100 books like Reports from the Holocaust

By Larry Kramer,

Here are 100 books that Reports from the Holocaust fans have personally recommended if you like Reports from the Holocaust. 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 A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster

Daniel P. Aldrich Author Of Building Resilience: Social Capital in Post-Disaster Recovery

From my list on the importance of community during disasters.

Why am I passionate about this?

We moved to New Orleans in July 2005. We had six weeks in our first home, filling it with furniture, buying a new car, and taking advantage of my first job. When Hurricane Katrina collapsed the levees holding back the nearby lakes, our home – and those of 80% of the city – filled with water. As I waited for FEMA and insurance to help us, I saw instead it was our friends, friends of friends, and faith-based organizations that helped us get back on our feet. Using our own experiences as a start, I traveled to India and Japan to study how communities around the world survived and thrived during shocks. 

Daniel's book list on the importance of community during disasters

Daniel P. Aldrich Why did Daniel love this book?

We have all seen disaster movies and TV shows with people screaming and running around as the earthquake, tsunami, or Godzilla strikes. But Rebecca Solnit argues instead that normal people don’t panic during disasters – it is the elite, the wealthy, and the decision-makers who lose their minds. For normal people, altruism and mutual aid help all of us get through shocks, whether fire, car accident or COVID19. Her writing is excellent and she uses examples across time and space, ranging from the San Francisco earthquake at the start of the 20th century to the Mexico City earthquake at its end.

By Rebecca Solnit,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Paradise Built in Hell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The freshest, deepest, most optimistic account of human nature I've come across in years."
-Bill McKibben

The most startling thing about disasters, according to award-winning author Rebecca Solnit, is not merely that so many people rise to the occasion, but that they do so with joy. That joy reveals an ordinarily unmet yearning for community, purposefulness, and meaningful work that disaster often provides. A Paradise Built in Hell is an investigation of the moments of altruism, resourcefulness, and generosity that arise amid disaster's grief and disruption and considers their implications for everyday life. It points to a new vision of…


Book cover of Parting the Waters

Jim Carrier Author Of A Traveler’s Guide to the Civil Rights Movement

From my list on understanding the South’s Civil Rights Movement.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a journalist who learned his craft on the job in the tumultuous 1960s, I happened to find myself living in states where racial history was being written. Reporting that story required me to understand why discrimination, poverty, and violence remained so deeply rooted in modern America. I wrote Ten Ways to Fight Hate, I made a movie about civil rights martyrs, and, after seeing people from around the world making a pilgrimage to the sites of the civil rights struggle, published my guidebook. Over the course of a 50-year career, I have written a million words. I am proudest of those that tried to right wrongs, and sometimes did.

Jim's book list on understanding the South’s Civil Rights Movement

Jim Carrier Why did Jim love this book?

As I drove through the South researching my guidebook to civil rights sites, my back seat was filled with books. Atop the pile was Taylor Branch’s magisterial three-volume history – America in the King Years 1954-1968: Parting the Waters, Pillar of Fire, and At Canaan’s Edge.

Though encyclopedic, Branch’s story-telling is riveting—weaving together personalities, legalities, strategies, and geography in a way that made me feel as if I were there witnessing history as it was made. Taylor’s detail, reflecting a journalist’s quest for who, what, where, when, how, and why, showed me that these stories could best be told, understood, and felt where they happened.

By Taylor Branch,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Parting the Waters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Parting the Waters, the first volume of his essential America in the King Years series, Pulitzer Prize winner Taylor Branch gives a “compelling…masterfully told” (The Wall Street Journal) account of Martin Luther King’s early years and rise to greatness.

Hailed as the most masterful story ever told of the American Civil Rights Movement, Parting the Waters is destined to endure for generations.

Moving from the fiery political baptism of Martin Luther King, Jr., to the corridors of Camelot where the Kennedy brothers weighed demands for justice against the deceptions of J. Edgar Hoover, here is a vivid tapestry of…


Book cover of The Gay Militants

Ron Goldberg Author Of Boy with the Bullhorn: A Memoir and History of ACT UP New York

From my list on to inspire the activist in you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a nice gay Jewish former wannabe actor turned AIDS activist. I joined ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, in 1987, and for the next eight years, I chaired committees, planned protests, led teach-ins, and facilitated our weekly meetings. I visited friends in hospitals, attended far too many AIDS memorials, participated in over a hundred zaps and demonstrations, and earned the title of ACT UP’s unofficial “Chant Queen.” It was the hardest, most intense, most rewarding, most joyous, and most devastating time of my life. Aware that I had witnessed history, it became my mission to record what happened and to make sure our story was not forgotten. 

Ron's book list on to inspire the activist in you

Ron Goldberg Why did Ron love this book?

In 1989, in honor of the twentieth anniversary of Stonewall, a group of ACT UP members decided to form a study group to learn about the history of queer activism. Surprisingly, I could find almost nothing about the gay liberation movement until I stumbled upon The Gay Militants in a used bookstore. I was amazed at my good fortune. Here was a detailed, first-hand, and contemporaneous history of the first year of gay liberation after Stonewall, filled with original documents, outrageous quotes, and the campy exhilarating joy of activism. I couldn’t believe how many of our actions (and internal conflicts) echoed those of these early groups and how many of our enemies remained the same.

By Donn Teal,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Book by Teal, Donn


Book cover of A Map of the World

Ron Goldberg Author Of Boy with the Bullhorn: A Memoir and History of ACT UP New York

From my list on to inspire the activist in you.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a nice gay Jewish former wannabe actor turned AIDS activist. I joined ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, in 1987, and for the next eight years, I chaired committees, planned protests, led teach-ins, and facilitated our weekly meetings. I visited friends in hospitals, attended far too many AIDS memorials, participated in over a hundred zaps and demonstrations, and earned the title of ACT UP’s unofficial “Chant Queen.” It was the hardest, most intense, most rewarding, most joyous, and most devastating time of my life. Aware that I had witnessed history, it became my mission to record what happened and to make sure our story was not forgotten. 

Ron's book list on to inspire the activist in you

Ron Goldberg Why did Ron love this book?

Before I was an activist, my favorite audition monologue was from David Hare’s play, A Map of the World. Set at an international UNESCO conference (and, in a meta-framing, the set of a movie retelling the same story), the centerpiece is a Shavian debate between a young leftwing reporter and a celebrated rightwing author. “You will never ever understand any struggle unless you take part in it,” says the idealistic reporter in a speech that still speaks to me today, as it pits the messy, hard work and, yes, failures, of activism against the comfortable cynicism of those who criticize from the sidelines. I would later discover this same play inspired Larry Kramer to start writing The Normal Heart.

By David Hare,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Map of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Stephen Andrews, a young journalist, and Victor Mehta, a cynical Indian novelist argue about how the west deals with the problems of the Third World


Book cover of All the Young Men

Victoria Noe Author Of What Our Friends Left Behind: Grief and Laughter in a Pandemic

From my list on friendship and grief (and pandemics).

Why am I passionate about this?

In 2006, I told a friend I wanted to write a book about grieving the death of a friend. Despite the fact that I’d never written a book before, she gave me her enthusiastic approval. Six months later she was dead. She inspired me to turn that book idea into a series of little books: the Friend Grief series. Just as I was finishing the last one, I began work on a full-length book that took me back to my work in the early days of AIDS. When COVID began, I returned to writing about friend grief. And I lost over a dozen friends while I wrote the book.

Victoria's book list on friendship and grief (and pandemics)

Victoria Noe Why did Victoria love this book?

Since long before COVID, Ruth Coker Burks has lived a life of service to people who were abandoned by their families after being diagnosed with AIDS.

In the dark days of that epidemic, she cared for them, advocated for them, even buried them in her own family plot in Arkansas. She persevered despite relentless bigotry and hatred that included cross-burnings on her front lawn. Nothing stopped her.

Coker Burks earned the nickname ‘cemetery angel’ by proving that everyone can make a difference in the lives of others. I’m honored that we have become friends, because she inspires me every day.

By Ruth Coker Burks, Kevin Carr O'Leary,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked All the Young Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A renegade Florence Nightingale cares for the ill in a remarkable tale of compassion and combating prejudice" The Guardian

'Breath-taking courage and compassion [...]a beautiful book' The Sunday Times

'An extraordinary tale' Evening Standard

'If I have one message with this book it's that we all have to care for one another. Today, not just in 1986. Life is about caring for each other, and I learned more about life from the dying than I ever learned from the living. It's in an elephant ride, it's in those wildflowers dancing on their way to the shared grave of two men…


Book cover of Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration

Khan Wong Author Of The Circus Infinite

From my list on how art is more than art.

Why am I passionate about this?

Creative expression has been one of my most cherished values since childhood. I've always had a creative hobby of some kind since I was a kid. Not sure how that happened – my parents were tolerant of my interests at best. I made my day job career in the arts, fostering the creativity of community members and supporting the work of artists. Art (in the general sense of all forms of creative expression) is, to me, a defining characteristic of humanity, it makes life worth living, and the way it’s devalued under Capitalism both saddens and inspires me as a creator myself. I’m a writer of speculative fiction and I write about creative people.

Khan's book list on how art is more than art

Khan Wong Why did Khan love this book?

This memoir by the artist David Wojnarowicz deeply impacted me when I was a young queer man just setting off to make his way in the world in the early ‘90s. It’s a look at America during the AIDS crisis, and also delves into the author’s rage and lust and creativity and hope for a better world. The prose is electric, confrontational, and not at all concerned with decorum or coddling delicate sensibilities. It’s a raw and honest deep dive into the heart and soul of an artist living life on the edge of a society actively antagonistic to his existence and is a testament to art as a mechanism of survival. I can only hope to write something this invigorating one day. Bonus points for existing.

By David Wojnarowicz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Close to the Knives as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

I am glad I am alive to witness these things; giving words to this life of sensations is a relief. Smell the flowers while you can.

Close to the Knives is the artist, writer and activist David Wojnarowicz's extraordinary memoir. Filthy, beautiful, and sharp to the point of piercing, it is both an exploration of the world seen through the eyes of an artist, and a moving portrait of a generation living, grieving, and dying through the AIDS crisis. It is a triumphant hymn of resistance, and a dizzying celebration of the joys of seeing and living in the world.


Book cover of The Origins of AIDS

David Quammen Author Of Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus

From my list on rigorously scientific scary viruses.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a journalist and an author, I’ve been covering the subject of scary viruses for twenty years—ever since I walked through Ebola habitat in a forest in northeastern Gabon, on assignment for National Geographic. I’ve interviewed many of the eminent experts—from Peter Piot to Marion Koopmans to Tony Fauci—and have spent field time with some of the intrepid younger disease ecologists who look for viruses in bat guano in Chinese caves and in gorilla blood in Central African forests. My book Spillover, published in 2012, drew much of that research together in describing the history and evolutionary ecology of animal infections that spill into humans.

David's book list on rigorously scientific scary viruses

David Quammen Why did David love this book?

Scientists now know that the AIDS virus, HIV-1, entered the human population much earlier than is commonly thought—back around 1908, give or take a margin of error, and via a single spillover from a chimpanzee into a human, probably by blood exposure when a chimp was killed and butchered for food. Pepin’s book illuminates how the virus might then, slowly and quietly at first, have spread from a forest in southeastern Cameroun, down tributaries of the Congo River to major cities such as Brazzaville and Leopoldville (now Kinshasa), and from there to the world. Pepin’s work was vastly helpful to me when I assembled my own account of that story, included in my own books.

By Jacques Pépin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It is now forty years since the discovery of AIDS, but its origins continue to puzzle doctors, scientists and patients. Inspired by his own experiences working as a physician in a bush hospital in Zaire, Jacques Pepin looks back to the early twentieth-century events in central Africa that triggered the emergence of HIV/AIDS and traces its subsequent development into the most dramatic and destructive epidemic of modern times. He shows how the disease was first transmitted from chimpanzees to man and then how military campaigns, urbanisation, prostitution and large-scale colonial medical interventions intended to eradicate tropical diseases combined to disastrous…


Book cover of Tinderbox: How the West Sparked the AIDS Epidemic and How the World Can Finally Overcome it

Stephanie Nolen Author Of 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa

From my list on understanding Africa’s AIDS pandemic and feeling hopeful.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the global health reporter for The New York Times, the latest iteration in 30 years as a foreign correspondent. I’ve covered wars and humanitarian disasters, but it’s health stories that have always drawn me most. Health stories are intimate and personal, but they’re also about politics and economics, and social norms – about power. I’ve written about the Zika virus crisis in Brazil, child malnutrition in India, teen suicide in the Arctic – but no story has drawn me in and kept me riveted like Africa’s AIDS pandemic has over the past 25 years. I intend to keep reporting on it until the day a cure is found.

Stephanie's book list on understanding Africa’s AIDS pandemic and feeling hopeful

Stephanie Nolen Why did Stephanie love this book?

Craig Timberg was a reporting colleague when I was a correspondent in South Africa, and became a friend, one with whom I often passionately disagreed.

That’s why I suggest this book: it offers a very different perspective than mine. Craig and his co-author Halperin, an epidemiologist whose work had a big influence on Craig’s thinking, draw a clear through-line for how Western powers created the sparks of the African epidemic then vigorously fanned them.

A significant chunk of the book focuses on solutions (Halperin is a vociferous champion of male circumcision as an intervention to drive down the spread of the virus). It’s a brisk read that makes complex epidemiological dynamics accessible.

By Craig Timberg, Daniel Halperin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this groundbreaking narrative, longtime Washington Post reporter Craig Timberg and award-winning AIDS researcher Daniel Halperin tell the surprising story of how Western colonial powers unwittingly sparked the AIDS epidemic and then fanned its rise. Drawing on remarkable new science, Tinderbox overturns the conventional wisdom on the origins of this deadly pandemic and the best ways to fight it today.

Recent genetic studies have traced the birth of HIV to the forbidding equatorial forests of Cameroon, where chimpanzees carried the virus for millennia without causing a major outbreak in humans. During the Scramble for Africa, colonial companies blazed new routes…


Book cover of Tell the Wolves I'm Home

Shannon Takaoka Author Of The Totally True Story of Gracie Byrne

From my list on totally awesome stories set in the 80s.

Why am I passionate about this?

My soul still possesses a little of my teenage self, which is why I set my latest book in 1987. Whitney Houston had one of the biggest songs, Dirty Dancing was released, and a little girl nicknamed Baby Jessica was rescued from a well. I’m told this makes The Totally True Story of Gracie Byrne “historical fiction” which, honestly, is a little alarming, because sometimes 1987 doesn’t seem like that long ago. Other times it feels ancient. I picked a few of these books because they’re full of nostalgia for a slower, analog time. But mainly I chose them for the voice, characters, and great writing.

Shannon's book list on totally awesome stories set in the 80s

Shannon Takaoka Why did Shannon love this book?

Tell the Wolves I’m Home is literary and lyrical and it broke my heart into a thousand pieces while simultaneously piecing it back together again.

When June loses her beloved Uncle Finn at the height of the AIDs epidemic, she also loses the person who understands her the most. Then she forms a friendship with the partner he left behind, Toby, and together they help each other through the loneliness they both feel without him.

I liked that this book isn’t afraid to explore complicated relationships – especially between siblings. It also shines a light on a time when ignorance caused so much pain, through characters who are confused, flawed, and deeply human. The writing is beautiful.  

By Carol Rifka Brunt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tell the Wolves I'm Home as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A heartfelt story of love, grief, and renewal about two unlikely friends who discover that sometimes you don’t know you’ve lost someone until you’ve found them

“A dazzling debut novel.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
“Tremendously moving.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Touching and ultimately hopeful.”—People
 
1987. The only person who has ever truly understood fourteen-year-old June Elbus is her uncle, the renowned painter Finn Weiss. Shy at school and distant from her older sister, June can be herself only in Finn’s company; he is her godfather, confidant, and best friend. So when he dies, far too young, of…


Book cover of No Time to Lose: A Life in Pursuit of Deadly Viruses

David Quammen Author Of Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus

From my list on rigorously scientific scary viruses.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a journalist and an author, I’ve been covering the subject of scary viruses for twenty years—ever since I walked through Ebola habitat in a forest in northeastern Gabon, on assignment for National Geographic. I’ve interviewed many of the eminent experts—from Peter Piot to Marion Koopmans to Tony Fauci—and have spent field time with some of the intrepid younger disease ecologists who look for viruses in bat guano in Chinese caves and in gorilla blood in Central African forests. My book Spillover, published in 2012, drew much of that research together in describing the history and evolutionary ecology of animal infections that spill into humans.

David's book list on rigorously scientific scary viruses

David Quammen Why did David love this book?

Peter Piot was a young microbiologist at a lab in Belgium, in 1976, when he was assigned to analyze specimens in a thermos bottle shipped up from Zaire, where villagers were dying of a horrific and unknown disease. The thermos contained a virus that came to be known as Ebola. This was the event, as his book vividly recounts, that led Piot to a long and distinguished career in infectious viral diseases, from Ebola to AIDS and beyond.

By Peter Piot,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Time to Lose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Peter Piot was in medical school, a professor warned, "There's no future in infectious diseases. They've all been solved." Fortunately, Piot ignored him, and the result has been an exceptional, adventure-filled career. In the 1970s, as a young man, Piot was sent to Central Africa as part of a team tasked with identifying a grisly new virus. Crossing into the quarantine zone on the most dangerous missions, he studied local customs to determine how this disease-the Ebola virus-was spreading. Later, Piot found himself in the field again when another mysterious epidemic broke out: AIDS. He traveled throughout Africa, leading…


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