100 books like Radicals on the Road

By Judy Tzu-Chun Wu,

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

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of People's Diplomacy of Vietnam: Soft Power in the Resistance War, 1965-1972

Alexander Sedlmaier Author Of Protest in the Vietnam War Era

From my list on the international dimensions of the Vietnam War.

Who am I?

As a historian and someone who grew up in Cold War Berlin, I am constantly inspired by efforts to curb the devastating effects of industrialised warfare. I love learning about people who had the courage to speak up, and how their historical understanding of the military abuse of power enables us to think differently about present-day warfare. So much of my research has been inspired by social movements and their difficult efforts to improve the world. While I am no expert on Vietnamese history, I have been fortunate to have learned a lot about how ingenious the Vietnamese revolutionaries were in actively pedalling the global emergence of Vietnam War protest. 

Alexander's book list on the international dimensions of the Vietnam War

Alexander Sedlmaier Why did Alexander love this book?

Although Robert Brigham’s Guerrilla Diplomacy deserved the attention it got, People’s Diplomacy of Vietnam, in my opinion, does the better job of connecting the dots between the informal or unofficial diplomacy of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) and the National Liberation Front (NLF) on the one hand, and the global campaign aimed at garnering sympathy and solidarity with Vietnam, on the other.

Mehta highlights the various connections with and visits to Vietnam by activists from the West and also from the mass organisations of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. These links “enabled the Vietnamese revolutionaries to exercise international influence on a scale disproportionately larger than their meager economic and military capabilities would have otherwise allowed.” 

By Harish C. Mehta,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the first full-length book on the concept of "People's Diplomacy," promoted by the president of North Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, at the peak of the Vietnam War from 1965-1972. It holds great appeal for historians, international relations scholars, diplomats, and the general reader interested in Vietnam. A form of informal diplomacy, people's diplomacy was carried out by ordinary Vietnamese including writers, cartoonists, workers, women, students, filmmakers, medical doctors, academics, and sportspersons. They created an awareness of the American bombardment of innocent Vietnamese civilians, and made profound connections with the anti-war movements abroad. People's diplomacy made it difficult for…


Book cover of Marigold: The Lost Chance for Peace in Vietnam

Alexander Sedlmaier Author Of Protest in the Vietnam War Era

From my list on the international dimensions of the Vietnam War.

Who am I?

As a historian and someone who grew up in Cold War Berlin, I am constantly inspired by efforts to curb the devastating effects of industrialised warfare. I love learning about people who had the courage to speak up, and how their historical understanding of the military abuse of power enables us to think differently about present-day warfare. So much of my research has been inspired by social movements and their difficult efforts to improve the world. While I am no expert on Vietnamese history, I have been fortunate to have learned a lot about how ingenious the Vietnamese revolutionaries were in actively pedalling the global emergence of Vietnam War protest. 

Alexander's book list on the international dimensions of the Vietnam War

Alexander Sedlmaier Why did Alexander love this book?

In January 1966, Ho Chi Minh said in an eye-opening discussion with Polish diplomat Jerzy Michałowski: “We don’t want to become the victors; we just want the Americans to piss off!”

This was in the run-up to the Polish-Italian peace initiative codenamed “Marigold”. Exploring the latter in great detail, James Hershberg in 2012 brought forth the straightforward argument that it could have succeeded in ending the war before 1968. Using new evidence from Polish, Italian, and Vietnamese sources, he penned an enormous (almost 900 pages), yet accessible book exposing how the Johnson administration sabotaged this genuine peace effort with an eye to winning on the battlefield.

The result is Marigold: The Lost Chance for Peace in Vietnam, a most impressive addition to the international history of the Vietnam War.

By James Hershberg,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Vietnam's Prodigal Heroes: American Deserters, International Protest, European Exile, and Amnesty

Alexander Sedlmaier Author Of Protest in the Vietnam War Era

From my list on the international dimensions of the Vietnam War.

Who am I?

As a historian and someone who grew up in Cold War Berlin, I am constantly inspired by efforts to curb the devastating effects of industrialised warfare. I love learning about people who had the courage to speak up, and how their historical understanding of the military abuse of power enables us to think differently about present-day warfare. So much of my research has been inspired by social movements and their difficult efforts to improve the world. While I am no expert on Vietnamese history, I have been fortunate to have learned a lot about how ingenious the Vietnamese revolutionaries were in actively pedalling the global emergence of Vietnam War protest. 

Alexander's book list on the international dimensions of the Vietnam War

Alexander Sedlmaier Why did Alexander love this book?

During the height of the war effort in Vietnam, desertion in the US military reached unprecedented levels. Deserters depended on international support networks run by organisations and activists.

Drawing on primary sources from the US, France, Germany, and Sweden, Glatz pulls together a meticulous and nuanced account of strategies of resistance, prosecution, exile, and Vietnam War activism that culminated in an unprecedented visibility of deserters in the public discourse, both internationally and in the US, leading to a major change in traditional images of the deserter.

The account provides fresh new light on the dramatic failures of US military policy in the Vietnam War, the consequences of which are felt to the present day.

By Paul Benedikt Glatz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book examines the critical role of desertion in the international Vietnam War debate. Paul Benedikt Glatz traces American deserters' odyssey of exile and activism in Europe, Japan, and North America to demonstrate how unprecedented levels of desertion in the US military changed the traditional image of the deserter.


Book cover of War Crimes in Vietnam

Alexander Sedlmaier Author Of Protest in the Vietnam War Era

From my list on the international dimensions of the Vietnam War.

Who am I?

As a historian and someone who grew up in Cold War Berlin, I am constantly inspired by efforts to curb the devastating effects of industrialised warfare. I love learning about people who had the courage to speak up, and how their historical understanding of the military abuse of power enables us to think differently about present-day warfare. So much of my research has been inspired by social movements and their difficult efforts to improve the world. While I am no expert on Vietnamese history, I have been fortunate to have learned a lot about how ingenious the Vietnamese revolutionaries were in actively pedalling the global emergence of Vietnam War protest. 

Alexander's book list on the international dimensions of the Vietnam War

Alexander Sedlmaier Why did Alexander love this book?

This 1967 collection of essays and speeches by the British philosopher Bertrand Russell fascinates me because it seeks to reveal inconvenient truths while not shying away from a highly partisan intervention.

Russell discusses why he was making a global appeal to protest the US war effort in Vietnam. His book and the subsequent Russell-Sartre War Crimes Tribunal have often been dismissed as biased and uncritical of communist propaganda, but rereading this primary source illuminates an important chapter in the emergence of a global intellectual critique of US imperialism that “millions of Europeans, Asians, Latin Americans” came to share as it was debunking the official position of the Johnson administration and its allies in Vietnam.

By Bertrand Russell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this harsh and unsparing book, Bertrand Russell presents the
unvarnished truth about the war in Vietnam. He argues that "To
understand the war, we must understand America"-and, in doing so, we
must understand that racism in the United States created a climate in
which it was difficult for Americans to understand what they were doing
in Vietnam. According to Russell, it was this same racism that
provoked "a barbarous, chauvinist outcry when American pilots who have
bombed hospitals, schools, dykes, and civilian centres are accused of
committing war crimes." Even today, more than forty years later, this
chauvinist moral…


Book cover of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right

Anita Bartholomew Author Of Siege: An American Tragedy

From my list on plots to overthrow the US government.

Who am I?

I'm a long-time contributor to Reader's Digest (and former contributing editor), specializing in narrative nonfiction who has covered social and geopolitical issues for the magazine. I'm also a political junkie who loves to dig into little-known aspects of history and current events. 

Anita's book list on plots to overthrow the US government

Anita Bartholomew Why did Anita love this book?

It’s quite a trick to overthrow a government without firing a shot. It’s an even better trick to do it without most people noticing what you’ve done. Dark Money shows how a cadre of American oligarchs, who believed the US had gone too far in reining in people like them, poured barrels of cash into undermining the average American’s economic, labor, and civil rights progress. They created think tanks. They bankrolled TV pundits. They funded departments at top universities—and micro-managed the curriculum—intent on influencing new generations of politicians, economists, and judges. In the end, they completely reshaped American thought and jurisprudence.

Ever wonder how the US of FDR and JFK could have taken such a sharp turn to the extreme right? I recommend you read Dark Money.

By Jane Mayer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR

Who are the immensely wealthy right-wing ideologues shaping the fate of America today? From the bestselling author of The Dark Side, an electrifying work of investigative journalism that uncovers the agenda of this powerful group.

In her new preface, Jane Mayer discusses the results of the most recent election and Donald Trump's victory, and how, despite much discussion to the contrary, this was a huge victory for the billionaires who have been pouring money in the American political system.

Why is America living in an age…


Book cover of Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History

Rochelle Melander Author Of Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World Through Writing

From my list on anthologies for young activists.

Who am I?

As a writer, I’ve found that learning about other writers and their processes helps me. Over the years, I’ve devoured the memoirs and letters of writers like Madeleine L’Engle, Audre Lorde, and Zora Neal Hurston. In 2006, when I started a writing program for young people in my city, I brought these writers’ words to use as writing prompts. When I researched my book, Mightier Than the Sword, I read dozens of anthologies to find people who used writing to make a difference in their fields—science, art, politics, music, and sports. I will always be grateful for those anthologies—because they broadened my knowledge and introduced me to so many interesting people.

Rochelle's book list on anthologies for young activists

Rochelle Melander Why did Rochelle love this book?

This book features 70 stories of women and nonbinary people who are making a difference in the world. I was delighted by the vast array of people covered in the book, which begins with a foreword by Canadian pop duo Tegan and Sara. Teens will be excited to find leaders from every part of society profiled in the book: performers, politicians, professors, and more. I could start name dropping, but I won’t—because it’s much more fun for you to dig into the book and be surprised by how many really famous people are working hard to change the world.

By Blair Imani, Monique Le (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An inspiring and radical celebration of 70 women, girls, and nonbinary people who have changed—and are still changing—the world, from the Civil Rights Movement and Stonewall riots through Black Lives Matter and beyond.

With a radical and inclusive approach to history, Modern HERstory profiles and celebrates seventy women and nonbinary champions of progressive social change in a bold, colorful, illustrated format for all ages. Despite making huge contributions to the liberation movements of the last century and today, all of these trailblazers come from backgrounds and communities that are traditionally overlooked and under-celebrated: not just women, but people of color,…


Book cover of Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity

Dannagal Goldthwaite Young Author Of Wrong: How Media, Politics, and Identity Drive Our Appetite for Misinformation

From my list on understanding identity-driven wrongness in the United States.

Who am I?

I’m a professor of communication and political science who’s been researching and publishing on the effects of political media on democratic health for 25 years. More recently, I’ve been trying to understand the roots of inter-party hostility, the drop in trust in institutions, and the rise in Americans’ belief in breathtakingly false information. My hope is that through this selection of books, you’ll start to understand the synergistic dynamics between America’s complicated history with race, changes in America’s parties, media, and culture, and various social psychological processes, and maybe even start to see a way out of this mess.

Dannagal's book list on understanding identity-driven wrongness in the United States

Dannagal Goldthwaite Young Why did Dannagal love this book?

I literally could not have written my book without Mason’s incredible empirical work documented in this book. 

Yes, this is an academic book, but Mason is engaging, clear, and masterful in her use of charts and graphs to illustrate what “social sorting” is and what it does. Whenever I explain to people how America’s political parties have come to represent not just different sets of policy positions but two very different types of people, I picture Mason’s charts and graphs in my head!

There are a few books that I cannot put back on my bookshelf because I cite them too often and have decided they just need to stay right on my desk, Lily Mason’s is at the top of this pile.

By Lilliana Mason,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Political polarization in America is at an all-time high, and the conflict has moved beyond disagreements about matters of policy. For the first time in more than twenty years, research has shown that members of both parties hold strongly unfavorable views of their opponents. This is polarization rooted in social identity, and it is growing. The campaign and election of Donald Trump laid bare this fact of the American electorate, its successful rhetoric of "us versus them" tapping into a powerful current of anger and resentment. With Uncivil Agreement, Lilliana Mason looks at the growing social gulf across racial, religious,…


Book cover of Reclaiming 42: Public Memory and the Reframing of Jackie Robinson's Radical Legacy

Jonathan Shandell Author Of The American Negro Theatre and the Long Civil Rights Era

From my list on Black culture and history in the Civil Rights era.

Who am I?

I am a theater historian whose research focuses on African American theater of 1940s-50s. While other periods and movements—the Harlem Renaissance (1920s), the Federal Theatre Project (1930s), the Black Arts Movement (1960s), and contemporary theater—have been well studied and documented, I saw a gap of scholarship around the 1940s-50s; I wondered why those years had been largely overlooked. As I dived deeper, I saw how African American performance culture (ie. theater, film, television, music) of the later-20th Century had its roots in the history of those somewhat overlooked decades. I’m still investigating that story, and these books have helped me do it.

Jonathan's book list on Black culture and history in the Civil Rights era

Jonathan Shandell Why did Jonathan love this book?

Perhaps no one is more readily identified with racial integration than Jackie Robinson. Our culture now lionizes Robinson for his accomplishments, but also for having “guts enough not to fight back” (as his general manager Branch Rickey reportedly said to him) against the bigotry and insults that surrounded him. In many ways, the story of Jackie Robinson as a quiet, passive figure who just let his playing do the talking is incomplete. This book reveals more of the story of Robinson’s historic and sometimes surprisingly “radical” work in breaking baseball’s color barrier.

By David Naze,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reclaiming 42 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reclaiming 42 centers on one of America's most respected cultural icons, Jackie Robinson, and the forgotten aspects of his cultural legacy. Since his retirement in 1956, and more strongly in the last twenty years, America has primarily remembered Robinson's legacy in an oversimplified way, as the pioneering first black baseball player to integrate the Major Leagues. The mainstream commemorative discourse regarding Robinson's career has been created and directed largely by Major League Baseball (MLB), which sanitized and oversimplified his legacy into narratives of racial reconciliation that celebrate his integrity, character, and courage while excluding other aspects of his life, such…


Book cover of Moments of Silence: The Unforgetting of the October 6, 1976, Massacre in Bangkok

Shane Strate Author Of The Lost Territories: Thailand's History of National Humiliation

From my list on how states manipulate historical memory.

Who am I?

As a teacher and historian, I’m interested in the collision of cultures that resulted from western intervention in Asia during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. For young Asian nationalists, historical writing was a weapon to be wielded in the fight against imperialism. It is equally important for us to understand the forces that shape our collective memories and to recognize that historians don’t just uncover the past—they produce it. 

Shane's book list on how states manipulate historical memory

Shane Strate Why did Shane love this book?

What happens when a society is unwilling to acknowledge acts of barbarism in its past? In 1976, while leading a student protest at Thammasat University, Thongchai Winichakul watched in horror as government forces and rightist elements stormed the campus, killing over eighty of his fellow students and committing unspeakable acts on the living and the dead. He wrote this book to help process memories of an atrocity that took the lives of his friends and haunted his career as a Thai historian. To this day, the Thammasat massacre is marked only by silence from official sources. As a result, Thongchai observes that Thai society is trapped in a state of ‘unforgetting,’ unable to either remember or forget the trauma.

By Thongchai Winichakul,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The massacre on October 6, 1976, in Bangkok was brutal and violent, its savagery unprecedented in modern Thai history. Four decades later there has been no investigation into the atrocity; information remains limited, the truth unknown. There has been no collective coming to terms with what happened or who is responsible. Thai society still refuses to confront this dark page in its history.

Moments of Silence focuses on the silence that surrounds the October 6 massacre. Silence, the book argues, is not forgetting. Rather it signals an inability to forget or remember-or to articulate a socially meaningful memory. It is…


Book cover of On Gallows Down: Place, Protest and Belonging

Tessa Boase Author Of Etta Lemon: The Woman Who Saved the Birds

From my list on women, birds, and nature.

Who am I?

I’m an investigative journalist and social historian who’s obsessed with ‘invisible’ women of the 19th and early 20th century, bringing their stories to life in highly readable narrative non-fiction. I love the detective work involved in resurrecting ordinary women’s lives: shop girls, milliners, campaigning housewives, servants. . . The stories I’ve uncovered are gripping, often shocking and frequently poignant – but also celebrate women’s determination, solidarity and capacity for reinvention. Each of my two books took me on a long research journey deep into the archives: The Housekeeper’s Tale – the Women Who Really Ran the English Country House, and Etta Lemon – The Woman Who Saved the Birds.

Tessa's book list on women, birds, and nature

Tessa Boase Why did Tessa love this book?

An unusually honest, rural memoir by the RSPB’s longest-serving female columnist. Chester’s writing has a lovely elasticity, dancing between wonder, introspection, and anger as she moves from the particular to the universal. I learned a lot about how Britain’s countryside is managed. I also enjoyed her more eccentric impulses, such as lying down in the snow on the edge of a field one night, just to see what might happen. She belongs to the disappearing English rural working class, and is intent on handing this baton to her three children. Chester also explores the familiar tension between wanting to write and being needed at home. The heady ecstasy of time carved out alone, in nature. The scrabble to earn a precarious living, and the insecurities of occupying a tied cottage. The idea of ‘home’ lies at the heart of this fierce, beautifully written, immersive book about one’s place within the…

By Nicola Chester,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Shortlisted for the Richard Jeffries Award 2021

[A] wonderfully accurate, powerful and funny memoir of rural life Stephen Moss

It's ever so good. Political, passionate & personal. Robert Macfarlane (via Twitter)

I couldn't put it down! A must read! Dara McAnulty (via Twitter), author of The Diary of a Young Naturalist

An evocative and inspiring memoir Claire Fuller, author of Unsettled Ground and winner of Costa Novel Award 2021

Part nature writing, part memoir, On Gallows Down is an essential, unforgettable read for fans of Helen Macdonald, Melissa Harrison and Isabella Tree.

On Gallows Down is a powerful, personal story…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in activists, politics, and women?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about activists, politics, and women.

Activists Explore 26 books about activists
Politics Explore 687 books about politics
Women Explore 570 books about women