100 books like The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner

By Daniel Defoe,

Here are 100 books that The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner fans have personally recommended if you like The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner. 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 Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World

Geoffrey Parker Author Of Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century

From my list on the 17th Century.

Who am I?

I teach history at The Ohio State University. This project began when I listened in 1976 to a radio broadcast in which Jack Eddy, a solar physicist, speculated that a notable absence of sunspots in the period 1645-1715 contributed to the “Little Ice Age”: the longest and most severe episode of global cooling recorded in the last 12,000 years. The Little Ice Age coincided with a wave of wars and revolution around the Northern Hemisphere, from the overthrow of the Ming dynasty in China to the beheading of Charles I in England. I spent the next 35 years exploring how the connections between natural and human events created a fatal synergy that produced human mortality on a scale seldom seen before – and never since.

Geoffrey's book list on the 17th Century

Geoffrey Parker Why did Geoffrey love this book?

Brook uses artifacts portrayed in six paintings by the Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer to show how, several centuries before the World Wide Web, the local and the global were intimately connected. He surprises his readers by showing that people and goods and ideas moved around the 17th-century world in ways that – rather like us – their ancestors would have considered impossible. Perhaps because Brook is a Canadian historian of China who is familiar with Europe, he provides a truly global history and almost every page contains a “gee whiz” fact. I also love the idea that “Every picture tells a story.”

By Timothy Brook,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the epicentre of Delft in the Netherlands Brook takes the paintings of Johannes Vermeer and uses details of them as a series of entry points to the widest circles of world trade and cultural exchange in the seventeenth century. An officer's beaver hat in 'Officer and the Laughing Girl' opens up the story of Champlain's dealing with the native peoples of Canada and the beaver trade. A china dish on a table in another painting uncovers the story of the Chinese porcelain trade. Moving outwards from Vermeer's studio Brook traces the web of trade that was spreading across the…


Book cover of The Death of Woman Wang

Henrietta Harrison Author Of The Perils of Interpreting: The Extraordinary Lives of Two Translators between Qing China and the British Empire

From my list on Qing Dynasty China from an Oxford historian.

Who am I?

I’m a historian of modern China in the department of Chinese at the University of Oxford. I started off working on the twentieth century but have been drawn back into the Qing dynasty. It’s such an interesting and important period and one that British students often don’t know much about! 

Henrietta's book list on Qing Dynasty China from an Oxford historian

Henrietta Harrison Why did Henrietta love this book?

This short classic was one of the first books I read when I began studying China, and that drew me into the subject of rural life.

The story of the death of Woman Wang (nothing more is known of her name) is gripping and tragic, and it is beautifully written.

By Jonathan D. Spence,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Spence shows himself at once historian, detective, and artist. . . . He makes history howl." (The New Republic)

Award-winning author Jonathan D. Spence paints a vivid picture of an obscure place and time: provincial China in the seventeenth century. Life in the northeastern county of T'an-ch'eng emerges here as an endless cycle of floods, plagues, crop failures, banditry, and heavy taxation. Against this turbulent background a tenacious tax collector, an irascible farmer, and an unhappy wife act out a poignant drama at whose climax the wife, having run away from her husband, returns to him, only to die at…


Book cover of The English Atlantic in an Age of Revolution, 1640-1661

Geoffrey Parker Author Of Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century

From my list on the 17th Century.

Who am I?

I teach history at The Ohio State University. This project began when I listened in 1976 to a radio broadcast in which Jack Eddy, a solar physicist, speculated that a notable absence of sunspots in the period 1645-1715 contributed to the “Little Ice Age”: the longest and most severe episode of global cooling recorded in the last 12,000 years. The Little Ice Age coincided with a wave of wars and revolution around the Northern Hemisphere, from the overthrow of the Ming dynasty in China to the beheading of Charles I in England. I spent the next 35 years exploring how the connections between natural and human events created a fatal synergy that produced human mortality on a scale seldom seen before – and never since.

Geoffrey's book list on the 17th Century

Geoffrey Parker Why did Geoffrey love this book?

Between 1640 and 1660, England, Scotland, and Ireland experienced civil war, invasion, religious radicalism, parliamentary rule, and the restoration of the monarchy. None of that will surprise historians of Britain, but they may not realize the impact of these events on Britain’s new colonies across the Atlantic. Some of them remained loyal to the king until his victorious opponents sent the first major Transatlantic expeditionary force to subdue them. 

Pestana shows how war and rebellion in Britain increased both the proportion of unfree labourers and ethnic diversity in the colonies. Neglected by London, several of them developed trade networks; some entered the slave trade. By 1660, the English Atlantic had become religiously polarized, economically interconnected, socially exploitative, and ideologically unstable.

By Carla Gardina Pestana,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The English Atlantic in an Age of Revolution, 1640-1661 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Between 1640 and 1660, England, Scotland, and Ireland faced civil war, invasion, religious radicalism, parliamentary rule, and the restoration of the monarchy. Carla Gardina Pestana offers a sweeping history that systematically connects these cataclysmic events and the development of the infant plantations from Newfoundland to Surinam.

By 1660, the English Atlantic emerged as religiously polarized, economically interconnected, socially exploitative, and ideologically anxious about its liberties. War increased both the proportion of unfree laborers and ethnic diversity in the settlements. Neglected by London, the colonies quickly developed trade networks, especially from seafaring New England, and entered the slave trade. Barbadian planters…


Book cover of The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age

Geoffrey Parker Author Of Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century

From my list on the 17th Century.

Who am I?

I teach history at The Ohio State University. This project began when I listened in 1976 to a radio broadcast in which Jack Eddy, a solar physicist, speculated that a notable absence of sunspots in the period 1645-1715 contributed to the “Little Ice Age”: the longest and most severe episode of global cooling recorded in the last 12,000 years. The Little Ice Age coincided with a wave of wars and revolution around the Northern Hemisphere, from the overthrow of the Ming dynasty in China to the beheading of Charles I in England. I spent the next 35 years exploring how the connections between natural and human events created a fatal synergy that produced human mortality on a scale seldom seen before – and never since.

Geoffrey's book list on the 17th Century

Geoffrey Parker Why did Geoffrey love this book?

I first met Simon Schama in 1963, when he joined me as an undergraduate reading History at Christ’s College Cambridge. Both of us decided to undertake research on the Low Countries, but in an international context: in my case, Spain and the Netherlands between 1550 and 1650; in Simon’s case, France and the Netherlands between 1770 and 1815, leading to his brilliant first book, Patriots and Liberators (a study of what the expansion of Revolutionary France meant for an occupied country.) This led him to analyse the social and cultural history of the country before occupation, using visual as well as written sources to recreate the mental state of a complex society. The embarrassment of Riches tells of bloody uprisings and beached whales, of the cult of hygiene and the plague of tobacco, of thrifty housewives and profligate tulip-speculators. It shows how the Dutch celebrated themselves and how they were…

By Simon Schama,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the book that made Simon Schama's reputation when first published in 1987. A historical masterpiece, it is an epic account of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age of Rembrandt and van Diemen.

In this brilliant work that moves far beyond the conventions of social or cultural history, Simon Schama investigates the astonishing case of a people's self-invention.

He shows how, in the 17th-century, a modest assortment of farming, fishing and shipping communities, without a shared language, religion or government, transformed themselves into a formidable world empire - the Dutch republic.


Book cover of Little Tiger, Get Well Soon

Lisa Cinar Author Of Monster Problems

From my list on destined to be classics but flying under the radar.

Who am I?

I am an author, illustrator, and designer who has always been passionate about books, and especially picture books. As a child I loved to look at the pictures, listen to my mom read them out loud to me, and dream about them. Today I am making my own! Knowing that now it’s my books that kids are reading, gives me a true sense of purpose and joy. A few of the things I care about (other than books) are spending time in nature with my cute senior dog, learning new things, riding my bike, neurodiversity, climate advocacy, and new ways of thinking and problem-solving.

Lisa's book list on destined to be classics but flying under the radar

Lisa Cinar Why did Lisa love this book?

I wanted to introduce a book and author who is very famous in Germany but practically unheard of here in North America. This one was one of my favourites when I was a little kid. In Little Tiger, Get Well Soon, Tiger is not feeling well and Bear takes care of him. When Bear brings Tiger to the hospital, it turns out one of the tiger's stripes has gotten dislocated and needs to be adjusted. A touching and hilarious story about two friends who are always there for each other but also about how going to the hospital doesn’t have to be scary at all! 

Book cover of A Castle in Wartime: One Family, Their Missing Sons, and the Fight to Defeat the Nazis

Isabel Vincent Author Of Overture of Hope: Two Sisters' Daring Plan that Saved Opera's Jewish Stars from the Third Reich

From my list on heroes and anti-heroes in WW2 and the Holocaust.

Who am I?

I became interested in the Holocaust and the Second World War during my senior year of high school. I took a literature class entitled “Man’s Inhumanity to Man,” which focused a great deal on the literature that emerged from the Holocaust. At the end of the year, I had the great honor to meet author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel who had actually read my essay (my teacher knew him, and gave it to him to read) and encouraged me to keep writing. I am fascinated by stories of survival and the quiet heroism that characterized women like Ida and Louise Cook.

Isabel's book list on heroes and anti-heroes in WW2 and the Holocaust

Isabel Vincent Why did Isabel love this book?

This is an extraordinary story of a brave German woman whose diplomat father and Italian aristocrat husband decide to resist the Nazis.

When German troops enter Italy, Fey von Hassell finds herself trapped with her young children in a 12th-century villa in northern Italy while her husband joins the anti-fascist underground in Rome and her father decides to join the group that plots to kill Adolf Hitler. Nazi stormtroopers take over the villa and later arrest Fey.

Using archival materials and family letters, Caroline Bailey reconstructs Fey’s harrowing journey—moved from prison to prison and concentration camp to concentration camp. Her two young boys are taken away from her, and sent to a Nazi orphanage. Fey’s single-minded mission to find her children reads like a good thriller.

By Catherine Bailey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"I was gripped by A Castle in Wartime--it contained more tension, more plot in fact--than any thriller."--Kate Atkinson, author of Big Sky and Case Histories

An enthralling story of one family's extraordinary courage and resistance amidst the horrors of war from the New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Rooms.

As war swept across Europe in 1940, the idyllic life of Fey von Hassell seemed a world away from the conflict. The daughter of Ulrich von Hassell, Hitler's Ambassador to Italy, her marriage to Italian aristocrat Detalmo Pirzio-Biroli brought with it a castle and an estate in the north…


Book cover of The Berlin Candy Bomber

Helena P. Schrader Author Of Cold Peace: A Novel of the Berlin Airlift, Part I

From my list on the Russian blockade of Berlin and the Allied Airlift.

Who am I?

I first went to Berlin after college, determined to write a novel about the German Resistance; I stayed a quarter of a century. Initially, the Berlin Airlift, something remembered with pride and affection, helped create common ground between me as an American and the Berliners. Later, I was commissioned to write a book about the Airlift and studied the topic in depth. My research included interviews with many participants including Gail Halvorsen. These encounters with eyewitnesses inspired me to write my current three-part fiction project, Bridge to Tomorrow. With Russian aggression again threatening Europe, the story of the airlift that defeated Soviet state terrorism has never been more topical. 

Helena's book list on the Russian blockade of Berlin and the Allied Airlift

Helena P. Schrader Why did Helena love this book?

Nothing epitomizes the striking success of the Berlin Airlift more than the true story of the so-called “candy bomber.”

This was a USAF pilot who on his own initiative started dropping candy tied to handcrafted mini-parachutes out of his transport plane to give the children of Berlin a little sweetness in their otherwise bleak lives. His gesture more than any transformed the “terror bombers”—responsible for so much of Berlin’s destruction—into friends in the eyes of the Berliners.

This book is an autobiographical account by the candy bomber himself, Lt. Gail Halvorsen. It is written with candid clarity and heartwarming charm. A gem!

By Gail S Halvorsen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Berlin Candy Bomber is a love story-how two sticks of gum and one man's kindness to the children of a vanquished enemy grew into an epic of goodwill spanning the globe-touching the hearts of millions in both Germany and America.

In June 1948, Russia laid siege to Berlin, cutting off the flow of food and supplies over highways into the city. More than two million people faced economic collapse and starvation. The Americans, English, and French began a massive airlift to bring sustenance to the city and to thwart the Russian siege.

Gail Halvorsen was one of hundreds of…


Book cover of After Midnight

Moritz Föllmer Author Of Culture in the Third Reich

From my list on life in Nazi Germany.

Who am I?

As a historian at the University of Amsterdam, one of my concerns is to understand why so many Germans supported and participated in Adolf Hitler’s atrocious political project. I am equally interested in the other side: the Nazis’ political opponents and victims. In two decades of researching, writing, and teaching, I have read large numbers of official documents, newspapers, diaries, novels, and memoirs. These contemporary texts have made me vividly aware of how different people lived through the Nazi years, how they envisioned their lives, and how they remembered them after World War II. The questions they faced and the solutions they found continue to challenge and disconcert me.  

Moritz's book list on life in Nazi Germany

Moritz Föllmer Why did Moritz love this book?

Prefer to learn about Nazi Germany through literature? Try this novel by Irmgard Keun, who excelled at writing from the perspective of different young women. Here, nineteen-year-old Sanna relates how her life has changed under the Third Reich. She encounters people who express unqualified admiration for Adolf Hitler or at least concede that the Nazis are right about many things, who enjoy denouncing others or adapting to the new rules of the game. With her naïve understanding and unsophisticated language, Sanna lays bare vain pretensions, catchy slogans, and ponderous pseudo-profundities. She can’t understand why she should listen to Nazi speeches and avoid Jews. Contacts with critical friends finally compel her to leave Germany—just like her literary creator, who published her novel in exile in the Netherlands. 

By Irmgard Keun, Anthea Bell (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Depicting a young woman's life in Nazi Germany, a masterpiece from the author of Child of All Nations

'I cannot think of anything else that conjures up so powerfully the atmosphere of a nation turned insane' Sunday Telegraph

Nineteen-year-old Sanna just wants to drink her beer in peace, but that's difficult when Hitler has come to town and his motorcade is blocking the streets of Frankfurt. What's more, her best friend Gerti is in love with a Jewish boy, her brother writes books that have been blacklisted and her own aunt may denounce her to the authorities at any moment,…


Book cover of Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewish Woman

Peter Wortsman Author Of Ghost Dance in Berlin: A Rhapsody in Gray

From my list on capturing the spirit of Berlin.

Who am I?

The American-born son of Jewish refugees, I would have every reason to revile the erstwhile capital of The Third Reich. But ever since my first visit, as a Fulbright Fellow in 1973, Berlin, a city painfully honest about its past, captured my imagination. A bilingual, English-German author of fiction, nonfiction, plays, poetry, travel memoir, and translations from the German, Ghost Dance in Berlin charts my take as a Holtzbrinck Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin in a villa on Wannsee, Berlin’s biggest lake, an experience marked by memorable encounters with derelicts, lawyers, a taxi driver, a hooker, et al, and with cameo appearances by Henry Kissinger and the ghost of Marlene Dietrich.

Peter's book list on capturing the spirit of Berlin

Peter Wortsman Why did Peter love this book?

This idiosyncratic biography of Rahel Levin Varnhagen, a 19th-century German-Jewish Berlin literary salon hostess may at first seem esoteric to the general reader. A prickly, contradictory character, Arendt’s portrayal of Rahel’s outsider status as a Jew in a largely hostile Christian society, her proto-feminist self-affirmation of her womanhood at a time when women were essentially groomed for marriage, and her paradoxical mix of intellectual self-assurance and crippling emotional insecurities make for a riveting read. You don’t have to be Jewish or a woman to appreciate the complexities of this prototypical Berliner.

By Hannah Arendt, Clara Winston (translator), Richard Winston (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Born in 1771 as the daughter of a Jewish merchant, Rahel Varnhagen would come to host one of the most prominent salons of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Hannah Arendt discovered her writings some time in the mid-1920s, and soon began to re-imagine Rachel's inner life and write her biography. Arendt draws a lively and complex portrait of a woman during the period of the Napoleonic wars and the early emancipation of the Jews, a figure who met and corresponded with some of the most celebrated authors, artists, and politicians of her time. She documents Rahel's attempts to…


Book cover of Resisting Hitler: Mildred Harnack and the Red Orchestra

Greg Lewis Author Of Defying Hitler: The Germans Who Resisted Nazi Rule

From my list on the Germans who stood up to the Nazis.

Who am I?

I am a writer and television producer who researches and writes in an attic surrounded by tumbling bookshelves. When I was young I watched a BBC series called Secret Army which got me hooked on the people who stood up to the Nazis when their country was occupied. Over the years I’ve travelled around Europe to interview many of WW2’s resisters and veterans, and I became interested in the people inside Germany who defied the Nazis. Trying to tell the stories of the people who dared to oppose Hitler became something of an obsession.

Greg's book list on the Germans who stood up to the Nazis

Greg Lewis Why did Greg love this book?

Mildred Fish-Harnack was part of a wide circle of anti-Nazis that formed in the 1930s and continued to grow until it was broken by the Gestapo.

Brysac’s portrait of her is detailed and passionate. The fact that Mildred was American but gave up her life for a ‘better’ Germany never fails to move me. Mildred, her husband, and friends passed Nazi military secrets to the Americans and the Russians, and were to pay a heavy price. Virtually all were rounded up and killed.

Mildred, from Milwaukee, was the only American woman to be executed on Hitler’s personal orders. As the Nazis led her to the guillotine, she whispered, "And I loved Germany so much."

Those words act as an epitaph for all the people whose stories we told in our book: they hated the Nazis but loved Germany and wanted to save it from the horror unfolding under Hitler.

By Shareen Blair Brysac,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Resisting Hitler" is a biography of the only American woman to have been executed for treason against Germany during World War II. Mildred Harnack was born in Wiscinsin but moved to Germany with her husband in 1929 where she taught American literature. Both Mildred and her husband, Arvid (a professor of philosophy and a native of Gemany), socialised with the intellectual elite of Berlin. Appalled by the rise of Hitler, they joined with others to resist fascism by
any means they could. Brysac's exhaustive reasearch has found evidence to support the theory that both Mildred and Arvid gave classified information…


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