100 books like Stilwell and the American Experience in China

By Barbara W. Tuchman,

Here are 100 books that Stilwell and the American Experience in China fans have personally recommended if you like Stilwell and the American Experience in China. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Cleopatra: A Life

Rachel Kousser Author Of Alexander at the End of the World: The Forgotten Final Years of Alexander the Great

From my list on ancient goddesses heroines from a woman’s viewpoint.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I was fascinated by Greek mythology. Through myth, I encountered many powerful female characters—Athena was my favorite—but I felt frustrated by how women’s lives were told in my books. My interest in Greek myth and curiosity about untold stories led me to become a Classics professor. I love teaching and writing about women in the ancient world, helping people to understand how they navigated their lives. Luckily for me, many recent books across various genres, from novels to translations to histories, have illuminated the lives of ancient women. There’s so much more to read than when I was growing up! 

Rachel's book list on ancient goddesses heroines from a woman’s viewpoint

Rachel Kousser Why did Rachel love this book?

This book showed me how important it was for women to write ancient history and how different their interpretations of that history could be. Stacy Schiff’s biography of Cleopatra does full justice to her complicated subject and the fraught historical era she had to negotiate.

I appreciate how richly Schiff evokes Cleopatra’s world, from the palace in Alexandria she lived in as a child to the fleet she commanded in her last, fateful battle. Even more, I love how skeptically Schiff reads the ancient sources on Cleopatra and how thoughtfully she constructs her own more nuanced portrait of the powerful Egyptian queen.  

By Stacy Schiff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt.Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnets, and gold, but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator.Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as…


Book cover of The Passage of Power

Don Glickstein Author Of After Yorktown: The Final Struggle for American Independence

From my list on political biographies that are well written.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Massachusetts, which produced four presidents and untold presidential candidates including Mitt Romney, Mike Dukakis, John Kerry, Elizabeth Warren, and Gov. William Butler, who ran in 1884. My first career was as a newspaper reporter and editor, and I worked for papers in Massachusetts, New York, Colorado, and Washington state. I’ve dabbled in politics myself, working as a campaign press secretary for the late Washington Gov. Booth Gardner. Newspapers gave me an abiding hatred for adverbs, the passive voice, and bias in word selection. (No, historians shouldn’t use “patriot” in describing the Revolution’s American rebels, because loyalists and Indian nations were just as patriotic in their own minds.)

Don's book list on political biographies that are well written

Don Glickstein Why did Don love this book?

Imagine you’re Vice President Lyndon Johnson on Nov. 22, 1963. The Secret Service just hustled you into a secure room at the Dallas hospital where doctors are desperately trying to keep President John F. Kennedy alive after an assassination attempt. What’s going through your mind? If Kennedy dies, what are your next steps? Robert Caro found out. Pulitzer-winner Caro is the greatest historian of our lifetime—and a brilliant, accessible writer who makes it impossible to put down a 700-page nonfiction book. The Passage of Power is the fourth of a planned five-volume biography of Johnson, the man who helped turn Martin Luther King’s dream into reality, and then self-imploded with the Vietnam War. Caro’s final volume will be an instant best-seller.

By Robert A. Caro,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Passage of Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE, THE MARK LYNTON HISTORY PRIZE, THE AMERICAN HISTORY BOOK PRIZE

Book Four of Robert A. Caro’s monumental The Years of Lyndon Johnson displays all the narrative energy and illuminating insight that led the Times of London to acclaim it as “one of the truly great political biographies of the modern age. A masterpiece.”

The Passage of Power follows Lyndon Johnson through both the most frustrating and the most triumphant periods of his career—1958 to1964. It is a time that would see him trade the extraordinary power…


Book cover of George C. Marshall, Vol. 1: Education of a General, 1880-1939

Don Glickstein Author Of After Yorktown: The Final Struggle for American Independence

From my list on political biographies that are well written.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Massachusetts, which produced four presidents and untold presidential candidates including Mitt Romney, Mike Dukakis, John Kerry, Elizabeth Warren, and Gov. William Butler, who ran in 1884. My first career was as a newspaper reporter and editor, and I worked for papers in Massachusetts, New York, Colorado, and Washington state. I’ve dabbled in politics myself, working as a campaign press secretary for the late Washington Gov. Booth Gardner. Newspapers gave me an abiding hatred for adverbs, the passive voice, and bias in word selection. (No, historians shouldn’t use “patriot” in describing the Revolution’s American rebels, because loyalists and Indian nations were just as patriotic in their own minds.)

Don's book list on political biographies that are well written

Don Glickstein Why did Don love this book?

Few Americans remember the Marshall Plan that helped make western Europe the economic powerhouse it is today. Fewer still remember the man behind the Marshall Plan, who led the U.S. military during World War II, and later became Secretary of State. Pogue’s four-volume biography isn’t your usual military biography with a long recitation of battles, dates, and minutiae about guns and ships. It’s about how an obscure career officer who never went to West Point became the confidant of two presidents and the mentor of a future one, Dwight Eisenhower (who later betrayed him during the Trump-like McCarthy era). When political integrity is in short supply, Pogue reminds us of a time when a politically astute general kept his.

By Forrest C. Pogue,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked George C. Marshall, Vol. 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, George Catlett Marshall (1880-1959) attended the Virginia Military Institute and was named VMI’s First Captain in his senior year, because of his character and sense of duty more than scholastic achievement. In 1902, while a second lieutenant, Marshall married Elizabeth Carter Coles. During World War I, Marshall demonstrated his superior skill for organization and leadership on the staff of General John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force in France. Between World Wars I and II, Marshall served as Pershing’s aide in Washington, DC, with troops in China, as an instructor at Fort Benning, Georgia,…


Book cover of Inventing George Washington: America's Founder, in Myth and Memory

Don Glickstein Author Of After Yorktown: The Final Struggle for American Independence

From my list on political biographies that are well written.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Massachusetts, which produced four presidents and untold presidential candidates including Mitt Romney, Mike Dukakis, John Kerry, Elizabeth Warren, and Gov. William Butler, who ran in 1884. My first career was as a newspaper reporter and editor, and I worked for papers in Massachusetts, New York, Colorado, and Washington state. I’ve dabbled in politics myself, working as a campaign press secretary for the late Washington Gov. Booth Gardner. Newspapers gave me an abiding hatred for adverbs, the passive voice, and bias in word selection. (No, historians shouldn’t use “patriot” in describing the Revolution’s American rebels, because loyalists and Indian nations were just as patriotic in their own minds.)

Don's book list on political biographies that are well written

Don Glickstein Why did Don love this book?

If there’s a common trait of Republican and Democratic politicians, it’s that George Washington is always fair game to hijack. We’re told that Washington was devoutly religious or that he was a deist; that he was a true democrat or a slave-holding aristocrat; that he single-handedly smote the British; that he believed in states’ rights or supported a strong federal government. Washington is anything you want him to be. Lengel, who helped edit the Washington papers, begs to differ. His short book tackles many of the Washington myths with an easy writing style for general readers and endnotes for those who want to double-check his debunking.

By Edward G. Lengel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Lengel’s Washington is the archetypal American soldier—an amateur citizen in arms who struggles to learn an unfamiliar and demanding craft on the job....Outstanding.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Glorious Struggle

Editor-in-Chief of the Washington Papers Project  Edward G. Lengel delivers an entertaining and erudite history of America's Founding Father. In Inventing George Washington, a captivating counterpart to Lengel’s General George Washington: A Military Life, the historian looks at Washington’s life and writings, at the creation of his mythos, and at what his legacy means for our nation and ourselves.


Book cover of Great State: China and the World

Bill Hayton Author Of The Invention of China

From my list on the emergence of modern China.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent more than a decade exploring the historic roots of Asia’s modern political problems – and discovering the accidents and mistakes that got us where we are today. I spent 22 years with BBC News, including a year in Vietnam and another in Myanmar. I’ve written four books on East and Southeast Asia and I’m an Associate Fellow with the Asia-Pacific Programme at the London-based thinktank, Chatham House. I love breaking down old stereotypes and showing readers that the past is much more interesting than a series of clichés about ‘us’ and ‘them’. Perhaps through that, we can recognise that our future depends on collaboration and cooperation.

Bill's book list on the emergence of modern China

Bill Hayton Why did Bill love this book?

A great place to start to understand the long history of connections between East Asia and the rest of the world. Thirteen chapters take the reader from the Mongol Empire in the thirteenth century up to the end of the Second World War. Each follows a particular person and their encounters with peoples of Inner and Central Asia, Europe, and Africa. They show how many things that historians have assumed to be ‘Chinese’ were borrowed from foreigners. Even the idea of the Great State, the framework through which later Chinese emperors used to describe their realm was taken from the Mongols. They also allow us to remember the ‘messiness’ of history with pioneers and villains on all sides.

By Timothy Brook,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The world-renowned scholar and author of Vermeer’s Hat does for China what Mary Beard did for Rome in SPQR: Timothy Brook analyzes the last eight centuries of China’s relationship with the world in this magnificent history that brings together accounts from civil servants, horse traders, spiritual leaders, explorers, pirates, emperors, migrant workers, invaders, visionaries, and traitors—creating a multifaceted portrait of this highly misunderstood nation.

China is one of the oldest states in the world. It achieved its approximate current borders with the Ascendancy of the Yuan dynasty in the thirteenth century, and despite the passing of one Imperial dynasty to…


Book cover of Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party Is Reshaping the World

George Magnus Author Of Red Flags: Why XI's China Is in Jeopardy

From my list on on understanding modern China.

Why am I passionate about this?

I used to be Chief Economist at the UK bank SG Warburg and then at UBS, starting out in 1987 and finally cutting the cord in 2016 as Senior Economic Advisor. I visited China twice or three times a year from about 1994 and then the pandemic intervened. After the financial crisis, I decided that China would be the world’s next big thing. So I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what’s going on there and for the last few years, I've been an associate at the China Centre at Oxford University and SOAS in London. Red Flags was a book I simply had to write. Maybe there’ll be another. We shall see.

George's book list on on understanding modern China

George Magnus Why did George love this book?

While it’s important to get a grip on what’s going on inside China, it\s also essential to appreciate how China presents itself and tries to influence the world and a second but rather different book that does this is this one. But instead of looking at China from an international relations point of view, these authors look at how the Communist Party uses agencies and institutions to not only influence politicians, think tanks, universities, and businesses in other countries - which is by no means unique - but also to interfere, which is more exceptional. 

This book makes a number of claims, and while some may be more soundly based than others, readers should look at the themes in the round and will learn a lot of what they might not have suspected r read about before.

By Clive Hamilton, Mareike Ohlberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Heavily sourced, crisply written and deeply alarming.' The Times

'This is a remarkable book with a chilling message.' Guardian

The Chinese Communist Party is determined to reshape the world in its image.

Its decades-long infiltration of the West threatens democracy, human rights, privacy, security and free speech. Throughout North America and Europe, political and business elites, Wall Street, Hollywood, think tanks, universities and the Chinese diaspora are being manipulated with money, pressure and privilege. Hidden Hand reveals the myriad ways the CCP is fulfilling its dream of undermining liberal values and controlling the world.


Book cover of Chip War: The Fight for the World's Most Critical Technology

Christopher Kirchhoff Author Of Unit X: How the Pentagon and Silicon Valley Are Transforming the Future of War

From my list on how technology is changing the future of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

I think technology is the closest thing to magic we have in our world, and I’ve always been fascinated by its impact on our lives. During the Obama Administration, I worked as the senior civilian aide to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the National Security Council, and as a founder of the Pentagon’s Silicon Valley Office, Defense Innovation Unit. This gave me a front-row seat to how quickly technology changes war and geopolitics. I’m passionate about sharing what I’ve seen and think will likely happen shortly and helping people everywhere grapple with the changes unfolding in places like Ukraine and the Middle East.

Christopher's book list on how technology is changing the future of war

Christopher Kirchhoff Why did Christopher love this book?

Wars used to be fought with steel. Today, they are fighting with Silicon. Chris Miller writes powerfully about this shift, the inventors, inventions, and supply chains that made this possible, and how precarious global chip supplies are today, with tensions between China and the U.S. rising. 

Miller takes us to Taiwan, where most of the advanced chips in the world are manufactured, as well as inside debates in Washington about what to do about China’s ability to hold hostage TSMC chip foundries that make the material underpinnings to the modern world.  A must-read!

By Chris Miller,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Chip War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

***Winner of the Financial Times Business Book of the Year award***

'Pulse quickening. A nonfiction thriller - equal parts The China Syndrome and Mission Impossible' New York Times

An epic account of the decades-long battle to control the world's most critical resource-microchip technology

Power in the modern world - military, economic, geopolitical - is built on a foundation of computer chips. America has maintained its lead as a superpower because it has dominated advances in computer chips and all the technology that chips have enabled. (Virtually everything runs on chips: cars, phones, the stock market, even the electric grid.) Now…


Book cover of A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman, and the Birth of Modern China, 1949

Moss Roberts Author Of Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel

From my list on modern Asia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a strong, if contrarian, interest in modern history, Asian history in particular. I have published more than a dozen articles and book reviews on the subject, and I have taught courses on modern Asian history (China, Japan, Vietnam, India) at New York University, where I have been a professor since 1968. A brief history of my somewhat unusual academic career may be found in a 50-page memoir published via Amazon in 2020 together with an appendix containing a sampling of my short writings. It is titled Moss Roberts: A Journey to the East. The memoir but not the appendix is free via Researchgate. In addition, I have studied (and taught) the Chinese language for more than half a century, and published translations of classical works of literature and philosophy.   

Moss' book list on modern Asia

Moss Roberts Why did Moss love this book?

President Truman sends George Marshall to China in December 1945 on a special mission to unify the Communists and Nationalists and create a non-Communist China. Marshall returns to the US in early 1947. The mission has failed. Had he been truly neutral as a broker, could the mission have succeeded?

By Kevin Peraino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Force So Swift as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice • Winner of the 2018 Truman Book Award

A gripping narrative of the Truman Administration's response to the fall of Nationalist China and the triumph of Mao Zedong's Communist forces in 1949--an extraordinary political revolution that continues to shape East Asian politics to this day.
 
In the opening months of 1949, U.S. President Harry S. Truman found himself faced with a looming diplomatic catastrophe--"perhaps the greatest that this country has ever suffered," as the journalist Walter Lippmann put it. Throughout the spring and summer, Mao Zedong's Communist armies fanned out across mainland China,…


Book cover of Globalization and Security Relations across the Taiwan Strait: In the shadow of China

Norrin M. Ripsman Author Of Globalization and the National Security State

From my list on globalization and security.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have studied the impact of economics on security for decades. In addition to co-authoring Globalization and the National Security State, I published books on economic interdependence and security, the efficacy of economic sanctions and incentives as tools of foreign and security policy, and the use of economic instruments to promote regional peacemaking. In general, I have always been fascinated by the economic underpinnings of security, from Napoleon’s observation that an army marches on its stomach to the utility of advanced financial sanctions to punish rogue actors in the contemporary era.

Norrin's book list on globalization and security

Norrin M. Ripsman Why did Norrin love this book?

This is a great edited volume that explores the dynamic of globalization and security in a different light through the examination of a single important crisis: PRC-Taiwan Relations.

Through analyses of the challenges of illicit crime networks, cybersecurity, mergers and acquisitions, the semiconductor industry, and a growing bilateral economic relationship, the contributors to this book demonstrate the impossibility of separating the economic from the geopolitical in this strategically important rivalry.


By Ming-chin Monique Chu (editor), Scott L. Kastner (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Globalization and Security Relations across the Taiwan Strait as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book presents an interdisciplinary examination of cross-Taiwan Strait relations and the complex dynamics at play in the region.

Since the election of Ma Ying-jeou as Taiwan's president in 2008, the relationship across the Taiwan Strait-long viewed as one of Asia's most volatile potential flashpoints-has experienced a remarkable detente. Whether the relationship has been truly transformed, however, remains an open question and the Taiwan Strait remains a central regional and global security issue. A return to turbulence in the Taiwan Strait could also add a new dimension of instability in the already tense maritime disputes in the East and South…


Book cover of Migration in the Time of Revolution: China, Indonesia, and the Cold War

Lorenz M. Lüthi Author Of Cold Wars: Asia, the Middle East, Europe

From my list on Cold War history published recently.

Why am I passionate about this?

During the later Cold War, I grew up in neutral and peaceful Switzerland. My German mother’s family lived apart in divided Germany. I knew as a child that I would become a historian because I wanted to find out what had happened to my mother’s home and why there was a Cold War in the first place. My father’s service as a Swiss Red Cross delegate in Korea after 1953 raised my interest in East Asia. After learning Russian and Chinese, I wrote my first book on The Sino-Soviet Split. When I was finishing the book, I resolved to reinvent myself as a global historian, which is why I wrote my second book as a reinterpretation of the global Cold War as a series of parallel regional Cold Wars in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

Lorenz's book list on Cold War history published recently

Lorenz M. Lüthi Why did Lorenz love this book?

Migration in the Time of Revolution pushes the international history of the 20th century into a new and exciting direction. Using the Chinese diaspora in Indonesia as a lens, Taomo Zhou elevates citizens to agents in international relations. On the basis of Chinese archival research and oral history, she explores how Indonesians of Chinese descent lastingly influenced the diplomatic relations between their home country and divided China during the Cold War.

By Taomo Zhou,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Migration in the Time of Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Migration in the Time of Revolution examines how two of the world's most populous countries interacted between 1945 and 1967, when the concept of citizenship was contested, political loyalty was in question, identity was fluid, and the boundaries of political mobilization were blurred. Taomo Zhou asks probing questions of this important period in the histories of the People's Republic of China and Indonesia. What was it like to be a youth in search of an ancestral homeland that one had never set foot in, or an economic refugee whose expertise in private business became undesirable in one's new home in…


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