100 books like Team of Rivals

By Doris Kearns Goodwin,

Here are 100 books that Team of Rivals fans have personally recommended if you like Team of Rivals. 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 Moby-Dick

Jonathan Howland Author Of Native Air

From my list on books about men in love (who aren’t lovers).

Why am I passionate about this?

During a lonely stretch of primary school, I recall discussing my predicament with my mother. “You only need one friend,” she said by way of encouragement. Some part of me agreed. I’ve been fortunate to have had (and to have) several friends in my life, never more than a few at a time, more men than women, and each has prompted me to be and become more vital and spacious than I was prior to knowing them. The books I’m recommending—and the one I wrote—feature these types of catalyzing, life-changing relationships. Each involves some kind of adventure. Each evokes male friendship that is gravitational, not merely influential, but life-defining.

Jonathan's book list on books about men in love (who aren’t lovers)

Jonathan Howland Why did Jonathan love this book?

It centers on and celebrates becoming—molting from one skin to another. For Ishmael this is a transition from a tired and limiting worldview to something fresh and alive.

The “bosom buddies” at the heart of the novel, Ishmael and Queequeg, seem comprised of opposites, but Ishmael’s etherealizing is grounded by Queequeg’s pragmatic ingenuity in ways that quiet and expand the young pagan-Presbyterian’s buzzing, anxious mind. Theirs is a friendship of succor, probably sex, and survival—all of it shadowed by the delusional obsessions of their mad captain.

By Herman Melville,

Why should I read it?

20 authors picked Moby-Dick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Melville's tale of the whaling industry, and one captain's obsession with revenge against the Great White Whale that took his leg. Classics Illustrated tells this wonderful tale in colourful comic strip form, offering an excellent introduction for younger readers. This edition also includes a biography of Herman Melville and study questions, which can be used both in the classroom or at home to further engage the reader in the work at hand.


Book cover of Gettysburg: The Last Invasion

Lance Weller Author Of Wilderness

From my list on American Civil War history reads like literature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I came to Civil War studies fairly late in life but still relatively callow, by a route too roundabout to explain. But after reading James McPherson’s, Battle Cry of Freedom (there’s a bonus book!), I found I had a love of every facet of the era. The only thing I’d ever wanted to be was a writer and, as I delved deeper into the vast body of literature on the American Civil War, I finally felt as if I’d found the subject I could pour all my passion into (that and my enduring love of dogs). My novel Wilderness, along with a few novels published in French, was the result.

Lance's book list on American Civil War history reads like literature

Lance Weller Why did Lance love this book?

Part of the enduring popularity of the Battle of Gettysburg studies, is that the battle offers a true microcosm of the American Civil War—from politics to personalities. A meeting engagement, a desperate struggle, a turning point, and human tragedy on a scale the continent had never seen before, the events of those three days in July still resonant down the years. Guelzo’s book, besides being one of the most recent, offers wonderful descriptions of every facet of the battle with finely-crafted prose and a pacing that will keep readers invested from start to finish.

By Allen C. Guelzo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize in Military History

An Economist Best Book of the Year

A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of the Year

The Battle of Gettysburg has been written about at length and thoroughly dissected in terms of strategic importance, but never before has a book taken readers so close to the experience of the individual soldier.

Two-time Lincoln Prize winner Allen C. Guelzo shows us the face, the sights and the sounds of nineteenth-century combat: the stone walls and gunpowder clouds of Pickett’s Charge; the reason that the Army of Northern Virginia could be smelled before it…


Book cover of Churchill: A Life

Adam Leitman Bailey Author Of Finding the Uncommon Deal: A Top New York Lawyer Explains How to Buy a Home For the Lowest Possible Price

From my list on making you a better and more successful leader.

Why am I passionate about this?

My name is Adam Leitman Bailey. I am a lawyer, a writer, an advocate, and a leader. Most importantly, I can not stand injustice.  

Adam's book list on making you a better and more successful leader

Adam Leitman Bailey Why did Adam love this book?

Churchill was a great leader and lawyer and showed how to overcome difficult times.

No leader in world history has exemplified overcoming great odds to lead a country to beat the Nazis and instill a morale within its people when none existed. Almost every chapter in the book is a lesson on how to be a better leader.

By Martin Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This edition of the highly acclaimed one-volume Churchill: A Life, is the story of adventure. It follows Winston Churchill from his earliest days to his moments of triumph. Here, the drama and excitement of his story are ever-present, as are his tremendous qualities in peace and war, not least as an orator and as a man of vision. Martin Gilbert gives us a vivid portrait, using Churchill's most personal letters and the recollections of his contemporaries, both friends and enemies, to go behind the scenes of some of the stormiest and most fascinating political events of our time, dominated by…


Book cover of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Sarah McArthur Author Of The AMA Handbook of Leadership

From my list on working together towards a bright future.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a lifelong student of philosophy, leadership, and principled living. Having worked with great leaders of today and being an editor-in-chief of a leadership journal (Leader to Leader), I experience how their leadership continues the principles set forth in days long past, and I publish works by authors who are keeping these principles alive in their writing. I am grateful for the opportunity to recommend books that might help others as we grapple with how to be in the world today to create value for all.

Sarah's book list on working together towards a bright future

Sarah McArthur Why did Sarah love this book?

I'm not sure when I have learned more about humanity than with the books of Yuval Harari.

I recommend this book as it is the first of the series, and I could read it over and over and still not have captured everything that Yuval Harari explores and teaches us.

A great historian who uses history to explore our future, Yuval Harari is one whose books I read every chance I have.

By Yuval Noah Harari,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?

In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the…


Book cover of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

James L. Sherley Author Of Missing Elements in the Public Science Supporting the COVID-19 Spread Narrative in the US

From my list on what science and scientists are really all about.

Why am I passionate about this?

A childhood friend says that I am the only person he knows who grew up to be exactly what he said he wanted to become. But he is mistaken because I was born a scientist. I have no memories when I was not thinking about science, learning it, doing it, teaching it, trying to improve it, pondering it, or sharing it with others. Over my life and career as a scientist, I have been further fulfilled by undergirding my scientific work with reflection and introspection through reading the history, philosophy, and practice of science revealed and disclosed in books like the five I recommend here. Enjoy them as I have!

James' book list on what science and scientists are really all about

James L. Sherley Why did James love this book?

When I was a biomedical science graduate student, this book was on my shelf for a couple of years before I read it. I had pulled it out of a classmate’s trash bag when I was helping him move. Later, when I became distressed because my research findings were dismissed as “controversial,” a postdoctoral fellow in my lab told me that what I experienced was actually quite normal for novel scientific findings and I should read this book.

I did, and it changed forever my understanding of science and how scientists often resist accepting from others the very thing they pursue themselves: new discoveries. When I became a principal scientist, I made a gift of this book to every new scientist graduating from my laboratory.

By Thomas S. Kuhn,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Structure of Scientific Revolutions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were-and still are. "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" is that kind of book. When it was first published in 1962, it was a landmark event in the history and philosophy of science. And fifty years later, it still has many lessons to teach. With "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions", Kuhn challenged long-standing…


Book cover of Fort Sumter to Perryville

David Michael Dunaway Author Of Angry Heavens: Struggles of a Confederate Surgeon

From my list on celebrating an author’s literary style.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a lifetime, passionate reader. During the summer vacations, my brother and I would often ride with our father to his job in downtown Mobile and walk to Mobile Public Library, where we would spend all day exploring and reading. Well-written novels with remarkable but believable characters—such as those I've noted here are my passion. I have included novels in my list where I can identify personally with the protagonist. My list of books is varied. They have one thing in common: believable characters who struggle with life—authored by legitimate wordsmiths. When I wrote Angry Heavens as a first-time novelist, it was my history as a reader that I used as a writer.

David's book list on celebrating an author’s literary style

David Michael Dunaway Why did David love this book?

Whether one is a Civil War buff, or a fan of Sun Tzu’s military strategy, you will find plenty of both in this three-volume set. Volume 1 is: Fort Sumter to Perryville. Volume 2 is: Fredericksburg to Meridian, and Volume 3 is: Red River to Appomattox.  

Shelby Foote’s work provided most of the background of Ken Burn’s PBS epic, The Civil War. Anyone who watched that masterpiece and heard the knowledge of Shelby Foote spoken in the most lovely Southern drawl, will not be disappointed in this collection. 

The Civil War: A Narrative – 3 volume box set provided significant detail and motivation for me as I wrote my own book.  When I had a question about a date, geography of a battle, written correspondence between fighters or allies, or conversations such as took place at Appomattox Courthouse between Generals Grant and Lee, I went immediately to Shelby Foote’s three-volume…

By Shelby Foote,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Fort Sumter to Perryville as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This first volume of Shelby Foote's classic narrative of the Civil War opens with Jefferson Davis’s farewell to the United Senate and ends on the bloody battlefields of Antietam and Perryville, as the full, horrible scope of America’s great war becomes clear. Exhaustively researched and masterfully written, Foote’s epic account of the Civil War unfolds like a classic novel. 
 
Includes maps throughout.
 
"Here, for a certainty, is one of the great historical narratives…a unique and brilliant achievement, one that must be firmly placed in the ranks of the masters."—Van Allen Bradley, Chicago Daily News

"A stunning book full of color,…


Book cover of Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam

David A. Welker Author Of The Cornfield: Antietam's Bloody Turning Point

From my list on the Civil War’s Battle of Antietam.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child my grandmother shared that we had ancestors who had served during the Civil War, a momentary conversation that set me on a lifetime quest to connect with those men and their experiences.  My professional work as a historian and military analyst for the US Government helped build the skills that enabled this quest and each of my books, articles, and videos seek to understand and share both the “what” of those experiences and the “why” of the war’s many battles and conflicts.  

David's book list on the Civil War’s Battle of Antietam

David A. Welker Why did David love this book?

Crafted like a well-told story, Sears’ now classic volume was my first foray into the Battle of Antietam lo these many years ago. It offers readers an engaging, generally accurate overview of the background, events, and results of America’s costliest day, September 17, 1862. Although its three-phase, framing approach to the battle has been surpassed by new interpretations, it remains a useful starting point for those wishing to learn the basics and if readers seek only one work to read on Antietam, this is the book to choose. Every student of the battle—casual, serious, or scholarly--will want to have read and be familiar with Sears' work.     

By Stephen W. Sears,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Landscape Turned Red as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“The best account of the Battle of Antietam” from the award-winning, national bestselling author of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville (The New York Times Book Review).

The Civil War battle waged on September 17, 1862, at Antietam Creek, Maryland, was one of the bloodiest in the nation’s history: in this single day, the war claimed nearly 23,000 casualties. In Landscape Turned Red, the renowned historian Stephen Sears draws on a remarkable cache of diaries, dispatches, and letters to recreate the vivid drama of Antietam as experienced not only by its leaders but also by its soldiers, both Union and Confederate. Combining brilliant…


Book cover of Grant Takes Command

Lance Weller Author Of Wilderness

From my list on American Civil War history reads like literature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I came to Civil War studies fairly late in life but still relatively callow, by a route too roundabout to explain. But after reading James McPherson’s, Battle Cry of Freedom (there’s a bonus book!), I found I had a love of every facet of the era. The only thing I’d ever wanted to be was a writer and, as I delved deeper into the vast body of literature on the American Civil War, I finally felt as if I’d found the subject I could pour all my passion into (that and my enduring love of dogs). My novel Wilderness, along with a few novels published in French, was the result.

Lance's book list on American Civil War history reads like literature

Lance Weller Why did Lance love this book?

Bruce Catton wrote extensively about the noble but ill-starred Army of the Potomac and is widely known for his wonderful trilogy recounting that army’s path through the American Civil War. With Grant Takes Command, Catton looks west for a time toward General Ulysses S. Grant and how he came east to lead all the Union armies toward eventual victory. Recounting Grant’s (and the country’s) journey from the opening of the cracker line in Chattanooga in 1863, through the Battle of the Wilderness (a subject that captured my imagination!) and the Overland Campaign and on to Appomattox Courthouse and the surrender of the Confederacy, Catton’s book moves through its narrative with a style and verve to match any piece of gripping fiction. 

By Bruce Catton,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Grant Takes Command as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Forming the second part in Grant's biography, the sequel to "Grant Moves South" follows his victory at Chattanooga and subsequent promotion to Commander-in-Chief of the Union forces. The book also provides information as to how the Civil War was won and follows Grant as he directs military operations throughout the last year of the war. The author has won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award.


Book cover of To Kill a Mockingbird

Cynthia Ulmer Author Of Todd, the Cedar Cove Chronicles Book One

From my list on family drama and saga books for when you want to escape into the past.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born and raised in the south. I come from a large, talkative family. All my life, I listened to my family talk. Hearing them was more fun than television. I grew up with country music playing constantly in the background. It was on the radio when I woke up and still playing when I went to bed. My parents read to me, made up bedtime stories, and let me tell them my made-up stories. Let me follow them around with my childish tales, encouraging me. Being an author has always been my number one dream.

Cynthia's book list on family drama and saga books for when you want to escape into the past

Cynthia Ulmer Why did Cynthia love this book?

I grew up with the movie. But it wasn’t until I read the book that I fell in love with the story.

Scout’s relationship with her family and Calpurnia, the maid who is like a mama to her, drew me into the book and wouldn’t let me go. I waited with anticipation to see what Boo Radley would put in the tree hole for Scout, her brother, and Dill.

I feared Boo along with the children and learned the lesson that sometimes, in life, we are afraid of the wrong people. I learned that life is far more complicated than it first appears. I’ve read this book over and over, always with anticipation, even though I know what’s happening next.

By Harper Lee,

Why should I read it?

33 authors picked To Kill a Mockingbird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.'

Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel - a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Lee explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with compassion and humour. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped…


Book cover of The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

Linda Stewart Henley Author Of Kate's War

From my list on young women in WW II in the UK.

Why am I passionate about this?

Two of my three novels have young women protagonists. I find young adulthood a fascinating time in women’s lives and I enjoy creating a character and putting her in a historical setting. The Second World War offers fertile ground for storytelling, and I grew up south of London after the war. My father’s unpublished memoir, in which he describes an event that he experienced in the war, inspired me to write about it, but I told the story through the eyes of the protagonist, Kate. 

Linda's book list on young women in WW II in the UK

Linda Stewart Henley Why did Linda love this book?

This well-written book taught me a great deal about WW2. I especially appreciated learning more about Mary Churchill, Winston’s youngest daughter, who was seventeen at the start of the war. The author obtained access to her diaries, and he quotes from them often, so I got a feel for the life of a young woman in society during wartime. Mary had a conscience and good insights and became a main character in this historical book.

It’s not a novel, but at times it reads like one.  

By Erik Larson,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Splendid and the Vile as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The author of The Devil in the White City and Dead Wake delivers an intimate chronicle of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz—an inspiring portrait of courage and leadership in a time of unprecedented crisis
 
“One of [Erik Larson’s] best books yet . . . perfectly timed for the moment.”—Time • “A bravura performance by one of America’s greatest storytellers.”—NPR 
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • Time • Vogue • NPR • The Washington Post • Chicago Tribune • The Globe &…


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