81 books like Slouching Towards Bethlehem

By Joan Didion,

Here are 81 books that Slouching Towards Bethlehem fans have personally recommended if you like Slouching Towards Bethlehem. 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 Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Johanna van Zanten Author Of The Imposter

From my list on how the Second World War affected regular people and their families.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child with older sisters, I read their books beyond my age level under the blankets with a flashlight in bed at night. I became a reading addict. Raised in The Netherlands with the Second World War casting its large shadow on our lives, I only became interested, after my parents were gone, in how people survived and had to find their courage under impossible circumstances. They would never talk about those occupation years. My search into history led me to find the answers.

Johanna's book list on how the Second World War affected regular people and their families

Johanna van Zanten Why did Johanna love this book?

I loved this non-fiction book, and reading it, I often broke down in tears, realizing this personal and innocent true teenage story was all leading up to the tremendous death of millions of innocent people.

This is the only Anne Frank book that I recommend to everybody from a young age. It is THE introduction to the real events of World War 2.

By Anne Frank, B.M. Mooyaart (translator),

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Anne Frank as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

With 30 per cent more material than previous editions, this new contemporary and fully anglicized translation gives the reader a deeper insight into Anne's world. Publication of the unabridged Definitive Edition on Penguin Audiobook, read by Helena Bonham-Carter, coincides.


Book cover of All the President's Men

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

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

Why am I passionate about this?

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

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

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

This is arguably the most important book by journalists in the modern era.

Not only did the reporting behind it lead to the impeachment and subsequent resignation of President Richard Nixon in the wake of Watergate, it inspired generations of other journalists to investigate political crimes and criminals and hold office-holders at all levels accountable. One could reasonably say that it helped to save American democracy.

By Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked All the President's Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

50th Anniversary Edition—With a new foreword on what Watergate means today.

“The work that brought down a presidency...perhaps the most influential piece of journalism in history” (Time)—from the #1 New York Times bestselling authors of The Final Days.

The most devastating political detective story of the century: two Washington Post reporters, whose brilliant, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation smashed the Watergate scandal wide open, tell the behind-the-scenes drama the way it really happened.

One of Time magazine’s All-Time 100 Best Nonfiction Books, this is the book that changed America. Published just months before President Nixon’s resignation, All the President’s Men revealed the…


Book cover of Hiroshima

Constance Hays Matsumoto Author Of Of White Ashes

From my list on beyond Oppenheimer: the truth, reality, and horror.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write stories and poetry intended to influence positive change in our world. Since marrying Kent 25 years ago and then growing to know and love his parents, something stirred in me to learn more and to write Of White Ashes. In our research, we relied on over 50 primary Hiroshima sources, visited the family home in Hiroshima, saw the bomb shelter my father-in-law dug into the side of a hillside, visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the few buildings that still stand, and walked where my father-in-law walked. Researching and writing Of White Ashes changed me—forever. My article, "How the History of Nuclear Violence Shapes Our Present", was published in CrimeReads.

Constance's book list on beyond Oppenheimer: the truth, reality, and horror

Constance Hays Matsumoto Why did Constance love this book?

Like most high school students, I had read and was horrified by John Hersey’s Hiroshima.

For the longest time after reading Hiroshima, I tried to imagine carbonized bodies and human shadows etched in stone, but it was unimaginable. I stopped imagining; easier, safer not to think about the suffering. But then I met Kent and learned the fascinating stories of his Japanese American parents—his mother was incarcerated in the WWII camps; his father had survived the atomic bombing of his city of Hiroshima. 
Since high school, I’ve read Hiroshima many times. Why? To learn from Hersey’s visit to Hiroshima soon after the bombing and his survivor interviews. His meticulously researched, gripping, and compassionate New Yorker article (and later book) is an essential work of journalism and humanized the atomic bombing for the world.

By John Hersey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“One of the great classics of the war" (The New Republic) that tells what happened in Hiroshima through the memories of survivors—from a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. 

On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atom bomb ever dropped on a city. This book, John Hersey's journalistic masterpiece, tells what happened on that day. Told through the memories of survivors, this timeless, powerful and compassionate document has become a classic "that stirs the conscience of humanity" (The New York Times).

Almost four decades after the original publication of this celebrated book, John Hersey went back to Hiroshima in search…


Book cover of Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells

Frances McNamara Author Of Molasses Murder in a Nutshell: A Nutshell Murder Mystery

From my list on real women in criminology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was frustrated by stories of gilded-age women who floundered around and were pitied because of the limitations society put on them. I thought the heroine of House of Mirth was not heroine but a loser. It seemed to me there must be other women out there who weren’t just sitting around bemoaning their predicament. Since I’m a mystery writer I was especially pleased to find some women who were out there doing things, even in criminology. Finding Frances Glessner Lee was the icing on the cake when I learned that she is known as the Mother of Forensic Science. Had to be great stories there.

Frances' book list on real women in criminology

Frances McNamara Why did Frances love this book?

Ida B. Wells was a journalist. She was also an organizer of an anti-lynching campaign.

She’s a wonderful example of a woman who ignored the limitations the world of the time set on her to do what she felt was needed. She and others collected accounts of lynchings, many of them from white newspapers and published them to force society to confront the fact that they were happening.

As a young woman she sued a railroad for physically ejecting her from a carriage because she was African American. She won.

She’s just a great example of a young woman bucking the system. I’m so glad my feminine forebearers did!

By Ida B. Wells,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"She fought a lonely and almost single-handed fight, with the single-mindedness of a crusader, long before men or women of any race entered the arena; and the measure of success she achieved goes far beyond the credit she has been given in the history of the country."-Alfreda M. Duster

Ida B. Wells is an American icon of truth telling. Born to slaves, she was a pioneer of investigative journalism, a crusader against lynching, and a tireless advocate for suffrage, both for women and for African Americans. She co-founded the NAACP, started the Alpha Suffrage Club in Chicago, and was a…


Book cover of Ten Days in a Mad-House

Jerry Mitchell Author Of Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era

From my list on learning about investigative reporting.

Why am I passionate about this?

The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped get two people off Death Row. The author of Race Against Time, Mitchell is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit that exposes corruption and injustices, investigates cold cases, gives voice to the voiceless, and raises up the next generation of investigative reporters.

Jerry's book list on learning about investigative reporting

Jerry Mitchell Why did Jerry love this book?

Nellie Bly was one of the great muckraking reporters in American history. She pretends to be insane and is admitted to the “mad house.” Along the way, she exposes the horrible treatment of those suffering from mental illness, but of her treatment in a boarding home, where spoiled beef was served.

Many at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Roosevelt Island suffered no mental illness; they simply didn’t know how to speak English, she wrote. “I left the insane ward with pleasure and regret—pleasure that I was once more able to enjoy the free breath of heaven; regret that I could not have brought with me some of the unfortunate women who lived and suffered with me, and who, I am convinced, are just as sane as I was and am now myself.”

Her reporting led to a grand jury investigation and reforms inside the asylum.

By Nellie Bly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ten Days in a Mad-House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ten Days in a Mad-House (1887) is a book by American investigative journalist Nellie Bly. For her first assignment for Joseph Pulitzer's famed New York World newspaper, Bly went undercover as a patient at a notorious insane asylum on Blackwell's Island. Spending ten days there, she recorded the abuses and neglect she witnessed, turning her research into a sensational two-part story for the New York World later published as Ten Days in a Mad-House.

Checking into a New York boardinghouse under a false identity, Bly began acting in a disturbed, unsettling manner, prompting the police to be summoned. In a…


Book cover of The Gastronomical Me

Denise Kiernan Author Of We Gather Together: A Nation Divided, a President in Turmoil, and a Historic Campaign to Embrace Gratitude and Grace

From my list on on or by maverick women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Denise Kiernan is a multiple New York Times bestselling author of narrative nonfiction books including The Girls Of Atomic City, The Last Castle, and We Gather Together. Throughout her career as a journalist and an author, she has explored underrepresented stories and characters and the impact they have had on history. These stories of the unsung offer fresh perspectives on historical tales we think we already know. At the heart of many of Kiernan’s nonfiction explorations are women from a variety of different backgrounds and time periods.

Denise's book list on on or by maverick women

Denise Kiernan Why did Denise love this book?

To call Fisher merely a food writer is to miss out on one of the most provocative essayists of the 20th century. This exploration of her departure from American life to live in Dijon, France, is a celebration of what it means to be truly engaged in one’s own story. For those with ravenous appetites for not just food, but the stuff of life.

By M.F.K. Fisher,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1929, a newly married M.F.K. Fisher said goodbye to a milquetoast American culinary upbringing and sailed with her husband to Dijon, where she tasted real French cooking for the first time. The Gastronomical Me is a chronicle of her passionate embrace of a whole new way of eating, drinking, and celebrating the senses. As she recounts memorable meals shared with an assortment of eccentric and fascinating characters, set against a backdrop of mounting pre-war tensions, we witness the formation not only of her taste but of her character and her prodigious talent.


Book cover of Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War

Cathy Hester Seckman Author Of Rightside/Wrongside

From my list on women being in charge in fiction and nonfiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the ‘60s, when women were not in charge of anything much. I’ve always been fascinated by strong women. Amelia Earhart was a particular favorite, as were the suffragettes, Michelle Obama, and others. The strongest thing I’ve done in my life is to seize opportunities when they arise. I forged a second career that way, taking more than one leap of faith to do what I’ve always known I could do, be a writer. During and after my first career as a dental hygienist I took opportunities to be a newspaper wire editor, then a columnist, a magazine writer, an indexer, a nonfiction writer, and a novelist.

Cathy's book list on women being in charge in fiction and nonfiction

Cathy Hester Seckman Why did Cathy love this book?

This is more historical fiction than nonfiction, but the backmatter contains notes, a bibliography, and a decent index.

It details the work of four Civil War-era women who made significant contributions to the war effort on both sides. Flamboyant teenager Belle Boyd and scheming temptress Rose O’Neal Greenhow spied for the South; Emma Edmonds enlisted in the Union Army as Frank Thompson; and secret abolitionist Elizabeth Van Lew managed an espionage ring under the noses of her Richmond neighbors.

I cheered each one of them through the entire book, wondering if I could have been as strong and resolute as they were. They didn’t cower in their homes. They stood up and made their lives count in an era when the overwhelming majority of women did no such thing.

By Karen Abbott,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Not for nothing has Abbott been called a ‘pioneer of sizzle history.’ Here she creates a gripping page-turner that moves at a breathtaking clip through the dramatic events of the Civil War.”  — Los Angeles Times

Karen Abbott, the New York Times bestselling author of Sin in the Second City and “pioneer of sizzle history” (USA Today), tells the spellbinding true story of four women - a socialite, a farmgirl, an abolitionist, and a widow - who risked everything to become spies during the Civil War.

After shooting a Union soldier in her front hall with a pocket pistol, Belle…


Book cover of Sargent's Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas

Denise Kiernan Author Of We Gather Together: A Nation Divided, a President in Turmoil, and a Historic Campaign to Embrace Gratitude and Grace

From my list on on or by maverick women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Denise Kiernan is a multiple New York Times bestselling author of narrative nonfiction books including The Girls Of Atomic City, The Last Castle, and We Gather Together. Throughout her career as a journalist and an author, she has explored underrepresented stories and characters and the impact they have had on history. These stories of the unsung offer fresh perspectives on historical tales we think we already know. At the heart of many of Kiernan’s nonfiction explorations are women from a variety of different backgrounds and time periods.

Denise's book list on on or by maverick women

Denise Kiernan Why did Denise love this book?

There are many ways to approach history. Donna Lucey brilliantly chose to usher readers into the world of the Gilded Age via the captivating canvases of that era’s most sought-after portraitist, John Singer Sargent. There are always more stories lurking behind Sargent’s luxurious depictions of his subjects, and Lucey gets beneath the paint and the posing to give us her own picture of four very real women whose lives are far more nuanced than any portrait sitting can convey.

By Donna M. Lucey, Donna M. Lucey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With unprecedented access to newly discovered sources, Donna M. Lucey illuminates the lives of four women painted by the society portraitist John Singer Sargent. With uncanny clairvoyance, Sargent's portraits hint at the mysteries, passions and tragedies that unfolded in his subjects' lives. Elsie Palmer carried on a labyrinthine love life in a Rocky Mountain castle; Elizabeth Chanler stepped into a maze of infidelity with her best friend's husband; as the veiled image of Sally Fairchild emerged on the canvas, her sister was lured into an ill-fated life in art; and shrewd Isabella Stewart Gardner collected both art and young men.…


Book cover of First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies

Denise Kiernan Author Of We Gather Together: A Nation Divided, a President in Turmoil, and a Historic Campaign to Embrace Gratitude and Grace

From my list on on or by maverick women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Denise Kiernan is a multiple New York Times bestselling author of narrative nonfiction books including The Girls Of Atomic City, The Last Castle, and We Gather Together. Throughout her career as a journalist and an author, she has explored underrepresented stories and characters and the impact they have had on history. These stories of the unsung offer fresh perspectives on historical tales we think we already know. At the heart of many of Kiernan’s nonfiction explorations are women from a variety of different backgrounds and time periods.

Denise's book list on on or by maverick women

Denise Kiernan Why did Denise love this book?

The First Lady of the United States is a challenging role that has been navigated by an incredibly wide array of women over the years. Brower has interviewed many of them, and the insights she gives readers into their day-to-day lives—at turns uplifting and heartbreaking—make for an incredibly relatable and inspiring book. This is as behind-the-White House-scenes as you can get. From Jaqueline Kennedy to Michelle Obama, Brower offers an incredibly intimate look at this often misunderstood role in American politics.

By Kate Andersen Brower,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the groundbreaking backstairs look at the White House, The Residence, comes an intimate, news-making look at the true modern power brokers at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: the First Ladies, from Jackie Kennedy to Michelle Obama and Melania Trump. One of the most underestimated-and challenging-positions in the world, the First Lady of the United States must be many things: an inspiring leader with a forward-thinking agenda of her own; a savvy politician, skilled at navigating the treacherous rapids of Washington; a wife and mother operating under constant scrutiny; and an able CEO responsible…


Book cover of Catch-22

Andy Owen Author Of Land of the Blind

From my list on books that capture the tragedy and comedy of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

War is perhaps the most extreme human activity. I have seen firsthand some of these extremes in Iraq and Afghanistan. I now write about the philosophy and ethics of war and geopolitics, exploring some of the impacts and enduring truths that war and its conduct tell us about ourselves that might be hidden under the surface of our everyday lives. The books I have chosen here explore, with elegance, sensitivity, and sometimes brutal and unflinching honesty, what the battlefield exposes, showing us that there is both tragedy and comedy at the extremities of human nature, and without one, you cannot really truly appreciate the other.

Andy's book list on books that capture the tragedy and comedy of war

Andy Owen Why did Andy love this book?

With its repetition and echoing of phrases, Kafkaesque chronology, and circular logic, Catch-22 illustrates the absurdity of war more than any other novel I have read.

Every time pilot Yossarian, the book’s anti-hero, gets close to flying the number of bombing missions required to go home, the requirement is raised. A paradoxical catch keeps them flying. If you ask to be grounded because you understand the dangers, you aren’t insane. Insane soldiers just need to ask to be grounded. But asking proves you aren’t crazy.

Beneath the absurdist comedy, there is an existential dread at the heart of the book. The death of Yossarian’s friend Snowden leads him to see that ‘Man was matter.’ For me, this is the dreadful secret that war exposes - the precarious preciousness of life - as our fragile bodies are turned to quiet, still matter.

By Joseph Heller,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Catch-22 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Explosive, subversive, wild and funny, 50 years on the novel's strength is undiminished. Reading Joseph Heller's classic satire is nothing less than a rite of passage.

Set in the closing months of World War II, this is the story of a bombardier named Yossarian who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. His real problem is not the enemy - it is his own army which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. If Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the…


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