100 books like Police Power in the Italian Communes, 1228-1326

By Gregory Roberts,

Here are 100 books that Police Power in the Italian Communes, 1228-1326 fans have personally recommended if you like Police Power in the Italian Communes, 1228-1326. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Collision of Wills: How Ambiguity about Social Rank Breeds Conflict

Jill Leovy Author Of Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America

From my list on escaping the true-crime rut.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jill Leovy, author of Ghettoside, is a journalist and independent researcher who covered the Los Angeles Police Department and homicide for fifteen years, and who is currently working on a book dealing with murder and feud in human history. She has covered hundreds of street homicides and shadowed patrol cops, and she spent several years embedded in homicide detective units. More recently, she has been a Harvard sociology fellow and a featured speaker on Homer and violence at St. John's College, New Mexico. She is a senior fellow at the USC Center on Communication Leadership and Policy.

Jill's book list on escaping the true-crime rut

Jill Leovy Why did Jill love this book?

Here’s a radical idea: let’s think deeply about murder. Let’s imagine that understanding why we fight and kill each other is as lofty an intellectual challenge as any other great, sweeping mystery of human nature or human origins.

Roger C. Gould never came out and said that a higher vision of murder was his purpose, but his book Collision of Wills achieves nothing less. It set a new bar for theorizing on human violence, and is a great, complex, and surprising tour de force about petty street violence.

If you're interested in lawlessness, Collision of Wills is indispensable, right up there with Donald Black's Behavior of Law. On a personal level, I'm grateful to this Harvard sociologist simply because he took the topic of petty street violence so seriously. Gould related rampant argument violence to the problem of unstable status in the criminal underworld.

His ideas are game-changing. He died…

By Roger V. Gould,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Minor debts, derisive remarks, a fight over a parking space, butting in line-these are the little things that nevertheless account for much of the violence in human society. But why? Roger V. Gould considers this intriguing question in Collision of Wills. He argues that human conflict is more likely to occur in symmetrical relationships-among friends or social equals-than in hierarchical ones, wherein the difference of social rank between the two individuals is already established.

This, he maintains, is because violence most often occurs when someone wants to achieve superiority or dominance over someone else, even if there is no substantive…


Book cover of Crime Control and Everyday Life in the Victorian City: The Police and the Public

Jill Leovy Author Of Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America

From my list on escaping the true-crime rut.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jill Leovy, author of Ghettoside, is a journalist and independent researcher who covered the Los Angeles Police Department and homicide for fifteen years, and who is currently working on a book dealing with murder and feud in human history. She has covered hundreds of street homicides and shadowed patrol cops, and she spent several years embedded in homicide detective units. More recently, she has been a Harvard sociology fellow and a featured speaker on Homer and violence at St. John's College, New Mexico. She is a senior fellow at the USC Center on Communication Leadership and Policy.

Jill's book list on escaping the true-crime rut

Jill Leovy Why did Jill love this book?

Another healthy dose of perspective, this time straight from the country that pioneered modern urban policing. Once again, we are forced to admit our present policing issues are in no way unprecedented. Police brutality complaints? Calls to abolish the police? It's all here in nineteenth-century England.

Based on the lessons of Victorian policing, Churchill argues for a more complex understanding of Max Weber's "monopoly on legitimate force" argument, pointing out the degree to which so-called popular justice can exist alongside the state's monopoly. He shows how in England, he says, the two forms were "pluralistic."

Modern law enforcement still has a generous dollop of self-help and vigilantism in its genetic makeup, I think, so this is an important point. Church's insights from England also apply to urban America in the twentieth century, where "posses" were still called up to hunt criminals well into the era of cars and trains.

By David Churchill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Crime Control and Everyday Life in the Victorian City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The history of modern crime control is usually presented as a narrative of how the state wrested control over the governance of crime from the civilian public. Most accounts trace the decline of a participatory, discretionary culture of crime control in the early modern era, and its replacement by a centralized, bureaucratic system of responding to offending. The formation of the 'new' professional police forces in the nineteenth century is central to this narrative:
henceforth, it is claimed, the priorities of criminal justice were to be set by the state, as ordinary people lost what authority they had once exercised…


Book cover of Hrafnkel's Saga and Other Icelandic Stories

Jill Leovy Author Of Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America

From my list on escaping the true-crime rut.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jill Leovy, author of Ghettoside, is a journalist and independent researcher who covered the Los Angeles Police Department and homicide for fifteen years, and who is currently working on a book dealing with murder and feud in human history. She has covered hundreds of street homicides and shadowed patrol cops, and she spent several years embedded in homicide detective units. More recently, she has been a Harvard sociology fellow and a featured speaker on Homer and violence at St. John's College, New Mexico. She is a senior fellow at the USC Center on Communication Leadership and Policy.

Jill's book list on escaping the true-crime rut

Jill Leovy Why did Jill love this book?

The University of Michigan professor-emeritus William Ian Miller is, of course, essential reading on violence and revenge, particularly his Bloodtaking and Peacemaking: Feud, Law, and Society in Saga, Iceland.

But Miller has been so deservedly lauded elsewhere – and his books so widely recommended – that I'm using this space to suggest that readers also open his sources. Among the sagas, Njal's Saga is much more complex than this one, and probably more revealing of the Saga tradition. But I'm a fan of the shorter, more readable Hrafnkel's, not least because I have a weakness for spooky horses.

Hrafnkel is a bully who would not pay compensation, and the arc of his distinctly pre-modern biography is not what you might expect. In fact, it will make you realize exactly how much what we call "modern" is really a product of legal development, including our ideas about satisfying narratives.

Also, dark…

By Anonymous, Hermann Palsson (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hrafnkel's Saga and Other Icelandic Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written around the thirteenth century AD by Icelandic monks, the seven tales collected here offer a combination of pagan elements tightly woven into the pattern of Christian ethics. They take as their subjects figures who are heroic, but do not fit into the mould of traditional heroes. Some stories concern characters in Iceland - among them Hrafknel's Saga, in which a poor man's son is murdered by his powerful neighbour, and Thorstein the Staff-Struck, which describes an ageing warrior's struggle to settle into a peaceful rural community. Others focus on the adventures of Icelanders abroad, including the compelling Audun's Story,…


Book cover of Street Justice: Retaliation in the Criminal Underworld

Jill Leovy Author Of Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America

From my list on escaping the true-crime rut.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jill Leovy, author of Ghettoside, is a journalist and independent researcher who covered the Los Angeles Police Department and homicide for fifteen years, and who is currently working on a book dealing with murder and feud in human history. She has covered hundreds of street homicides and shadowed patrol cops, and she spent several years embedded in homicide detective units. More recently, she has been a Harvard sociology fellow and a featured speaker on Homer and violence at St. John's College, New Mexico. She is a senior fellow at the USC Center on Communication Leadership and Policy.

Jill's book list on escaping the true-crime rut

Jill Leovy Why did Jill love this book?

Street Justice is a terrific ethnography on an issue too seldom talked about in criminal justice textbooks, namely, payback in the context of drug dealing.

Jacobs and Wright did not set out here for any new philosophical insights about revenge. Instead, they are interested in its reality. What emerges from this study is a stark catalog of how retaliation actually works, among real people, in a real American city, and what a chilling picture it is.

Based on interviews with actual St. Louis offenders who related their personal experiences with loss, pain, humiliation, and anger, Street Justice is an eye-opener even for those of us who thought we knew something about this topic.

Read this book if you a cop. If you are just interested in law and violence, as I am, read this one alongside Miller, Gould, and a few of the Icelandic Sagas, and I guarantee you will…

By Bruce A. Jacobs, Richard Wright,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Street criminals live in a dangerous world, but they cannot realistically rely on the criminal justice system to protect them from predation by fellow lawbreakers; they are on their own when it comes to dealing with crimes perpetrated against them and often use retaliation as a mechanism for deterring and responding to victimization. Although retaliation lies at the heart of much of the violence that plagues many inner-city neighborhoods across the United States, it has received scant attention from criminologists. As a result, the structure, process, and forms of retaliation in the real world setting of urban America remain poorly…


Book cover of The Name of the Rose

Amelia Vergara Author Of Firefax

From my list on fiction full of intrigue, danger, and high adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a physician assistant and paramedic with ten brothers and sisters, an all-consuming love of the outdoors and adventure, and a fascination with history, particularly early US history. I love reading and writing the kind of books that I would like to read. My debut novel, Firefax, was written in large part as an escape from the horrors of serving in the hospital as a physician assistant during the delta wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope it provides my readers with an escape from their own struggles as well. 

Amelia's book list on fiction full of intrigue, danger, and high adventure

Amelia Vergara Why did Amelia love this book?

A dark, twisted story of intrigue within the walls of an abbey in the fourteenth century.

Every character has some dark past that they are hiding, and everyone is part of the ever-deepening mystery, riddles piling upon riddles, as bodies pile upon bodies. The further into the abbey’s maze of secrets you become entangled, the more you’ll love it. The characters are deep and complicated, the world in which they live is richly imagined, and the final denouement will leave you breathless.

A book whose mysteries and philosophical dialogues will stay with you long after you close the final page. 

By Umberto Eco,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Name of the Rose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Read the enthralling medieval murder mystery.

The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective.

William collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey where extraordinary things are happening under the cover of night. A spectacular popular and critical success, The Name of the Rose is not only a narrative of a murder investigation but an astonishing chronicle of the Middle Ages.

'Whether…


Book cover of A Valley in Italy: The Many Seasons of a Villa in Umbria

Dominic Smith Author Of Return to Valetto

From my list on armchair travel through Italy and Italian history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve just spent the last few years writing Return to Valetto, about a nearly abandoned village in Umbria and the last ten people who live there. In 2018, I received an NEA grant to conduct research in Italy and I visited about a dozen abandoned and nearly abandoned towns all across Italy. While I was traveling, I immersed myself in books about Italy—from history and biography to memoir and fiction. The books on my list were stepping stones in my education about all things Italian and I hope you find them as transporting as I did!

Dominic's book list on armchair travel through Italy and Italian history

Dominic Smith Why did Dominic love this book?

If you’ve ever fantasized about restoring a crumbling medieval Italian villa, then you’ll get to live that experience vicariously through this memoir.

The author has a wonderful sense of the absurd as she recounts her family’s multi-year efforts to turn a roofless villa into their dream home, complete with a complicated teenage daughter who is trying to find her way in the rural Italian countryside where the family has been transplanted.

Brimming with idiosyncratic and endearing characters. 

By Lisa St Aubin De Teran,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The author recounts a year she spent in San Orsela, a small town in the Umbrian hils of Italy, sharing portraits of her Italian friends and a celebration of the seasonal cycle


Book cover of Begotten: The Gifted: Book One

S.L. Klein Author Of Waves of Redemption

From my list on heavy and hopeful themes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Many readers pick up books to escape reality, but I am passionate about reading stories where hope and healing can be found among the pages. I love depth and transparency. I love learning about history. As an author who ensures my books contain accurate biblical themes, I am always searching for books that are saturated with truth. Stories that will take me on an adventure and help me grow along with the characters. This list contains books that cover heavy topics, but they also infuse hope. I know that I have found encouragement through them!

S.L.'s book list on heavy and hopeful themes

S.L. Klein Why did S.L. love this book?

This book encompasses why I am passionate about spiritual giftings and how important they are in spiritual warfare. I love high-stakes and adventurous plots, and Lisa kept me turning pages late into the night. I learned so much history regarding the Church before the Reformation and was reminded how easy it is for the enemy to make evil appear attractive.

This book gave me a new awareness of the spiritual realm and the power of prayer and discernment. Besides, it takes place in Italy, and I am obsessed with Italy!

By Lisa T Bergren,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Their coming was foretold for centuries…
and their gathering threatens to change everything.

A portion of an ancient, beautifully illuminated letter—a letter believed to have been written by Saint Paul—has surfaced. The letter speaks of men and women with profound spiritual gifts and the illuminations bear a striking resemblance to those drawing together in medieval Italy.

Their gathering will strike fear in the heart of a Church dedicated to maintaining their considerable power. But there is another enemy on the hunt for them and he is darker still…


Book cover of Waterfall

K. Ross Author Of Descent

From my list on teen adventures for an escape.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am all about writing unique adventures with heart. I’ve been to seven different countries, and plan to continue to grow the list. My passion for writing has become an adventure in itself. I desire to create unique young adult stories that incorporate legend, conjecture, fantasy, and conviction. In addition to loving my life as a writer, I adore being a wife, mother, friend, and teacher. I began my creative journey with books, a blog, podcast, and lots of caffeine. I’m blessed my own adventure, my life, is filled with so many wonderful people and words!

K.'s book list on teen adventures for an escape

K. Ross Why did K. love this book?

Waterfall takes a 21st-century girl, Gabriella, and mysteriously places her in medieval Italy. Gabi’s journey is unexpected and exciting! While the title might be misleading, you won’t be disappointed when you’re introduced to this teenage girl who’s grown up with archeologist parents learning how to wield a sword. Finding herself in the fourteenth century, Gabi literally lands in the middle of a battle, she meets a knight-prince, and her summer has only begun.

By Lisa T. Bergren,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Waterfall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Gabriella has never spent a summer in Italy like this one.

Remaining means giving up all she's known and loved . . . and leaving means forfeiting what she's come to know--and love itself.
Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Bentarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives with their parents, famed Etruscan scholars, among the romantic hills. In Book One of the River of Time series, Gabi and Lia are stuck among the rubble of medieval castles in rural Tuscany on yet another hot, boring, and dusty archeological site . . . until Gabi…


Book cover of On Persephone's Island: A Sicilian Journal

Susan Van Allen Author Of 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go

From my list on women who love Italy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am grateful to my maternal grandparents, immigrants from southern Italy, who instilled in me a love for the Bel Paese that has inspired me all my life. I began to travel to Italy 45 years ago, and after writing for television—on the staff of Everybody Loves Raymond—I turned to travel writing. I’ve written 4 books about Italian travel, along with many stories for magazines. I also design and host Golden Weeks in Italy: For Women Only tours, to give female travelers an insider’s experience of this extraordinary country.

Susan's book list on women who love Italy

Susan Van Allen Why did Susan love this book?

This memoir of a Sicilian year beautifully weaves together Simeti’s personal experience in rural Sicily and Palermo with her extensive knowledge of history, mythology, and culinary traditions. Simeti’s honesty truly prepared me for my first trip to Sicily – giving me a full picture of the island’s light and dark sides. 

By Mary Taylor Simeti,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a year of Sicilian life, its seasons and its sacred festivals, its gorgeous fruits and demanding family life, its casual assassinations and village feasts, its weather and the neighbours. It chronicles a life divided between an apartment in the city of Palermo with the weekends and summer devoted to sustaining life in an old family farm. What makes this journal truly exceptional is that Mary Simeti is both an outsider, (an American who had studied medieval history and worked as a volunteer on a social welfare programme) and an insider. For this journal was written after twenty years…


Book cover of The Web of Images: Vernacular Preaching from Its Origins to Saint Bernardino of Siena

Jamie Kreiner Author Of The Wandering Mind: What Medieval Monks Tell Us About Distraction

From my list on medieval brainiacs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of the early Middle Ages. There are all sorts of unexpected differences and similarities between modern and medieval life, and things get especially interesting when it comes to thinking about thinking. Our understanding of how our minds work has obviously changed—and so have the ways that we actually use them. Medieval thinkers in Europe and the Mediterranean world struggled with concentration and memory and information overload, just like we do. But they were savvier in dealing with those problems, and these books invite you into the wonderful world of their cognitive practices. You’ll probably find yourself experimenting with many of these techniques along the way!

Jamie's book list on medieval brainiacs

Jamie Kreiner Why did Jamie love this book?

The medieval images that survive today might seem like simplistic or bizarre pictures now. But medieval viewers saw them differently. They treated images as tools for understanding, analyzing, and remembering complex ideas about the world.

Bolzoni works to crack that “code” through the case of late medieval Italy: she illustrates how viewers’ relationships to images changed the more they learned, how preachers communicated with their congregations in ways that listeners would visualize and internalize, and how certain images—like six-winged angels or trees of life—served as effective conduits of information but also as platforms for layered conceptual associations that got increasingly sophisticated the more that authors and audiences thought about them.

This beautiful, fascinating book is well worth seeking out from a library or used bookseller.

By Lina Bolzoni,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Through her investigation of the mnemonic role of images in vernacular preaching and in mystical texts, Lina Bolzoni moves beyond the traditional art-historical approach to late Mediaeval and Renaissance art which tends to concentrate on style and iconography. She shows how these images were viewed at the time of their creation, and offers new ways of reconstructing their meaning. By bringing her knowledge of rhetoric and the art of memory to bear on the visual arts she opens up new perspectives for the study of religious art and literature of the Renaissance, and shows how these images actually functioned within…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Italy, the Middle Ages, and police?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Italy, the Middle Ages, and police.

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