2019

'Outstanding.' The Sunday Times

'A revelation.' Guardian

'Wonderful.' The Times

'Riveting.' New Statesman

Friedrich Nietzsche's work rocked the foundation of Western thinking, and continues to permeate our culture, high and low - yet he is one of history's most misunderstood philosophers. Sue Prideaux's myth-shattering book brings readers into the world of a brilliant, eccentric and deeply troubled man, illuminating the events and people that shaped his life and work. I Am Dynamite! is the essential biography for anyone seeking to understand Nietzsche: the philosopher who foresaw -…


Book cover of Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius

Adrián Gordaliza Vega Author Of The End of Everything: A society in transition

From my list on biographies for the contemporary reader.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a graduate in Philosophy with a Masters degree in Contemporary Culture so this theme is enormously interesting for me. My passion has been shifting from literature to contemporary society and culture in general. I love to find the connexions between the current state of affairs and the past. I honestly think that if we look at the lives and times of the great thinkers we can get hints about the state of contemporary society. Understanding what makes us behave and think the way we do it is my main motivation. 

Adrián's book list on biographies for the contemporary reader

Adrián Gordaliza Vega Why did Adrián love this book?

The figure of Ludwig Wittgenstein has always been quite enigmatic for me.

The enormous contradictions of his life and the intensity of it are difficult to understand in the abstract. Ray Monk's biography contextualizes the life and work of the Austrian philosopher who set out to solve all the problems of philosophy.

Monk's biography stands as a testament to Wittgenstein's enduring influence on our understanding of language, thought, and reality. 

By Ray Monk,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Great philosophical biographies can be counted on one hand. Monk's life of Wittgenstein is such a one." The Christian Science Monitor.


Book cover of Derrida: A Biography

Adrián Gordaliza Vega Author Of The End of Everything: A society in transition

From my list on biographies for the contemporary reader.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a graduate in Philosophy with a Masters degree in Contemporary Culture so this theme is enormously interesting for me. My passion has been shifting from literature to contemporary society and culture in general. I love to find the connexions between the current state of affairs and the past. I honestly think that if we look at the lives and times of the great thinkers we can get hints about the state of contemporary society. Understanding what makes us behave and think the way we do it is my main motivation. 

Adrián's book list on biographies for the contemporary reader

Adrián Gordaliza Vega Why did Adrián love this book?

I'll be honest, when I received Benoit Peeters' book on Derrida I was a little worried.

A 600-page tome about one of the most notoriously difficult philosophers. Fortunately, Peeters does not write in a Derridean manner and makes the life journey of the most influential thinker of postmodernism accessible and even entertaining.

Peeters covers Derrida's formative years in Algeria, his academic career, and his development of deconstruction—a philosophical approach that challenged traditional notions of language, meaning, and text interpretation. 

By Benoit Peeters, Andrew Brown (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This biography of Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) tells the story of a Jewish boy from Algiers, excluded from school at the age of twelve, who went on to become the most widely translated French philosopher in the world - a vulnerable, tormented man who, throughout his life, continued to see himself as unwelcome in the French university system. We are plunged into the different worlds in which Derrida lived and worked: pre-independence Algeria, the microcosm of the Ecole Normale Superieure, the cluster of structuralist thinkers, and the turbulent events of 1968 and after. We meet the remarkable series of leading writers…


Book cover of Philosopher of the Heart: The Restless Life of Søren Kierkegaard

Adrián Gordaliza Vega Author Of The End of Everything: A society in transition

From my list on biographies for the contemporary reader.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a graduate in Philosophy with a Masters degree in Contemporary Culture so this theme is enormously interesting for me. My passion has been shifting from literature to contemporary society and culture in general. I love to find the connexions between the current state of affairs and the past. I honestly think that if we look at the lives and times of the great thinkers we can get hints about the state of contemporary society. Understanding what makes us behave and think the way we do it is my main motivation. 

Adrián's book list on biographies for the contemporary reader

Adrián Gordaliza Vega Why did Adrián love this book?

When I think of Kierkegaard, his story with Regina Olsen, his fiancée, always comes to mind.

What happened during and after their courtship will forever mark the life and work of an author who is considered by many to be the father of existentialism and a key figure in understanding the crisis of modernity in which we are immersed.

Philosopher of the Heart is not just a biography; it's a philosophical exploration that invites readers to engage with Kierkegaard's questions about our individual existence and the search for meaning. 

By Clare Carlisle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Selected as a Book of the Year in The Times Literary Supplement

'This lucid and riveting new biography at once rescuses Kierkegaard from the scholars and shows why he is such an intriguing and useful figure' Observer

Soren Kierkegaard, one of the most passionate and challenging of modern philosophers, is now celebrated as the father of existentialism - yet his contemporaries described him as a philosopher of the heart. Over about a decade in the 1840s and 1850s, writings poured from his pen analysing love and suffering, courage and anxiety, religious longing and defiance, and forging a new philosophical style…


Book cover of Wittgenstein's Nephew

Daniel Ben-Horin Author Of Substantial Justice

From my list on funny international classics you (may) have not heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

Humor is based on surprise and the ‘foreign’ is often surprising. As I traveled all over the world for work, I searched out local authors and found myself laughing. It started with At Swim Two Birds and has never stopped.

Daniel's book list on funny international classics you (may) have not heard of

Daniel Ben-Horin Why did Daniel love this book?

This short 1962 Austrian novel is a scream, literally and figuratively.

The Austrians don’t really know what to do with Bernhardt, who hated the country so trenchantly and yet is its finest twentieth-century writer. If you enjoy spending time in the S. Beckett’s zip code, you’ll love this book.

By Thomas Bernhard,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

LRB BOOKSHOP'S AUTHOR OF THE MONTH
ONE OF THE GUARDIAN'S BEST BOOKS OF 2019
WITH A NEW AFTERWORD BY BEN LERNER, AUTHOR OF THE TOPEKA SCHOOL

'If you haven't read Bernhard, you will not know of the most radical advance in fiction since Joyce ... My advice: dive in.' Lucy Ellmann

'I absolutely love Bernhard: he is one of the darkest and funniest writers ... A must read for everybody.' Karl Ove Knausgaard

It is 1967. Two men lie bedridden in separate wings of a Viennese hospital. The narrator, Thomas Bernhard, is stricken with a lung ailment; his friend Paul,…


Book cover of Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Nazi Rise to Power

Robert Teigrob Author Of Four Days in Hitler's Germany: MacKenzie King's Mission to Avert a Second World War

From my list on eyewitnesses to the rise of Adolf Hitler.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since 2011 I have taught a summer course at Freie Universität Berlin, and have grown fond of the city, including its admirable efforts to acknowledge and atone for its former status as the capital of the Nazi empire. I’ve seen pictures of Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King touring the city and interacting (cheerfully) with Reich officials, and a couple of years ago I made a point of retracing his steps to observe the vestiges (very little) of prewar Berlin. This compelled me to dig deeply into what motivated King to break bread with Nazis, and how the prime minister’s trip was viewed by Canadians and the world – at the time, and since.

Robert's book list on eyewitnesses to the rise of Adolf Hitler

Robert Teigrob Why did Robert love this book?

As the title suggests, this is a compendium of American visitors’ impressions of Nazism in the 1930s. Their reactions varied from confusion to rage to applause, but Nagorski notes that, sooner or later, most came to the realization that Germany was “a society undergoing a horrific transformation in the name of a demented ideology,” and feared the implications for humanity. Another useful reminder of the essential role of solid, independent journalism, and of the methods by which seemingly decent people and entire societies can be devoured by hatred and tribalism. It seems, sadly, that we need a lot of reminding about such things…

By Andrew Nagorski,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

World War II historian Andrew Nagorski recounts Adolf Hitler’s rise to and consolidation of power, drawing on countless firsthand reports, letters, and diaries that narrate the creation of the Third Reich.

“Hitlerland is a bit of a guilty pleasure. Reading about the Nazis is not supposed to be fun, but Nagorski manages to make it so. Readers new to this story will find it fascinating” (The Washington Post).

Hitler’s rise to power, Germany’s march to the abyss, as seen through the eyes of Americans—diplomats, military officers, journalists, expats, visiting authors, Olympic athletes—who watched horrified and up close. “Engaging if chilling…a…


Book cover of Hitler: Ascent: 1889-1939

Neil Gregor Author Of How to Read Hitler

From my list on biographical studies of Hitler.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor of Modern European History at the University of Southampton, UK, and publish widely on diverse aspects of Nazi Germany. The first history book that I ever read was Alan Bullock’s Hitler. A Study in Tyranny - the first scholarly biography of Hitler to appear. I still recall the fascination of reading this as a teenager: it sparked a curiosity that formed the basis of a scholarly career that has spanned nearly three decades. The desire to make sense of the phenomenon of Nazism was never purely academic, however – my own family origins in Germany, and the stories elderly relatives told of their wartime experiences, gave the history texture, immediacy, and urgency.

Neil's book list on biographical studies of Hitler

Neil Gregor Why did Neil love this book?

In my view, this is the most readable and persuasive of a number of new biographical treatments that have appeared recently. In terms of interpretation, largely Ullrich confirms the line offered in an older two-volume biography, the equally magisterial account by Ian Kershaw published at the turn of the century. Like Kershaw, Ullrich is concerned to explain Hitler’s power in terms of charismatic authority, and not just dictatorial terror. But whereas Kershaw was of the view that Hitler had comparatively little personal hinterland, foregrounding instead his career as a public figure, Ullrich pulls out a remarkable range of often tiny, seemingly insignificant personal details or anecdotes to generate a compelling view of Hitler’s own interior landscape – it is all the more impressive for the fact that he uses this to explain better Hitler’s political outlook and actions.  

By Volker Ullrich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • This landmark biography of Hitler puts an emphasis on the man himself: his personality, his temperament, and his beliefs.

“[A] fascinating Shakespearean parable about how the confluence of circumstance, chance, a ruthless individual and the willful blindness of others can transform a country — and, in Hitler’s case, lead to an unimaginable nightmare for the world.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Volker Ullrich's Hitler, the first in a two-volume biography, has changed the way scholars and laypeople alike understand the man who has become the personification of evil. Drawing on previously unseen papers and…


Book cover of Hitler (Harvest Book)

Paul Ham Author Of Hiroshima Nagasaki: The Real Story of the Atomic Bombings and Their Aftermath

From my list on on 20th century conflict.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve devoted most of my life as a writer, historian, and teacher to understanding and connecting the events of the 20th century and their origins in the deep past. I believe World War I stands as one of the greatest human tragedies because the bloodiest events of the past century were directly caused by it. The tyrants Hitler and Stalin who thrived on mayhem and parasitized their societies were simply inconceivable without the destruction wrought by the Great War. I’m sometimes asked how I get up in the morning. I reply, ‘writing 20th-century history is a dirty job but some of us have gotta do it.’

Paul's book list on on 20th century conflict

Paul Ham Why did Paul love this book?

This remains the outstanding full-length biography of Hitler, not least because it is brilliantly written; it is also extraordinarily prescient.

Fest’s portrayal of the Nazi leader, the first to be written by a German, shows how any human society, no matter how cultured or educated, if far enough degraded and humiliated will be willing to listen to a banal, humourless bully whose singular obsessions were to pick at Germany’s war wounds and delegate the slaughter of the blameless minority he deemed responsible.

In Fest’s hands, Hitler emerges as no freak of nature with god-like powers, no monster beyond our comprehension…but shockingly human, the living fulfillment of the racist fantasies of the ordinary, pot-bellied fascists who brought him to power.

By Joachim C. Fest,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A bestseller in its original German edition and subsequently translated into more than a dozen languages, Joachim Fest's Hitler as become a classic portrait of a man, a nation, and an era. Fest tells and interprets the extraordinary story of a man's and a nation's rise from impotence to absolute power, as Germany and Hitler, from shared premises, entered into their covenant. He shows Hitler exploiting the resentments of the shaken, post-World War I social order and seeing through all that was hollow behind the appearance of power, at home and abroad. Fest reveals the singularly penetrating politician, hypnotizing Germans…


Book cover of The Meaning of Hitler

Neil Gregor Author Of How to Read Hitler

From my list on biographical studies of Hitler.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor of Modern European History at the University of Southampton, UK, and publish widely on diverse aspects of Nazi Germany. The first history book that I ever read was Alan Bullock’s Hitler. A Study in Tyranny - the first scholarly biography of Hitler to appear. I still recall the fascination of reading this as a teenager: it sparked a curiosity that formed the basis of a scholarly career that has spanned nearly three decades. The desire to make sense of the phenomenon of Nazism was never purely academic, however – my own family origins in Germany, and the stories elderly relatives told of their wartime experiences, gave the history texture, immediacy, and urgency.

Neil's book list on biographical studies of Hitler

Neil Gregor Why did Neil love this book?

As in the case of Joachim Fest, it is impossible to read this book without having some sense of the author’s own autobiography. Haffner was an emigré who had left Germany for Britain in 1939, was briefly interned in the war, and became a correspondent for The Observer. The essayistic reflections offered in this short book are not so much biographical as a set of attempts to place Hitler within the wider context of German history and to understand Hitler as a historical phenomenon. Readable, astute, and thoughtful, they are an engaging introduction to his life-long attempts to make sense of the regime from which he had fled.

By Sebastian Haffner, Ewald Osers (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a remarkable historical and psychological examination of the enigma of Adolf Hitler-who he was, how he wielded power, and why he was destined to fail.

Beginning with Hitler's early life, Sebastian Haffner probes the historical, political, and emotional forces that molded his character. In examining the inhumanity of a man for whom politics became a substitute for life, he discusses Hitler's bizarre relationships with women, his arrested psychological development, his ideological misconceptions, his growing obsession with racial extermination, and the murderous rages of his distorted mind. Finally, Haffner confronts the most disturbing question of all: Could another Hitler…


Book cover of The Last Days of Hitler

David Luhrssen Author Of Hammer of the Gods: The Thule Society and the Birth of Nazism

From my list on understanding Nazi Germany.

Why am I passionate about this?

Unlike most children of immigrants who were told nothing about the past, I grew up surrounded by family history—my grandfather’s village in Russia, my father’s memories of 1930s Europe, and my mother’s childhood on a migrant worker farm during the Great Depression. I realized that history isn’t just names and dates but a unique opportunity to study human behavior. I wrote Hammer of the Gods about the Thule Society because Thule was often mentioned in passing by historians of Nazi Germany, as if they were uncomfortable delving into an occult group recognized as influential on the Nazis. I decided I wanted to learn who they were and what they wanted.

David's book list on understanding Nazi Germany

David Luhrssen Why did David love this book?

There have been more recent accounts of Hitler’s retreat to the bunker in the last weeks of his life. But even if some new information has surfaced since Britain’s H.R. Trevor-Roper wrote his report, the vividness is hard to match. Trever-Roper recorded his thoughts on Hitler’s end before the rubble of war had been cleared away. It was almost on-the-scene reporting.

By Hugh Trevor-Roper,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Late in 1945, Hugh Trevor-Roper was appointed by the British Intelligence to investigate the conflicting evidence surrounding Hitler's final days. The author, who had access to American counterintelligence files and to German prisoners, focuses on the last ten days of Hitler's life, April 20-29, 1945, in the underground bunker in Berlin.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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