100 books like Masquerade

By Alfred F. Young,

Here are 100 books that Masquerade fans have personally recommended if you like Masquerade. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade

Barry Keith Grant Author Of Voyages of Discovery: The Cinema of Frederick Wiseman

From my list on appreciating the films of Fredrick Wiseman.

Who am I?

I’ve loved cinema since I was 9 years old growing up in New York City and my grandmother took me to see The Ten Commandments at the Paradise Theater, Loew’s magnificent flagship theater in the Bronx. The theater’s famous canopy of twinkling stars on the ceiling was the perfect magical venue, and I was thunderstruck not only by the epic sweep of the movie but also by the opulence of the theater, which mirrored the monumental pyramids that Ramses constructs in the film. Ever since, my passion for movies has been as all-consuming as DeMille’s jello sea was for the infidel Egyptians who doubted the power of special effects and cinematic illusion.

Barry's book list on appreciating the films of Fredrick Wiseman

Barry Keith Grant Why did Barry love this book?

Another book with an episodic structure, The Confidence-Man concerns an assorted group of Mississippi steamboat passengers whose individual hypocrisies are confronted by the mysterious character of the title.

Melville’s ship of fools features a variety of types, some of whom are caricatures of American literary figures including Emerson, Hawthorne, and Poe. The book was published in 1857 on April Fool’s Day, an irony equal to the publication of Bram Stoker’s Dracula on Valentine’s Day, and a gesture that Wiseman, himself a great ironist, surely would appreciate.

Certainly, it is no surprise that Wiseman has referred to The Confidence-Man as his favorite novel. One might even find Melville’s elaborate prose style analogous to Wiseman’s careful editing and his ability to confront spectators with their own biases and preconceptions, as the eponymous confidence-man does in the book.

By Herman Melville,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Confidence-Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On April Fool's Day in 1856, a shape-shifting grifter boards a Mississippi riverboat to expose the pretenses, hypocrisies, and self-delusions of his fellow passengers. The con artist assumes numerous identities — a disabled beggar, a charity fundraiser, a successful businessman, an urbane gentleman — to win over his not-entirely-innocent dupes. The central character's shifting identities, as fluid as the river itself, reflect broader aspects of human identity even as his impudent hoaxes form a meditation on illusion and trust.
This comic allegory addresses themes of sincerity, character, and morality in its challenge to the optimism and materialism of mid-19th-century America.…


Book cover of The Return of Martin Guerre

Stuart Carroll Author Of Enmity and Violence in Early Modern Europe

From my list on getting started with early modern history.

Who am I?

I’m a historian of early modern Europe. I have a particular interest in the history of violence and social relations and how and why ordinary people came into conflict with each other and how they made peace, that’s the subject of my most recent book Enmity and Violence in Early Modern Europe, which compares the entanglement of everyday animosities and how these were resolved in Italy, Germany, France and England. I’m also passionate about understanding Europe’s contribution to world history. As editor of The Cambridge World History of Violence, I explored the dark side of this. But my next book, The Invention of Civil Society, will demonstrate Europe’s more positive achievements.

Stuart's book list on getting started with early modern history

Stuart Carroll Why did Stuart love this book?

I love this book because it’s a story about ordinary people. But it’s a true story.

It reads like a fairytale: a peasant, Arnaud du Tilh, is accused of impersonating another man who had abandoned his wife several years before. Arnaud seems to have outwitted the judges until the errant husband returns condemning the impostor to death.

I like this story because it helps to identify with men and women in the past, who in many respects, are just like us. It’s also a piece of great history reconstructed from original trial records. Davis is a great writer.

By Natalie Zemon Davis,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Return of Martin Guerre as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The clever peasant Arnaud du Tilh had almost persuaded the learned judges at the Parlement of Toulouse when, on a summer's day in 1560, a man swaggered into the court on a wooden leg, denounced Arnaud, and reestablished his claim to the identity, property, and wife of Martin Guerre. The astonishing case captured the imagination of the continent. Told and retold over the centuries, the story of Martin Guerre became a legend, still remembered in the Pyrenean village where the impostor was executed more than 400 years ago.

Now a noted historian, who served as consultant for a new French…


Book cover of Joe Gould's Teeth

Timothy J. Shannon Author Of Indian Captive, Indian King: Peter Williamson in America and Britain

From my list on con artists and imposters.

Who am I?

I am a professor at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where I teach Early American, Native American, and British history. My books include Indians and Colonists at the Crossroads of Empire: The Albany Congress of 1754 and Iroquois Diplomacy on the Early American Frontier. As a historian, I've long been fascinated by stories of imposters, charlatans, and con artists. I like fictional and factual picaresque tales about people set adrift in strange lands and I have a soft spot for unreliable narrators. Historians are a skeptical breed, so slippery characters like those featured in the books listed here represent a welcome challenge: can you trust them as far as you can throw them? 

Timothy's book list on con artists and imposters

Timothy J. Shannon Why did Timothy love this book?

Joe Gould first came to the world’s attention when Joseph Mitchell published two articles about him in the New Yorker in the mid-twentieth century. A self-described bohemian, he was an eccentric denizen of Greenwich Village who claimed to be writing “The Oral History of Our Time,” a massive, revolutionary book that Gould said would be read by generations yet to come. Or, was he really just a heavy drinking raconteur who ingratiated himself among some of the leading artists, poets, and writers of his day? Jill Lepore pushes Gould’s story beyond Mitchell’s original version, finding darker truths behind it.

By Jill Lepore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From New Yorker staff writer and Harvard historian Jill Lepore, the dark, spellbinding tale of her restless search for the missing longest book ever written, a century-old manuscript called “The Oral History of Our Time.”

Joe Gould’s Teeth is a Poe-like tale of detection, madness, and invention. Digging through archives all over the country, Lepore unearthed evidence that “The Oral History of Our Time” did in fact once exist. Relying on letters, scraps, and Gould’s own diaries and notebooks—including volumes of his lost manuscript—Lepore argues that Joe Gould’s real secret had to do with sex and the color line, with…


Book cover of The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin

Timothy J. Shannon Author Of Indian Captive, Indian King: Peter Williamson in America and Britain

From my list on con artists and imposters.

Who am I?

I am a professor at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where I teach Early American, Native American, and British history. My books include Indians and Colonists at the Crossroads of Empire: The Albany Congress of 1754 and Iroquois Diplomacy on the Early American Frontier. As a historian, I've long been fascinated by stories of imposters, charlatans, and con artists. I like fictional and factual picaresque tales about people set adrift in strange lands and I have a soft spot for unreliable narrators. Historians are a skeptical breed, so slippery characters like those featured in the books listed here represent a welcome challenge: can you trust them as far as you can throw them? 

Timothy's book list on con artists and imposters

Timothy J. Shannon Why did Timothy love this book?

It may seem unfair to group Benjamin Franklin among con artists and impersonators, but he certainly had a talent for self-invention. Most biographies of Franklin take it as a given that he was the “first American,” who set the mold for what we call the American dream. In this highly readable and comparatively brief biography of the great man, Wood breaks from that tradition and tells the story of a provincial striver whose many public personas were motivated by a desire to fit in among aristocratic Europeans. If you think you know what made Franklin tick, this biography will make you think again.

By Gordon S. Wood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"I cannot remember ever reading a work of history and biography that is quite so fluent, so perfectly composed and balanced . . ." -The New York Sun

"Exceptionally rich perspective on one of the most accomplished, complex, and unpredictable Americans of his own time or any other." -The Washington Post Book World

From the most respected chronicler of the early days of the Republic-and winner of both the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes-comes a landmark work that rescues Benjamin Franklin from a mythology that has blinded generations of Americans to the man he really was and makes sense of aspects…


Book cover of Female Tars: Women Aboard Ship in the Age of Sail

Linda Collison Author Of Star-Crossed

From my list on 18th and 19th century crossdressers.

Who am I?

The custom of Masquerade, of dressing as Other, has long fascinated me. In writing Star-Crossed, I set out to investigate how and why one girl might pass as a boy in an era when gender roles were sharply differentiated. I once crossed an ocean working aboard a wooden, three-masted ship – a 20th-century replica of the Bark Endeavour, circumnavigating in 1999. Sleeping in hammocks and working aloft in the rigging, I discovered this life required teamwork, stamina – and a sturdy, practical costume. Trousers, not petticoats! I have worked as a registered nurse and I earned a degree in History; these experiences combine in Star-Crossed. 

Linda's book list on 18th and 19th century crossdressers

Linda Collison Why did Linda love this book?

This was the first nonfiction book I read that fired up my interest and started my research for my own historical novel. Stark gives a picture of the females to be found aboard ships in the British Royal Navy, most of whom were not posing as men but were wives of warrant officers. One chapter is devoted to women in disguise in naval crews. The last chapter is devoted to the crossdresser Mary Lacy, who passed as William Chandler, and worked as a shipwright. With illustrations and endnotes, Female Tars sheds light on the women who are seldom mentioned in official naval records, but were there, a part of history. 

By Suzanne J Stark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For a very long time now I have delighted in histories, letters, records, and memoirs to do with the Royal Navy in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century; but Suzanne Stark's book has told me many, many things I did not know, and I shall keep it on an honored shelf."--Patrick O'Brian

The wives and female guests of commissioned officers often went to sea in the sailing ships of Britain's Royal Navy in the 18th and 19th centuries, but there were other women on board as well, rarely mentioned in print. Suzanne Stark thoroughly investigates the custom of allowing prostitutes…


Book cover of The Lady Tars: The Autobiographies of Hannah Snell, Mary Lacy and Mary Anne Talbot

Linda Collison Author Of Star-Crossed

From my list on 18th and 19th century crossdressers.

Who am I?

The custom of Masquerade, of dressing as Other, has long fascinated me. In writing Star-Crossed, I set out to investigate how and why one girl might pass as a boy in an era when gender roles were sharply differentiated. I once crossed an ocean working aboard a wooden, three-masted ship – a 20th-century replica of the Bark Endeavour, circumnavigating in 1999. Sleeping in hammocks and working aloft in the rigging, I discovered this life required teamwork, stamina – and a sturdy, practical costume. Trousers, not petticoats! I have worked as a registered nurse and I earned a degree in History; these experiences combine in Star-Crossed. 

Linda's book list on 18th and 19th century crossdressers

Linda Collison Why did Linda love this book?

Perhaps the most famous of the 18th-century crossdressers is Hannah Snell. Hannah was a British woman who passed as "James Gray" and became a marine in the Royal Navy, following the death of her infant daughter. During her military career of more than four years she was wounded in battle and later was officially recognized and pensioned for her service. Hannah's is only one of at least twenty authentic accounts of females serving aboard Royal Navy ships, according to editor Tom Grundner, who writes the preface to The Lady Tars; the Autobiographies of Hannah Snell, Mary Lacy and Mary Anne Talbot. Three entertaining, informative accounts in one book.

By Hannah Snell, Mary Lacy, Mary Anne Talbot

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


Out of Print for over 200 Years, the original text of three of the most remarkable naval biographies ever written.

We know that women served as sailors in the Royal Navy as early as 1650. Unfortunately, what little we know of these women is based largely on second- and third-hand accounts and deductions. In general, few seamen (and even fewer sea-women) knew how to write. As a result, there exists no first-hand, autobiographical, accounts—with three exceptions.

Three women—three lady tars—left memoirs of their experiences serving as men in the Royal Navy.

Hanna Snell (1723-1792) originally joined the army but deserted…


Book cover of The Perfect Gentleman

Alina Rubin Author Of A Girl with a Knife

From my list on making you glad for modern medicine.

Who am I?

Stuck at home during the pandemic, I started watching historical fiction and fell in love with the British miniseries, Hornblower. Suddenly I found myself writing my own stories about an imprisoned midshipman and Ella Parker, a surgeon that saves him. But there was a plot hole. Women could not be doctors in 19th-century England, leave alone ship surgeons. Thus, I sent Ella into medical school disguised as a man, and Hearts and Sails series was born. Looking for interesting cases for Ella to observe and treat, I became obsessed with the history of modern medicine. I also wanted my character to overcome great obstacles and eventually prove to others what a woman can do.

Alina's book list on making you glad for modern medicine

Alina Rubin Why did Alina love this book?

I’m often asked if Ella Parker is based on Dr. James Barry. She’s not. But I was glad to confirm that history recorded at least one woman was able to disguise herself as a man and become a distinguished doctor. The biography of Dr. Barry is intriguing, well-written, and shows how brilliant and mysterious an individual he was. The best find for me was the list of classes Barry attended at the University of Edinburgh. I sent my main character into the same classes, including the optional midwifery, and the private class with a prestigious teacher. This biography gave me many answers about this remarkable doctor, but also left me with questions. 

By June Rose,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

James Barry was one of the most outstanding doctors of the nineteenth century – a brilliant surgeon, a tireless campaigner for medical reform, and a compassionate Inspector-General of the Army.

But throughout a long and distinguished career an air of secrecy, even of scandal, always clung to Barry. The shrill voice, the diminutive build, the almost ostentatious humanity – all struck a discordant note in the stiff, conventional world of the officers’ mess. Only after the doctor’s death in 1865 did the incredible truth come to light:

Dr. James Barry was a woman.

What was her real identity? How did…


Book cover of Monsieur D'Eon is a Woman: A Tale of Political Intrigue and Sexual Masquerade

Linda Collison Author Of Star-Crossed

From my list on 18th and 19th century crossdressers.

Who am I?

The custom of Masquerade, of dressing as Other, has long fascinated me. In writing Star-Crossed, I set out to investigate how and why one girl might pass as a boy in an era when gender roles were sharply differentiated. I once crossed an ocean working aboard a wooden, three-masted ship – a 20th-century replica of the Bark Endeavour, circumnavigating in 1999. Sleeping in hammocks and working aloft in the rigging, I discovered this life required teamwork, stamina – and a sturdy, practical costume. Trousers, not petticoats! I have worked as a registered nurse and I earned a degree in History; these experiences combine in Star-Crossed. 

Linda's book list on 18th and 19th century crossdressers

Linda Collison Why did Linda love this book?

Who was s/he – a man, a woman masquerading as a man, or a gender fluid person?

The Chevalier d'Eon was a French courtier and diplomat, decorated military officer, writer – and a cross-dressing spy for Louis XV in a clandestine foreign policy organization known as the Secret du Roi. A well-researched account, Kates' political "thriller" is quite unlike any other crossdresser's biography I've read; it kindles a conception of 18th-century gender fluidity that reflects perception, influence, and political power in a European age when clothes indeed, made the man.

By Gary Kates,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Monsieur D'Eon is a Woman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Born in 1728, French aristocrat Charles d'Eon de Beaumont had served his country as a diplomat, soldier, and spy for fifteen years when rumors that he was a woman began to circulate in the courts of Europe. D'Eon denied nothing and was finally compelled by Louis XVI to give up male attire and live as a woman, something d'Eon did without complaint for the next three decades. Although celebrated as one of the century's most remarkable women, d'Eon was revealed, after his death in 1810, to have been unambiguously male. Gary Kates's acclaimed biography of d'Eon recreates eighteenth-century European society…


Book cover of Revolutionary

Kathleen DuVal Author Of Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution

From my list on the American Revolution beyond the Founding Fathers.

Who am I?

I’m a professional historian and life-long lover of early American history. My fascination with the American Revolution began during the bicentennial in 1976, when my family traveled across the country for celebrations in Williamsburg and Philadelphia. That history, though, seemed disconnected to the place I grew up—Arkansas—so when I went to graduate school in history, I researched in French and Spanish archives to learn about their eighteenth-century interactions with Arkansas’s Native nations, the Osages and Quapaws. Now I teach early American history and Native American history at UNC-Chapel Hill and have written several books on how Native American, European, and African people interacted across North America.

Kathleen's book list on the American Revolution beyond the Founding Fathers

Kathleen DuVal Why did Kathleen love this book?

Alex Myers’s Revolutionary is a novel that conveys the feel of being a soldier in the Continental Army: its hope, its horror, its boredom.

I like to assign novels in my classes, and this is the one I use in my class on the American Revolution. Its central character is Deborah Sampson, a Massachusetts indentured servant who decided to disguise herself as a man and enlist in the Continental Army. The young soldier trained, marched, fought, and made friends, all while pretending to be (and sort of becoming) “Robert Shurtliff.”

As a historian, I’m a fairly harsh judge of historical fiction that misrepresents the past, so I particularly love to find a book like Revolutionary, which is deeply researched and written in a straight-forward prose that fits the eighteenth century.

By Alex Myers,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“A remarkable novel” (The New York Times) about America’s first female soldier, Deborah Sampson Gannett, who ran away from home in 1782, successfully disguised herself as a man, and fought valiantly in the Revolutionary War.

At a time when rigid societal norms seemed absolute, Deborah Sampson risked everything in search of something better. Revolutionary, Alex Myers’s richly imagined and carefully researched debut novel, tells the story of a fierce-tempered young woman turned celebrated solider and the remarkable courage, hope, fear, and heartbreak that shaped her odyssey during the birth of a nation.

After years of indentured servitude in a sleepy…


Book cover of A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier: Some Adventures, Dangers, and Sufferings of Joseph Plumb Martin

Ray Raphael Author Of Founding Myths: Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past

From my list on deepening your view of the American Revolution.

Who am I?

When writing my first of my ten books on the Founding Era, A People’s History of the American Revolution, I came across an amazing uprising not celebrated in the traditional saga of our nation’s birth: the people of Massachusetts, everywhere outside of Boston, actually cast off British authority in 1774, the year before Lexington and Concord. How could this critical episode have been so neglected? Who’s the gatekeeper here, anyway? That’s when I began to explore how events of those times morphed into stories, and how those stories mask what actually happened—the theme of Founding Myths.  

Ray's book list on deepening your view of the American Revolution

Ray Raphael Why did Ray love this book?

If, perchance, you have yet to encounter Private Joseph Plumb Martin’s classic memoir, stop right now and get hold of a copy. With wit, charm, and telling detail, this common soldier from the Continental Army will take you on a personal journey through the Revolutionary War. Lest we forget, “history” is composed of individual experiences, and JPMs are memorable. “Great men get great praise; little men, nothing,” he wrote. “It always was so and always will be.” No, not always. This “little man” earns praise not only for himself, but for all those men and boys who put their lives on the line in the Revolutionary War.

By Joseph Plumb Martin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With a new afterword by William Chad Stanley

Here a private in the Continental Army of the Revolutionary War narrates his adventures in the army of a newborn country.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the American Revolution, the Continental Army, and cross-dressing?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the American Revolution, the Continental Army, and cross-dressing.

The American Revolution Explore 220 books about the American Revolution
The Continental Army Explore 15 books about the Continental Army
Cross-Dressing Explore 5 books about cross-dressing