10 books like Sunlight at Midnight

By W. Bruce Lincoln,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Sunlight at Midnight. Shepherd is a community of 8,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Anabasis (The Persian Expedition)

Prit Buttar Author Of The Reckoning: The Defeat of Army Group South, 1944

From the list on changed my view of history.

Who am I?

"History can become a dull and uninteresting subject, but the stories of the past are far more interesting and inspiring than the very best fiction. These stories tell us about how our world came to be, and the paths that our predecessors travelled; and they show us that, despite the decades and centuries that separate us, they were driven and inspired by the same factors that drive and inspire us today." Prit Buttar was a doctor, first in the British Army and then a GP, until retiring in 2019. Less than a year later, he volunteered to go back to work during the current pandemic.

Prit's book list on changed my view of history

Discover why each book is one of Prit's favorite books.

Why did Prit love this book?

There’s no substitute for reading about events by someone who was there. This book is about a largely forgotten incident, when 10,000 Greek mercenaries became involved in an attempt by Cyrus the Great to seize control of the Persian Empire from his brother. When Cyrus’ bid failed, the Greeks found themselves far from home and surrounded by foes; they then marched through Mesopotamia and modern-day Turkey to the Black Sea coast, where they were able to find ships that took them home to Greece.

It’s a tale of adventure and struggle, and sheer determination not to give in. It’s also a great example of how the author of such a work can find themselves faced with the difficult task of describing their own role in events. In the second half of the work, Xenophon gives increasing prominence to his personal leadership and suggestions. Regardless of any elements of self-promotion, it’s…

Anabasis (The Persian Expedition)

By Xenophon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Anabasis (The Persian Expedition) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Widely considered the most famous work of the professional soldier and writer Xenophon, “Anabasis” is a true tale of dangerous adventure in ancient Greece. Though advised not to join the army of 10,000 by his friend Socrates, Xenophon does set out with Cyrus the Great in that man’s attempt to gain the empire of Persia from his brother. When this leader is killed in battle, however, the army loses cause and direction, and the result is a ‘marching republic’ in which the remainder of the army must fight their way home. Through endless miles of hostile territory where their foes…


Eleanor of Aquitaine

By Alison Weir,

Book cover of Eleanor of Aquitaine

Prit Buttar Author Of The Reckoning: The Defeat of Army Group South, 1944

From the list on changed my view of history.

Who am I?

"History can become a dull and uninteresting subject, but the stories of the past are far more interesting and inspiring than the very best fiction. These stories tell us about how our world came to be, and the paths that our predecessors travelled; and they show us that, despite the decades and centuries that separate us, they were driven and inspired by the same factors that drive and inspire us today." Prit Buttar was a doctor, first in the British Army and then a GP, until retiring in 2019. Less than a year later, he volunteered to go back to work during the current pandemic.

Prit's book list on changed my view of history

Discover why each book is one of Prit's favorite books.

Why did Prit love this book?

History rarely gives a prominent place to women, and this is perhaps particularly true of medieval history. To have left such a huge mark, Eleanor must have been a truly extraordinary woman. It is the combination of her formidable nature with the equally formidable Henry II that makes her marriage to the great Plantagenet ruler such a remarkable story. Alison Weir’s book is a treasure, full of interesting anecdotes that bring the star-studded cast of Eleanor, Henry, and their sons Henry, Richard, Geoffrey, and John to life.

This book is an outstanding introduction to a fascinating period of English history, as an impatient, innovative king – sometimes aided by, and often hindered by, his wife – attempted to impose his will upon a stubborn and obstructive church and his rebellious sons.

Eleanor of Aquitaine

By Alison Weir,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this beautifully written biography, Alison Weir paints a vibrant portrait of a truly exceptional woman and provides new insights into her intimate world. 

Renowned in her time for being the most beautiful woman in Europe, the wife of two kings and mother of three, Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the great heroines of the Middle Ages. At a time when women were regarded as little more than chattel, Eleanor managed to defy convention as she exercised power in the political sphere and crucial influence over her husbands and sons.

Eleanor of Aquitaine lived a long life of many…


This Hallowed Ground

By Bruce Catton,

Book cover of This Hallowed Ground: A History of the Civil War

Prit Buttar Author Of The Reckoning: The Defeat of Army Group South, 1944

From the list on changed my view of history.

Who am I?

"History can become a dull and uninteresting subject, but the stories of the past are far more interesting and inspiring than the very best fiction. These stories tell us about how our world came to be, and the paths that our predecessors travelled; and they show us that, despite the decades and centuries that separate us, they were driven and inspired by the same factors that drive and inspire us today." Prit Buttar was a doctor, first in the British Army and then a GP, until retiring in 2019. Less than a year later, he volunteered to go back to work during the current pandemic.

Prit's book list on changed my view of history

Discover why each book is one of Prit's favorite books.

Why did Prit love this book?

I picked up this book while on a study course in the United States – I was based in Washington DC and intended to visit some of the nearby Civil War battlefields, and decided that I needed to know more about the conflict. It was perhaps the first American history book I had read, and immediately I was struck by the very different style of writing when compared with European works.

For a single-volume account of a terrible conflict that did so much to shape the United States, this is probably unmatched. The people involved, from those in high-level political positions to the men and women caught up in the fighting, are brought to life in an unforgettable way.

This Hallowed Ground

By Bruce Catton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The classic one-volume history of the American Civil War simultaneously captures the dramatic scope and intimate experience of that epic struggle, by Pulitzer Prize-winner Bruce Catton.
 
Covering events from the prelude of the conflict to the death of Lincoln, Catton blends a gripping narrative with deep, yet unassuming, scholarship to bring the war alive on the page in an almost novelistic way. It is this gift for narrative that led contemporary critics to compare this book to War and Peace, and call it a “modern Iliad.” Now over fifty years old, This Hallowed Ground remains one of the best-loved and…


The Patient Assassin

By Anita Anand,

Book cover of The Patient Assassin: A True Tale of Massacre, Revenge, and India's Quest for Independence

Prit Buttar Author Of The Reckoning: The Defeat of Army Group South, 1944

From the list on changed my view of history.

Who am I?

"History can become a dull and uninteresting subject, but the stories of the past are far more interesting and inspiring than the very best fiction. These stories tell us about how our world came to be, and the paths that our predecessors travelled; and they show us that, despite the decades and centuries that separate us, they were driven and inspired by the same factors that drive and inspire us today." Prit Buttar was a doctor, first in the British Army and then a GP, until retiring in 2019. Less than a year later, he volunteered to go back to work during the current pandemic.

Prit's book list on changed my view of history

Discover why each book is one of Prit's favorite books.

Why did Prit love this book?

If there was any single episode that doomed British rule of India, it was the Amritsar Massacre of 1919, when General Reginald Dyer ordered his men to open fire on unarmed civilians in a walled park from which there was only one exit. One of those in the park was a man named Udnam Singh, and the dreadful massacre led to Udnam spending the next 21 years patiently seeking an opportunity to assassinate Sir Michael O’Dwyer, the lieutenant-governor of Punjab who was responsible for the killing.

Any book that deals with such an emotive subject as this could easily get lost in partisan assertions on behalf of one side or the other, but Anand meticulously remains both even-handed and engaged with the human beings in her story. As an example of how to tackle such a potentially explosive topic, this book is simply outstanding.

The Patient Assassin

By Anita Anand,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Reads like something from a thriller...colourful, detailed and meticulously researched' Sunday Times
'Gripping from start to finish' Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads
'Remarkable and brilliantly researched non-fiction thriller...focussing on one extraordinary story that had never been properly told before' William Dalrymple, Spectator

Anita Anand tells the remarkable story of one Indian's twenty-year quest for revenge, taking him around the world in search of those he held responsible for the Amritsar massacre of 1919, which cost the lives of hundreds.

When Sir Michael O'Dwyer, the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, ordered Brigadier General Reginald Dyer to Amritsar, he wanted him…


Eugene Onegin

By Alexander Pushkin,

Book cover of Eugene Onegin

Susana Aikin Author Of We Shall See the Sky Sparkling

From the list on Russian literature that I consider masterpieces.

Who am I?

I am a writer and a filmmaker who has lived in New York City since 1982. In 1986 I started my own independent film production company, Starfish Productions, through which I produced and directed documentary films that won multiple awards, including an American Film Institute grant, a Rockefeller Fellowship, and an Emmy Award in 1997. I started writing fiction full-time in 2010. My debut novel, We Shall See the Sky Sparkling (Kensington Books) was published in 2/2019; my second novel The Weight of the Heart (Kensington Books) came out in 5/2020.

Susana's book list on Russian literature that I consider masterpieces

Discover why each book is one of Susana's favorite books.

Why did Susana love this book?

Set in 1820s Russia, Eugen Onegin is a novel written in verse, a story about love, loss, and repentance, where bored, superfluous Onegin lives to regret his rejection of the shy young dreamer Tatyana and to feel remorse for his fatal duel with his best friend Lensky. Eugene Onegin is the masterwork of Pushkin, whom Russians regard as the fountainhead of their literature, and is an amazingly engaging piece of writing, ironic and passionate, full of suspense, and rampant with political satire and philosophical digressions that make for the most beautiful read. Honestly, I never thought I would fall so hard for a novel written in another language and in verse.

Eugene Onegin

By Alexander Pushkin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Widely acknowledged as the master work of the fountainhead of Russian literature, "Eugene Onegin" is a novel in verse, first published serially in 1825. This work, comprised of 389 verses, follows the destinies of three men and three women in imperialist Russia. Eugene is a dandy bored with the social whirl of St. Petersburg, and in moving to the country for a change of scene, he becomes the friend of the poet Lensky, changing their fates dramatically. "Eugene Onegin" is narrated by Pushkin himself, though an idealized version who frequently yet entrancingly digresses in the midst of the beauty Tatyana's…


Book cover of One Hot Summer in St. Petersburg

Catriona Kelly Author Of St Petersburg: Shadows of the Past

From the list on modern St Petersburg.

Who am I?

I particularly enjoyed writing this book about a city that I love and have visited many times (starting in the late 1970s, when I was a student), and whose history I know well too. Most books, by foreigners anyway, talk about the city from a distance; I wanted to write something visceral, about sounds and smells as well as sights, and above all, how locals themselves think about their city, the way in which its intense and in some respects oppressive past shapes St Petersburg’s life today – yet all the same, never gets taken too seriously. Readers seem to agree: as well as an appreciative letter from Jan Morris, whose travel writing I’ve always admired, I treasure an email message from someone who followed my advice and tramped far and wide – before ending up in the room for prisoners’ relatives to drop off parcels at Kresty (the main city prison) when he wrongly assumed he was using an entrance to the (in fact non-existent) museum.

Catriona's book list on modern St Petersburg

Discover why each book is one of Catriona's favorite books.

Why did Catriona love this book?

An extraordinary, high-pitched, Munchausenesque account of a visit to only-just-post-Soviet Leningrad during an especially overheated period of recent history. Not at all like the genteel memories of champagne receptions at the Mariinsky Theatre followed by strolls down the Moika during the White Nights that one gets in other travelogues.

One Hot Summer in St. Petersburg

By Duncan Fallowell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked One Hot Summer in St. Petersburg as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An account of Fallowell's time spent in St Petersburg during the summer of 1992. He was there to write a novel, but was seduced away from his work by the world of clubs, bars and restaurants, and the extraordinary architecture. He also fell in love with Dima, a 17-year-old naval cadet.


Donald Thompson in Russia

By Donald C. Thompson,

Book cover of Donald Thompson in Russia

Will Englund Author Of March 1917: On the Brink of War and Revolution

From the list on by witnesses to Russia’s February Revolution.

Who am I?

I’m a longtime Moscow correspondent, having worked there for The Baltimore Sun in the 1990s and for The Washington Post in the 2010s. It was an exciting time to be in Russia, and I couldn’t help noticing parallels between the Russian revolutions of 1917 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. I think American policymakers, in particular, profoundly misunderstood both events. In my newspaper career, I am a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the George Polk Award, an Oversea Press Club award, and other honors. In the fall of 2018, I taught for a semester at Princeton University.

Will's book list on by witnesses to Russia’s February Revolution

Discover why each book is one of Will's favorite books.

Why did Will love this book?

Thompson was a photographer from Kansas who went to Europe to cover the First World War and found himself in Russia as 1917 dawned. His book is drawn from letters he wrote home to his wife Dot, and his eyewitness reporting is better than his analysis. His account of the day police opened fire on protesters in Petrograd with machine guns is chilling. Thompson believed that the Germans were behind the revolution, which wasn’t the case, but his photos of soldiers and barricades and protesters amount to a great visual document of the moment. Read this in conjunction with Runaway Russia, by Florence MacLeod Harper, a magazine reporter with whom he teamed up to cover the revolution.

Donald Thompson in Russia

By Donald C. Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Donald Thompson in Russia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Excerpt from Donald Thompson in Russia

A few years before I had been husking corn in Kansas. For a few seconds I could not speak a word. The first thing that came into my mind was this King Albert, I said, I have never met a king before in my life. (it was hard enough for me to hold a pair of jacks in a poker game.) I do not know what to say except to tell you that I am here and what I want to do. I then ex plained that the world at large would believe the…


A Whole Empire Walking

By Peter Gatrell,

Book cover of A Whole Empire Walking: Refugees in Russia During World War I

Joshua A. Sanborn Author Of Imperial Apocalypse: The Great War and the Destruction of the Russian Empire

From the list on Russia in World War I.

Who am I?

I’m a professor of history at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, and I’ve been studying Russia ever since visiting the Soviet Union as a college student in 1990. I’ve been particularly interested in seeking connections between violence and other dimensions of historical experience. My first book (Drafting the Russian Nation) explored connections between political ideologies and violence, Imperial Apocalypse is in part a social history of violence, and my current project is examining the connection between literary cultures, professional communities, and the violence of the Cold War.

Joshua's book list on Russia in World War I

Discover why each book is one of Joshua's favorite books.

Why did Joshua love this book?

There has been a revival of the study of the Russian experience in World War I over the last twenty-five years. Much of this can be explained by the opening of archives after 1991 and by the centennial of the war in 2014-2018. But the publication of this book was also enormously important. It recast the impact of the war by focusing on the experience of regular individuals rather than Petrograd elites and labor leaders. It also highlighted the massive scale of social dislocation – more than six million uprooted Russian subjects in all.

A Whole Empire Walking

By Peter Gatrell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Whole Empire Walking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

". . . a signal contribution to a growing literature on a phenomenon that has become tragically pervasive in the 20th century. . . . This highly original account combines exemplary empirical research with the judicious application of diverse methods to explore the far-reaching ramifications of 'a whole empire walking.'" -Vucinich Prize citation

"An important contribution not only to modern Russian history but also to an ongoing repositioning of Russia in broader European and world historical processes. . . . elegantly written . . . highly innovative." -Europe-Asia Studies

Drawing on previously unused archival material in Russia, Latvia, and Armenia…


The Siege

By Helen Dunmore,

Book cover of The Siege

Kate Innes Author Of The Errant Hours

From the list on young women in big trouble.

Who am I?

I grew up in small-town America, very far from where I was born (London), with a strong desire to travel and explore. I also developed a thirst for history—the older the better! At eighteen, I went to work on European digs before studying Archaeology in the UK and teaching in Southern Africa. Across these adventures I both experienced and witnessed the victimization of young women—an even more common ordeal in the past. So now I write historical fiction about resourceful, brave women who strive to be the active, powerful centres of their own stories. I hope you find the books on my list as inspiring as I do!

Kate's book list on young women in big trouble

Discover why each book is one of Kate's favorite books.

Why did Kate love this book?

When I teach creative writing, I often use this excellent historical novel set in the USSR during WW2 as an example. There are scenes from this book seared into my memory—they are so powerful, visceral, and moving.. Helen Dunmore is able to put the reader in the centre of the most harrowing circumstances, where people are starving, freezing, and dying in the thousands, and yet allow us to care about the individual and feel uplifted by their struggle. In Leningrad, Anna has already lost her mother, who died giving birth to her baby brother, Kolya. During the brutal siege of 1941-44, Anna must somehow keep her young brother alive without losing her humanity. A story of one ordinary woman pushed to extraordinary braveryrepresenting so many.

The Siege

By Helen Dunmore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Called "elegantly, starkly beautiful" by The New York Times Book Review, The Siege is Helen Dunmore's masterpiece. Her canvas is monumental -- the Nazis' 1941 winter siege on Leningrad that killed six hundred thousand -- but her focus is heartrendingly intimate. One family, the Levins, fights to stay alive in their small apartment, held together by the unlikely courage and resourcefulness of twenty-two-year-old Anna. Though she dreams of an artist's life, she must instead forage for food in the ever more desperate city and watch her little brother grow cruelly thin. Their father, a blacklisted writer who once advocated a…


The Idiot

By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Constance Garnett (translator),

Book cover of The Idiot

Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani Author Of Becoming Flawesome: The Key to Living an Imperfectly Authentic Life

From the list on personal growth and transformation.

Who am I?

As a co-founder of Mindvalley, one of the world’s biggest platforms for personal growth and transformation education, I have dedicated over 20 years of my life to this industry. I have worked with some of the world’s best authors and speakers, and I have witnessed transformation in millions of our students. One of the very common questions that I get is “What is your book recommendation?” And my answer never fails to surprise the inquirer.

Kristina's book list on personal growth and transformation

Discover why each book is one of Kristina's favorite books.

Why did Kristina love this book?

Well, pretty much anything by this true philosopher is a source of wisdom and personal transformation.

Not only are his books deeply philosophical, they are also a kind of catalyst for your current state of emotional well-being. If all you see is doom and gloom, I will strongly recommend talking to your therapist.

The unexpected twist about Dostoyevski is that he was profoundly optimistic and kind in his way of handling his storylines.

The Idiot

By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Constance Garnett (translator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Idiot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Translated by Constance Garnett, with an Introduction and Notes by Agnes Cardinal, Honorary Senior Lecturer in Comparative Literature at the University of Kent.

Prince Myshkin returns to Russia from an asylum in Switzerland. As he becomes embroiled in the frantic amatory and financial intrigues which centre around a cast of brilliantly realised characters and which ultimately lead to tragedy, he emerges as a unique combination of the Christian ideal of perfection and Dostoevsky's own views, afflictions and manners. His serene selflessness is contrasted with the worldly qualities of every other character in the novel. Dostoevsky supplies a harsh indictment of…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Soviet Union?

8,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Soviet Union.

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