100 books like The Anarchy

By William Dalrymple,

Here are 100 books that The Anarchy fans have personally recommended if you like The Anarchy. 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 Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Jakub Growiec Author Of Accelerating Economic Growth: Lessons From 200,000 Years of Technological Progress and Human Development

From my list on the past and future of our civilization.

Who am I?

I’m a professor of economics based in Warsaw, Poland. As a researcher I was always drawn to most fundamental questions about the long run and the big picture. I study long-run economic growth at the global scale, concentrating in particular on the role of technological progress, technology choice and the accumulation of productive factors such as physical and human capital. Recently I have put forward a novel hardware-software framework, based on first principles from physics and generalizing previous economic frameworks to include any era in the human history, from simple hunting and gathering to automated multi-step production processes of the digital era. 

Jakub's book list on the past and future of our civilization

Jakub Growiec Why did Jakub love this book?

Bored with history books full of battlefields, military equipment, long lists of battles and treaties, and discussions of changing alliances among the heavily intertwined royal families? I certainly was. And that’s why I found Yuval Noah Harari’s unique look at the history of our civilization so appealing.

In particular I greatly appreciated his focus on scientific and technological progress as drivers of development, highlighting in particular the role of the European Scientific Revolution of 16th century CE, an episode much less appreciated than the later Industrial Revolution but probably equally consequential.

A top pick for anyone who wants to figure out the Big Picture about the roots of the human civilization and its current state.

By Yuval Noah Harari,

Why should I read it?

19 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 Metropolis: A History of the City, Humankind's Greatest Invention

Conrad Kickert Author Of Dream City: Creation, Destruction, and Reinvention in Downtown Detroit

From my list on the exciting life of cities.

Who am I?

Growing up in a Dutch city, I vividly remember witnessing the excitement of urban life through the windows of a streetcar, on foot, or by bike. Soon, I began to recreate this excitement by drawing maps of imaginary cities of my own. My small towns turned into entire regions, their streets coming to life as I closed my eyes. I essentially turned my childhood fascination into my job, as I now study, design, and teach students how to improve cities. Our best cities are places where citizens can interact with one another, overcoming social, economic, and environmental evolutions and revolutions. I never cease to be fascinated with the key to these everlasting cities.

Conrad's book list on the exciting life of cities

Conrad Kickert Why did Conrad love this book?

To understand cities today, you also have to understand why and how they were built to begin with. After all, our environment contains the materialization of previous decisions – we should know why those were made! Through the story of over a dozen global cities, historian Ben Wilson demonstrates how cities are concentrations of hopes, dreams, power, and conflict. While many great historians like Lewis Mumford and Stephen Hall have preceded him with excellently detailed urban history books of their own, this book stands out in its readability, attention to detail, and especially its coverage of global cities. After all, the urban future of most of the world lies beyond the Global North, and this broad survey shows the vast differences in urbanism between cultures.

By Ben Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the Sunday Times bestselling author, a dazzling, globe-spanning history of humankind's greatest invention: the city.

'Brilliant...enchanting' Evening Standard 'Exhilarating' New York Times

The story of the city is the story of civilisation. From Uruk and Babylon to Baghdad and Venice, and on to London, New York, Shanghai and Lagos, Ben Wilson takes us through millennia on a thrilling global tour of the key urban centres of history.

Rich with individual characters, scenes and snapshots of daily life, Metropolis is at once the story of these extraordinary places and of the vital role they have played in making us who…


Book cover of The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America

Thijs ten Raa Author Of Microeconomics: Equilibrium and Efficiency

From my list on microeconomics on how markets are interconnected.

Who am I?

Microeconomics is a turnoff to most readers. Not without reason. Many books in this field are dull rewrites of other books and opaque.  In particular, it is not clear how the behavior of individual consumers and producers adds to the performance—good or bad—of an economy. The books listed here helped me to sharpen my own mind and to make my writing lucid.

Thijs' book list on microeconomics on how markets are interconnected

Thijs ten Raa Why did Thijs love this book?

This fascinating and very detailed history of early Manhattan shows how the Dutch with their policy based on individual liberty and free trade impacted not only New York City but even the shaping of America. 

I sensed this when I was an inhabitant of New York, but now I understand why.

By Russell Shorto,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Island at the Center of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a riveting, groundbreaking narrative, Russell Shorto tells the story of New Netherland, the Dutch colony which pre-dated the Pilgrims and established ideals of tolerance and individual rights that shaped American history. 

"Astonishing . . . A book that will permanently alter the way we regard our collective past." --The New York Times

When the British wrested New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664, the truth about its thriving, polyglot society began to disappear into myths about an island purchased for 24 dollars and a cartoonish peg-legged governor. But the story of the Dutch colony of New Netherland was merely…


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.

Who am I?

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 West with the Night: A Memoir

Steven Faulkner Author Of Bitterroot: Echoes of Beauty & Loss

From my list on travel that enrich landscape with history.

Who am I?

After reading travel books that voyaged beyond mere tourism into the life of the land, its people, and its histories, I found myself longing to launch my own journeys. I took a thousand-mile canoe trip with my son following the 1673 route of the French explorers Marquette and Joliet; I crossed the Rockies with two sons by foot, mountain bike, and canoe following Lewis and Clark and their Nez Perce guides; I took to sea kayak and pontoon boat with a son and daughter, 400 miles along the Gulf Coast in pursuit of the 1528 Spanish Narvaez Expedition. Writing of these journeys gave me the chance to live twice.

Steven's book list on travel that enrich landscape with history

Steven Faulkner Why did Steven love this book?

Beryl Markham was a bush pilot in Africa during the early years of aviation. She is a marvelous writer and an adventurous soul. Ernest Hemingway wrote of her: “Did you read Beryl Markham’s book? I knew her fairly well in Africa and never would have suspected that she could put pen to paper except to write in her flyer’s log book. As it is, she has written so well, and marvelously well, that I am completely ashamed of myself as a writer.... She can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves writers.”

Hemingway is right. This is the best written travel book I’ve read. I grew up in what is now called South Sudan, not far from Kenya where Markham grew up. Her writing brings back the land and people, the weather and hardships, the beauty of that land and its lonely skies.

By Beryl Markham,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked West with the Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WEST WITH THE NIGHT appeared on 13 bestseller lists on first publication in 1942. It tells the spellbinding story of Beryl Markham -- aviator, racehorse trainer, fascinating beauty -and her life in the Kenya of the 1920s and 30s.

Markham was taken to Kenya at the age of four. As an adult she was befriended by Denys Finch-Hatton, the big-game hunter of OUT OF AFRICA fame, who took her flying in his airplane. Thrilled by the experience, Markham went on to become the first woman in Kenya to receive a commercial pilot's license.

In 1936 she determined to fly solo…


Book cover of Sixty Somethings: The Lives Of Women Who Remember The Sixties

Tim Madge Author Of White Mischief: A Cultural History of Cocaine

From my list on wide cultural spectrum for an inquiring mind.

Who am I?

Tim Madge is a well-established award-winning published author, historian and former journalist of over 45 years standing. He has written on a wide range of subjects, a cultural history of cocaine being one, resulting in White Mischief. It’s a fascinating story involving a murky mix of politics and race, as well as criminals and Sigmund Freud.

Tim's book list on wide cultural spectrum for an inquiring mind

Tim Madge Why did Tim love this book?

The swinging sixties are commonly thought of as hedonistic days (if you remember them you weren’t there). It was a period when young people threw off the trappings of their parents and, allegedly fuelled by drugs, sex, and rock ‘n roll, set out to put the world to rights: a time without precedent.

But was it really like that? What are the women of that generation up to now; and what do they remember of those times? Is sixty the new forty?

Despite pursuing careers, raising families, with quite a few as grandparents, others caring for their own aging parents, could it be true that the once hipsters – a few now with literally new hips – have an undiluted appetite for life?

This fascinating book looks back over the lives of 67 women in their sixties, all of whom lived through ‘The Sixties’, to explore these questions through their…

By Nicola Madge, Paul Hoggart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The 'Swinging Sixties' are commonly depicted as hedonistic days. A point in history remembered for the generation of young people who shed the trappings of their parents and grandparents and, fuelled by sex, drugs, rock 'n roll, set out to put the world to rights. A time when individuality was heralded and convention widely challenged. A time without precedent. But what was it really like and what is this generation up to now? What did they expect from their lives, and were they so different from those of their parents and grandparents and, indeed, even their children? Had their youthful…


Book cover of Raising the Skirt: The Unsung Power of the Vagina

Tim Madge Author Of White Mischief: A Cultural History of Cocaine

From my list on wide cultural spectrum for an inquiring mind.

Who am I?

Tim Madge is a well-established award-winning published author, historian and former journalist of over 45 years standing. He has written on a wide range of subjects, a cultural history of cocaine being one, resulting in White Mischief. It’s a fascinating story involving a murky mix of politics and race, as well as criminals and Sigmund Freud.

Tim's book list on wide cultural spectrum for an inquiring mind

Tim Madge Why did Tim love this book?

This is a simply astonishing book, one to be read by all women but, perhaps more importantly, by all men. To say it was a revelation to read is a bit of an understatement. It is described as a revolutionary book, providing a new understanding of what it is to be female. It’s gynaecological, historical, cultural, anthropological, and evolutionary in its massive scope. 

As the author says, the vagina is actually a muscular marvel of engineering, sensitive and strong, fluid and flexible. Far from being passive vessels, female genitalia control the most important ‘role’ of all: the survival of the species.

Dr. Blackledge is a scientist, sex educator, and fertility campaigner, and her book has sold over 100,000 copies and been translated into ten languages. Jeanette Winterton says of Raising the Skirt, ‘it is completely fascinating’.

Much more than that, it throws into sharp relief the oppression of women…

By Catherine Blackledge,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'A meticulous guide not only to the vagina but to changing perceptions of womanhood' OBSERVER
'An empowering and enlightening book' IRISH TIMES

The vagina is the ultimate symbol of female power. Sexual power, creative power and the power to prevent harm. For too long, though, the true extent of vaginal power has been ignored, hidden and misrepresented.

Raising the skirt: the unsung power of the vagina reveals this revolutionary view of female genitalia and points the way to a new understanding of what it means to be female. An inspiration for millennia, the vagina is actually a muscular marvel of…


Book cover of Failures of State: The Inside Story of Britain's Battle with Coronavirus

Tim Madge Author Of White Mischief: A Cultural History of Cocaine

From my list on wide cultural spectrum for an inquiring mind.

Who am I?

Tim Madge is a well-established award-winning published author, historian and former journalist of over 45 years standing. He has written on a wide range of subjects, a cultural history of cocaine being one, resulting in White Mischief. It’s a fascinating story involving a murky mix of politics and race, as well as criminals and Sigmund Freud.

Tim's book list on wide cultural spectrum for an inquiring mind

Tim Madge Why did Tim love this book?

The authors work for the Sunday Times Insight team and the book they have produced is, you might say, a public inquiry of the kind we won’t be getting from any government, now or in the future. We’ve all been living through this nightmare and the concept of journalism being a first rough history of events is more than adequately demonstrated by this excellently researched text.

Unless you’ve been asleep, or visiting another planet during the past 15 months, you’ll be painfully aware of how badly the pandemic has been handled in the UK. Coming on the back of Brexit, the big event that caused the Government to never have its eye on the Coronavirus ball at the critical moments in January and February, 2020, the pandemic was at first ridiculed, then fatally downplayed by Boris Johnson.

Worse, as we all know to our personal and collective cost, was to…

By Jonathan Calvert, George Arbuthnott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER*

A GUARDIAN AND SUNDAY TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR

'An astonishing book' James O'Brien

'A gripping, devastating read' Sunday Times

The inside story of the UK's response to the pandemic from the Insight investigations unit at The Sunday Times

Failures of State recounts the extraordinary political decisions taken at the heart of Boris Johnson's government during the global pandemic.

Fully updated and corroborated by hundreds of sources, this is the insider's account of how the government sleepwalked into disaster and tried to cover up its role in the tragedy. Thrillingly told, it exposes one of the…


Book cover of The Conquest of Bread

Tim Madge Author Of White Mischief: A Cultural History of Cocaine

From my list on wide cultural spectrum for an inquiring mind.

Who am I?

Tim Madge is a well-established award-winning published author, historian and former journalist of over 45 years standing. He has written on a wide range of subjects, a cultural history of cocaine being one, resulting in White Mischief. It’s a fascinating story involving a murky mix of politics and race, as well as criminals and Sigmund Freud.

Tim's book list on wide cultural spectrum for an inquiring mind

Tim Madge Why did Tim love this book?

Kropotkin was a remarkable man with remarkable ideas and this book, written in Brighton and first published in 1892 remains a gem in the canon of historic anarchist literature.

In the 130 years since it was published, communism has demonstrably failed (China is less communist, more sinister state gangsterism, like North Korea); socialism looks to be on its last legs. On the left, then, there is only anarchism remaining. This is nothing like the idiotic street antics of modern youth – more nihilism than any coherent political position – but thoughtful sets of ideas around governance without the presence of a central authority.

If it is anything, anarchism is rooted in a concept of collectivist, cooperative, local communities. This is what The Price of Bread explores. Yes, it is wildly idealistic, utopian in intent. It was written before the horrors awaiting us in the 20th century, epitomised by Lenin,…

By Peter Kropotkin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Well-being for all is not a dream.'

In this brilliantly enjoyable, challenging rallying-cry of a book, Kropotkin lays out the heart of his anarchist beliefs - beliefs which surged around the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and which have a renewed relevance and poignancy today. Humane, thoughtful - but also a devastating critique of how modern society is organized (with the brutal, narrow few clinging onto their wealth and privileges at the expense of the many), The Conquest of Bread is a book to be argued over, again and again.


Book cover of Railways & the Raj: How the Age of Steam Transformed India

Sathnam Sanghera Author Of Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain

From my list on the British Empire's impact on the world.

Who am I?

I was in my 40s before I began exploring the topic of the British Empire. It came after I realised it explained so much about me (my Sikh identity, the emigration of my parents, my education) and so much about my country (its politics, psychology, wealth…) and yet I knew very little. It turned out that millions of people feel the same way… and I hope I provide an accessible introduction and summary of the massive topic. 

Sathnam's book list on the British Empire's impact on the world

Sathnam Sanghera Why did Sathnam love this book?

Approaching the subject not as an imperial historian but as a specialist on transport, Wolmar dismantles the lie at the heart of a thousand TV documentaries: that the British bestowed railways on India in an act of benevolence.

Every TV commissioner in Britain should be made to read this.

By Christian Wolmar,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Railways & the Raj as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

India was the jewel in the crown of the British Empire, an Empire that needed a rail network to facilitate its exploitation and reflect its ambition. But, by building India's railways, Britain radically changed the nation and unwittingly planted the seed of independence. As Indians were made to travel in poor conditions and were barred from the better paid railway jobs a stirring of resentment and nationalist sentiment grew.

The Indian Railways network remains one of the largest in the world, serving over 25 million passengers each day. In this expertly told history, Christian Wolmar reveals the full story, from…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the East India Company, colonial India, and the economy?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the East India Company, colonial India, and the economy.

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Colonial India Explore 10 books about colonial India
The Economy Explore 197 books about the economy