100 books like The Agitator

By Peter Duffy,

Here are 100 books that The Agitator fans have personally recommended if you like The Agitator. 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 Rebel Cinderella: From Rags to Riches to Radical, the Epic Journey of Rose Pastor Stokes

Seth Rosenfeld Author Of Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power

From my list on spies and radicals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Seth Rosenfeld is an independent investigative journalist and author of the New York Times best-seller Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power. As a staff reporter for The San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle, he specialized in using public records and won national honors including the George Polk Award. Subversives, based on thousands of pages of FBI records released to him as a result of several Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, won the PEN Center USA’s Literary Award for Research Nonfiction Prize, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sunshine Award, and other honors.

Seth's book list on spies and radicals

Seth Rosenfeld Why did Seth love this book?

This gem of narrative non-fiction tells the improbable story of an utterly impoverished immigrant woman who married into one of the wealthiest “establishment” families of New York City and became one of the nation’s most prominent radical activists in the early 1900s. The unlikely marriage of Rose Pastor and Graham Stokes made many national headlines -- and attracted attention from federal agents. Hochschild brings this odd couple to life in all their ups and downs, introduces us to their circle of famous fellow activists, and illuminates their fights for social justice, struggles that remain relevant to this day.

By Adam Hochschild,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the best-selling author of King Leopold's Ghost and Spain in Our Hearts comes the astonishing but forgotten story of an immigrant sweatshop worker who married an heir to a great American fortune and became one of the most charismatic radical leaders of her time.

Rose Pastor arrived in New York City in 1903, a Jewish refugee from Russia who had worked in cigar factories since the age of eleven. Two years later, she captured headlines across the globe when she married James Graham Phelps Stokes, scion of one of the legendary 400 families of New York high society.

Together,…


Book cover of Last Second in Dallas

Seth Rosenfeld Author Of Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power

From my list on spies and radicals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Seth Rosenfeld is an independent investigative journalist and author of the New York Times best-seller Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power. As a staff reporter for The San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle, he specialized in using public records and won national honors including the George Polk Award. Subversives, based on thousands of pages of FBI records released to him as a result of several Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, won the PEN Center USA’s Literary Award for Research Nonfiction Prize, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sunshine Award, and other honors.

Seth's book list on spies and radicals

Seth Rosenfeld Why did Seth love this book?

In some ways, the current epidemic of crackpot “deep state” conspiracy theories can be traced to the miasma surrounding one of the greatest unsolved murders of our time, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas’s Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. Thompson’s new book is an antidote: a rigorous, transparent and compelling investigation of acoustic, photographic, and medical evidence. The philosophy professor turned San Francisco private eye interweaves his own fascinating personal journey with the story of how he came to find, examine, and re-examine forensic evidence that, he concludes, proves Kennedy was killed not by a lone assassin as the Warren Commission found, but in a cross-fire from at least two shooters.

By Josiah Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Last Second in Dallas as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this long-awaited follow-up to his critically acclaimed 1967 classic, Six Seconds in Dallas, Josiah Thompson reveals major new forensic discoveries since the year 2000 that overturn previously accepted 'facts' about the Kennedy assassination. Together they provide what no previous book on the assassination has done - incontrovertible proof that JFK was killed in a crossfire.

Last Second in Dallas is not a conspiracy book. No theory of who did it is offered or discussed. Among the discoveries: The test showing that all recovered bullet fragments came from Oswald's rifle was mistaken. Several fragments could have come from bullets of…


Book cover of Secrets: The CIA's War at Home

Seth Rosenfeld Author Of Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power

From my list on spies and radicals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Seth Rosenfeld is an independent investigative journalist and author of the New York Times best-seller Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power. As a staff reporter for The San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle, he specialized in using public records and won national honors including the George Polk Award. Subversives, based on thousands of pages of FBI records released to him as a result of several Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, won the PEN Center USA’s Literary Award for Research Nonfiction Prize, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sunshine Award, and other honors.

Seth's book list on spies and radicals

Seth Rosenfeld Why did Seth love this book?

Starting with his experience as publisher of an anti-war newspaper in the 1970s, and relying on official records released under the Freedom of Information Act, Mackenzie reveals how the CIA used undercover operatives to sabotage the dissident press and developed a system of secrecy agreements and pre-publication review boards that spread throughout the federal government in efforts to silence former intelligence agents and other would-be whistle-blowers. This brilliant book is the last work by the late Mackenzie, who dedicated his life to defending the First Amendment. He was a long-time associate of the Bay Area’s Center for Investigative Reporting, which with his wife, Jane Hundertmark, completed it after his untimely death.

By Angus MacKenzie,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This eye-opening expose, the result of fifteen years of investigative work, uncovers the CIA's systematic efforts to suppress and censor information over several decades. An award-winning journalist, Angus Mackenzie waged and won a lawsuit against the CIA under the Freedom of Information Act and became a leading expert on questions concerning government censorship and domestic spying. In "Secrets", he reveals how federal agencies - including the Department of Defense, the executive branch, and the CIA - have monitored and controlled public access to information. Mackenzie lays bare the behind-the-scenes evolution of a policy of suppression, repression, spying, and harassment. Secrecy…


Book cover of Red Joan

Seth Rosenfeld Author Of Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power

From my list on spies and radicals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Seth Rosenfeld is an independent investigative journalist and author of the New York Times best-seller Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power. As a staff reporter for The San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle, he specialized in using public records and won national honors including the George Polk Award. Subversives, based on thousands of pages of FBI records released to him as a result of several Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, won the PEN Center USA’s Literary Award for Research Nonfiction Prize, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sunshine Award, and other honors.

Seth's book list on spies and radicals

Seth Rosenfeld Why did Seth love this book?

Inspired by the true story of Melita Norwood, who was exposed in 1999 as the KGB’s longest-running British spy, Red Joan is an enthralling novel that vividly reconstructs her life and explores with great authorial compassion her conflicting emotions and unsettling ambiguities as she is drawn deeper and deeper into atomic espionage by a college lover at the dawn of the Cold War.

By Jennie Rooney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'If you loved William Boyd's Restless, you'll enjoy this' Viv Groskop, Red

Cambridge University in 1937 is awash with ideas and idealists - to unworldly Joan it is dazzling.

After a chance meeting with Russian-born Sonya and Leo, Joan is swept up in the glamour and energy of the duo, and finds herself growing closer and closer to them both.

But allegiance is a slippery thing. Out of university and working in a government ministry with access to top-secret information, Joan finds her loyalty tested as she is faced with the most difficult question of all: what price would you…


Book cover of Song of Erin: Cloth of Heaven/Ashes and Lace (Song of Erin Series 1-2)

Cindy Thomson Author Of Grace's Pictures (Ellis Island)

From my list on Irish immigrant historical fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love exploring the theme of family legacies and learning the stories, even if fictionalized, of our ancestors who helped build America for future generations. I explored this theme with my Ellis Island series, but truly it influences everything I write. It began with my interest in my own genealogy and my love of research. Along with writing my own books, I host a blog on historical fiction called Novel PASTimes and am co-founder of the Faith & Fellowship Book Festival with the aim of connecting readers with really good books.

Cindy's book list on Irish immigrant historical fiction

Cindy Thomson Why did Cindy love this book?

This is a gritty story of the peril young Irish immigrants faced when coming to America, along with the hardships they were escaping back in Ireland. The fact that others were waiting to abuse and exploit the immigrants is certainly historically accurate. However, B.J. Hoff’s stories are always filled with hope and shine a light on hope in God. It’s Christian fiction, so readers should be aware of that. Also, this new edition includes two stories, a great deal. B.J. Hoff passed away in 2021 but left a long legacy of inspirational historical fiction.

By B.J. Hoff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The mysteries of the past confront the secrets of the present in bestselling author BJ Hoff's magnificent "Song of Erin" saga. In her own unique style, Hoff spins a panoramic story that crosses the ocean from Ireland to America, featuring two of her most memorable characters. In this tale of struggle and love and uncompromising faith, Jack Kane, the always charming but sometimes ruthless titan of New York's most powerful publishing empire, is torn between the conflict of his own heart and the grace and light of Samantha Harte, the woman he loves, whose own troubled past continues to haunt…


Book cover of The Gods of Gotham

Eleanor Kuhns Author Of Murder on Principle

From my list on historical mysteries with a dash of social commentary.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love the mysteriousness of the past. Learning dates or the importance of battles does not yield understanding. Skillfully written historical fiction can make a reader live history—in a twelfth-century abbey or nursing in WWI. The characters I find the most gripping are outsiders: a Black man always in danger of capture and slavery, and investigating the murders of the marginalized; a monk, once a crusader, who sees human frailties clearly; or a Victorian lady, restless under the constraints of her time, who marries beneath her. Why murder mysteries? Because, although murder is forbidden in almost every culture and every religion, we still kill each other. 

Eleanor's book list on historical mysteries with a dash of social commentary

Eleanor Kuhns Why did Eleanor love this book?

Disfigured and jobless after a fire, Timothy Wilde takes a job with the newly formed NYPD. He is assigned to the Sixth Ward, right on the border of the Five Points, a ward notorious for the desperately poor who live there and the rampant crime. One night he finds a young girl running through the street in a nightgown soaked with blood. She tells an unbelievable story of bodies buried in a nearby woods. Wilde investigates and soon finds himself a target of the city’s wealthy, several of whom are guilty of the most heinous of crimes but feel entitled to escape any accountability. Written in the slang of the times, it reads with the immediacy and plausibility of a memoir. I loved this book because it treats such serious issues: income inequality and the lack of accountability for the rich and powerful—even when engaged in child prostitution and murder.

By Lyndsay Faye,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Spectacular' Gillian Flynn. GODS OF GOTHAM is the fantastic first novel in Lyndsay Faye's Edgar Award-nominated series, for fans of Andrew Taylor and Antonia Hodgson's The Devil in the Marshalsea.

August 1845 in New York; enter the dark, unforgiving city underworld of the legendary Five Points...

After a fire decimates a swathe of lower Manhattan, and following years of passionate political dispute, New York City at long last forms an official Police Department. That same summer, the great potato famine hits Ireland. These events will change the city of New York for ever.

Timothy Wilde hadn't wanted to be a…


Book cover of Teacher Man: A Memoir

Jennifer Nelson Author Of Teaching with Heart: Lessons Learned in a Classroom

From my list on becoming a great teacher.

Why am I passionate about this?

For almost 20 years, I worked in public and private schools, first teaching with the Peace Corps in Niger and finally in a public high school in New Jersey. For a while, I didn’t feel I knew how to teach. I struggled to reach American teens. I thought they had attitude—and were nasty and lazy. I didn’t want to be in the classroom. But then matters turned around and I began to see how I could make a difference in their lives, enjoying the time I spent with them, and shaping them into decent, hardworking types. And, in the process, they all learned some French—and respected me.

Jennifer's book list on becoming a great teacher

Jennifer Nelson Why did Jennifer love this book?

A memoir by a high school teacher in New York, who explains how he learned how to work with disillusioned teenagers and make them care about learning.

He brings up what is going on in his personal life, adding an extra dimension to the story. I appreciated his struggles and honesty about what it takes to lead in a classroom, where not everyone is motivated to succeed.

Kudos to this author who made me see how it’s not always easy or fun to teach, but that it’s always worthwhile. He gave me the courage to stick to teaching even when sometimes I wanted to quit. 

By Frank McCourt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nearly a decade ago Frank McCourt became an unlikely star when, at the age of sixty-six, he burst onto the literary scene with Angela's Ashes, the Pulitzer Prize -- winning memoir of his childhood in Limerick, Ireland. Then came 'Tis, his glorious account of his early years in New York.

Now, here at last, is McCourt's long-awaited book about how his thirty-year teaching career shaped his second act as a writer. Teacher Man is also an urgent tribute to teachers everywhere. In bold and spirited prose featuring his irreverent wit and heartbreaking honesty, McCourt records the trials, triumphs and surprises…


Book cover of Murphy's Law

Carmen Radtke Author Of The Case of the Missing Bride

From my list on mysteries set on ships and trains.

Why am I passionate about this?

After years dedicated to the hard facts of a newspaper reporter’s life, including a sting covering the police beat, Carmen Radtke has changed her focus to fiction. She’s been fascinated by both history and mystery as long as she can remember and stays dedicated to the truth behind the lie, and the joys of in-depth research. As a repeated emigrant, she is enthralled by voyages into the unknown and the courage (or madness) that takes.

Carmen's book list on mysteries set on ships and trains

Carmen Radtke Why did Carmen love this book?

I fell in love with this series and its intrepid heroine Molly Murphy on page one. A young, penniless woman who has to rely on her own wits to make her way to America at the end of the 19th century, and a sea voyage that ends well enough until she becomes a murder suspect as soon as she arrives in Ellis Island - this impeccably researched historical mystery has all the ingredients I could want. It’s a satisfying mystery and a scathing social commentary, the tone of voice is clever and funny, and I didn’t just want to follow Molly on every step of her journey, I wanted to be her. 

By Rhys Bowen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rhys Bowen, author of the much-loved Constable Evans mysteries, takes on the vibrant world of turn-of-the-century Ellis Island and New York in her newest series. With delightful humour and meticulous research Bowen transports readers to the gritty underworld that swallowed new immigrants who dreamed of a better life, and gives us the unforgettable heroine Molly Murphy, a resourceful Irish woman who lives by her own set of laws...


Book cover of Ask Again, Yes

Emma Robinson Author Of Please Take My Baby

From my list on family dramas to make you cry.

Why am I passionate about this?

Researching the storylines for my family drama novels gives me the opportunity to speak to many different people about huge events and dilemmas in their families and lives. Through their honesty and generosity, I have gained a huge respect for the way in which people can cope with tragedy and also a fascination with how they deal with it. For me, reading – and writing – about these topics is immensely cathartic and makes me remember to grasp life with both hands. I’m a sucker for a happy ending, though, so I always look for the hope at the end of any story.

Emma's book list on family dramas to make you cry

Emma Robinson Why did Emma love this book?

Ask Again, Yes is a drama about two generations of two families and the tragedy within the book centres on the events of one fateful day.

Mary Beth Keane’s prose is a real pleasure to read and the story itself brings home how often lives are changed irrevocably in a moment. What I also loved about this book was that it takes the central characters from childhood to adulthood and we see how this makes them view events differently.

It’s one of the reasons I enjoy books with multiple narrators – being able to see the way they can justify their own decisions while judging the actions of others. A terrific read.

By Mary Beth Keane,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The triumphant New York Times Bestseller *The Tonight Show Summer Reads Pick*

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by People, Vogue, Parade, NPR, and Elle

"A gem of a book." —Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

How much can a family forgive?

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, rookie NYPD cops, are neighbors in the suburbs. What happens behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne, sets the stage for the explosive events to come.

In Mary Beth Keane's extraordinary novel, a lifelong…


Book cover of Seven Million: A Cop, a Priest, a Soldier for the IRA, and the Still-Unsolved Rochester Brink's Heist

Mark Bulik Author Of The Sons of Molly Maguire: The Irish Roots of America's First Labor War

From my list on Irish American true crime.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a newspaperman for 40 years, the last 25 at The New York Times, and crime is the meat and potatoes of the business. My mother came from an Irish American clan in the Pennsylvania township where the Molly Maguires were born – my great-uncle died at 13 in the mine where the Mollies made one of their first recorded appearances. So I’ve been fascinated by Irish American true crime ever since the Sean Connery film The Mollies Maguires came out in 1970. I’ve spent most of my adult life researching the subject, and have given lectures on it all over the country.

Mark's book list on Irish American true crime

Mark Bulik Why did Mark love this book?

In 1993, a gang of thieves got away with $7 million in a heist at a Brink’s depot in Rochester, N.Y – and the bulk of it has never been recovered.

The cast of characters includes a former I.R.A. man who’d done prison time in Northern Ireland, an activist priest, an ex-cop who became a suspect, and a charismatic prizefighter whose dismembered body was found in Lake Ontario.

I liked this because at the center of it all is the lingering question of whether the missing money ended up with the Irish Republican Army. 

By Gary Craig,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On a freezing night in January 1993, masked gunmen walked through the laughably lax security at the Rochester Brink's depot, tied up the guards, and unhurriedly made off with $7.4 million in one of the FBI's top-five armored car heists in history. Suspicion quickly fell on a retired Rochester cop working security for Brinks at the time-as well it might. Officer Tom O'Connor had been previously suspected of everything from robbery to murder to complicity with the IRA. One ex-IRA soldier in particular was indebted to O'Connor for smuggling him and his girlfriend into the United States, and when he…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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