100 books like The Power Broker

By Robert A. Caro,

Here are 100 books that The Power Broker fans have personally recommended if you like The Power Broker. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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By Laura Hillenbrand,

Book cover of Seabiscuit: An American Legend

Avalyn Hunter Author Of Dream Derby: The Myth and Legend of Black Gold

From the list on thoroughbred horses and horse racing.

Who am I?

An old photograph shows a little blonde girl trying to climb a fence separating her from a pasture full of broodmares near Louisville, Kentucky. That was me, and I have never lost my fascination with these creatures of beauty, courage, and magic. Combine that with an equal passion for books, research, and writing, and you have the path leading to four books and hundreds of magazine articles on Thoroughbred horses over the last twenty years, with a fifth book due out next spring. The five books I’ve recommended are just a few of those that have provided touchstones and inspiration for my journey as a writer.

Avalyn's book list on thoroughbred horses and horse racing

Why did Avalyn love this book?

When I first picked up Seabiscuit, I was dubious; I had already read too many stories of champion racehorses that were either dry histories or overblown hero-worship.

A hundred pages later (where did the time go?) I was completely engrossed and headed for an all-night read. In Hillenbrand’s hands, carefully researched history became the foundation for a sweeping story of a great horse, the incredible cast of people who gave him what he needed to become a legend, and the world of horses, horse racing, and American life in the 1930s.

If I ever write anything half as good, I will be well content.

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of the runaway phenomenon Unbroken comes a universal underdog story about the horse who came out of nowhere to become a legend.

Seabiscuit was one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history and the single biggest newsmaker in the world in 1938, receiving more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. But his success was a surprise to the racing establishment, which had written off the crooked-legged racehorse with the sad tail. Three men changed Seabiscuit’s fortunes:

Charles Howard was a onetime bicycle repairman who introduced the automobile to…

The Warmth of Other Suns

By Isabel Wilkerson,

Book cover of The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

Richard Paul Author Of We Could Not Fail: The First African Americans in the Space Program

From the list on race and racism in America during the time of the space program.

Who am I?

I am a long-time public radio documentary producer who now creates podcasts and conducts research for Smithsonian traveling exhibitions. After producing five documentaries on various sociological aspects of the space program, I was named the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Verville Fellow in Space History in 2014. My 2010 documentary Race and the Space Race (narrated by Mae Jemison) was the first full-length exploration of the nexus between civil rights and the space program, and the Fellowship allowed me to expand the story into a book. 

Richard's book list on race and racism in America during the time of the space program

Why did Richard love this book?

I wrote my book because I heard a talk. Glen Asner of the Pentagon Historical Office spoke at a 2006 conference on the Societal Impact of Spaceflight. There, he championed the use of social history to interpret that impact.

Social history was once derided as “pots and pans” history, he said. Instead, it should be harnessed to tell the story of NASA employees who used “their equal status within a federal institution to reshape local institutions and conceptions of race.” The Warmth of Other Suns unlocked the way to do that for me. It takes the stories of the millions who travelled north during The Great Migration and finds ways to personalize them.

This book was a lodestar for me, as I labored to do something similar. 

By Isabel Wilkerson,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Warmth of Other Suns as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In this beautifully written masterwork, the Pulitzer Prize–winnner and bestselling author of Caste chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life.

From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official…


By Eric W. Sanderson, Markley Boyer (illustrator),

Book cover of Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City

Thomas Hynes Author Of Wild City: A Brief History of New York City in 40 Animals

From the list on the surprising history of New York City wildlife.

Who am I?

I was drawn to the topic because I love everything about New York City. But, I also loved how the topic seemed at odds with itself. New York City wildlife felt like a contradiction of terms. Sure, there might be some rats, pigeons, and cockroaches here, but that was it. Well I was very wrong. Learning about the city’s natural history and legacy of wildlife allowed me to learn about the city in a whole new way. It’s also a great comeback story and it has been so inspiring to learn – and see! – how effective a few short decades of environmental regulations have been in making this a greener city. 

Thomas' book list on the surprising history of New York City wildlife

Why did Thomas love this book?

If the United States had been settled west-to-east, there’s a good chance Manhattan would have been made a national park. That’s how biologically diverse this city is at its core. This book provides the broadest view of New York City history by describing the area before European settlement and the ensuing urbanization. This book uses historical maps, GPS data, and other inputs to reveal the surprisingly rich natural history of New York City, while also providing a thoughtful analysis of how dramatically things have changed, as well as a compelling framework for a more sustainable future for New York. 

By Eric W. Sanderson, Markley Boyer (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On September 12, 1609, Henry Hudson first set foot on the land that would become Manhattan. Today, it's difficult to imagine what he saw, but for more than a decade, landscape ecologist Eric Sanderson has been working to do just that. Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City is the astounding result of those efforts, reconstructing in words and images the wild island that millions now call home. By geographically matching an 18th-century map with one of the modern city, examining volumes of historic documents, and collecting and analyzing scientific data, Sanderson re-creates the forests of Times Square, the…


By Edwin G. Burrows, Mike Wallace,

Book cover of Gotham

Jonathan H. Rees Author Of The Fulton Fish Market: A History

From the list on the history of New York City.

Who am I?

I’m Professor of History at Colorado State University Pueblo and have published eight books, mostly about the history of food. After encountering Up in the Old Hotel for the first time during the early 1990s, I started reading New York City history in my spare time. The Fulton Fish Market: A History is my way to blend my expertise with my hobby. Each of these books are beautifully written, informative, and fun. If you’re interested in the history of New York City and you’re looking for something else to read, I hope you’ll find my book to be the same.

Jonathan's book list on the history of New York City

Why did Jonathan love this book?

I am definitely recommending some very big books here! 

This one is easily recognizable because of the size of its spine, but it’s also incredibly interesting – an economic, social, and political history of New York City from its founding to consolidation, I think the best thing about this book is all the subjects it covers which I knew nothing about. 

New York City during the American Revolution comes to mind. So does the early history of New York’s apartment buildings. There’s a reason this book won a Pulitzer Prize. 

I like the sequel too (called Greater Gotham, only by Wallace), but prefer this book, I think, because I know the post-1898 history better while much of this book was novel to me.

By Edwin G. Burrows, Mike Wallace,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

To European explorers, it was Eden, a paradise of waist-high grasses, towering stands of walnut, maple, chestnut, and oak, and forests that teemed with bears, wolves, racoons, beavers, otters, and foxes. Today it is the city of Broadway and Wall Street, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, and the home of millions of people, who have come from every corner of the nation and the globe.

In "Gotham", Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace have produced a monumental work of history,on ethat ranges from the Indian tribes that settled in and around the island of Manna-hata, to…

Plunkitt of Tammany Hall

By William L. Riordan,

Book cover of Plunkitt of Tammany Hall: A Series of Very Plain Talks on Very Practical Politics

Charles Robbins Author Of The Accomplice

From the list on political bosses.

Who am I?

Political power has intrigued me since I read Macbeth and Machiavelli in high school – how to acquire it, wield it, and keep it, and how it seduces and ultimately corrupts. Political bosses fascinated me – Svengalis who built empires, often through charisma, populism, and ruthlessness. I began writing about politics as a newspaper reporter, then ran press shops for lawmakers and candidates, including a presidential campaign; co-wrote three nonfiction books with senators, including a former majority leader; then turned to writing fiction, a passion since boyhood, largely under the theme “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”  

Charles' book list on political bosses

Why did Charles love this book?

Plunkitt infected me with “the political bug.” George Washington Plunkitt’s “very plain talks on very practical politics” showed me the joys of playing the political game, of devising and executing strategies and tactics, of outwitting opponents. I first read Riordon’s classic for grade school and loved its gritty romp through turn-of-the-century New York. I reread the book for a college history course and came to appreciate politics as the art of the possible – and to see the innate conflict between ambition and conscience. After seven years in journalism, I “crossed to the dark side” and became a political operative, partly because Plunkitt had shown me that playing politics can be far more rewarding – and fun – than watching it.

By William L. Riordan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A political machine member describes its operations

A Political Education

By Harry McPherson,

Book cover of A Political Education: A Washington Memoir

David Von Drehle Author Of Triangle: The Fire That Changed America

From the list on how American politics really works.

Who am I?

A journalist and author for more than 40 years, I now write a twice-weekly opinion column for The Washington Post. Which is odd because I don’t have many opinions. What I do have is a lot of curiosity. One very durable question for me, which informed a couple of my books, is this: How does political power actually work in America? How does change happen?

David's book list on how American politics really works

Why did David love this book?

Here’s Lyndon B. Johnson again. As a bright young lawyer, McPherson left Texas to work for a year with Johnson, thinking the experience might open his eyes—and a few doors—at the beginning of his legal career. McPherson stepped onto the rocket sled of politics and never stepped off. This grand old man of Washington paused mid-career to give us the ultimate learning-the-ropes memoir of life inside politics.

By Harry McPherson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This insider's view of Washington in the 1950s and 1960s, of the tumultuous presidency of Lyndon Johnson, and of the conflicts and factions of the president's staff has become a political classic since its original publication in 1972. In this reissue, Harry McPherson adds a new preface in which he reflects on changes in Washington since the Johnson era and on the lessons Bill Clinton could learn from the presidency of Lyndon Johnson.

What It Takes

By Richard Ben Cramer,

Book cover of What It Takes: The Way to the White House

Patrick J. Maney Author Of Bill Clinton: New Gilded Age President

From the list on presidential campaigns.

Who am I?

It was during the 1960 presidential campaign, between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon, that I first became enthralled with politics and history. I was only thirteen, so it never occurred to me at the time that I would end up abandoning my childhood dream of becoming a medical doctor and instead devote most of my adult life to teaching and writing political history. Because of what happened to me, I’m recommending five classic presidential campaign accounts. Because they were written by firsthand observers, they convey a vivid sense of how events, with all of their uncertainties appeared at the time before they became fixed in history.  

Patrick's book list on presidential campaigns

Why did Patrick love this book?

Why would anybody in their right mind put themselves through the agonies of a presidential campaign? And what does it take to win? Cramer’s account of the crowded 1988 campaign is less about strategy and tactics than the personality and character of the candidates (including Joe Biden, Bob Dole, and George H. W. Bush). Ego and ambition, courage and cowardice are on display here, but so too is an almost across-the-board sense of honor and duty that’s in rare supply today.

By Richard Ben Cramer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Quite possibly the finest book on presidential politics ever written, combining meticulous reporting and compelling, at times soaringly lyrical, prose." -- Cleveland Plain Dealer

An American Iliad in the guise of contemporary political reportage, What It Takes penetrates the mystery at the heart of all presidential campaigns: How do presumably ordinary people acquire that mixture of ambition, stamina, and pure shamelessness that makes a true candidate? As he recounts the frenzied course of the 1988 presidential race -- and scours the psyches of contenders from George Bush and Robert Dole to Michael Dukakis and Gary Hart -- Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist…

Book cover of Politics and the English Language

Roy Peter Clark Author Of Tell It Like It Is: A Guide to Clear and Honest Writing

From the list on writing and why they matter.

Who am I?

I've dedicated my professional life to the creation of a nation of writers. I began my career as a young professor of English, teaching literature and composition at a small campus in Alabama. As a New Yorker, I began writing about my experiences in the South. I began hanging out with journalists and became fascinated by their sense of craft, and their sense of mission and purpose. This led to an invitation as a writing coach at the St. Petersburg Times, one of the best newspapers in the country, now called the Tampa Bay Times. That year led to 40 years as a writing coach and a senior scholar at the Poynter Institute.

Roy's book list on writing and why they matter

Why did Roy love this book?

No author, not even Shakespeare, has influenced me as much as George Orwell.

As an enemy of communism, fascism, and imperialism, Orwell wrote novels, nonfiction books, and essays in support of democratic values, including the responsible use of language. In "Politics and the English Language", written just after World War II, Orwell traces the relationship between language abuse and political abuse. 

After revealing examples of abuse, such as the use of euphemisms to veil evil practices and policies, Orwell offers handy bits of advice for writers, such as never using an image that you are used to seeing in print. Rise above the cliché.

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Politics and the English Language as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Politics and the English Language' is widely considered Orwell's most important essay on style. Style, for Orwell, was never simply a question of aesthetics; it was always inextricably linked to politics and to truth.'All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer.'Language is a political issue, and slovenly use of language and cliches make it easier for those in power to deliberately use misleading language to hide unpleasant political facts. Bad English, he believed, was a vehicle for oppressive ideology, and it is…


By Robert Sullivan,

Book cover of Rats: Observations on the History & Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants

Bethany Brookshire Author Of Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains

From the list on making you rethink your place in the natural world.

Who am I?

I am a science journalist and former scientist who focuses on human-wildlife interactions, especially when those interactions turn sour. I’ve been fascinated by the animals people hate for years now, especially since I got to write on the earliest origins of the house mouse. To gain expertise, I was a 2019-2020 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, and have spent the past three years immersing myself in all things pest—from reaching into a coyote’s stomach to taking a whiff of elephant repellant. My freelance work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Science News, Sierra, and many other outlets. 

Bethany's book list on making you rethink your place in the natural world

Why did Bethany love this book?

It seems like a bit of a long title for a New York Times Bestseller but I promise this book is educational, entertaining, and worth every second. Sullivan spent a year observing a rat-infested alley, and came away with a better understanding of our least-favorite rodents, as well as the many people who spend their lives trying to keep rats and humans apart. At first it might seem weird to sit outside and watch the rats every night, but by the end, you can’t imagine doing anything else.

By Robert Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

New York Public Library Book for the Teenager
New York Public Library Book to Remember
PSLA Young Adult Top 40 Nonfiction Titles of the Year

"Engaging...a lively, informative compendium of facts, theories, and musings."-Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Behold the rat, dirty and disgusting! Robert Sullivan turns the lowly rat into the star of this most perversely intriguing, remarkable, and unexpectedly elegant New York Times bestseller.

Love them or loathe them, rats are here to stay-they are city dwellers as much as (or more than) we are, surviving on the effluvia of our society. In Rats, the critically acclaimed bestseller,…

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher

By Kate Summerscale,

Book cover of The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective

Jacqueline Beard Author Of Vote For Murder: A Suffragette Murder Mystery

From the list on the bloodiest true crimes that inspired fiction.

Who am I?

An experienced genealogist, I became fascinated by true historical crime reports when I found murderers in my family tree. Since then, I have written ten historical mystery books featuring true unsolved crimes. My novels re-imagine what might have happened had the killers been brought to justice. My background in genealogy and vast experience trawling through historical newspaper reports has given me a passion for the past and a desire to resolve the unknown.

Jacqueline's book list on the bloodiest true crimes that inspired fiction

Why did Jacqueline love this book?

This riveting book covers the gruesome discovery of a murder in a Georgian house in the sleepy village of Road in Wiltshire. That someone has died is awful enough but realising that the murderer is a member of the household brings fresh horrors. The author meticulously follows the crime and subsequent investigation, sticking strictly to the facts while using her imagination to recreate the tense atmosphere while bringing the characters to life. Unputdownable.

By Kate Summerscale,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

_______________ WINNER OF THE SAMUEL JOHNSON PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER A RICHARD AND JUDY BOOK CLUB PICK _______________ 'A remarkable achievement' - Sunday Times 'A classic, to my mind, of the finest documentary writing' - John le Carre 'Absolutely riveting' - Sarah Waters, Guardian _______________ On a summer's morning in 1860, the Kent family awakes in their elegant Wiltshire home to a terrible discovery; their youngest son has been brutally murdered. When celebrated detective Jack Whicher is summoned from Scotland Yard he faces the unenviable task of identifying the killer - when the grieving family are the…

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