100 books like Our History Is the Future

By Nick Estes,

Here are 100 books that Our History Is the Future fans have personally recommended if you like Our History Is the Future. 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 All Our Relations: Indigenous Trauma in the Shadow of Colonialism

Caroline Dodds Pennock Author Of On Savage Shores: How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe

From my list on the Indigenous histories of North America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a historian of the Indigenous world for more than two decades, but I have learned so much since I expanded my perspective from Mesoamerica and the Aztec-Mexica into the wider history of Native peoples. There are literally hundreds of Indigenous communities across the world and so there is always more to learn. I have been incredibly privileged to learn by listening to Indigenous people – in person, in print, and on digital and social media. I hope these books can offer some starting points to set you on a similar journey of discovery, opening up some new ways of thinking and of seeing both the past and the present.

Caroline's book list on the Indigenous histories of North America

Caroline Dodds Pennock Why did Caroline love this book?

A Canadian of Polish and Ojibwe descent, you can tell that Talaga is an experienced journalist, as this moving book is a combination of clear narrative and incisive research.

Starting with Canada, but then widening her lens to Indigenous communities across the world, Talaga shows how the violence of colonialism, the rupture from land and community, and the loss of heritage – compounded by socioeconomic deprivation – has resulted in an epidemic of youth suicide and generational trauma across Indigenous communities.

Talaga’s analysis is devastating, but also gives hope of a possible future reconciliation, through examples of resilience and the recovery of Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

By Tanya Talaga,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The world's Indigenous communities are fighting to live and dying too young. In this vital and incisive work, Tanya Talaga explores intergenerational trauma and the alarming rise of youth suicide.

From Northern Ontario to Nunavut, Norway, Brazil, Australia, and the United States, the Indigenous experience in colonised nations is startlingly similar and deeply disturbing. It is an experience marked by the violent separation of Peoples from the land, the separation of families, and the separation of individuals from traditional ways of life - all of which has culminated in a spiritual separation that has had an enduring impact on generations…


Book cover of The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America

Caroline Dodds Pennock Author Of On Savage Shores: How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe

From my list on the Indigenous histories of North America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a historian of the Indigenous world for more than two decades, but I have learned so much since I expanded my perspective from Mesoamerica and the Aztec-Mexica into the wider history of Native peoples. There are literally hundreds of Indigenous communities across the world and so there is always more to learn. I have been incredibly privileged to learn by listening to Indigenous people – in person, in print, and on digital and social media. I hope these books can offer some starting points to set you on a similar journey of discovery, opening up some new ways of thinking and of seeing both the past and the present.

Caroline's book list on the Indigenous histories of North America

Caroline Dodds Pennock Why did Caroline love this book?

Andrés Reséndez estimates that between 2.4 and 4.9 million Indigenous Americans were enslaved between 1492 and 1900, a statistic that will shock many people, as the history of Native enslavement in the Americas barely seems to have touched the popular imagination.

This book, accessibly written but based on meticulous research, is absolutely essential reading, as it returns this ‘other slavery’ to its rightful place in our understandings of Indigenous, American, and global history.

By Andres Resendez,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Since the time of Columbus, Indian slavery was illegal in much of the American continent. Yet, as historian Andres Resendez illuminates in The Other Slavery, it was practiced for centuries as an open secret. There was no abolitionist movement to protect the tens of thousands of natives who were kidnapped and enslaved by the conquistadors and later forced to serve as domestics for Mormons and rich Anglos, or to descend into the "mouth of hell" of eighteenth-century silver mines, where, if they didn't die quickly from cave-ins, they would die slowly from silica in their lungs. Resendez builds the incisive,…


Book cover of The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present

David B. Allison Author Of Controversial Monuments and Memorials: A Guide for Community Leaders

From my list on memory that make you question how you see the past.

Why am I passionate about this?

Memory is capricious and impacts our view of the past. That’s why I do what I do! I am a twenty-year museum professional who began my career at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, worked at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science for almost ten years, and am now part of the Arts & History department at the City and County of Broomfield. I have designed and developed programs and events, as well as managed teams in each of these stops. I seek to illuminate stories, elevate critical voices, and advocate for equity through the unique pathways of the arts, history, and museum magic.

David's book list on memory that make you question how you see the past

David B. Allison Why did David love this book?

Dee Brown’s landmark 1970 book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee provided a beautiful and much-needed antidote to the ‘march of the pioneers’ and Manifest Destiny narratives that held sway over much of the history of the western United States from 1850s-1890.

Over time, however, Brown’s book (and more specifically the massacre at Wounded Knee) became calcified as the ‘end point’ of histories about indigenous people. Treuer challenges this perspective by showcasing native resistance, resilience, and flourishing in the wake of Wounded Knee. Indigenous history is deep, varied, and filled with fascinating people and events—Treuer shows us how to find hope and joy in history even though there is also profound pain.

By David Treuer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

FINALIST FOR THE 2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2020 ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Named a best book of 2019 by The New York Times, TIME, The Washington Post, NPR, Hudson Booksellers, The New York Public Library, The Dallas Morning News, and Library Journal.

"Chapter after chapter, it's like one shattered myth after another." - NPR

"An informed, moving and kaleidoscopic portrait... Treuer's powerful book suggests the need for soul-searching about the meanings of American history and the stories we tell ourselves about this nation's past.." - New York Times Book Review, front…


Book cover of Becoming Kin: An Indigenous Call to Unforgetting the Past and Reimagining Our Future

Caroline Dodds Pennock Author Of On Savage Shores: How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe

From my list on the Indigenous histories of North America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a historian of the Indigenous world for more than two decades, but I have learned so much since I expanded my perspective from Mesoamerica and the Aztec-Mexica into the wider history of Native peoples. There are literally hundreds of Indigenous communities across the world and so there is always more to learn. I have been incredibly privileged to learn by listening to Indigenous people – in person, in print, and on digital and social media. I hope these books can offer some starting points to set you on a similar journey of discovery, opening up some new ways of thinking and of seeing both the past and the present.

Caroline's book list on the Indigenous histories of North America

Caroline Dodds Pennock Why did Caroline love this book?

In this humane call to action, Anishnaabe author Patty Krawec combines an accessible introduction to the European invasion of the Americas with practical suggestions for grappling with these histories and their legacy.

Weaving the stories of her ancestors with personal accounts and historical context, Krawec makes a case for how Christian and Indigenous worldviews can become compatible, and makes suggestions for how we can all become better kin to each other. I devoured this book and have been recommending it to everyone ever since.

By Patty Krawec,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

We find our way forward by going back.

The invented history of the Western world is crumbling fast, Anishinaabe writer Patty Krawec says, but we can still honor the bonds between us. Settlers dominated and divided, but Indigenous peoples won't just send them all "home."

Weaving her own story with the story of her ancestors and with the broader themes of creation, replacement, and disappearance, Krawec helps readers see settler colonialism through the eyes of an Indigenous writer. Settler colonialism tried to force us into one particular way of living, but the old ways of kinship can help us imagine…


Book cover of Standoff: Standing Rock, the Bundy Movement, and the American Story of Sacred Lands

Adam M. Sowards Author Of Making America's Public Lands: The Contested History of Conservation on Federal Lands

From my list on bringing the public into the public lands.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started studying public lands by accident in the 1990s for a class project before I really knew what they even were. Since then, I've published hundreds of thousands of words about them, including my latest book Making America’s Public Lands where I’ve brought together much of what I’ve learned. I’m convinced the national forests, parks, rangelands, and refuges are among the most interesting and important experiments in democracy we have. I'm a writer, historian, and former college professor who now calls the Skagit Valley of Washington home. As much as I enjoy studying the public lands, I've appreciated hiking, sleeping, teaching, and noticing things in them even more.

Adam's book list on bringing the public into the public lands

Adam M. Sowards Why did Adam love this book?

Whose lands are these? Jacqueline Keeler squarely addresses the nature of American lands in her investigative and personal account of two 2016 standoffs: the Bundy family’s (and allies’) takeover at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s (and allies’) protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. For each standoff, Keeler shows how competing stories animated the actors in their understanding of past and future, as well as the reactions to them. Her account powerfully forced me to reckon with the sacredness of land in the traditions of myriad Americans. Standoff brings intellectual enrichment and moral outrage in equal measure; that’s hard to beat! 

By Jacqueline Keeler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A powerful, illuminating book."

—LOUISE ERDRICH, author of The Night Watchman

Native young people and elders pray in sweat lodges at the Océti Sakówin camp, the North Dakota landscape outside blanketed in snow. In Oregon, white men and women in army surplus and western gear, some draped in the American flag, gather in the buildings of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. The world witnessed two standoffs in 2016: the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's protest against an oil pipeline in North Dakota and the armed takeover of Oregon's Malheur Wildlife Refuge led by the Bundy family. These events unfolded in vastly different…


Book cover of As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock

Tanja Hester Author Of Wallet Activism: How to Use Every Dollar You Spend, Earn, and Save as a Force for Change

From my list on to equip you to fight for change.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent 20+ years working on the question of how social and environmental change happens, from my long-time career in progressive politics to my current work writing about the most pressing issues of our time through an economic lens, and occasionally talking about them on my podcast, also called Wallet Activism. So I know well how intimidating it can feel to get involved, whether it’s worrying your voice isn’t needed (trust me, it is!) or not knowing the nuts and bolts of where to start. But we have so much power when we act collectively, and I want you to feel personally invited to take action.

Tanja's book list on to equip you to fight for change

Tanja Hester Why did Tanja love this book?

Sure, you can read lots of environmental books by non-Indigenous writers about the climate crisis, and some of them even offer a solution or two! But Dina’s book, which chronicles the intertwined histories of colonization against Indigenous peoples in the Americas and widespread environmental injustice, paints a much fuller picture of the problems we’re facing and their origins and offers a range of helpful models for fighting back against the entities who’ve created the climate crisis and now refuse to act to address it.

By Dina Gilio-Whitaker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked As Long as Grass Grows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of Native peoples’ resistance to environmental injustice and land incursions, and a call for environmentalists to learn from the Indigenous community’s rich history of activism

Through the unique lens of “Indigenized environmental justice,” Indigenous researcher and activist Dina Gilio-Whitaker explores the fraught history of treaty violations, struggles for food and water security, and protection of sacred sites, while highlighting the important leadership of Indigenous women in this centuries-long struggle. As Long As Grass Grows gives readers an accessible history of Indigenous resistance to government and corporate incursions on their lands and offers new approaches to environmental justice activism…


Book cover of Clean and White: A History of Environmental Racism in the United States

Nancy C. Unger Author Of Beyond Nature's Housekeepers: American Women in Environmental History

From my list on American environmental history.

Why am I passionate about this?

History is my passion as well as my profession. I love a good story! When I was teaching courses in environmental history and women’s history, I kept noticing the intriguing intersections, which inspired me to write Beyond Nature’s Housekeepers. Most of my work focuses on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (1877-1920) and includes two award-winning biographies, Fighting Bob La Follette and Belle La Follette Progressive Era Reformer. I’m also the co-editor of A Companion to the Gilded Age and Progressive Era and have written dozens of op-eds and give public talks (some of which can be found in the C-SPAN online library and on YouTube). 

Nancy's book list on American environmental history

Nancy C. Unger Why did Nancy love this book?

The environmental justice movement grew out of recognition of the disproportionate environmental burdens faced by low-income communities, including many communities of color. Zimring provides a detailed and compelling analysis of the long history of environmental racism that the environmental justice movement seeks to remedy. He reveals how ideas about race, hygiene, and waste have shaped where and how people (including Native Americans, immigrant groups, and African Americans) have lived and worked.

By Carl A. Zimring,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Clean and White offers a history of environmental racism in the United States focusing on constructions of race and hygiene
When Joe Biden attempted to compliment Barack Obama by calling him "clean and articulate," he unwittingly tapped into one of the most destructive racial stereotypes in American history. This book tells the history of the corrosive idea that whites are clean and those who are not white are dirty. From the age of Thomas Jefferson to the Memphis Public Workers strike of 1968 through the present day, ideas about race and waste have shaped where people have lived, where people…


Book cover of Defining Environmental Justice: Theories, Movements, and Nature

Paul Ong Author Of Uneven Urbanscape: Spatial Structures and Ethnoracial Inequality

From my list on the underlying foundation of racialized spaces.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an engaged scholar fighting racism. As a person of color, an Asian American raised in Chinatown and a low-income Black neighborhood, the fight is personal. My parents and those before them suffered from and struggled against discriminatory immigration laws that fractured and separated family members. My research and publications as a university professor are tools for exposing and redressing racial injustices, producing and sharing knowledge that leads to reconciliation and restorative justice.  

Paul's book list on the underlying foundation of racialized spaces

Paul Ong Why did Paul love this book?

Schlosberg covers the environment as an important sphere for societal inequalities, including those along racial lines.

People of color bear a disproportionate share of air, water, and land pollution and risk being left behind as the United States transitions to renewable energy in response to climate change.

Much of the inequality is anchored in stratified places. The author not only summarizes the existing literature on this, but also provides a very useful overview of the major justice paradigms as it applies to the environment.

By David Schlosberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book will appeal to anyone interested in environmental politics, environmental movements, and justice theory.

The basic task of this book is to explore what, exactly, is meant by 'justice' in definitions of environmental and ecological justice. It examines how the term is used in both self-described environmental justice movements and in theories of environmental and ecological justice. The central argument is that a theory and practice of environmental justice necessarily includes distributive conceptions of justice, but must also embrace notions of justice based in recognition, capabilities, and
participation. Throughout, the goal is the development of a broad, multi-faceted, yet…


Book cover of Pests in the City: Flies, Bedbugs, Cockroaches, and Rats

Christopher Michael Blakley Author Of Empire of Brutality: Enslaved People and Animals in the British Atlantic World

From my list on animal and environmental history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a scholar of environmental history with a focus on human-animal relationships. I’ve also studied the histories of slavery and the African Diaspora, and in my book I’ve fused approaches from these two fields to look at how human-animal relations and networks shaped the expansion of slavery and slave trading from West Africa to the Caribbean in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. My scholarship is also an outgrowth of my teaching, and I regularly teach American environmental and cultural history at California State University, Northridge. I finished my PhD in history at Rutgers University, and my research has recently been funded by the Special Collections Research Center at the College of William & Mary.

Christopher's book list on animal and environmental history

Christopher Michael Blakley Why did Christopher love this book?

Pests like cockroaches, rats, ants, and fleas are social constructions, meaning they are only pests to humans because they often outcompete humans for space, food, and shelter.

Dawn Day Biehler’s book further shows that pests and urban infestations of animals categorized as pests reinforced racist ideas about “dirty” communities in cities like New York and Chicago.

By Dawn Day Biehler,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Pests in the City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From tenements to alleyways to latrines, twentieth-century American cities created spaces where pests flourished and people struggled for healthy living conditions. In Pests in the City, Dawn Day Biehler argues that the urban ecologies that supported pests were shaped not only by the physical features of cities but also by social inequalities, housing policies, and ideas about domestic space.

Community activists and social reformers strived to control pests in cities such as Washington, DC, Chicago, Baltimore, New York, and Milwaukee, but such efforts fell short when authorities blamed families and neighborhood culture for infestations rather than attacking racial segregation or…


Book cover of Of Modern Extraction: Experiments in Critical Petro-theology

Larry L. Rasmussen Author Of The Planet You Inherit: Letters to My Grandchildren When Uncertainty's a Sure Thing

From my list on wisdom amid planetary uncertainty.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been engaged as a teacher of religion and ecology since the first Earth Day 50 years ago. That has entailed writing some prize-winning books, Earth Community, Earth Ethics (1996) and Earth-honoring Faith: Religious Ethics in a New Key (2013). Now I want to pass along distilled learnings to my grandchildren as they face a planet in tumult. The form—love letters—and the audience—future generations as represented by my grandkids—moves me to focus on effective communication of a highly personal sort to young people on matters vital to their lives. It’s a nice bookend near the end of my own life.

Larry's book list on wisdom amid planetary uncertainty

Larry L. Rasmussen Why did Larry love this book?

This work is one in the series of Explorations in Theology, Gender, and Ecology. Its distinction is a deep dive into the religious, ecological and gender dimensions of the modern fossil-fuel extractive economy that has become destructive of nature’s economy and human well-being at the same time that it has captured our way of life. Rowe takes the reader into the gender and theological underpinnings of corporate capitalism, thereby contributing to an emerging field of study, the Energy Humanities. Of Modern Extraction is cutting-edge work by a lucid writer who rewards anyone patient enough to take on this vital but complex topic.

By Terra Schwerin Rowe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Predominant climate change narratives emphasize a global emissions problem, while diagnoses of environmental crises have long focused a modern loss of meaning, value, and enchantment in nature. Yet neither of these common portrayals of environmental emergency adequately account for the ways climate change is rooted in extractivisms that have been profoundly enchanted.

The proposed critical petro-theology analyzes the current energy driven climate crisis through critical gender, race, decolonial, and postsecular lenses. Both predominant narratives obscure the entanglements of bodies and energy: how energy concepts and practices have consistently delineated genres of humanity and how energy systems and technologies have shaped…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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