100 books like Ten Years of Madness

By Feng Jicai,

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

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin, & the Great Depression

Moshik Temkin Author Of Sacco-Vanzetti Affair: America on Trial

From my list on leadership and history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Moshik Temkin is a historian of the United States and the World and has taught about leadership and history at Tsinghua University in Beijing, Harvard University in Massachusetts, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and other institutions around the world. He is the author of The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair: America on Trial and is writing a book on leadership in history for PublicAffairs called Warriors, Rebels, and Saints: On Leaders and Leadership in History.

Moshik's book list on leadership and history

Moshik Temkin Why did Moshik love this book?

This groundbreaking and wonderfully written study of two “protest” leaders during the Great Depression of the 1930s in the United States shows us what happens when truly hard times hit ordinary people, and what sort of leaders they then turn to. Brinkley brilliantly chronicles the rise of Louisiana politician Huey Long, the “Kingfish”, from obscurity in the poor Jim Crow south to becoming, by the time he was assassinated in 1935, the most significant political threat to the popular President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Long’s calls for wealth redistribution, contempt for traditional elites, and disregard for democratic institutions, make him an important historical example of so-called populist leadership, and of the power and appeal of populism in times of crisis.

By Alan Brinkley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The study of two great demagogues in American history--Huey P. Long, a first-term United States Senator from the red-clay, piney-woods country of nothern Louisiana; and Charles E. Coughlin, a Catholic priest from an industrial suburb near Detroit. Award-winning historian Alan Brinkely describes their modest origins and their parallel rise together in the early years of the Great Depression to become the two most successful leaders of national political dissidence of their era. 

*Winner of the American Book Award for History*


Book cover of The Feast of the Goat

Nicholas Shakespeare Author Of Ian Fleming: The Complete Man

From my list on post-war Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a British novelist and biographer who lived on and off in Latin America from the 1960s to the late 1980s. I was a boy in Brazil during the Death Squads; an adolescent in Argentina during the Dirty War; and a young journalist in Peru during the Shining Path insurgency, publishing a reportage for Granta on my search for Abimael Guzman. I gave the 2010 Borges Lecture and have written two novels set in Peru, the second of which, The Dancer Upstairs, was chosen as the best novel of 1995 by the American Libraries Association and turned into a film by John Malkovich.

Nicholas' book list on post-war Latin America

Nicholas Shakespeare Why did Nicholas love this book?

I lived in Lima during the worst excesses of “the Sendero years” when I came to know the Peruvian Nobel laureate and quondam presidential candidate.

This story about the assassination of the Dominican dictator Trujillo is an exhilarating portrait of corruption, violence, and power. Trujillo stands in a long and grubby line of post-Pizarro tyrants like Melgarejo of Bolivia, Rosas of Argentina, Stroessner of Paraguay, and Pinochet of Chile, who deformed their countries.

By Mario Vargas Llosa, Edith Grossman (translator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Feast of the Goat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The Feast of the Goat will stand out as the great emblematic novel of Latin America's twentieth century and removes One Hundred Years of Solitude of that title.' Times Literary Supplement

Urania Cabral, a New York lawyer, returns to the Dominican Republic after a lifelong self-imposed exile. Once she is back in her homeland, the elusive feeling of terror that has overshadowed her whole life suddenly takes shape. Urania's own story alternates with the powerful climax of dictator Rafael Trujillo's reign.

In 1961, Trujillo's decadent inner circle (which includes Urania's soon-to-be disgraced father) enjoys the luxuries of privilege while the…


Book cover of The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Sam Mitrani Author Of The Rise of the Chicago Police Department: Class and Conflict, 1850-1894

From my list on why takes on the police miss the real problem.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of history at College of DuPage, a community college outside of Chicago. Growing up in New York City and rural Vermont in the 1980s and 1990s around people who questioned everything made me think a lot about how and why the social world is organized in such an obviously unjust and irrational way. I have tried to understand the development of this organization ever since.

Sam's book list on why takes on the police miss the real problem

Sam Mitrani Why did Sam love this book?

This might seem like a strange choice since this book is not directly about policing. But it shows in a powerful and direct way how inextricably bound policing is with the basic organization of this society.

Despite the controversies currently surrounding Hayley’s depiction of Malcolm X’s life, the book retains its power to express Malcolm X’s cutting critique of every one of this country’s justifications for its brutal criminal justice system. No one who engages with it can believe that police exist simply to deal with some criminal element in society.

But the book also shows how impossible it would be for this society to somehow “defund” the force used to keep under control the millions of people who, even with all their talents, this society can find no place for.

By Malcolm X, Alex Haley,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Autobiography of Malcolm X as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ONE OF TIME’S TEN MOST IMPORTANT NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement. His fascinating perspective on the lies and limitations of the American Dream, and the inherent racism in a society that denies its nonwhite citizens the opportunity to dream, gives extraordinary insight into the most urgent issues of our own time. The Autobiography of Malcolm X stands as the definitive statement of a movement…


Book cover of The Doctor and the Saint: Caste, Race, and Annihilation of Caste, the Debate Between B.R. Ambedkar and M.K. Gandhi

Moshik Temkin Author Of Sacco-Vanzetti Affair: America on Trial

From my list on leadership and history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Moshik Temkin is a historian of the United States and the World and has taught about leadership and history at Tsinghua University in Beijing, Harvard University in Massachusetts, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and other institutions around the world. He is the author of The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair: America on Trial and is writing a book on leadership in history for PublicAffairs called Warriors, Rebels, and Saints: On Leaders and Leadership in History.

Moshik's book list on leadership and history

Moshik Temkin Why did Moshik love this book?

Anyone who follows India will be acquainted with the writing of Arundhati Roy. In this short and powerful book she focuses on two remarkable leaders of pre-independence India, Mahatma Gandhi and B. R. Ambedkar; the two clashed over the place of the Caste system – and Hinduism itself – in the future Indian nation. Ambedkar, an “Untouchable” (Dalit), believed that ending colonialism was not enough and the Untouchables could never be free until the “annihilation” of the entire Caste system. Gandhi believed that in building a national community there had to be a compromise with people’s strong attachment to Caste. Roy’s book is simultaneously a rediscovery of Ambedkar, a reassessment of Gandhi, and an indictment of Caste-based oppression in India today.

By Arundhati Roy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

To best understand and address the inequality in India today, Arundhati Roy insists we must examine both the political development and influence of M. K. Gandhi and why B. R. Ambedkar’s brilliant challenge to his near-divine status was suppressed by India’s elite. In Roy’s analysis, we see that Ambedkar’s fight for justice was systematically sidelined in favor of policies that reinforced caste, resulting in the current nation of India: independent of British rule, globally powerful, and marked to this day by the caste system.
 
This book situates Ambedkar’s arguments in their vital historical context— namely, as an extended public political…


Book cover of Life and Death in Shanghai

Noel Anenberg Author Of The Karma Kaper

From my list on majestic stories that lift our spirits.

Why am I passionate about this?

I enjoyed writing The Karma Kaper. Just as there's tragedy and comedy in every aspect of our lives there's humor in crime. It's fun bringing that humor to my audience. I also believe in justice for all. Sadly, as American courts are currently more concerned with criminals' rights than victims' rights there are no guarantees victims will receive the justice they deserve. No one can predict if a jury of 12 will find a defendant who has committed a crime guilty. Then, there's the highest court of appeal - fiction! Between the covers of a novel, a crafty writer can ensure just verdicts and devise macabre punishments for the bad guys! It doesn't get any better! 

Noel's book list on majestic stories that lift our spirits

Noel Anenberg Why did Noel love this book?

In elegant prose, Nien Cheng, a Shell Oil Company in 1966, recounts her life in Shanghai in 1966, when Chairman Mao launched the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

Mao’s Red Guards ransacked Cheng and her husband’s bourgeois home and then delivered her to No. 1 Detention House in Shanghai where she was held in solitary confinement of 7 years until her rehabilitation and release after several struggle trials.

Her work is prescient as the United States in under attack by a radical woke ideology. Many Americans have been cancelled or have been made to attend struggle sessions.  

Nein Chen is a heroic woman, a brilliant writer, and an example of how one courageous woman can stand up to a totalitarian regime. 

By Cheng Nien,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Life and Death in Shanghai as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A first-hand account of China's cultural revolution.

Nien Cheng, an anglophile and fluent English-speaker who worked for Shell in Shanghai under Mao, was put under house arrest by Red Guards in 1966 and subsequently jailed. All attempts to make her confess to the charges of being a British spy failed; all efforts to indoctrinate her were met by a steadfast and fearless refusal to accept the terms offered by her interrogators. When she was released from prison she was told that her daughter had committed suicide. In fact Meiping had been beaten to death by Maoist revolutionaries.


Book cover of Wolf Totem

Fan Wu Author Of Beautiful as Yesterday

From my list on China’s cultural revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born and raised in China, I grew up on a remote state-run farm where my parents, as condemned intellectuals during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, lived for 20 years. It wasn't until mid-80s they were allowed to return. I have heard many stories and read many books about this tumultuous period in China. I didn’t know much about my parents’ personal experiences until I was in my 30s. Today’s China is very different but I believe that history extends its roots deep into the present. As a writer, what interests me the most is the impact of history on individuals and society. My latest book is a historical wartime novel set in China and Europe.

Fan's book list on China’s cultural revolution

Fan Wu Why did Fan love this book?

Rong’s Wolf Totem is not a typical Cultural Revolution book, and its focus is on relationships between humans and the wildlife of the grasslands. The protagonist is an urban youth, who’s a Han (the majority ethnic group in China), sent to inner Mongolia for “reeducation.” While trying to raise a wolf cub captured from the wild, he encounters a cultural clash between the Han Chinese and the locals, learns about the wolf and other wildlife, and reflects on history, nature, and humanity. 

By Jiang Rong, Howard Goldblatt (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Beijing intellectual Chen Zhen volunteers to live in a remote settlement on the border of Inner and Outer Mongolia, where he discovers life of apparent idyllic simplicity amongst the nomads and the wild wolves who roam the plains. But when members of the People's Republic swarm in from the cities to bring modernity and productivity to the grasslands, the peace of Chen's solitary existence is shattered, and the delicate balance between humans and wolves is disrupted. Only time will tell whether the grasslands' environment and culture will ever recover...

Wolf Totem has been a sensation ever since it shot to…


Book cover of To Live

Fan Wu Author Of Beautiful as Yesterday

From my list on China’s cultural revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born and raised in China, I grew up on a remote state-run farm where my parents, as condemned intellectuals during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, lived for 20 years. It wasn't until mid-80s they were allowed to return. I have heard many stories and read many books about this tumultuous period in China. I didn’t know much about my parents’ personal experiences until I was in my 30s. Today’s China is very different but I believe that history extends its roots deep into the present. As a writer, what interests me the most is the impact of history on individuals and society. My latest book is a historical wartime novel set in China and Europe.

Fan's book list on China’s cultural revolution

Fan Wu Why did Fan love this book?

I first read the book when I was at college in China, and over the years, I’ve read it several times. In China, Yu Hua is one of the few leading writers known as both a literary master and a popular writer with huge commercial success. His charm is well demonstrated in To Live, which has become a classic in modern Chinese literature. It’s a story of a common Chinese man named Fugui living through one after another social and political changes. The story is dramatic, sad, humorous, and sarcastic at times yet never sentimental and judgmental, and it draws you in with a simple but compelling question: after you lose everything dear to you, can you still go on to live? 

By Yu Hua, Michael Berry (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Originally banned in China but later named one of that nation’s most influential books, a searing novel that portrays one man’s transformation from the spoiled son of a landlord to a kindhearted peasant. 

“A work of astounding emotional power.” —Dai Sijie, author of Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

From the author of Brothers and China in Ten Words: this celebrated contemporary classic of Chinese literature was also adapted for film by Zhang Yimou. After squandering his family’s fortune in gambling dens and brothels, the young, deeply penitent Fugui settles down to do the honest work of a farmer. Forced…


Book cover of Woman from Shanghai: Tales of Survival from a Chinese Labor Camp

Fan Wu Author Of Beautiful as Yesterday

From my list on China’s cultural revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born and raised in China, I grew up on a remote state-run farm where my parents, as condemned intellectuals during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, lived for 20 years. It wasn't until mid-80s they were allowed to return. I have heard many stories and read many books about this tumultuous period in China. I didn’t know much about my parents’ personal experiences until I was in my 30s. Today’s China is very different but I believe that history extends its roots deep into the present. As a writer, what interests me the most is the impact of history on individuals and society. My latest book is a historical wartime novel set in China and Europe.

Fan's book list on China’s cultural revolution

Fan Wu Why did Fan love this book?

When it comes to Mao’s labor camps in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, few books are as powerful and authentic as Yang’s collection of 13 stories. Set against one of the darkest tragedies in China’s modern history, these stories are based on his interviews with the survivors of a forced-labor camp in China’s northwestern desert. The incarcerated were mostly condemned intellectuals and government officials, and to them, starvation and death were daily threats. Despite the unimaginable suffering, there was love, compassion, and dignity, which gives you hope about humanity.

By Xianhui Yang,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Woman from Shanghai, Xianhui Yang, one of China’s most celebrated and controversial writers, gives us a work of fact-based fiction that reveals firsthand—and for the first time in English—what life was like in one of Mao’s most notorious labor camps.

Between 1957 and 1960, nearly three thousand Chinese citizens were labeled “Rightists” by the Communist Part and banished to Jianiangou in China’s northwestern desert region of Gansu to undergo “reeducation” through hard labor. These exiles men and women were subjected to horrific conditions, and by 1961 the camp was closed because of the stench of death: of the rougly…


Book cover of The World Turned Upside Down: A History of the Chinese Cultural Revolution

Kerry Brown Author Of China

From my list on modern Chinese history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been working on China as a student, teacher, diplomat, business person, and academic since 1991. 
Currently, professor of Chinese Studies and Director of the Lau China Institute at King’s College London, my work involves trying to understand how the country’s deer and more recent history has created the remarkable country that we see today. I have written over 20 books on modern China, and lived there in total 5 and a half years. I have visited every single province and autonomous region, and have lectured on China in over 40 countries, across four continents.

Kerry's book list on modern Chinese history

Kerry Brown Why did Kerry love this book?

Perspectives on one of the most bewildering and turbulent periods in modern Chinese history – the Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution, in the decade from 1966, by one of contemporary China’s foremost historians. Yang, who has worked on the era of the great famines in China prior to this, is well served by two excellent translators. A book that brings the vastness of this revolution down to the stories of specific people and places, including those who were most involved in creating and directing this seminal event.

By Yang Jisheng, Stacy Mosher (translator), Guo Jian (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The World Turned Upside Down as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As a major political event and a crucial turning point in the history of the People's Republic of China, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) marked the zenith as well as the nadir of Mao Zedong's ultra-leftist politics. Reacting in part to the Soviet Union's "revisionism," which he regarded as a threat to the future of socialism, Mao mobilized the masses in a battle against what he called "bourgeois" forces within the Chinese Communist Party. This ten-year-long class struggle devastated traditional Chinese culture as well as the nation's economy.

Following Tombstone, his groundbreaking and award-winning history of the Great Famine,…


Book cover of Really Enough: A True Story of Tyranny, Courage and Comedy

Bob Zeidman Author Of Election Hacks: Zeidman v. Lindell: Exposing the $5 million election myth

From my list on little-known books about historical events.

Why am I passionate about this?

In school, I was a math and science nerd but also loved to write. I got good grades, except in history; memorizing dates and events was boring. My dad loved history. When he told stories about historical figures, I was fascinated. In twelfth grade, my history teacher told stories like my dad, and I started acing the class. Since then, I’ve become obsessed with history and devour good historical books, particularly when they focus on the people who change history. And now, I’ve actually been in places at times when history was made. 

Bob's book list on little-known books about historical events

Bob Zeidman Why did Bob love this book?

When Chairman Mao initiated the Cultural Revolution in China, Margaret Zhao and her family became enemies of the state. This memoir is full of hope, humor, and love despite the horrific situation of this young girl attempting to survive while many were doing everything to destroy her and her family.

I’m fascinated by how this true story describes the evils of communism in contrast with the opportunities provided by Western Civilization and capitalism. I also find it encouraging that someone could go through such terrible situations, always fearing for the life of herself and her family, and still hold so much optimism that she would one day find her way to America and freedom.

By Margaret Zhao, Kathleen Martens,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This astonishing, intimate memoir by Margaret Zhao with Kathleen Martens charts one young woman’s daunting struggle for survival, freedom and forbidden love while exposing the shocking lives of the Enemies of the State under the tumultuous rule of Chairman Mao. Set against the backdrop of a China in chaos, Really Enough is a relatable and touching celebration of rising up against all odds. Born into a disenfranchised family in rural China in the 1950s and branded an Enemy of the State, Margaret Zhao quickly learned her abject lot in life. With Chairman Mao Zedong’s new Communist Party policies—virtually hidden from…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong, and China?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong, and China.

The Chinese Cultural Revolution Explore 37 books about the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Mao Zedong Explore 19 books about Mao Zedong
China Explore 601 books about China