100 books like The Plot Against America

By Philip Roth,

Here are 100 books that The Plot Against America fans have personally recommended if you like The Plot Against America. 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 The Cold War: A World History

Robert D. Kaplan Author Of In Europe's Shadow: Two Cold Wars and a Thirty-Year Journey Through Romania and Beyond

From my list on the Cold War from a journalist who lived it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began my career as a foreign correspondent in Cold War Eastern Europe, under communist domination. I lived in Greece, a Cold War battleground, in the 1980s, from where I made regular forays into the Balkans and Central Europe. Those journeys left a vivid, lifelong impression on me.

Robert's book list on the Cold War from a journalist who lived it

Robert D. Kaplan Why did Robert love this book?

This is a thick history of the Cold War that breaks new ground in that it shifts the emphasis from Europe, where the Cold War started and ended, to the Third World where it was actually fought in a bloody manner through a series of proxy wars, large and small.

By Odd Arne Westad,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Cold War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Odd Arne Westad's daring ambition, supra-nationalist intellect, polyglot sources, masterly scholarship and trenchant analysis make The Cold War a book ofresounding importance for appraising our global future as well as understanding our past' Richard Davenport-Hines, TLS, Books of the Year

As Germany and then Japan surrendered in 1945 there was a tremendous hope that a new and much better world could be created from the moral and physical ruins of the conflict. Instead, the combination of the huge power of the USA and USSR and the near-total collapse of most of their rivals created a unique, grim new environment: the…

Book cover of The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution

Kermit Roosevelt III Author Of The Nation That Never Was: Reconstructing America's Story

From my list on understanding America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved America and our Constitution. I went to law school, I clerked at the Supreme Court, and I ended up teaching Constitutional law at Penn. But as I learned more about the Constitution and our history, I realized that the story I’d absorbed growing up about what our values were and where they came from didn’t ring true. Things were a little more complicated. And so I did my own research. I read dozens of books, including the ones listed here. And in the end, I found a story that was both more true and more inspiring than the one we learned in school. 

Kermit's book list on understanding America

Kermit Roosevelt III Why did Kermit love this book?

Eric Foner is our nation’s foremost historian of Reconstruction, the author of dozens of books and articles. This is my favorite—it takes the research and thought of a monumental career and packages it for maximum impact. In just over 200 pages, it takes you through the changes of the Civil War and Reconstruction and their relevance for America today. 

By Eric Foner,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Second Founding as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Declaration of Independence announced equality as an American ideal but it took the Civil War and the adoption of three constitutional amendments to establish that ideal as law. The Reconstruction amendments abolished slavery, guaranteed due process and the equal protection of the law, and equipped black men with the right to vote. By grafting the principle of equality onto the Constitution, the amendments marked the second founding of the United States.

Eric Foner conveys the dramatic origins of these revolutionary amendments and explores the court decisions that then narrowed and nullified the rights guaranteed in these amendments. Today, issues…

Book cover of The Handmaid's Tale

Dianne Scott Author Of Final Look: A Christine Lane Mystery

From my list on Canadian novels with intriguing female characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

All of my recommended books feature female protagonists with complex lives. They are layered with friends, families, work, and romantic challenges. They are not superheroes. Yet they are. They all find a way to do the hard thing in difficult circumstances and at great personal peril. And that’s what bravery is. It’s not Captain Marvel coming in to save the world. It’s a woman with responsibilities and problems who digs deep to act with integrity. And she may not get accolades. Her act may be unseen. But she does it. And I love reading about these everyday women with grit.

Dianne's book list on Canadian novels with intriguing female characters

Dianne Scott Why did Dianne love this book?

From its first publication, this was my favorite book—a post-apocalyptic look at a world where women have lost their rights and are siloed into specific gender roles. I held my breath when the protagonist, Offred, finds ways to rebel, despite the risk of any visible state protest.

I love the complexity of the plot, where women sometimes help each other and other times join the persecution of women for self-survival. And I couldn’t read fast enough to see if Offred, riddled with fear yet finding her core of strength, finds a way out.

It’s a scary read, as it foretells of a totalitarian world, but I felt compassion for all the players as victims of this terrible world. And I knew from the start that Offred was a compelling protagonist whose deep compassion and strength would lead the way.

By Margaret Atwood,

Why should I read it?

35 authors picked The Handmaid's Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


Go back to where it all began with the dystopian novel behind the award-winning TV series.

'As relevant today as it was when Atwood wrote it' Guardian

I believe in the resistance as I believe there can be no light without shadow; or rather, no shadow unless there is also light.

Offred is a Handmaid in The Republic of Gilead, a religious totalitarian state in what was formerly known as the United States. She is placed in the household of The Commander, Fred Waterford -…

The Oracle of Spring Garden Road

By Norrin M. Ripsman,

Book cover of The Oracle of Spring Garden Road

Norrin M. Ripsman Author Of The Oracle of Spring Garden Road

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Too often, I find that novelists force the endings of their books in ways that aren’t true to their characters, the stories, or their settings. Often, they do so to provide the Hollywood ending that many readers crave. That always leaves me cold. I love novels whose characters are complex, human, and believable and interact with their setting and the story in ways that do not stretch credulity. This is how I try to approach my own writing and was foremost in my mind as I set out to write my own book.

Norrin's book list on novels that nail the endings

What is my book about?

The Oracle of Spring Garden Road explores the life and singular worldview of “Crazy Eddie,” a brilliant, highly-educated homeless man who panhandles in front of a downtown bank in a coastal town.

Eddie is a local enigma. Who is he? Where did he come from? What brought him to a life on the streets? A dizzying ride between past and present, the novel unravels these mysteries, just as Eddie has decided to return to society after two decades on the streets, with the help of Jane, a woman whose intelligence and integrity rival his own. Will he succeed, or is…

The Oracle of Spring Garden Road

By Norrin M. Ripsman,

What is this book about?

“Crazy Eddie” is a homeless man who inhabits two squares of pavement in front of a bank in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. In this makeshift office, he panhandles and dispenses his peerless wisdom. Well-educated, fiercely intelligent with a passionate interest in philosophy and a profound love of nature, Eddie is an enigma for the locals. Who is he? Where did he come from? What brought him to a life on the streets? Though rumors abound, none capture the unique worldview and singular character that led him to withdraw from the perfidy and corruption of human beings. Just as Eddie has…

Book cover of 1984

William R. Wolesensky Author Of Mathematical Methods in Biology

From my list on help people see the necessity of effective thinking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have lived a life filled with diverse life experiences and have encountered people in very different professions who could think effectively and deeply understand topics unrelated to their profession. My life changed for the better when I finally started to develop a deep understanding of math, which empowered me to believe that I could develop a deep understanding of things I encountered. However, this change did not occur in me until my late twenties. My current passion is to empower people to think more effectively early in their lives.

William's book list on help people see the necessity of effective thinking

William R. Wolesensky Why did William love this book?

The world Orwell presents in this book is the result of a society that no longer advocates for ALL its members to pursue the ability to think freely, deeply, and effectively. The world shared in 1984 and the many similarities I see today have made me more passionate than ever about how the study of math can help people lead better lives.

I believe that developing a deep understanding of mathematical concepts, which everyone is capable of, will make people want to deeply understand everything in their world.

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

45 authors picked 1984 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


1984 is the year in which it happens. The world is divided into three superstates. In Oceania, the Party's power is absolute. Every action, word, gesture and thought is monitored under the watchful eye of Big Brother and the Thought Police. In the Ministry of Truth, the Party's department for propaganda, Winston Smith's job is to edit the past. Over time, the impulse to escape the machine and live independently takes hold of him and he embarks on a secret and forbidden love affair. As he writes the words 'DOWN WITH BIG…

Book cover of Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World

Joseph Vogl Author Of The Ascendancy of Finance

From my list on the political power of contemporary finance.

Why am I passionate about this?

How did I – as a scholar of German literature – turn to economic topics? That had a certain inevitability. When I left for Paris in the early nineties, reading traces of anthropological knowledge in literature and aesthetics of the 18th century, I came across economic ideas on almost every page, in natural history, in medicine, in philosophy, in encyclopedias, in the theories of signs and in the teachings of beauty. There was circulation, communication, flows of exchange all over the place, and the Robinsons were the model. This reinforced the impression that the human being was engaged in aligning himself with homo oeconomicus. The question of  modern economics has therefore become unavoidable for me.

Joseph's book list on the political power of contemporary finance

Joseph Vogl Why did Joseph love this book?

Focusing on the financial crisis of 2008 Adam Tooze’s book shows the transition from a geopolitical to a geo-economic world order in which the political destiny of old nation states is determined by the needs of international financial industry – including the rearrangement of global governance and the erosion of democracies.

I admire the way in which Adam Tooze demonstrates the entanglement between financial capitalism, crises, and the rise of populist and right-wing movements in Europe and the US.

By Adam Tooze,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


"An intelligent explanation of the mechanisms that produced the crisis and the response to it...One of the great strengths of Tooze's book is to demonstrate the deeply intertwined nature of the European and American financial systems."--The New York Times Book Review

From the prizewinning economic historian and author of Shutdown and The Deluge, an eye-opening reinterpretation of the 2008 economic crisis (and its ten-year aftermath) as a global event that directly…

Book cover of Into Battle, 1937-1941

Reed Hundt Author Of A Crisis Wasted: Barack Obama's Defining Decisions

From my list on history relevant to the present and near future.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wrote A Crisis Wasted precisely with the goal of changing the way government makes decisions at inflection points in history, when change is happening at a 10x scale. That was the situation between the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 and the inauguration of the new president in January 2009. I felt at the time and later that the way problems were analyzed, options created and decisions made were tragically disappointing, not because the people involved were badly motivated but because of the assumptions and convictions to which they were firmly bound before they approached the problems. I had no idea in 2019 that the next crisis would be the pandemic and only had only hope that the next Administration would include many of the same people involved in 2008-9. But as history unfolded the lessons of 2008-9, as I decoded them, applied with uncanny accuracy to the decisions made by the Biden team in 2020-21. So far at least, their ability to learn from history has served the country well.

Reed's book list on history relevant to the present and near future

Reed Hundt Why did Reed love this book?

Book 1 of these 2 is perhaps a better read because it explains, as the young Jack Kennedy famously wrote, “Why England Slept,” and that topic is more intriguing than the tactics of the Second World War itself, treated in Book 2. Nevertheless, if you have time read both books. You’ll conclude that Kennedy (and his ghostwriter) didn’t know what was up, and you’ll wonder if the United States is now repeating Britain’s history as its status as a great power is put under pressure by the rise of China.

By Daniel Todman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Into Battle, 1937-1941 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'An energetic, ambitious, provocative work by a young historian of notable gifts, which deserves a wide readership' Max Hastings, The Sunday Times

'Bold and breathtaking... I have never read a more daringly panoramic survey of the period' Jonathan Wright, Herald Scotland

The most terrible emergency in Britain's history, the Second World War required an unprecedented national effort. An exhausted country had to fight an unexpectedly long war and found itself much diminished amongst the victors. Yet the outcome of the war was nonetheless a triumph, not least for a political system that proved well adapted to the demands of a…

Book cover of The Hunger Games

Johnny B. Truant Author Of The Dream Engine

From my list on YA books that do not insult our intelligence.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always had a healthy dose of skepticism, having been a scientist before I was an author. I look for the con when something’s too good to be true, even in fiction…so don’t insult me by saying, “a magic amulet that makes everyone nice all the time.” If you want me to believe in pixie dust, tell me what’s in place to keep pixie dust smugglers from rigging the system. I raised smart, critical-minded kids, so I always pointed them to my own favorite young-audience books: those that felt real, even if they were fantastical, instead of ones with the more common “just trust me” attitude. 

Johnny's book list on YA books that do not insult our intelligence

Johnny B. Truant Why did Johnny love this book?

I love the thought that went into building the world of the Capital and the districts: not just the dystopian aesthetic and the could-easily-be-overdone teen angst it creates, but instead the whole idea of class rebellion and the inevitability of comeuppance. Power corrupts, no matter the person who holds that power…and those without power will never be suppressed for long. 

You have to stick with the whole series to see the full cycle, but this book doesn’t dumb down the “karmic cycle of revenge” like some other YA books do. There are two sides to everything, and while this book has plenty of evil and plenty of good, there are also those oh-so-crucial-to-believability characters who walk the gray areas in between.

By Suzanne Collins,

Why should I read it?

49 authors picked The Hunger Games as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been close to death before - and survival, for her, is second nature. The Hunger Games is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever...

Book cover of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

David Hanna Author Of Broken Icarus: The 1933 Chicago World's Fair, the Golden Age of Aviation, and the Rise of Fascism

From my list on the perils of fascism.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've found the creep of authoritarianism to be very disquieting. One would have to be willfully blind to not see its manifestations both here and abroad. I wanted to better understand how this phenomenon cast its shadow over the world and I found the '33 Chicago World's Fair an ideal lens to view this through. I've been fascinated by world's fairs since I was a child and the '33 Fair was the first to consciously feature the future. I'm also strangely drawn to this period – if I believed in reincarnation it might provide answers, but I don't. The Zeitgeist just before the full, brutal ugliness of fascism broke over the world, fascinates me.

David's book list on the perils of fascism

David Hanna Why did David love this book?

The first half of the book is like watching a slow-motion car wreck. There were so many missed opportunities to stop Hitler before he did his worst, I wanted to shout ‘Stop this guy before it’s too late!’ Alas… Shirer was our man in Vienna and Berlin from the late 1920s-early 1940s, which adds an intimacy to his words that I find lacking in other similar accounts.

By William L. Shirer,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It was Hitler's boast that the Third Reich would last a thousand years. Instead it lasted only twelve. But into its short life was packed the most cataclysmic series of events that Western civilisation has ever known.

William Shirer is one of the very few historians to have gained full access to the secret German archives which the Allies captured intact. He was also present at the Nuremberg trials.

First published sixty years ago, Shirer's account of the years 1933-45, when the Nazis, under the rule of their despotic leader Adolf Hitler, ruled Germany is held up as a classic…

Book cover of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Johannes Lenhard Author Of Making Better Lives: Hope, Freedom and Home-Making among People Sleeping Rough in Paris

From my list on understanding poverty today, from the bottom up.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an anthropologist and studied homelessness in Paris and London for the last decade. I was drawn into the world of people on the streets when I moved to London and started observing their parallel world. I spent almost a year with people on the street in London and two years in Paris. I volunteered in day centers, safe injection facilities, and soup kitchens and slept in a homeless shelter. Since I finished my first book on my observations in Paris, I have advised both policymakers on homelessness and written countless journalistic articles. My goal is always to provide a clearer picture of homelessness through the eyes of the people themselves. 

Johannes' book list on understanding poverty today, from the bottom up

Johannes Lenhard Why did Johannes love this book?

I met Matthew Desmond before he became one of the youngest Professors with his own center at Princeton University. He was visiting London, had just published his first book, and was still finishing the research for this book.

Desmond did an enormous amount of field research; he spent months living in a trailer park, on top of thousands of hours in archives and courtrooms where eviction cases are decided. The result is the best book I have ever read about poverty.

What happens when ‘normal people’ get evicted? Desmond’s story is rich and personal, and that is what we need: we need to understand the lives of poor people better in order to finally decide that we must change the systems that put them there. 

By Matthew Desmond,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Beautifully written, thought-provoking, and unforgettable ... If you want a good understanding of how the issues that cause poverty are intertwined, you should read this book' Bill Gates, Best Books of 2017

Arleen spends nearly all her money on rent but is kicked out with her kids in Milwaukee's coldest winter for years. Doreen's home is so filthy her family call it 'the rat hole'. Lamar, a wheelchair-bound ex-soldier, tries to work his way out of debt for his boys. Scott, a nurse turned addict, lives in a gutted-out trailer. This is…

Book cover of It Can't Happen Here

Elizabeth Duquette Author Of American Tyrannies in the Long Age of Napoleon

From my list on thinking about what tyranny means today.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have studied nineteenth-century American literature and culture for more than thirty years. My friends roll their eyes when I excitedly share a passage from Charles Chesnutt, Henry James, Herman Melville, or Kate Chopin. I wrote this book because I realized that nineteenth-century thinkers and writers have a lot to teach us about tyranny, particularly the dangers it presents to our nation. I hope you’ll find the challenge of these books as important as I do!

Elizabeth's book list on thinking about what tyranny means today

Elizabeth Duquette Why did Elizabeth love this book?

This book imagines a world where the United States succumbs to authoritarianism. Subsequent writers have explored this theme, but I love Lewis’s novel because it captures a precarious historical moment (the 1930s) that has a lot in common with the present day.

“Buzz” Winthrop, the politician turned dictator, whips up fears about threats to America, stressing the need to get back to the nation’s “true” values. It’s a chilling portrait of a nation that loses its way.

By Sinclair Lewis,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked It Can't Happen Here as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“The novel that foreshadowed Donald Trump’s authoritarian appeal.”—Salon

It Can’t Happen Here is the only one of Sinclair Lewis’s later novels to match the power of Main Street, Babbitt, and Arrowsmith. A cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy, it is an alarming, eerily timeless look at how fascism could take hold in America.

Written during the Great Depression, when the country was largely oblivious to Hitler’s aggression, it juxtaposes sharp political satire with the chillingly realistic rise of a president who becomes a dictator to save the nation from welfare cheats, sex, crime, and a liberal press.

Called “a…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in antisemitism, elections, and Jewish history?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about antisemitism, elections, and Jewish history.

Antisemitism Explore 47 books about antisemitism
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Jewish History Explore 465 books about Jewish history