70 books like The Promised Land

By Mary Antin,

Here are 70 books that The Promised Land fans have personally recommended if you like The Promised Land. 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 Bronx Primitive: Portraits in a Childhood

Pamela S. Nadell Author Of America's Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today

From my list on memoirs through the voices of women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of history and Jewish studies at American University and author of America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today, winner of the National Jewish Book Award – 2019 Jewish Book of the Year. Since childhood I have been reading stories of women’s lives and tales set in Jewish communities across time and space. Yet, the voices that so often best evoke the past are those captured on the pages of great memoirs.

Pamela's book list on memoirs through the voices of women

Pamela S. Nadell Why did Pamela love this book?

In this evocative memoir, the first in a series of three and a New York Times 1982 best book of the year, Simon, a travel writer, captures the world of an immigrant child growing up in the Bronx in the 1920s. Their fathers were harsh disciplinarians; mothers knew abortion to be the most effective birth control; and daughters saw poor scores in math crush their dreams. A story of triumph over the odds, of female rebellion, and of the many ways of learning, this memoir evokes a bygone world that also feels very contemporary.

By Kate Simon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"As an account of growing up female, it is a fit companion piece to Mary McCarthy's classic Memoirs of a Catholic Girlhood." Le Anne Schreiber, The New York Times.


Book cover of All-Of-A-Kind Family

Pamela S. Nadell Author Of America's Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today

From my list on memoirs through the voices of women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of history and Jewish studies at American University and author of America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today, winner of the National Jewish Book Award – 2019 Jewish Book of the Year. Since childhood I have been reading stories of women’s lives and tales set in Jewish communities across time and space. Yet, the voices that so often best evoke the past are those captured on the pages of great memoirs.

Pamela's book list on memoirs through the voices of women

Pamela S. Nadell Why did Pamela love this book?

In 1951, Sydney Taylor invented the memorable Brenners—papa, mama, five sisters, and baby brother—a Jewish family on the Lower East Side in turn-of-the-century New York. Taylor’s words and Helen John’s illustrations in this book, the first in a series, set the scene. A calendar in the parlor announced that it was 1912. Tenements lined city streets. When I read these novels as a child, I did not yet know that they were closely based on Taylor’s own life. When the entire series was republished in 2014, I quipped: I became a Jewish historian because of these books. 

By Sydney Taylor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All-Of-A-Kind Family as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Meet the All-of-a-Kind  Family -- Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, and Gertie -- who live with their parents in New York City at the turn of the century.

Together they share adventures that find them searching for hidden buttons while dusting Mama's front parlor and visiting with the peddlers in Papa's shop on rainy days. The girls enjoy doing everything together, especially when it involves holidays and surprises.

But no one could have prepared them for the biggest surprise of all!


Book cover of Back Then: Two Literary Lives in 1950s New York

Pamela S. Nadell Author Of America's Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today

From my list on memoirs through the voices of women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of history and Jewish studies at American University and author of America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today, winner of the National Jewish Book Award – 2019 Jewish Book of the Year. Since childhood I have been reading stories of women’s lives and tales set in Jewish communities across time and space. Yet, the voices that so often best evoke the past are those captured on the pages of great memoirs.

Pamela's book list on memoirs through the voices of women

Pamela S. Nadell Why did Pamela love this book?

Written in separate voices in alternating chapters, this unusual double memoir by the long-married couple, the novelist Anne Bernays and biographer Justin Kaplan, tells the stories of two privileged New Yorkers.  Growing up on opposite sides of Central Park, they came of age in the 1950s. Dreaming dreams of literary lives, they came to see them realized as their lives converged.

By Justin Kaplan, Anne Bernays,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Novelist Anne Bernays and biographer Justin Kaplan -- both native New Yorkers -- came of age in the 1950s, when the pent-up energies of the Depression years and World War II were at flood tide. Written in two separate voices, Back Then is thecandid, anecdotal account of these two children of privilege -- one from New York's East Side, the other from the West Side -- pursuing careers in publishing and eventually leaving to write their own books.

Infused with intelligence and charm, Back Then is an elegant reflection on the transformative years in the lives of two young people…


Book cover of The Ravine: A Family, a Photograph, a Holocaust Massacre Revealed

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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

Historian Wendy Lower focuses on a single photograph taken in October 1941 that shows a group of soldiers shooting a woman who clutches the hand of a little boy just before they fall into a mass grave in Miropol, Ukraine.

This is a gripping and impeccably researched account of the killers, the victims, and the photographer who took the haunting image. Lower combs through public records and archives, and relies on interviews with local residents to reconstruct mass atrocities. Lower’s descriptions of her dogged determination to reconstruct the scene of the crime reads like a thriller.

By Wendy Lower,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner, 2022 National Jewish Book Award

Shortlist, 2022 Wingate Literary Prize

A single photograph—an exceptionally rare “action shot” documenting the horrific final moment of the murder of a family—drives a riveting process of discovery for a gifted Holocaust scholar


In 2009, the acclaimed author of Hitler’s Furies was shown a photograph just brought to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The documentation of the Holocaust is vast, but there are virtually no images of a Jewish family at the actual moment of murder, in this case by German officials and Ukrainian collaborators. A Ukrainian shooter’s rifle is inches from a…


Book cover of The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America

David G. Nicholls Author Of Conjuring the Folk: Forms of Modernity in African America

From my list on understanding the Great Black Migration.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a lifelong reader and wanted to study literature from an early age. I grew up in Indianapolis, one of the cities reshaped by the Great Black Migration. I went to graduate school at the University of Chicago and found myself once again in the urban Midwest. My research for Conjuring the Folk led me to discover a trove of short stories by George Wylie Henderson, a Black writer from Alabama who migrated to Harlem. I edited the stories and published them as Harlem Calling: The Collected Stories of George Wylie Henderson. I'm a contributor to African American Review, the Journal of Modern Literature, and the Encyclopedia of the Great Black Migration

David's book list on understanding the Great Black Migration

David G. Nicholls Why did David love this book?

The Promised Land is written in an engaging, eloquent style that makes it an excellent introduction to the history of the Great Black Migration. A noted journalist, Lemann interviewed dozens of migrants and their descendants to create a richly textured story of their experiences. Layered onto this story is description and analysis of the political contexts for the migration, including the civil rights movement and the Great Society programs. He follows a group of Black Americans from the Mississippi Delta to Chicago and, in some cases, back. He shows how the migration affected not just the migrants themselves, but America as a whole, for it shifted race relations from a regional to a national problem. Chicagoans like me will enjoy its wealth of local detail.

By Nicholas Lemann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller, the groundbreaking authoritative history of the migration of African-Americans from the rural South to the urban North. A definitive book on American history, The Promised Land is also essential reading for educators and policymakers at both national and local levels.


Book cover of Urban Exodus: Why the Jews Left Boston and the Catholics Stayed

Deborah Dash Moore Author Of Urban Origins of American Judaism

From my list on Jewish lives in urban America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in New York City on the corner of 16th Street and 7th Avenue in an apartment on the 11th floor. I loved the city’s pace, diversity, and freedom. So, I decided to study New York Jews, to learn about them from not just from census records and institutional reports but also from interviews. After publishing my first book, I followed New York Jews as they moved to other cities, especially Miami and Los Angeles. Recently, I’ve been intrigued by what is often called street photography and the ways photographs let you see all sorts of details that potentially tell a story. 

Deborah's book list on Jewish lives in urban America

Deborah Dash Moore Why did Deborah love this book?

Gamm’s book goes beyond just a study of urban Jews to juxtapose Jews and Catholics to figure out the paradox of his title. The book cover, just to drive home his point, shows the entry stairs to a flourishing Catholic church filled with people juxtaposed to the front of a massive, abandoned synagogue. Gamm argues for the significance of religion in shaping Jewish and Catholic practices. From the portability of Torah scrolls and the congregational structure of synagogues, Judaism facilitated mobility. By contrast, parish boundaries and a church hierarchy encouraged rootedness among Catholics. It’s a fascinating and persuasive comparison that illuminates Boston but also helps to make sense of other cities. 

By Gerald Gamm,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Across the country, white ethnics have fled cities for suburbs. But many have stayed in their old neighborhoods. When the busing crisis erupted in Boston in the 1970s, Catholics were in the forefront of resistance. Jews, 70,000 of whom had lived in Roxbury and Dorchester in the early 1950s, were invisible during the crisis. They were silent because they departed the city more quickly and more thoroughly than Boston's Catholics. Only scattered Jews remained in Dorchester and Roxbury by the mid-1970s.

In telling the story of why the Jews left and the Catholics stayed, Gerald Gamm places neighborhood institutions--churches, synagogues,…


Book cover of A Hilltop on the Marne

W.D. Wetherell Author Of A Century of November

From my list on unjustly forgotten books from World War One.

Why am I passionate about this?

Novelist, essayist, and short-story writer W. D. Wetherell is the author of over two dozen books. A visit to the World War One battlefields in Flanders led to his lasting interest in the human tragedies of l914-18, inspiring his novel A Century of November, and his critical study Where Wars Go to Die; The Forgotten Literature of World War One.

W.D.'s book list on unjustly forgotten books from World War One

W.D. Wetherell Why did W.D. love this book?

The good news? After a long career as an editor in Boston, Ms. Aldrich retired to her beloved France in June l914. The bad news? The cottage she bought was only a few miles behind the front lines once the war started later that summer. This is her eyewitness account of what the Great War does to her adopted village, and memorably combines two literary genres that would seem to be incompatible: a book of simple rural pleasures with a book on war.

By Mildred Aldrich,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Hilltop on the Marne as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mildred Aldrich (November 16, 1853 – February 19, 1928) was an American journalist and writer She was born in 1853 in Providence, Rhode Island. She grew up in Boston, taught at elementary school there and went on into journalism.[2] She wrote for the Boston Home Journal, the Boston Journal and the Boston Herald. She started the short-lived The Mahogany Tree in 1892. In 1898, she moved to France, and, while there, became a friend of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. She worked as a foreign correspondent and translator.


Book cover of A Passion Most Pure

MaryLu Tyndall Author Of Veil of Pearls

From my list on on the edge of your seat Christian romance.

Why am I passionate about this?

What can I say? I’m a hopeless romantic. There’s nothing better than a great romance novel set in the past when chivalry was not dead. I’m a published author of more than twenty-five novels, including a great pirate series. I grew up in Florida and fell in love with the tropics as I sat on the beach and dreamt of handsome pirates. Once I became a Christian, I started reading Christian romances but found many of them moved a little slow to my liking, so I decided to write one myself! I have a BA in Computer Science and have won several awards for my writing.   

MaryLu's book list on on the edge of your seat Christian romance

MaryLu Tyndall Why did MaryLu love this book?

Julie is my go-to author for great characters, a heart-rendering romance, and a plot that keeps you turning pages. Her expertise is characters. After I read this book, I felt like all the characters were my best friends. The romance and passion are over the top for a Christian novel, but not too far. If you like family sagas, this is a great book to start. Julie is just one darn good author.

By Julie Lessman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Refusing to settle for anything less than a romantic relationship that pleases God, Faith O'Connor steels her heart against her desire for the roguish Collin McGuire. But when Collin tries to win her sister Charity's hand, Faith isn't sure she can handle the jealousy she feels. To further complicate matters, Faith finds herself the object of Collin's affections, even as he is courting her sister. The Great War is raging overseas, and a smaller war is brewing in the O'Connor household.
Full of passion, romance, rivalry, and betrayal, A Passion Most Pure will captivate readers from the first page. Book…


Book cover of Before the Court of Heaven

Joe Kilgore Author Of A Farmhouse in the Rain

From my list on WWII era that explore conflicts on the home front.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been enamored with the World War II era. It was a time that seems virtually non-existent today, where almost everyone in my country was on the same page. There seemed to be a collective commitment to the struggle. An agreement that this was indeed good versus evil. Of course, I’m sure its nostalgic allure is much greater for those of us who didn’t actually have to live through it. But the strength, perseverance, and everyday heroism it brought out in soldiers and civilians alike, deserves to be chronicled and remembered forever.

Joe's book list on WWII era that explore conflicts on the home front

Joe Kilgore Why did Joe love this book?

Most of this novel’s action occurs between World War I and World War II. It’s the riveting tale of a young German crushed by his country’s defeat and dedicated to doing something about it. He joins a network of assassins and aids in the murder of a high-ranking Jew in the Weimar government. Sent to prison, he meets a unique individual and begins an acute reexamination of everything he’s previously believed. This is a passionately compelling tale of one man looking deep within himself to make sense of what he’s done with his life. The author brings the times, as well as his characters vividly to life and makes this chronicle of redemption a supremely fulfilling read.

By Jack Mayer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Historical Fiction based on a true story of Weimar Germany and the rise of the Third Reich. Winner of 13 book awards.2017 Independent Press Award - Winner - Historical Fiction 2017 Independent Press Award - Winner - General Fiction 2016 IndieReader Discovery Award - 1st Place - Fiction2015 Nautilus Book Award Winner - Fiction - Silver medal2016 Readers' Favorite Book Award - Gold Medal - Fiction -Social Issues2016 Finalist - Grand Prize (Eric Hoffer Award) - Fiction2016 Honorable Mention (Eric Hoffer Award) - Commercial Fiction 2016 Finalist - First Horizon Award (Eric Hoffer Award) - Fiction 2015 Finalist - Foreword…


Book cover of Harvest

Gary Gerlacher Author Of Last Patient of the Night: An AJ Docker Thriller

From my list on thrillers featuring a medical professional.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a pediatric emergency physician turned author, and I am passionate about sharing an insider’s view of the emergency room, as well as addressing larger health issues that should be more visible to the general public. The emergency room is a world unlike any other, filled with humor, drama, emotions, and energy twenty-four hours a day, and I like to bring that energy to my stories. I’ve worked in many different medical settings, and every day, I find a new story that is worth sharing. 

Gary's book list on thrillers featuring a medical professional

Gary Gerlacher Why did Gary love this book?

This is another story that takes me back to my medical training days. A young member of the surgical team makes an impulsive decision that leads to an ethical dilemma and a web of deception.

This story is not only a thriller but addresses important issues related to the ethics of the transplant system. It’s a great read to get a look at the inner workings of the medical system. 

By Tess Gerritsen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Suspense as sharp as a scalpel's edge. A page-turning, hold-your-breath read'
Tami Hoag

HEART-STOPPING TERROR

Dr Abby Di Matteo has made the best - and the worst - decision of her career. Instead of giving a donor heart to the wealthy patient it's been reserved for, she uses it to save a dying boy's life.

Luckily, a new heart appears that's perfectly suited to the original patient, and the furore dies down. But then Abby discovers that the organ has been obtained illegally. Defying the hospital's commands, she starts her own investigation...

And uncovers a murderous conspiracy that will threaten…


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