88 books like The American Plague

By Molly Caldwell Crosby,

Here are 88 books that The American Plague fans have personally recommended if you like The American Plague. 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 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

William H. Steffen Author Of Anthropocene Theater and the Shakespearean Stage

From my list on invasive species and their impact on human history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an English professor in New England whose research and teaching interests focus on the Shakespearean Stage and the Environmental Humanities. As an educator, I’m always looking for ways to romanticize the impact that literature can have on the world—either politically, ideologically, or physically. The story that Kim Todd shares about the European Starling proliferating in North America because of a Shakespeare-loving member of a New York Acclimatization Society has changed the way that I look at birds, at Shakespeare, and the world. It has encouraged me to find other stories like this one to share with my students—and to tell a few of my own.

William's book list on invasive species and their impact on human history

William H. Steffen Why did William love this book?

I’m grateful to see how the narrative about Columbus, the Pilgrims, and European colonialism has changed since I was in elementary school, but for someone who was taught that Columbus was a kind of hero-genius, this book was a revelation.

One of its most powerful lessons is how efficient pre-capitalist systems of commerce were; the Incan Empire, which was far bigger than the Holy Roman Empire or the Ottoman Empire, never experienced famine because they prioritized life and well-being over gold and profit. This book also shows how flora in the Americas exploded during the sixteenth century, leading to the Orbis Spike, or the beginning of anthropogenic environmental change.

The lessons from the pre-Columbian, pre-capitalist, and pre-Enlightenment world are invaluable for confronting contemporary problems of American democracy and environmentalism today.

By Charles C. Mann,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked 1491 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology that radically alters our understanding of the Americas before the arrival of Columbus in 1492—from “a remarkably engaging writer” (The New York Times Book Review).
 
Contrary to what so many Americans learn in school, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a specialized…


Book cover of The Silk Roads: A New History of the World

Kenneth W. Harl Author Of Empires of the Steppes: A History of the Nomadic Tribes Who Shaped Civilization

From my list on how the nomadic peoples enriched and shaped civilizations across Eurasia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Professor Emeritus of Classical and Byzantine History, and I was fascinated by Attila and the Hun and Genghis Khan from early childhood when I decided that I would become a historian. I set out to write the history of the Eurasian nomads from their perspective, and so convey their neglected history to a wider readership.

Kenneth's book list on how the nomadic peoples enriched and shaped civilizations across Eurasia

Kenneth W. Harl Why did Kenneth love this book?

A literate history of the economic and religious history of Europe, the Middle East, and adjacent Eursian steppes from fifth century B.C. down to the opening of the twenty-first century. I found the book a delight to read.

The first ten chapters are complementary to my work Empires of the Steppes. Professor Frankopan, however, continues the story to emergence of the global economy based on oceanic trade. The excellent analysis of colonial rivalries of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is a must reading for understanding the geopolitical role of Eurasia today the Belt and Road initiative of China.

By Peter Frankopan,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Silk Roads as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The No. 1 Sunday Times and international bestseller - a major reassessment of world history in light of the economic and political renaissance in the re-emerging east For centuries, fame and fortune was to be found in the west - in the New World of the Americas. Today, it is the east which calls out to those in search of adventure and riches. The region stretching from eastern Europe and sweeping right across Central Asia deep into China and India, is taking centre stage in international politics, commerce and culture - and is shaping the modern world. This region, the…


Book cover of Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War

Robert N. Wiedenmann Author Of The Silken Thread: Five Insects and Their Impacts on Human History

From my list on the history we never learned.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am not a historian. I am a retired entomologist with a love for history. My first real experience with history was as a child, reading about Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic adventure on the Endurance—a story I must have re-read 50 times. I have come to recognize that much of the history I learned growing up was either incomplete or was just plain wrong. I am drawn to the arcane aspects of historical events, or that illustrate history from a different angle—which is shown in my list of books. The Silken Thread tells about the history that occurred because of, or was impacted by, just five insects.

Robert's book list on the history we never learned

Robert N. Wiedenmann Why did Robert love this book?

In this unique perspective on history, Lockwood offers detailed accounts of the many ways that insects have been used as weapons, and he does so in a very engaging style. Remarkably, the use of insects as weapons did not end with the technological advances in warfare but continued until at least late in the 20th Century. The book reads like a novel—quick-paced, with surprises around many corners. He does not gloss over some of the atrocities but presents them in an appropriate overall context. I have loaned out several copies of this book only to never have them returned!

By Jeffrey A. Lockwood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Six-Legged Soldiers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Six-Legged Soldiers, Jeffrey A. Lockwood paints a brilliant portrait of the many weirdly creative, truly frightening, and ultimately powerful ways in which insects have been used as weapons of war, terror, and torture. He concludes with a critical analysis of today's defenses-and homeland security's dangerous shortcomings-with respect to entomological attacks.
Beginning in prehistoric times and building toward a near and disturbing future, the reader is taken on a journey of innovation and depravity. Lockwood, an award-winning science writer, begins with the use of "bee bombsin the ancient world and explores the role of insect-borne disease in changing the course…


Book cover of War at the End of the World: Douglas MacArthur and the Forgotten Fight For New Guinea, 1942-1945

Robert N. Wiedenmann Author Of The Silken Thread: Five Insects and Their Impacts on Human History

From my list on the history we never learned.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am not a historian. I am a retired entomologist with a love for history. My first real experience with history was as a child, reading about Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic adventure on the Endurance—a story I must have re-read 50 times. I have come to recognize that much of the history I learned growing up was either incomplete or was just plain wrong. I am drawn to the arcane aspects of historical events, or that illustrate history from a different angle—which is shown in my list of books. The Silken Thread tells about the history that occurred because of, or was impacted by, just five insects.

Robert's book list on the history we never learned

Robert N. Wiedenmann Why did Robert love this book?

I thought I knew a thing or two about the history of World War II. Somehow, the battle for New Guinea escaped me, despite the role played by the American General, Douglas MacArthur. Significant as a turning point in the war and enabling MacArthur's return to the Philippines, the fight in New Guinea deserves mention in the same breath as the stepping-stone battles of the Pacific islands. The fighting was brutal and the conditions for both Japanese and Allied troops were horrid—trails ascending rugged mountains, supply-chain difficulties, diseases that diminished the abilities of troops to fight. I have been to New Guinea twice. Duffy captured the ruggedness of the land and his telling of the stories made me feel the place, the people, and their challenges.

By James P. Duffy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked War at the End of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A harrowing account of an epic, yet nearly forgotten, battle of World War II—General Douglas MacArthur's four-year assault on the Pacific War's most hostile battleground: the mountainous, jungle-cloaked island of New Guinea.

“A meaty, engrossing narrative history… This will likely stand as the definitive account of the New Guinea campaign.”—The Christian Science Monitor 

One American soldier called it “a green hell on earth.” Monsoon-soaked wilderness, debilitating heat, impassable mountains, torrential rivers, and disease-infested swamps—New Guinea was a battleground far more deadly than the most fanatical of enemy troops. Japanese forces numbering some 600,000 men began landing in January 1942, determined…


Book cover of It Came from Memphis

Ronald Kidd Author Of Lord of the Mountain

From my list on American roots music.

Why am I passionate about this?

From my earliest days I was surrounded by music, from Friday night family band to our musical Christmas card on a bright red record to trumpet trios played with my dad and brother. I went to the University of Southern California on a trumpet scholarship, then took a detour from music and tried writing. I liked it. To this day, one of my favorite things is combining these two interests to create novels, stories, and plays about music. Since moving to Nashville, I’ve immersed myself in American popular music and have loved returning to my roots. 

Ronald's book list on American roots music

Ronald Kidd Why did Ronald love this book?

In Memphis during the 1950s, there was Black and there was White, but the two rarely met. One of the few places where they did was in clubs and recording studios, and the sparks they struck started a fire that came to be called rock ’n’ roll. 

In this wonderfully rich stew of a book, author and filmmaker Robert Gordon walks the streets of Memphis, exploring the sights and sounds and smells of a unique, endlessly fascinating world. 

As Gordon’s publisher says, “This is a book about the weirdos, winos, and midget wrestlers who forged the rock ’n’ roll spirit.” As Rolling Stone says, “If you haven’t read this book, do it now.”

By Robert Gordon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Vienna in the 1880s. Paris in the 1920s. Memphis in the 1950s. These are the paradigm shifts of modern culture. Memphis then was like Seattle with grunge or Brooklyn with hip-hop―except the change was more than musical: Underground Memphis embraced African American culture when dominant society abhorred it. The effect rocked the world. We’re all familiar with the stars’ stories, but It Came From Memphis runs with the the kids in that first rock and roll audience, where they befriended the older blues artists, the travails of blazing a rock and roll career path where one had not existed (nor…


Book cover of When You Got A Good Thing

Cheryel Hutton Author Of The Ugly Truth

From my list on getting you lost in small town life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was raised in a don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it town in southeast Tennessee. I was embarrassed by where I came from for a long time, and worked on getting rid of my tell-tale accent. Then, as the years went on,  I figured out who I am as a person was shaped by being a small-town Southern girl. So I embraced my Southerness. When I started writing fiction, it never occurred to me to set my books anywhere but small towns, and every one of them is. I’m fact, with the exception of one, all my books are set in Tennessee. At this point, I can't imagine not writing small-town stories.

Cheryel's book list on getting you lost in small town life

Cheryel Hutton Why did Cheryel love this book?

I first heard about this author when she was interviewed on the Self Publishing Author podcast.

During the interview, she said her books were set in small towns in the South, which caught my attention. Then she shared that she'd gotten comments from readers pointing out grammatical errors in the dialogue of characters in her books. As soon as I heard this, I knew I had to read one of her books.

You see, my characters don't always speak proper English either. So I read this book, loved it, and quickly read more. Set in my home state of Tennessee, When You Got a Good Thing was exactly what I hoped it would be, and more. The characters were well written and realistic and their story touched my heart. 

By Kait Nolan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When You Got A Good Thing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

She thought she could never go home again. Kennedy Reynolds has spent the past decade traveling the world as a free spirit. She never looks back at the past, the place, or the love she left behind--until her adopted mother's unexpected death forces her home to Eden's Ridge, Tennessee.

Deputy Xander Kincaid has never forgotten his first love. He's spent ten long years waiting for the chance to make up for one bone-headed mistake that sent her running. Now that she's finally home, he wants to give her so much more than just an apology.

Kennedy finds an unexpected ally…


Book cover of The Quickest Kid in Clarksville

Marsha Diane Arnold Author Of The Pumpkin Runner

From my list on children's stories about running.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a multi-award-winning picture book author of many types of books, from The Pumpkin Runner to Badger’s Perfect Garden. I’ve always been a reader more than an athlete, but throughout my life, I’ve enjoyed running - running down a dusty Kansas backroad, running to the pasture to call in the cows, running to the stream to climb a cottonwood. When I reached my sixties, I finally decided it was time to run a half-marathon. Partway through the race, I broke my foot! But I persevered. When I crossed the finish line, I felt a little like Joshua Summerhayes in The Pumpkin Runner.

Marsha's book list on children's stories about running

Marsha Diane Arnold Why did Marsha love this book?

This is another book about Wilma Rudolph, but this one focuses on how Wilma inspired two young girls in Clarksville, Tennessee, Wilma’s birthplace. Alta is The Quickest Kid in Clarksville, but worries about Charmaine, the new girl with brand-new, “stripes down the sides” shoes. The author’s writing is fast-paced with a rhythm to it, perfect for a running book about winning, losing, and friendship. Yes, friendship, as when Wilma Rudolph arrives for a parade to celebrate her Olympic wins, the girls finally agree to carry Alta's big banner to the parade in a relay race like Wilma won at the Olympics.

By Pat Zietlow Miller, Frank Morrison (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Quickest Kid in Clarksville as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's the day before the big parade. Alta can only think about one thing: Wilma Rudolph, three-time Olympic gold medalist. She'll be riding on a float tomorrow. See, Alta is the quickest kid in Clarksville, Tennessee, just like Wilma once was. It doesn't matter that Alta's shoes have holes because Wilma came from hard times, too. But what happens when a new girl with shiny new shoes comes along and challenges Alta to a race? Will she still be the quickest kid?
The Quickest Kid in Clarksville is a timeless story of dreams, determination, and the power of friendship.


Book cover of Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862

David Powell Author Of Maps of Chickamauga: An Atlas of the Chickamauga Campaign

From my list on the American Civil War in the western theater.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated by the American Civil War since I was 8 years old. I have been a serious student of the subject since my college years, where I majored in American History. I have played and designed boardgames concerning battles of the war, including a number of games on battles in the Western Theater, I have been a living historian and reenactor, and now, an author-published by both academic and popular presses. The battle of Chickamauga became a serious interest as early as 1979.

David's book list on the American Civil War in the western theater

David Powell Why did David love this book?

Several books have been written about the Battle of Shiloh, fought on April 6 and 7, 1862. This is no surprise, as the battle was one of the very first large-scale engagements of the war, with more than 100,000 combatants and producing 23,000 casualties. That staggering butcher’s bill stunned the nation and created a deep-rooted interest in remembering the contest. A National Cemetery was created in 1866, and Shiloh was one of the five original military parks established by Congress in 1895. The park’s interpretive thrust has shaped the outline of the traditional narrative of the battle ever since.

In the 1960s, Edward Cunningham offered a corrective to that traditional narrative, in an unpublished academic thesis. Discarding long-held, preconceived notions, Cunningham hewed closer to the primary sources to provide a deeply insightful new interpretation of the battle. Unfortunately, he never found a publisher for that thesis—until 2009. Though Cunningham had…

By O. Edward Cunningham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The stunning Northern victory at Shiloh in 1942 thrust Union commander Ulysses S. Grant into the national spotlight, claimed the life of Confederate commander Albert S. Johnston, and forever buried the notion that the Civil War would be a short conflict.

Anxious to attack the enemy, Johnston began concentrating Southern forces at Corinth, a major railroad center just below the Tennessee border. His bold plan called for his Army of the Mississippi to march north and destroy General Grant's Army of the Tennessee before it could link up with another Union army on the way to join him.

On the…


Book cover of Tennessee Frontiers: Three Regions in Transition

Lori Benton Author Of The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn

From my list on the Lost State of Franklin.

Why am I passionate about this?

Lori Benton is an award-winning, multi-published author of historical novels set during 18th century North America. Her literary passion is bringing little-known historical events to life through the eyes of those who lived it, particularly those set along the Appalachian frontier, where European and Native American cultural and world views collided. Her second published historical novel, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, is set against the backdrop of the State of Franklin conflict, in which a young woman and a frontiersman flee across the mountains of North Carolina to keep her free of an unwanted marriage, just as tensions over who is destined to govern the Overmountain settlers erupts into violence.

Lori's book list on the Lost State of Franklin

Lori Benton Why did Lori love this book?

This book not only provides a chapter on the State of Franklin era (1780s) but several leading up to it, beginning with a survey of eastern Tennessee topography, its native peoples, and the earliest encroaching exploration and settlement of Europeans. Several more chapters of the region’s history follow the information on the failed statehood attempt. Along the way the author captures the spirit of the various people groups who called this region home, detailing many individuals such as Attakullakulla, Nancy Ward, Daniel Boone, John Sevier, Davy Crockett, Andrew Jackson, and John Ross, among others.

By John R. Finger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This chronicle of the formation of Tennessee from indigenous settlements to the closing of the frontier in 1840 begins with an account of the prehistoric frontiers and a millennia-long habitation by Native Americans. The rest of the book deals with Tennessee's historic period beginning with the incursion of Hernando de Soto's Spanish army in 1540. John R. Finger follows two narratives of the creation and closing of the frontier. The first starts with the early interaction of Native Americans and Euro-Americans and ends when the latter effectively gained the upper hand. The last land cession by the Cherokees and the…


Book cover of She Walks These Hills

Leslie Wheeler Author Of Rattlesnake Hill

From my list on where the sense of place becomes a character.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a mystery author from sunny California who moved to New England to be close to my dark roots. Places spark my imagination. As a child, I’d look at a house and wonder, “What would it be like to live there, in that town and that landscape?” On family road trips, my parents fueled my desire for knowledge about different places by reading from the WPA guides to the states. The books I enjoy the most have a strong sense of place. I want my readers to experience my settings as fully as I do. Setting is where a book begins. Characters and story spring from this fertile ground.

Leslie's book list on where the sense of place becomes a character

Leslie Wheeler Why did Leslie love this book?

I was drawn to this book because it’s loaded with atmosphere, and features hill folk like I do, with the difference that McCrumb’s characters inhabit the hills of Tennessee, while mine live in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts. I especially like the way she weaves local lore and legends into the story, and how she reveals how the landscape appears to different characters, ranging from a long-ago woman, kidnapped by Indians who escapes and makes her way homeward, to a modern-day non-hillbilly who struggles to re-create her difficult journey. Then, there’s the way McCrumb adds a dash of the supernatural through a character with psychic powers—all of which have been grist to my fictional mill.

By Sharyn McCrumb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked She Walks These Hills as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Katie Wyler still crosses Ashe Mountain, and although a few can see her, Deputy Sheriff Martha Ayers doesn't believe in ghosts. Hiram Sorley has escaped after 30 years in prison and he's on his way home to Ashe Mountain. Only Martha seems to understand that Sorley's wife and daughter are in danger.


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Interested in Tennessee, yellow fever, and Memphis Tennessee?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Tennessee, yellow fever, and Memphis Tennessee.

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