100 books like The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee

By David Treuer,

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

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Book cover of Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War

Susan Crane Author Of Nothing Happened: A History

From my list on books about Nothing, in particular: because Nothing always means Something.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by how we remember the past and why some things get written into histories and other things don’t. I realized that Nothing happens all the time but no one has thought to ask how we remember it. Once I started looking for how Nothing was being remembered, I found it all around me. Books I read as a kid, movies I’d seen, songs I’d heard – these were my sources. So when I started working, Nothing got done (yes, I love puns!).

Susan's book list on books about Nothing, in particular: because Nothing always means Something

Susan Crane Why did Susan love this book?

Like a classic wine pairing, read Horwitz and Smith together and savor the full flavors. White journalist Horwitz visited every former Confederate state and talked to local people about how memories of the Confederacy were still alive at the end of the twentieth century.

I loved his eye for detail and his knack for finding fascinating people to talk to. His stories are hilarious, outrageous, and compelling all at once.

By Tony Horwitz,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Confederates in the Attic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent takes us on an explosive adventure into the soul of the unvanquished South, where Civil War reenactors, battlefield visitors, and fans of history resurrect the ghosts of the Lost Cause through ritual and remembrance.  

"The freshest book about divisiveness in America that I have read in some time. This splendid commemoration of the war and its legacy ... is an eyes–open, humorously no–nonsense survey of complicated Americans." —The New York Times Book Review

For all who remain intrigued by the legacy of the Civil War—reenactors, battlefield visitors, Confederate descendants and other Southerners,…


Book cover of The Secret History

Irving Belateche Author Of The Origin of Dracula

From my list on refresh legends, myths, and historical events.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved novels that reinvent and refresh history and legends. They take these building blocks of culture and make them personal and emotional. These novels breathe new life into ancient tales and historical events, so they resonate with relevance. They reveal hidden depths and connections within familiar stories, transforming them into vibrant tales. This genre makes legend and history feel personal by taking me on one character’s unique journey, transforming the exploration of the past into a deeply engaging experience.

Irving's book list on refresh legends, myths, and historical events

Irving Belateche Why did Irving love this book?

Even though I read this novel many years ago, this book still sticks with me. I’ve always liked novels that update Greek mythology and rituals, but it’s rare to find one that creates a fresh, contemporary, and riveting story. This novel does that—and it’s also a thriller, one of my favorite genres.

The characters, led by the brilliant and enigmatic Henry Winter, delve into ancient rites, leading to deadly consequences. The novel beautifully captures the atmosphere of an elite college and the psychological complexities of being an outsider at such a school. Each twist in the plot reveals a new secret that’s both fascinating and unsettling. The novel is a spellbinding journey into the depths of human nature and intellectual obsession.

By Donna Tartt,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked The Secret History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE BESTSELLER THAT DEFINED AN AGE

'Everything, somehow, fit together; some sly and benevolent Providence was revealing itself by degrees and I felt myself trembling on the brink of a fabulous discovery, as though any morning it was all going to come together---my future, my past, the whole of my life---and I was going to sit up in bed like a thunderbolt and say oh! oh! oh!'

Under the influence of a charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at a New England college discover a way of thought and life a world away from their banal contemporaries.…


Book cover of Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance

Caroline Dodds Pennock Author Of On Savage Shores: How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe

From my list on the Indigenous histories of North America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a historian of the Indigenous world for more than two decades, but I have learned so much since I expanded my perspective from Mesoamerica and the Aztec-Mexica into the wider history of Native peoples. There are literally hundreds of Indigenous communities across the world and so there is always more to learn. I have been incredibly privileged to learn by listening to Indigenous people – in person, in print, and on digital and social media. I hope these books can offer some starting points to set you on a similar journey of discovery, opening up some new ways of thinking and of seeing both the past and the present.

Caroline's book list on the Indigenous histories of North America

Caroline Dodds Pennock Why did Caroline love this book?

Combining personal memoir and scrupulous history, this traces the long history of Indigenous resistance in the United States, showing it as a story of self-defence and struggles for sovereignty.

Starting with the remarkable Indigenous resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock, Estes’s work manages to combine a readable introduction to complex history with an urgent recognition of the stakes involved in the fight for land, water, and natural resources today.

One of my favourite recommendations to anyone who wants to start understanding the deep roots of contemporary issues facing Indigenous communities.

By Nick Estes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Our History Is the Future as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 2016, a small protest encampment at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota, initially established to block construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, grew to be the largest Indigenous protest movement in the twenty-first century, attracting tens of thousands of Indigenous and non-Native allies from around the world. Its slogan "Mni Wiconi"-Water is Life-was about more than just a pipeline. Water Protectors knew this battle for Native sovereignty had already been fought many times before, and that, even after the encampment was gone, their anti-colonial struggle would continue.

In Our History is the Future, Nick Estes traces traditions…


Book cover of All Our Relations: Indigenous Trauma in the Shadow of Colonialism

Caroline Dodds Pennock Author Of On Savage Shores: How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe

From my list on the Indigenous histories of North America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a historian of the Indigenous world for more than two decades, but I have learned so much since I expanded my perspective from Mesoamerica and the Aztec-Mexica into the wider history of Native peoples. There are literally hundreds of Indigenous communities across the world and so there is always more to learn. I have been incredibly privileged to learn by listening to Indigenous people – in person, in print, and on digital and social media. I hope these books can offer some starting points to set you on a similar journey of discovery, opening up some new ways of thinking and of seeing both the past and the present.

Caroline's book list on the Indigenous histories of North America

Caroline Dodds Pennock Why did Caroline love this book?

A Canadian of Polish and Ojibwe descent, you can tell that Talaga is an experienced journalist, as this moving book is a combination of clear narrative and incisive research.

Starting with Canada, but then widening her lens to Indigenous communities across the world, Talaga shows how the violence of colonialism, the rupture from land and community, and the loss of heritage – compounded by socioeconomic deprivation – has resulted in an epidemic of youth suicide and generational trauma across Indigenous communities.

Talaga’s analysis is devastating, but also gives hope of a possible future reconciliation, through examples of resilience and the recovery of Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

By Tanya Talaga,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The world's Indigenous communities are fighting to live and dying too young. In this vital and incisive work, Tanya Talaga explores intergenerational trauma and the alarming rise of youth suicide.

From Northern Ontario to Nunavut, Norway, Brazil, Australia, and the United States, the Indigenous experience in colonised nations is startlingly similar and deeply disturbing. It is an experience marked by the violent separation of Peoples from the land, the separation of families, and the separation of individuals from traditional ways of life - all of which has culminated in a spiritual separation that has had an enduring impact on generations…


Book cover of The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America

Caroline Dodds Pennock Author Of On Savage Shores: How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe

From my list on the Indigenous histories of North America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a historian of the Indigenous world for more than two decades, but I have learned so much since I expanded my perspective from Mesoamerica and the Aztec-Mexica into the wider history of Native peoples. There are literally hundreds of Indigenous communities across the world and so there is always more to learn. I have been incredibly privileged to learn by listening to Indigenous people – in person, in print, and on digital and social media. I hope these books can offer some starting points to set you on a similar journey of discovery, opening up some new ways of thinking and of seeing both the past and the present.

Caroline's book list on the Indigenous histories of North America

Caroline Dodds Pennock Why did Caroline love this book?

Andrés Reséndez estimates that between 2.4 and 4.9 million Indigenous Americans were enslaved between 1492 and 1900, a statistic that will shock many people, as the history of Native enslavement in the Americas barely seems to have touched the popular imagination.

This book, accessibly written but based on meticulous research, is absolutely essential reading, as it returns this ‘other slavery’ to its rightful place in our understandings of Indigenous, American, and global history.

By Andres Resendez,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Since the time of Columbus, Indian slavery was illegal in much of the American continent. Yet, as historian Andres Resendez illuminates in The Other Slavery, it was practiced for centuries as an open secret. There was no abolitionist movement to protect the tens of thousands of natives who were kidnapped and enslaved by the conquistadors and later forced to serve as domestics for Mormons and rich Anglos, or to descend into the "mouth of hell" of eighteenth-century silver mines, where, if they didn't die quickly from cave-ins, they would die slowly from silica in their lungs. Resendez builds the incisive,…


Book cover of Becoming Kin: An Indigenous Call to Unforgetting the Past and Reimagining Our Future

Caroline Dodds Pennock Author Of On Savage Shores: How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe

From my list on the Indigenous histories of North America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a historian of the Indigenous world for more than two decades, but I have learned so much since I expanded my perspective from Mesoamerica and the Aztec-Mexica into the wider history of Native peoples. There are literally hundreds of Indigenous communities across the world and so there is always more to learn. I have been incredibly privileged to learn by listening to Indigenous people – in person, in print, and on digital and social media. I hope these books can offer some starting points to set you on a similar journey of discovery, opening up some new ways of thinking and of seeing both the past and the present.

Caroline's book list on the Indigenous histories of North America

Caroline Dodds Pennock Why did Caroline love this book?

In this humane call to action, Anishnaabe author Patty Krawec combines an accessible introduction to the European invasion of the Americas with practical suggestions for grappling with these histories and their legacy.

Weaving the stories of her ancestors with personal accounts and historical context, Krawec makes a case for how Christian and Indigenous worldviews can become compatible, and makes suggestions for how we can all become better kin to each other. I devoured this book and have been recommending it to everyone ever since.

By Patty Krawec,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

We find our way forward by going back.

The invented history of the Western world is crumbling fast, Anishinaabe writer Patty Krawec says, but we can still honor the bonds between us. Settlers dominated and divided, but Indigenous peoples won't just send them all "home."

Weaving her own story with the story of her ancestors and with the broader themes of creation, replacement, and disappearance, Krawec helps readers see settler colonialism through the eyes of an Indigenous writer. Settler colonialism tried to force us into one particular way of living, but the old ways of kinship can help us imagine…


Book cover of A Lynching in the Heartland: Race and Memory in America

David B. Allison Author Of Controversial Monuments and Memorials: A Guide for Community Leaders

From my list on memory that make you question how you see the past.

Why am I passionate about this?

Memory is capricious and impacts our view of the past. That’s why I do what I do! I am a twenty-year museum professional who began my career at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, worked at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science for almost ten years, and am now part of the Arts & History department at the City and County of Broomfield. I have designed and developed programs and events, as well as managed teams in each of these stops. I seek to illuminate stories, elevate critical voices, and advocate for equity through the unique pathways of the arts, history, and museum magic.

David's book list on memory that make you question how you see the past

David B. Allison Why did David love this book?

I attended a university just down the road from Marion, Indiana, the site of an infamous lynching of two Black men (and the attempted lynching of a third) in 1930.

The prison from which these men were forcibly taken still stands on the main square in Marion. Many textbooks use the grisly photograph that Lawrence Beitler took of this event to illustrate the horrors of violence against African-Americans in postbellum United States.

Madison deftly weaves the lives, stories, and memories of resilient Black residents of Marion today with the story of the hate-filled mob that lynched Abram Smith and Thomas Shipp and the aftermath of the event in the community to illustrate that individual choices matter, and that how we view the past is shaped profoundly by historical trauma. 

By James H Madison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Lynching in the Heartland as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On a hot summer night in 1930, three black teenagers accused of murdering a young white man and raping his girlfriend waited for justice in an Indiana jail. A mob dragged them from the jail and lynched two of them. No one in Marion, Indiana was ever punished for the murders. In this gripping account, James H. Madison refutes the popular perception that lynching was confined to the South, and clarifies 20th century America's painful encounters with race, justice, and memory.


Book cover of The Nineties: A Book

David B. Allison Author Of Controversial Monuments and Memorials: A Guide for Community Leaders

From my list on memory that make you question how you see the past.

Why am I passionate about this?

Memory is capricious and impacts our view of the past. That’s why I do what I do! I am a twenty-year museum professional who began my career at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, worked at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science for almost ten years, and am now part of the Arts & History department at the City and County of Broomfield. I have designed and developed programs and events, as well as managed teams in each of these stops. I seek to illuminate stories, elevate critical voices, and advocate for equity through the unique pathways of the arts, history, and museum magic.

David's book list on memory that make you question how you see the past

David B. Allison Why did David love this book?

Born in 1979, I’m part of the final gasp of Generation X. Klosterman uses pop culture trends and the rise of the internet and cellphones as framing for understanding how Generation X formed its view of the world and its place in it.

A fun musing on the profound changes to society and communication that took place over the decade of the 1990s, The Nineties reminds us that it wasn’t all that long ago that we got most of our news from the TV, magazines, or the newspaper, and that the 90s shaped my generation in a multitude of ways.

By Chuck Klosterman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An instant New York Times bestseller!

From the bestselling author of But What if We’re Wrong, a wise and funny reckoning with the decade that gave us slacker/grunge irony about the sin of trying too hard, during the greatest shift in human consciousness of any decade in American history.

It was long ago, but not as long as it seems: The Berlin Wall fell and the Twin Towers collapsed. In between, one presidential election was allegedly decided by Ross Perot while another was plausibly decided by Ralph Nader. In the beginning, almost every name and address was listed in a…


Book cover of Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux

J. Baird Callicott Author Of American Indian Environmental Ethics: An Ojibwa Case Study

From my list on American Indian worldviews and ecological wisdom.

Why am I passionate about this?

After “the environmental crisis” came to popular attention in the 1960s, American Indians were portrayed as having a legacy of traditional environmental ethics. We wanted to know if this were true. But how to gain access to ideas of which there is no written record? Answer: analyze stories, which have a life of their own, handed down from one generation to the next going all the way back to a time before European contact, colonization, and cultural, as well as murderous, genocide. And the stories do reveal indigenous North American environmental ethics (plural). That’s what American Indian Environmental Ethics: An Ojibwa Case Study demonstrates.

J.'s book list on American Indian worldviews and ecological wisdom

J. Baird Callicott Why did J. love this book?

This book was my first portal into the North American Plains-Indian worldview.

It is a powerful narrative of a profoundly spiritual visionary that “has become a North American bible of all tribes,” writes Vine Deloria in his Introduction to the 1979 Bison Books edition.

“So important has this book become that one cannot today attend a meeting on Indian religion and hear a series of Indian speakers without recalling the exact parts of the book that lie behind contemporary efforts to inspire and clarify those beliefs that are ‘truly Indian.’”

It has also become the genre exemplar of American Indian spiritual narratives—autobiography as the armature on which to sculpt a spiritual worldview. Black Elk fought against George Armstrong Custer at the battle of Little Bighorn alongside his cousin the great Crazy Horse, and he was a leader of the Ghost Dance which ended tragically in the massacre of Wounded Knee.

By Black Elk, John G. Neihardt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"If any great religious classic has emerged in this century or on this continent, it must certainly be judged in the company of "Black Elk Speaks"...The most important aspect of the book, however, is not its effect on the non-Indian populace who wished to learn something of the beliefs of the Plains Indians but upon the contemporary generation of young Indians who have been aggressively searching for roots of their own in the structure of universal reality. To them the book has become a North American bible of all tribes." - Vine Deloria, Jr. "The experience of Black Elk...comes to…


Book cover of The Falcon

K. B. Laugheed Author Of The Spirit Keeper

From my list on the destruction of North America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love America. I was born here, I live here, and I will die here. Like Walt Whitman, I am mad for this place, and I treasure the soil beneath my feet, the water I drink, and the air I breathe. Unfortunately, the soil I love so much has been marinated in the blood of previous generations, the water I drink is filled with the filthy effluent of a greedy, industry-centered culture, and the air I breathe is bitter, choking me with cancer-causing toxins. Why do I care so much about books that describe the destruction of the North American continent? Because the destruction has not stopped!!!!!!!!

K. B.'s book list on the destruction of North America

K. B. Laugheed Why did K. B. love this book?

The Falcon was one of the many books I studied while researching The Spirit Keeper, and John Tanner’s contemporary description of life among the Ojibwa continues to haunt me. Although captivity narratives were once very popular in America, Tanner did not achieve fame or fortune from his life story. What he did achieve, however, was a clear record of the steady destruction of the rich and varied native cultures of North America as Colonial forces slowly eroded the entire ecosystem of the continent. Because this story was written shortly after the events described, it’s a challenging read, but once you get into the rhythm of the 19th century language, you won’t be able to put the book down.

By John Tanner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

John Tanner's fascinating autobiography tells the story of a man torn between white society and the Native Americans with whom he identified.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


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Interested in the Ojibwe, Andrew Carnegie, and North America?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Ojibwe, Andrew Carnegie, and North America.

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