10 books like Mistreated

By Nora Kenworthy,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Mistreated. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

Marc Epprecht Author Of Hungochani: The History of a Dissident Sexuality in Southern Africa

From the list on social justice in Africa.

Who am I?

I first travelled to Zimbabwe in 1984, eager both to “build scientific socialism” but also to answer two big questions. How can people proclaim rage at certain injustices yet at the same time perpetuate them against certain other people? And, could I learn to be a better (more empathetic) man than my upbringing inclined me towards? Years of teaching in the rural areas, and then becoming a father taught me “yes” to the second question but for the first, I needed to continue to pursue that knowledge with colleagues, students, mentors, friends and family. Today, my big question is, how can we push together to get these monsters of capitalism, patriarchy, homophobia, racism, and ecocide off our backs?

Marc's book list on social justice in Africa

Discover why each book is one of Marc's favorite books.

Why did Marc love this book?

The canon of anti-colonial, anti-racism writing from and about Africa includes many authors whose passion and insights are sometimes muddied by turgid or masculinist prose. For me, Rodney stands out – and stands the test of time – by the way he so masterfully weaves history into a compelling narrative that utterly demolishes the lies and conceits about supposed Western benevolence toward the continent. Scales fell from my eyes the first time (of many) I read this book. And yes, Rodney is almost as androcentric in his language, sources, and arguments as was the norm in those days. But his acknowledgment of the dignity of African women is implicit, and his discussion of the regressive elements of the colonial economy and education for African women and girls presaged a field of scholarly enquiry and activism that still intrigues me.

By Walter Rodney,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked How Europe Underdeveloped Africa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic work of political, economic, and historical analysis, powerfully introduced by Angela Davis In his short life, the Guyanese intellectual Walter Rodney emerged as one of the leading thinkers and activists of the anticolonial revolution, leading movements in North America, South America, the African continent, and the Caribbean. In each locale, Rodney found himself a lightning rod for working class Black Power. His deportation catalyzed 20th century Jamaica's most significant rebellion, the 1968 Rodney riots, and his scholarship trained a generation how to think politics at an international scale. In 1980, shortly after founding of the Working People's Alliance…


Black Bull, Ancestors and Me

By Nkunzi Zandile Nkabinde,

Book cover of Black Bull, Ancestors and Me: My Life as a Lesbian Sangoma

Marc Epprecht Author Of Hungochani: The History of a Dissident Sexuality in Southern Africa

From the list on social justice in Africa.

Who am I?

I first travelled to Zimbabwe in 1984, eager both to “build scientific socialism” but also to answer two big questions. How can people proclaim rage at certain injustices yet at the same time perpetuate them against certain other people? And, could I learn to be a better (more empathetic) man than my upbringing inclined me towards? Years of teaching in the rural areas, and then becoming a father taught me “yes” to the second question but for the first, I needed to continue to pursue that knowledge with colleagues, students, mentors, friends and family. Today, my big question is, how can we push together to get these monsters of capitalism, patriarchy, homophobia, racism, and ecocide off our backs?

Marc's book list on social justice in Africa

Discover why each book is one of Marc's favorite books.

Why did Marc love this book?

For those who study or teach about Africa, it is essential to know the pioneers of struggles for justice on the continent. African intellectuals eloquent in European languages began calling out injustices as early as the 18th century. To my mind, however, Nkabinde is a particularly impressive pioneer from the early 21st. It’s not just that African women have been routinely overlooked by historians. The very existence of African lesbians and transwomen was until very recently completely denied. Here, then, for the very first time, an African woman tells of her coming to sexual self-awareness, first as a spirit medium for a powerful male ancestor and then through modern sexual identity discourses. It is a poignant appeal to the humanistic potential of African traditional cultures when married to a universal human rights framework.

By Nkunzi Zandile Nkabinde,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Black Bull, Ancestors and Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nkunzi's urge to live and draw others into her sense of interconnectedness emerges as a consistent theme in her story. As a sangoma, Nkunzi is able to explore dimensions of her sexual identity because of her relationship with both male and female ancestors. "In Zulu culture a man must be a man and do male things and a woman must be a woman and do female things but with sangomas it is more flexible. I can dance like a woman and wear a woman's clothes and dance like a man and wear a man's clothes. I can do the work…


Catching Tadpoles

By Ronnie Kasrils,

Book cover of Catching Tadpoles: Shaping of a Young Rebel

Marc Epprecht Author Of Hungochani: The History of a Dissident Sexuality in Southern Africa

From the list on social justice in Africa.

Who am I?

I first travelled to Zimbabwe in 1984, eager both to “build scientific socialism” but also to answer two big questions. How can people proclaim rage at certain injustices yet at the same time perpetuate them against certain other people? And, could I learn to be a better (more empathetic) man than my upbringing inclined me towards? Years of teaching in the rural areas, and then becoming a father taught me “yes” to the second question but for the first, I needed to continue to pursue that knowledge with colleagues, students, mentors, friends and family. Today, my big question is, how can we push together to get these monsters of capitalism, patriarchy, homophobia, racism, and ecocide off our backs?

Marc's book list on social justice in Africa

Discover why each book is one of Marc's favorite books.

Why did Marc love this book?

This is no less than Kasril’s fourth memoir, and the one that resonates most with my own existential worries as a privileged white man. Why did a nice, working-class, Jewish boy from Johannesburg take up armed struggle against institutionalized racism? Become a cabinet minister in the country’s first democratic government devoted to expanding social welfare for Africans? Become a trenchant critic of the rot that subsequently set into the party he helped bring to power?

With profound humility and wit, Kasrils takes us through his boyhood years to reflect upon the often-humiliating process of acquiring political consciousness. He speaks to anyone with a leg up in a rigged system: it’s good to have existential doubts about your privileges. But you should still, and more importantly, you can still do the right thing.

By Ronnie Kasrils,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ronnie Kasrils's memoir reflects on compelling questions as to what turned a white youngster from a modest background into a life-long revolutionary of note. A tiny minority who abandoned a life of privilege were the antithesis of conventionality and toeing the line. What made those such as Kasrils break all the rules and confront white power with such courage, unbridled spirit and yearning for the truth?

This is a challenging and fascinating conundrum but Kasrils will claim he is no aberration of history. The answers to that question, which unravel through twenty years, will beguile readers as he peers back…


We Need New Names

By NoViolet Bulawayo,

Book cover of We Need New Names

Ellen Banda-Aaku Author Of Patchwork

From the list on about childhood that make you cry.

Who am I?

My name is Ellen Banda-Aaku a writer from Zambia and the UK. I have been writing – mainly for young adults - for many years. My latest YA book The Elephant Girl which I have co-authored with James Patterson is due in July 2022. A memorable book for me is one that haunts me long after I turn the last page even though it’s fiction. Whilst the books mentioned here are very different, I have linked them in that they have child protagonists who go through a lot of suffering through no fault of their own. That is what makes them tearjerkers.

Ellen's book list on about childhood that make you cry

Discover why each book is one of Ellen's favorite books.

Why did Ellen love this book?

Having lived in poverty and forced to grow up fast due to the hardship of life, what makes this book tragic is that when Darling the child protagonist arrives in the US, the land she dreamed of, she misses ‘home’ and her dreams don’t come true. Recommended for the author's narrative verve and its general overview of Zimbabwe through the lens of the less privileged. The lesson for me was that material comfort does not guarantee happiness. 

By NoViolet Bulawayo,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked We Need New Names as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

* Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013*

* US National Book Award 5 Under 35 *

* Winner of the Etisalat Prize 2014*

'To play the country-game, we have to choose a country. Everybody wants to be the USA and Britain and Canada and Australia and Switzerland and them. Nobody wants to be rags of countries like Congo, like Somalia, like Iraq, like Sudan, like Haiti and not even this one we live in - who wants to be a terrible place of hunger and things falling apart?'

Darling and her friends live in a shanty called Paradise, which…


And the Band Played on

By Randy Shilts,

Book cover of And the Band Played on: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic

Michael B.A. Oldstone Author Of Viruses, Plagues, and History: Past, Present, and Future

From the list on understanding how viruses cause disease.

Who am I?

Michael B.A. Oldstone was head of the Viral-Immunobiology Laboratory at The Scripps Research Institute, devoting his career to understanding viruses, the diseases they cause, and the host’s immune response to control these infections. His work led to numerous national and international awards, election to the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Medicine. Oldstone served on the SAGE executive board of the World Health Organization and as a WHO consultant for the eradication of polio and measles.

Michael's book list on understanding how viruses cause disease

Discover why each book is one of Michael's favorite books.

Why did Michael love this book?

This book characterizes the discovery and spread HIV and AIDS. Shits an investigative journalist provides an extensive look into the disease itself, the politics and politicians battling to control or ignoring the disease. Also discussed are the events that shaped the pandemic leading to its expansion or its control. 

By Randy Shilts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked And the Band Played on as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Upon its first publication more than twenty years ago, And the Band Played on was quickly recognized as a masterpiece of investigative reporting.

An international bestseller, a nominee for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and made into a critically acclaimed movie, Shilts' expose revealed why AIDS was allowed to spread unchecked during the early 80's while the most trusted institutions ignored or denied the threat. One of the few true modern classics, it changed and framed how AIDS was discussed in the following years. Now republished in a special 20th Anniversary edition, And the Band Played On remains one…


HIV & AIDS

By Alan Whiteside,

Book cover of HIV & AIDS: A Very Short Introduction

Stephanie Nolen Author Of 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa

From the list on understanding Africa’s AIDS pandemic and feeling hopeful.

Who am I?

I’m the global health reporter for The New York Times, the latest iteration in 30 years as a foreign correspondent. I’ve covered wars and humanitarian disasters, but it’s health stories that have always drawn me most. Health stories are intimate and personal, but they’re also about politics and economics, and social norms – about power. I’ve written about the Zika virus crisis in Brazil, child malnutrition in India, teen suicide in the Arctic – but no story has drawn me in and kept me riveted like Africa’s AIDS pandemic has over the past 25 years. I intend to keep reporting on it until the day a cure is found.

Stephanie's book list on understanding Africa’s AIDS pandemic and feeling hopeful

Discover why each book is one of Stephanie's favorite books.

Why did Stephanie love this book?

This book is exactly what the title promises, and a great place to start.

It’s written by a Swazi health economist who has worked on HIV in Africa for more than 30 years; I have learned a lot from Whiteside and his research over my years of covering this issue. The book looks at the biology and epidemiology of HIV, and also at all the ways it shapes societies.

Whiteside takes complicated concepts of population dynamics, sexual networking, AIDS, and geopolitical security and explains them briskly, clearly, concisely. His focus is the global AIDS epidemic, but his own work and the book are both deeply rooted in Africa.

By Alan Whiteside,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 2008 it was believed that HIV/AIDS was without doubt the worst epidemic to hit humankind since the Black Death. The first case was identified in 1981; by 2004 it was estimated that about 40 million people were living with the disease, and about 20 million had died. Yet the outlook today is a little brighter. Although HIV/ AIDS continues to be a pressing public health issue the epidemic has stabilised globally, and it has become evident it is not, nor will it be, a
global issue. The worst affected regions are southern and eastern Africa. Elsewhere, HIV is found…


Sizwe's Test

By Jonny Steinberg,

Book cover of Sizwe's Test: A Young Man's Journey Through Africa's AIDS Epidemic

Stephanie Nolen Author Of 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa

From the list on understanding Africa’s AIDS pandemic and feeling hopeful.

Who am I?

I’m the global health reporter for The New York Times, the latest iteration in 30 years as a foreign correspondent. I’ve covered wars and humanitarian disasters, but it’s health stories that have always drawn me most. Health stories are intimate and personal, but they’re also about politics and economics, and social norms – about power. I’ve written about the Zika virus crisis in Brazil, child malnutrition in India, teen suicide in the Arctic – but no story has drawn me in and kept me riveted like Africa’s AIDS pandemic has over the past 25 years. I intend to keep reporting on it until the day a cure is found.

Stephanie's book list on understanding Africa’s AIDS pandemic and feeling hopeful

Discover why each book is one of Stephanie's favorite books.

Why did Stephanie love this book?

Steinberg is one of South Africa’s great writers of narrative non-fiction; his work is oddly little known outside his home country and it was of huge value to me when I discovered it, not long after I moved to Johannesburg.

This book tracks the progress of a testing and treatment program in Lusikisiki, which had one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world. Part of the story is told through the eyes of a white doctor who expects that, once treatment is there, everyone will seek it out – and a young Black man named Sizwe, clever and successful, who shows all the reasons why HIV response is not as simple as opening up a clinic.

Steinberg’s book probes into some of the messier, less-well-understood dynamics that have driven the pandemic, and features voices rarely heard outside a community like Lusikisiki.

By Jonny Steinberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At the age of twenty-nine, Sizwe Magadla is among the most handsome, well-educated, and richest of the men in his poverty-stricken village. Dr. Hermann Reuter, a son of old South West African stock, wants to show the world that if you provide decent treatment, people will come and get it, no matter their circumstances.

Sizwe and Hermann live at the epicenter of the greatest plague of our times, the African AIDS epidemic. In South Africa alone, nearly 6 million people in a population of 46 million are HIV-positive. Already, Sizwe has watched several neighbors grow ill and die, yet he…


To End a Plague

By Emily Bass,

Book cover of To End a Plague: America's Fight to Defeat AIDS in Africa

Stephanie Nolen Author Of 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa

From the list on understanding Africa’s AIDS pandemic and feeling hopeful.

Who am I?

I’m the global health reporter for The New York Times, the latest iteration in 30 years as a foreign correspondent. I’ve covered wars and humanitarian disasters, but it’s health stories that have always drawn me most. Health stories are intimate and personal, but they’re also about politics and economics, and social norms – about power. I’ve written about the Zika virus crisis in Brazil, child malnutrition in India, teen suicide in the Arctic – but no story has drawn me in and kept me riveted like Africa’s AIDS pandemic has over the past 25 years. I intend to keep reporting on it until the day a cure is found.

Stephanie's book list on understanding Africa’s AIDS pandemic and feeling hopeful

Discover why each book is one of Stephanie's favorite books.

Why did Stephanie love this book?

I’m going to say right off the top that this book is not well written: it’s turgid and florid and hard to follow. But it’s also recent, unlike most of the books on my list, and it’s the first comprehensive accounting of PEPFAR, the extraordinary US intervention into the African pandemic.

It’s impossible to understand the huge shift in the dynamic of the pandemic without understanding how massively George Bush’s decision to support HIV treatment in Africa changed – well, everything – and Bass is the first writer to try to really dig into that story.

By Emily Bass,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To End a Plague as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Randy Shilts and Laurie Garrett told the story of the HIV/AIDS epidemic through the late 1980s and the early 1990s, respectively. Now journalist-historian-activist Emily Bass tells the story of US engagement in HIV/AIDS control in sub-Saharan Africa. There is far to go on the path, but Bass tells us how far we've come." -Sten H. Vermund, professor and dean, Yale School of Public Health

With his 2003 announcement of a program known as PEPFAR, George W. Bush launched an astonishingly successful American war against a global pandemic. PEPFAR played a key role in slashing HIV cases and AIDS deaths in…


Contagious

By Priscilla Wald,

Book cover of Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative

Andrea Kitta Author Of The Kiss of Death: Contagion, Contamination, and Folklore

From the list on reads before the next pandemic.

Who am I?

I’ve been interested in medicine and how stories influence the decisions that people make for as long as I can remember. Watching family and friends make choices about their own healthcare was always fascinated to me and I was always curious as to why some narratives had more staying power than others. After getting my BA in history, I was lucky enough to talk to someone who suggested that I study folklore. I ended up with both a MA and PhD in folklore and became a professor who studies the intersection of folklore and how it affects the medical decisions we all make in our own lives and the lives of others. 

Andrea's book list on reads before the next pandemic

Discover why each book is one of Andrea's favorite books.

Why did Andrea love this book?

This is an amazing book if you want to understand that disease isn’t just medical, it’s also cultural.

Contagious really describes how culture influences how we understand illness and how that affects treatment and care of individuals, including who we blame and how we understand risk.

People like to think of medicine and science as being detached and objective, but this book shows that simply isn’t true. 

By Priscilla Wald,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How should we understand the fear and fascination elicited by the accounts of communicable disease outbreaks that proliferated, following the emergence of HIV, in scientific publications and the mainstream media? The repetition of particular characters, images, and story lines-of Patients Zero and superspreaders, hot zones and tenacious microbes-produced a formulaic narrative as they circulated through the media and were amplified in popular fiction and film. The "outbreak narrative" begins with the identification of an emerging infection, follows it through the global networks of contact and contagion, and ends with the epidemiological work that contains it. Priscilla Wald argues that we…


The Virus Touch

By Bishnupriya Ghosh,

Book cover of The Virus Touch: Theorizing Epidemic Media

Marika Cifor Author Of Viral Cultures: Activist Archiving in the Age of AIDS

From the list on how to have sex in an epidemic.

Who am I?

Amidst COVID-19, HIV/AIDS is a touchpoint for journalists, scholars, writers, and a public who seek a usable past in understanding the present and making an uncertain future less so. The challenge of how to love, live, and survive amidst pandemics isn't new, I play here on the title of one of the first safer sex books, How to Have Sex in an Epidemic. As someone who studies how activists document their work and how they bring those materials to life today, I'm both fascinated and troubled by pandemic comparisons. These books offer crucial stories and productive tools to think with as we navigate questions of how to survive, and maybe even thrive amidst intersecting pandemics. 

Marika's book list on how to have sex in an epidemic

Discover why each book is one of Marika's favorite books.

Why did Marika love this book?

One of the best academic books written at convergence of the HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 pandemics is The Virus Touch.

Here, Bishnupriya Ghosh showcases how “epidemic media” inform how epidemics are understood and experienced—making this text so relevant right now. She looks at how media—images, numbers, and digital models—whether generated by scientists, artists, or activists enable us to see and understand viruses and bear witness to their effects in new ways.

What is unique about Ghosh’s scholarship is how looks to the environment to study health which illustrates the complex and tangled relationships between epidemics, humans, animals, and media. Ghosh’s rich examples, ranging from modelling viruses to reading test results to tracking infection rates and mortality numbers, ensure that Virus Touch speaks to diverse readers.

By Bishnupriya Ghosh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Virus Touch Bishnupriya Ghosh argues that media are central to understanding emergent relations between viruses, humans, and nonhuman life. Writing in the shadow of the HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 global pandemics, Ghosh theorizes "epidemic media" to show how epidemics are mediated in images, numbers, and movements through the processes of reading test results and tracking infection and mortality rates. Scientific, artistic, and activist epidemic media that make multispecies relations sensible and manageable eschew anthropocentric survival strategies and instead recast global public health crises as biological, social, and ecological catastrophes, pushing us toward a multispecies politics of health. Ghosh trains…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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