100 books like Our Man

By George Packer,

Here are 100 books that Our Man fans have personally recommended if you like Our Man. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Quiet American

David Hagerty Author Of They Tell Me You Are Wicked

From my list on political crime fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Chicago in the waning days of Mayor Richard J. Daley’s machine, which politicized everything from schools to loading zones. Everyone—whether they were civil servants or small business owners—had to pledge loyalty to Da Boss, Hizzoner, or suffer the consequences. As a result, I’ve always gravitated to crime stories with a political element, one showing the effects of big conflicts on regular people. And I’ve written about the same. 

David's book list on political crime fiction

David Hagerty Why did David love this book?

Before the U.S. entered the war in Vietnam, Graham Greene forecast its disastrous consequences. His love triangle, set amid the escalating conflict, perfectly captures the naiveté of American interventionism overseas. I love the subtext of the tale, which is narrated by an embittered British journalist. Although it’s never spoken, we intuit that he is addicted to opium and living the life of a dissolute expatriate. Fowler watches in horror as a U.S. diplomat tries to steal both the woman and the country he has adopted. He claims impartiality and indifference until he cannot any longer.

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Quiet American as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Graham Greene's classic exploration of love, innocence, and morality in Vietnam

"I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused," Graham Greene's narrator Fowler remarks of Alden Pyle, the eponymous "Quiet American" of what is perhaps the most controversial novel of his career. Pyle is the brash young idealist sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission to Saigon, where the French Army struggles against the Vietminh guerrillas.

As young Pyle's well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But…

Book cover of The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms And The CIA

John D. Marks Author Of The Search for the Manchurian Candidate: The CIA and Mind Control: The Secret History of the Behavioral Sciences

From my list on national security in the USA.

Why am I passionate about this?

John Marks is co-author of The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, a New York Times best-seller in hard-cover and paperback. He has written for the Washington Post, New York Times, Playboy, Foreign Policy, and Rolling Stone. He was the founder and long-time President of Search for Common Ground, the world’s largest peacebuilding organization that was nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.

John's book list on national security in the USA

John D. Marks Why did John love this book?

This is a great book about former CIA Director Richard Helms and the agency he directed.  Helms was the quintessential CIA man, and Powers tells the story of his 30-year career in spying in this beautifully written book, which somehow captures both Helms’ elusiveness and his essence.

By Thomas Powers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Man Who Kept the Secrets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An account of the thirty-year career of the quintessential CIA man details his activities and attitudes as an intelligence agent and official and reveals--objectively and comprehensively--the workings of the CIA itself

Book cover of A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam

G. Wayne Miller Author Of Unfit to Print: A Modern Media Satire

From my list on an important moment or time in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been passionate about journalism since I was a teenager, when I became the co-editor of my high school newspaper. My career as a full-time journalist began decades ago, at a small family-owned newspaper in Berkshire County, Mass., and continued through staff writer positions at The Cape Cod Times, Providence Journal and now at OceanStateStories.org, the new non-profit news outlet based at Salve Regina University’s Pell Center in Newport, R.I., that I co-founded and now direct. So I have the long and inside view of American journalism!

G.'s book list on an important moment or time in history

G. Wayne Miller Why did G. love this book?

This is the definitive account of the debacle that was the Vietnam War by New York Times reporter Neil Sheehan, who also obtained the Pentagon Papers from Daniel Ellsberg.

For A Bright Shining Lie, published in 1988, Sheehan won a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award. It’s worth mentioning that another Pulitzer-winning New York Times reporter, C. J. Chivers, wrote a related and equally powerful book, 2018’s The Fighters, about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

By Neil Sheehan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Bright Shining Lie as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Outspoken, professional and fearless, Lt. Col. John Paul Vann went to Vietnam in 1962, full of confidence in America's might and right to prevail. He was soon appalled by the South Vietnamese troops' unwillingness to fight, by their random slaughter of civilians and by the arrogance and corruption of the US military. He flouted his supervisors and leaked his sharply pessimistic - and, as it turned out, accurate - assessments to the US press corps in Saigon. Among them was Sheehan, who became fascinated by the angry Vann, befriended him and followed his tragic and reckless career.

Sixteen years in…

Book cover of Reporter: A Memoir

Maurice Possley Author Of Hitler in the Crosshairs: A GI's Story of Courage and Faith

From my list on true stories with meaning and power.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who has worked for the past 10 years as the senior researcher for the National Registry of Exonerations. In that capacity, I have written nearly 2,500 individual accounts of men and women and teenagers who were wrongly convicted of crimes they did not commit. Some of them were sentenced to death. I have seen and written about these tragedies firsthand.

Maurice's book list on true stories with meaning and power

Maurice Possley Why did Maurice love this book?

Seymour Hersh is one of the journalistic giants of the last century. His reporting has exposed wrongs all over the globe—from Viet Nam to the Middle East to Washington, D.C. The book contains previously unreported details on an array of stories, including the My Lai massacre and the torture at Abu Ghraib. Must reading for journalists and anyone interested in history.

By Seymour M. Hersh,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Reporter is just wonderful. Truly a great life, and what shines out of the book, amid the low cunning and tireless legwork, is Hersh's warmth and humanity. Essential reading for every journalist and aspiring journalist the world over' John le Carre

In the early 1950s, teenage Seymour Hersh was finishing high school and university - while running the family's struggling dry cleaning store in a Southside Chicago ghetto. Today, he is one of America's premier investigative journalists, whose fearless reporting has earned him fame, front-page bylines in virtually every newspaper in the world, a staggering collection of awards, and no…

Book cover of Peacemakers in Action: Volume 2: Profiles in Religious Peacebuilding

Georgette F. Bennett Ph.D. Author Of Religicide: Confronting the Roots of Anti-Religious Violence

From my list on human rights that focus on religion.

Why am I passionate about this?

Between us, we’ve been in the interreligious relations business for a combined 50 years. We started working together when Jerry was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under President Barack Obama. In 2015, we were both invited by Prince Ghazi of Jordan to join other interreligious leaders to advance a UN resolution defining and taking a stand against religicide. That resolution never made it to the Security Council. But we joined forces to sound the alarm about religicide. We wrote our book in the hope of inspiring an international campaign to end this killing in the name of God – or being killed because of your God.   

Georgette's book list on human rights that focus on religion

Georgette F. Bennett Ph.D. Why did Georgette love this book?

With all that has been written about religion as a cause of violence, here are two volumes of case studies about how religion is used by individuals on the ground to stop violence. The case studies feature the heroic individuals in the Peacemakers in Action Network of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding. They operate in conflict zones around the world and this book reveals the methods and techniques they use to transform conflicts. I founded Tanenbaum in 1992 and this signature program was inspired and guided by the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke.

By Joyce S. Dubensky (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Every day, men and women risk their lives to stop violence in religiously charged conflicts around the world. You may not know their names - but you should. Peacemakers in Action, Volume 2 provides a window into the triumphs, risks, failures, and lessons learned of eight remarkable, religiously motivated peacemakers including: * A Methodist bishop in the Democratic Republic of the Congo who confronts armed warlords on his front lawn * A Christian who travels to Syria to coordinate medical aid and rebuild postwar communities * A Muslim woman, not knowing how Kabul's imams will react, arrives to train them…

Book cover of Strangers and Brothers

Robin Hawdon Author Of Number Ten

From my list on lone heroes and threats to national security.

Why am I passionate about this?

My writing is eclectic and covers many topics. However, all my books tend to have a thriller element to them. Perhaps it's my career as an actor and playwright which has instilled the need to create suspense in all my writings. I sometimes feel that distinguished authors can get so carried away with their literary descriptions and philosophical insights that they forget to keep the story going! It is the need to know what happens next that keeps the reader turning the pages. Perhaps in achieving that some subtlety has to be sacrificed, but, hey, you don't read a political thriller to study the philosophical problems of governing nations!

Robin's book list on lone heroes and threats to national security

Robin Hawdon Why did Robin love this book?

This is an almost forgotten series of books which had a huge impact back in the 1950s and 60s, depicting as they did in fictional form the inside story of politics, science, and academia in Britain at the time. Snow was himself a distinguished chemist and academic, who often acted as an advisor to the UK government. He used his experience and inside knowledge of the corridors of power (a phrase which he coined) to brilliant effect in his novels. Again, as with the previous authors I have mentioned, it is that detail that comes with direct experience of the subject matter, and the personalities involved, which renders the writing authentic and captivates the reader.

By C.P. Snow,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Contains: The Masters, The New Men, Homecomings, and The Affair.

Book cover of Chronology of a Coverup, 1941-1973

DC Alden Author Of The Angola Deception

From my list on coverups and conspiracies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been a voracious reader, and from an early age I was drawn to military, political, and science fiction thrillers because they explored a world of black operations, ruthless cabals, and clandestine government programmes. Later, I discovered that such a world exists, one where the military-industrial complex exerts enormous power and influence, a world of secretive global agendas, of dark actors controlling corrupt politicians, and cold-blooded military contractors, their allegiances no longer tied to any national flag but to mega-wealth cabals, offshore accounts, and vast pension funds. A world of shadows, where the light rarely shines, and the truth remains hidden. A truth often stranger than fiction.

DC's book list on coverups and conspiracies

DC Alden Why did DC love this book?

The first of a two-book series by accomplished historian Richard Dolan, this volume explores a bizarre and mystifying phenomenon that has fascinated me since I was a young boy, and later inspired me to write my own sci-fi thriller. In his book, Dolan proves beyond doubt that the CIA, NSA, FBI, and the USAF held a far deeper interest in the subject than publicly stated, an interest that often bordered on fear when mysterious, intelligently controlled aircraft violated US-restricted airspace at will. And continue to do so. Well-researched and meticulously referenced, Dolan’s series should be enough to convince the die-hard sceptics that whatever is travelling across our skies, it is beyond our current understanding. 

By Richard Dolan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chronology of a Coverup, 1941-1973 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Richard M. Dolan is a gifted historian whose study of U.S. Cold War strategy led him to the broader context of increased security measures and secrecy since World War II. One aspect of such government policies that has continued to hold the public's imagination for over half a century is the question of unidentified flying objects.

UFOs and the National Security State is the first volume of a two-part detailed chronological narrative of the national security dimensions of the UFO phenomenon from 1941 to the present. Working from hundreds of declassified records and other primary and secondary sources, Dolan centers…

Book cover of Threat on the Horizon: An Inside Account of America's Search for Security After the Cold War

David P. Oakley Author Of Subordinating Intelligence: The DoD/CIA Post-Cold War Relationship

From my list on history, personalities, activities of intelligence.

Why am I passionate about this?

My fascination with intelligence studies is tied to my previous experience as a practitioner. While serving as a military officer and CIA officer, I became curious about how two organizations with a shared history could be so different. Exploring the “why” of the CIA/DoD differences led me to the broader interplay of organizational cultures, individuals, and missions in influencing the evolution of intelligence, its purpose, and its role. These five books will provide the reader a broader appreciation of how intelligence was used to help policymakers understand reality and how intelligence organizations have been used to try to change reality. You will not merely learn something about intelligence but will be entertained and engaged while doing so. 

David's book list on history, personalities, activities of intelligence

David P. Oakley Why did David love this book?

The decade between the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the Global War of Terrorism was a decade of uncertainty for the U.S. intelligence community and an important part of intelligence history. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the reduction in national security budgets raised numerous questions about the purpose, focus, and funding of intelligence organizations during the 1990s. Loch Johnson’s book is an excellent and essential read to understand this period. One of the foremost intelligence scholars, Johnson also served on the Aspin-Brown Commission that considered the future of U.S. intelligence after the Cold War (he also previously served on the 1975 Church and Pike Commission). A commission covered extensively in this book.

By Loch K. Johnson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Aspin-Brown Commission of 1995-1996, led by former U.S. Defense Secretaries Les Aspin and Harold Brown, was a landmark inquiry into the activities of America's secret agencies. The purpose of the commission was to help the Central Intelligence Agency and other organizations in the U.S. intelligence community adapt to the quite different world that had emerged after the end of the Cold War in 1991.

In The Threat on the Horizon, eminent national security scholar Loch K. Johnson, who served as Aspin's assistant, offers a comprehensive insider's account of this inquiry. Based on a close sifting of government documents and…

Book cover of All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon's Perspective on Climate Change

Erik D. Curren Author Of The Solar Patriot: A Citizen's Guide to Helping America Win Clean Energy Independence

From my list on solving the climate crisis.

Why am I passionate about this?

Drawing on my own experience as a local elected official and citizen lobbyist at all levels of government, I write books to help get citizens involved in the biggest challenges of our day. As an activist for clean energy, I wanted to write an easy-to-use guide to help ordinary citizens to become effective champions for more solar power in America. The Solar Patriot is my third book and my second on solar power. For two decades I have worked as a communications consultant and advocate for solar power, renewable energy, and climate solutions. Now, I’m writing a call to action for America off of fossil fuels as soon as possible to meet the urgent challenge of the climate crisis.

Erik's book list on solving the climate crisis

Erik D. Curren Why did Erik love this book?

Michael Klare mines reports written by each of the U.S. armed services over the last couple of decades to show how the Pentagon identifies a variety of threats that are multiplied by climate change. Klare organizes them in a “threat ladder” ranging from most to least likely but from least to most dangerous, making it a ladder of escalation that diverts military personnel and resources from their main mission of defending the American homeland from foreign adversaries. If you're a committed pacifist, as many climate activists are, this book will be eye-opening. If you want to reduce and then stop the increase of climate change while protecting America from the worst impacts of weird weather in the coming decades, it turns out you may have more in common with generals and admirals than you'd thought.

By Michael T. Klare,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Drawing on previously obscure reports and government documents, renowned security expert Michael Klare shows that the Pentagon now regards climate change as one of the top threats to American national security and is busy developing strategies to cope with it. Its response makes it clear that where it counts, the immense impact of climate change is not in doubt.

Book cover of Selling the Korean War: Propaganda, Politics, and Public Opinion in the United States, 1950-1953

Andrew Payne Author Of War on the Ballot: How the Election Cycle Shapes Presidential Decision-Making in War

From my list on the politics of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I take great pride in having somehow turned a passion for visiting presidential libraries into an academic career. I’ve now conducted extensive research at eight of them, and have future projects lined up to get me to the rest. This experience means I can and frequently do ruin family gatherings by challenging distant relations to quizzes about obscure details involving presidential pets. But it has also left me well-placed to write a number of articles and books exploring how domestic politics shapes the development and execution of U.S. foreign policy. I’ve done this while affiliated with the University of Oxford and, more recently, at City, University of London. 

Andrew's book list on the politics of war

Andrew Payne Why did Andrew love this book?

If you want to go a little deeper, you can’t do much better than this outstanding study of how Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower sought to sustain public support for the Korean War.

Written by a historian who knows his sources like the back of his hands, this book is jam-packed with evidence of the ways in which presidents try to control the narrative about an ongoing war. And beyond its impressive use of archival materials, it also challenges the conventional wisdom about a president’s ability to lead public opinion using the “bully pulpit.”

Presidents can and do try to do that. But the Korean case illuminates the unique challenges of selling a limited war, in which the administration struggled to calibrate its mobilization campaign with the complex politics of waging war. 

By Steven Casey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How presidents spark and sustain support for wars remains an enduring and significant problem. Korea was the first limited war the U.S. experienced in the contemporary period - the first recent war fought for something less than total victory. In Selling the Korean War, Steven Casey explores how President Truman and then Eisenhower tried to sell it to the American public.

Based on a massive array of primary sources, Casey subtly explores the government's selling activities from all angles. He looks at the halting and sometimes chaotic efforts of Harry Truman and Dean Acheson, Dwight Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles.…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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