100 books like Reordering the World

By Duncan Bell,

Here are 100 books that Reordering the World fans have personally recommended if you like Reordering the World. 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 Black Rights/White Wrongs: The Critique of Racial Liberalism

Dillon S. Tatum Author Of Liberalism and Transformation: The Global Politics of Violence and Intervention

From my list on liberalism and politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dillon Stone Tatum is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Francis Marion University. His research interests are on the history, development, and politics of liberal internationalism, international political theory, and critical security studies.

Dillon's book list on liberalism and politics

Dillon S. Tatum Why did Dillon love this book?

Charles Mills was a giant in contemporary political theory and is perhaps best known for his book The Racial Contract. In his most recent book, Black Rights/White Wrongs, Mills interrogates what he calls “racial liberalism” and the racist underpinnings of modern liberal theory. What I think is most remarkable about this book, though, is its further attempt to reconstruct a “radical liberalism” meant to address issues of racial justice. This book has been a major influence on me in the way I think about and imagine the limits and possibilities of liberalism as a tradition.

By Charles W. Mills,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Liberalism is the political philosophy of equal persons - yet liberalism has denied equality to those it saw as sub-persons. Liberalism is the creed of fairness - yet liberalism has been complicit with European imperialism and African slavery. Liberalism is the classic ideology of Enlightenment and political transparency - yet liberalism has cast a dark veil over its actual racist past and present. In sum, liberalism's promise of equal rights has historically been
denied to blacks and other people of color.

In Black Rights/White Wrongs: The Critique of Racial Liberalism, political philosopher Charles Mills challenges mainstream accounts that ignore this…


Book cover of Empires Without Imperialism: Anglo-American Decline and the Politics of Deflection

Dillon S. Tatum Author Of Liberalism and Transformation: The Global Politics of Violence and Intervention

From my list on liberalism and politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dillon Stone Tatum is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Francis Marion University. His research interests are on the history, development, and politics of liberal internationalism, international political theory, and critical security studies.

Dillon's book list on liberalism and politics

Dillon S. Tatum Why did Dillon love this book?

Over the past decade, there has been an enormous amount written about the “decline of global liberalism,” and particularly the so-called US-led liberal international order. Jeanne Morefield’s book Empires without Imperialism examines the nostalgia of liberal orders in comparing nineteenth and early-twentieth-century Britain and contemporary Anglo-American debates about liberalism and world politics. Morefield takes us through arguments from a diverse cast of characters including classicists like Alfred Zimmern and Donald Kagan, historians like Niall Ferguson, and political actors like Jan Smuts and Michael Ignatieff in order to understand how liberals draw on history as part of their political projects.

By Jeanne Morefield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Empires Without Imperialism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The end of the Cold War ushered in a moment of nearly pure American dominance on the world stage, yet that era now seems ages ago. Since 9/11 many informed commentators have focused on the relative decline of American power in the global system. While some have welcomed this as a salutary development, outspoken proponents of American power-particularly neoconservatives-have lamented this turn of events. As Jeanne Morefield argues in Empires Without
Imperialism, the defenders of a liberal international order steered by the US have both invoked nostalgia for a golden liberal past and succumbed to amnesia, forgetting the decidedly illiberal…


Book cover of Liberalism: A Counter-History

Dillon S. Tatum Author Of Liberalism and Transformation: The Global Politics of Violence and Intervention

From my list on liberalism and politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dillon Stone Tatum is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Francis Marion University. His research interests are on the history, development, and politics of liberal internationalism, international political theory, and critical security studies.

Dillon's book list on liberalism and politics

Dillon S. Tatum Why did Dillon love this book?

Italian philosopher and historian Domenico Losurdo’s book Liberalism: A Counter-History represents one of the most ambitious attempts to conceptually and historically tie the liberal tradition to the politics of slavery, empire, and genocide. What I find to be most evocative about Losurdo’s “counter-history” is both his sweeping narrative of the liberal tradition balanced against a close reading of key figures in that tradition. Losurdo provides an important critique of liberalism, and provides us with the analytic and methodological tools to interrogate its legacy, its past, its future.

By Domenico Losurdo, Gregory Elliott (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this definitive historical investigation, Italian author and philosopher Domenico Losurdo argues that from the outset liberalism, as a philosophical position and ideology, has been bound up with the most illiberal of policies: slavery, colonialism, genocide, racism and snobbery.


Book cover of Liberal Internationalism: Theory, History, Practice

Dillon S. Tatum Author Of Liberalism and Transformation: The Global Politics of Violence and Intervention

From my list on liberalism and politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dillon Stone Tatum is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Francis Marion University. His research interests are on the history, development, and politics of liberal internationalism, international political theory, and critical security studies.

Dillon's book list on liberalism and politics

Dillon S. Tatum Why did Dillon love this book?

Beate Jahn’s Liberal Internationalism is an exciting blend of analysis of the liberal tradition of political thought, while also providing an “immanent critique” of liberalism’s global contradictions—both historically, and in contemporary constellations. Jahn’s book represents, to me at least, the “sweet-spot” between carefully considered analysis, concept-building, and ethical reflection.

By Beate Jahn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This study provides an original conception of liberalism that accounts for its internal contradictions and explains the current crisis of liberal internationalism. Examining the disjuncture between liberal theory and practice, it offers a firmer grasp on the historical role of liberalism in world politics.


Book cover of Time's Monster: History, Conscience and Britain's Empire

Naoíse Mac Sweeney Author Of The West: A New History in Fourteen Lives

From my list on why the past matters for the future.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love stories, and as a child I found that some of the best and most powerful stories I ever heard were those that people told about the past. When I grew up, I pursued a career as an academic archaeologist and historian, and I am now Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Vienna. But while I am of course interested in the past, in recent years I have been increasingly thinking about the politics of the past as well. Why do we choose to celebrate some stories about the past and not others? I have found these books all useful in helping me to think through this.

Naoíse's book list on why the past matters for the future

Naoíse Mac Sweeney Why did Naoíse love this book?

This is an absolutely stonker of a book. Elegant and erudite, and yet tackling one of the hottest and most debated questions surrounding history right now.

It doesn’t only consider how we remember the British Empire (this issue is a bit of a political hot potato right now), but also reflects more broadly on the role of the historian. I am still digesting it!

By Priya Satia,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

CHOSEN AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR BY NEW STATESMAN AND BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE

'In this searing book, Priya Satia demonstrates, yet again, that she is one of our most brilliant and original historians' Sunil Amrith, author of Unruly Waters

For generations, the history of the British empire was written by its victors. British historians' accounts of conquest guided the consolidation of imperial rule in India, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean. Their narratives of the development of imperial governance licensed the brutal suppression of colonial rebellion. Their reimagining of empire during the two world wars compromised the force…


Book cover of Heaven's Command: An Imperial Progress

Sathnam Sanghera Author Of Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain

From my list on the British Empire's impact on the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was in my 40s before I began exploring the topic of the British Empire. It came after I realised it explained so much about me (my Sikh identity, the emigration of my parents, my education) and so much about my country (its politics, psychology, wealth…) and yet I knew very little. It turned out that millions of people feel the same way… and I hope I provide an accessible introduction and summary of the massive topic. 

Sathnam's book list on the British Empire's impact on the world

Sathnam Sanghera Why did Sathnam love this book?

By her own admission, Morris was nostalgic about British Empire, and while I disagree with some of her conclusions, and she herself remarked that she was “ashamed” of the work before she died, there is no doubt that she penned the single best narrative of Britain’s imperial adventures.

No other writer has written so accessibly and elegantly about a complicated history that extended across five centuries.

For me, proof that you don’t always need to agree with a writer to admire them.

By James Morris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Great travel accounts.


Book cover of The King's Peace: Law and Order in the British Empire

Christian R. Burset Author Of An Empire of Laws: Legal Pluralism in British Colonial Policy

From my list on the rise of the British Empire.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a legal historian with a particular interest in eighteenth-century Britain and the United States. My research has investigated the history of arbitration, historical connections between law and politics, and changing attitudes to the rule of law. Since 2018, I’ve been a professor at Notre Dame Law School, where I teach courses in legal history, civil procedure, conflict of laws, and the rule of law.

Christian's book list on the rise of the British Empire

Christian R. Burset Why did Christian love this book?

The British Empire underwent a profound transformation in the eighteenth century—so much so that historians sometimes draw a line between the “first” and “second” British Empires.

One aspect of that transformation concerned how colonies were governed. Until the 1760s, most British colonies enjoyed strong legislatures, a limited role for the military in everyday life, and the protections of English law. That changed during the Age of Revolutions, as Britain embraced an increasingly autocratic style of colonial rule.

The King’s Peace charts this transformation in an engaging and accessible way by weaving its arresting case studies into an ambitious argument about how modern states exercise authority. It gave me a keen sense of how the empire could simultaneously feel fragile and crushingly strong.

By Lisa Ford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How the imposition of Crown rule across the British Empire during the Age of Revolution corroded the rights of British subjects and laid the foundations of the modern police state.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the British Empire responded to numerous crises in its colonies, from North America to Jamaica, Bengal to New South Wales. This was the Age of Revolution, and the Crown, through colonial governors, tested an array of coercive peacekeeping methods in a desperate effort to maintain control. In the process these leaders transformed what it meant to be a British subject.

In the decades after…


Book cover of The Bonds of Family: Slavery, Commerce and Culture in the British Atlantic World

Nicholas Radburn Author Of Traders in Men: Merchants and the Transformation of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

From my list on how the Atlantic slave trade operated.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the Atlantic slave trade since 2007, when I first studied the business papers of a Liverpool merchant who had enslaved over a hundred thousand people. I was immediately struck by the coldness of the merchant’s accounts. I was also drawn to the ways in which the merchant’s profit-motivated decisions shaped the forced migrations and experiences of their victims. I have subsequently extended my research to examine slave traders across the vastness of the Atlantic World. I'm also interested in the ways that the slave trade’s history continues to shape the modern world, from the making of uneven patterns of global economic development to such diverse areas as the financing of popular music. 

Nicholas' book list on how the Atlantic slave trade operated

Nicholas Radburn Why did Nicholas love this book?

As I extended my research beyond British merchants to examine slave traders elsewhere in the Atlantic World, I noticed that there has been surprisingly little written on the men who sold Africans arriving aboard the ships in the Americas.

Katie Donington’s examination of the Hibberts, perhaps the largest slave-trading family in the British Americas, is, therefore, a must-read for anyone wanting to know who drove the traffic. By studying the different members of the Hibbert clan on either side of the Atlantic, Donington demonstrates the centrality of women, both free and enslaved, to slaving merchants’ businesses.

She also reveals the paradoxical ways in which familial connections between merchants were crucial to the smooth functioning of the slave trade—a business premised on sundering family ties between enslaved people. 

By Katie Donington,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Moving between Britain and Jamaica The bonds of family reconstructs the world of commerce, consumption and cultivation sustained through an extended engagement with the business of slavery. Transatlantic slavery was both shaping of and shaped by the dynamic networks of family that established Britain's Caribbean empire. Tracing the activities of a single extended family - the Hibberts - this book explores how slavery impacted on the social, cultural, economic and political landscape of Britain. It is a history of trade, colonisation, enrichment and the tangled web of relations that gave meaning to the transatlantic world. The Hibberts's trans-generational story imbricates…


Book cover of The Vandemonian War

Kristyn Harman Author Of Aboriginal Convicts: Australian, Khoisan and Maori Exiles

From my list on the Frontier Wars fought downunder.

Why am I passionate about this?

Kristyn Harman is an award-winning researcher who successfully completed doctoral research investigating the circumstances in which at least ninety Australian Aboriginal men were transported as convicts within the Australian colonies following their involvement in Australia’s frontier wars. She has published extensively on historical topics, and currently lectures in History at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia. Having lived in both countries, Kristyn is fascinated by the different understandings that New Zealanders and Australians have of their nation’s respective pasts. She is particularly intrigued, if not perturbed, by the way in which most New Zealanders acknowledge their nation’s frontier wars, while many Australians choose to deny the wars fought on their country’s soil.

Kristyn's book list on the Frontier Wars fought downunder

Kristyn Harman Why did Kristyn love this book?

Van Diemen’s Land is the former name for the island at the bottom of Australia now called Tasmania. The British who invaded the island changed the colony’s name after the place became infamous. Not only was it home to the British Empire’s most feared convict stations, but it also had a fearsome reputation as the location of one of the most brutal genocides in the Empire’s history. Nick Brodie draws on extensive, yet previously ignored, archival documents to refute the long-standing myth that the Vandemonian War was fought between hapless convict shepherds at the far reaches of the island colony and the island’s Aboriginal inhabitants. He demonstrates instead how this significant conflict was an orchestrated campaign in which the Lieutenant-Governor of the colony used military and para-military forces to prosecute his war against Aboriginal people. Ultimately, the British won the Vandemonian War and then purposefully covered up the military nature…

By Nick Brodie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Britain formally colonised Van Diemen's Land in the early years of the nineteenth century. Small convict stations grew into towns. Pastoralists moved in to the aboriginal hunting grounds. There was conflict, there was violence. But, governments and gentlemen succeeded in burying the real story of the Vandemonian War for nearly two centuries. The Vandemonian War had many sides and shades, but it was fundamentally a war between the British colony of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) and those Tribespeople who lived in political and social contradiction to that colony. In The Vandemonian War acclaimed history author Nick Brodie now exposes the…


Book cover of Colonizing Animals

Shira Shmuely Author Of The Bureaucracy of Empathy: Law, Vivisection, and Animal Pain in Late Nineteenth-Century Britain

From my list on getting familiar with multispecies history.

Why am I passionate about this?

My fascination and emotional connection with animals have been lifelong. However, it wasn't until my second year as an undergrad student that I realized that human-animal relationship could be examined from philosophical, historical, and anthropological perspectives. Over the past couple of decades, the conversations around the roles of non-human animals in diverse cultural, social, and material contexts have coalesced under the interdisciplinary field known as Animal Studies. I draw upon this literature and use my training in law and PhD in the history of science to explore the ties between knowledge and ethics in the context of animal law.  

Shira's book list on getting familiar with multispecies history

Shira Shmuely Why did Shira love this book?

The newest publication on my list, this book offers future directions for researching the history of human-animal relations. 

Arguing against the Eurocentrism of animal history, the book brings in multiple species into the historical inquiry of colonial Myanmar. Saha explores colonized people's interspecies relationships, with a particular emphasis on commodification processes.

I recommend the book to those who are interested not only in a captivating analysis, but also in a thought-provoking theoretical discussion about the intersection of animal studies and postcolonial scholarship.  

By Jonathan Saha,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Animals were vital to the British colonization of Myanmar. In this pathbreaking history of British imperialism in Myanmar from the early nineteenth century to 1942, Jonathan Saha argues that animals were impacted and transformed by colonial subjugation. By examining the writings of Burmese nationalists and the experiences of subaltern groups, he also shows how animals were mobilized by Burmese anticolonial activists in opposition to imperial rule. In demonstrating how animals - such as elephants, crocodiles, and rats - were important actors never fully under the control of humans, Saha uncovers a history of how British colonialism transformed ecologies and fostered…


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