100 books like The River of Doubt

By Candice Millard,

Here are 100 books that The River of Doubt fans have personally recommended if you like The River of Doubt. 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 Jane Eyre

Marcia Aldrich Author Of Studio of the Voice

From my list on compelling books about the trouble between mothers and daughters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a woman-centered household, the youngest with two older sisters. I was the only child of my mother’s second marriage, and a space of ten and twelve years separated me from my sisters. My sisters and mother always felt like an intense unit that didn’t include me, and that yearning and outsider status defined my life and made me a lover of books about mothers and daughters and the female world.

Marcia's book list on compelling books about the trouble between mothers and daughters

Marcia Aldrich Why did Marcia love this book?

For me, this book is the beginning of my becoming a writer and coming into my own. I vividly remember reading the novel for the first time when I had chicken pox in ninth grade in the winter, and it was snowing and cold. It was a revelation.

In this case, Jane is an orphan, but her solitary status spoke profoundly to me and my own loneliness and outsider status in my family. If there’s a character other than Jane Eyre who has meant more to me, I don’t know who she is. If there is a writer who has spoken more intimately to me than Charlotte Bronte, I don’t know who she is.

This novel, called an autobiography at the time of publishing, is my beginning and my end.

By Charlotte Brontë,

Why should I read it?

31 authors picked Jane Eyre as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Introduction and Notes by Dr Sally Minogue, Canterbury Christ Church University College.

Jane Eyre ranks as one of the greatest and most perennially popular works of English fiction. Although the poor but plucky heroine is outwardly of plain appearance, she possesses an indomitable spirit, a sharp wit and great courage.

She is forced to battle against the exigencies of a cruel guardian, a harsh employer and a rigid social order. All of which circumscribe her life and position when she becomes governess to the daughter of the mysterious, sardonic and attractive Mr Rochester.

However, there is great kindness and warmth…

Book cover of The Wall

Lisa Currie Author Of Guidebook to the Unknown: A Journal for Anxious Minds

From my list on journeying into the unknown.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an Australian author and artist who is quite cautious and introverted by nature, but very curious and playful at heart. I make books that help people untangle what’s on their mind today and shift their thinking in creative ways, often using visual metaphors. My latest book, Guidebook to the Unknown, was created during the long lockdowns we had in Melbourne (and all over the world of course) during the pandemic. It was my way of exploring how to calm an anxious mind and find meaning in my daily life, right here and now, without knowing what tomorrow will bring.

Lisa's book list on journeying into the unknown

Lisa Currie Why did Lisa love this book?

This story has stayed with me for years. A woman takes a holiday in the Austrian mountains and wakes up to an inexplicable new reality—she’s totally alone in the world, so it seems, and has to learn to fend for herself. We journey into the unknown with her as she reports on the mental and physical challenges of her new daily life… and it stirs up so many interesting questions about who we are without connection and community, and where meaning can be found in the most stripped-back life.

By Marlen Haushofer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“I can allow myself to write the truth; all the people for whom I have lied throughout my life are dead…” writes the heroine of Marlen Haushofer’s The Wall, a quite ordinary, unnamed middle-aged woman who awakens to find she is the last living human being. Surmising her solitude is the result of a too successful military experiment, she begins the terrifying work of not only survival, but self-renewal. The Wall is at once a simple and moving talk — of potatoes and beans, of hoping for a calf, of counting matches, of forgetting the taste of sugar and the…

Book cover of Sailing Alone Around the World

James G. Stavridis Author Of The Sailor's Bookshelf: Fifty Books to Know the Sea

From my list on to know the sea.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a retired 4-star Admiral who spent over forty years at sea, rising from Midshipman at the Naval Academy to Supreme Allied Commander at NATO. I studied literature and published eleven books, many dealing with the oceans. My PhD from Tufts University, where I served as Dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, centered on the Law of the Sea Treaty. My father was a seagoing US Marine, my wife grew up in the Navy with a father who was a Navy pilot, and my daughter was a Navy nurse. Finally, my basset hound is named Penelope, after the wife of Ulysses who waited for her husband to return from ten years at sea.

James' book list on to know the sea

James G. Stavridis Why did James love this book?

One of the great pure sailors of all time was Joshua Slocum. Born in 1844 in eastern Canada he remains one of the most renowned sailors of all time—deservedly, because he completed the first documented circumnavigation of the world alone in a sailboat. A severe-looking man in maturity with a completely bald head and a very full goatee. His four children were born at sea on his ships. And his adventures literally around the world are too numerous to enumerate here. Suffice to say, this was a man “rocked in the cradle of the deep,” with saltwater in his veins.

Toward the turn of the century, in his early fifties, he decided to build a small sailing vessel and sail alone around the world. It was the seminal moment in his life, and he’d describe it beautifully in this marvelous tale. Slocum faced all the perils one would expect: terrible…

By Joshua Slocum,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Sailing Alone Around the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The classic of its kind." —Travel World
"One of the most readable books in the whole library of adventure." —Sports Illustrated
"The finest single-handed adventure story yet written." —Seafarer
Challenged by an expert who said it couldn't be done, Joshua Slocum, an indomitable New England sea captain, set out in April of 1895 to prove that a man could sail alone around the world. 46,000 miles and a little over 3 years later, the proof was complete: Captain Slocum had performed the epic "first" single-handedly in a trusty 34-foot sloop called the "Spray." This is Slocum's own account of his…

Book cover of The Alchemist

Michael Teichberg Author Of ManuScrita: Poems on Life, Love, & the Nature of Reality

From my list on When looking for a soulful deep dive.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up Jewish, third-generation in Latin America has given me a strong identity and a unique lens living as a double-minority. My entire life, I’ve been fascinated by life’s deep questions, the arts, and metaphysics. When no college major was clicking, I decided to pursue a B.A. in philosophy and comparative religion to better get to know my own faith and search for a universal truth across all world religions and cultures. It was in my college poetry class, where I first started writing as an outlet for my thoughts and many of the poems in my book were written then and reworked over the next two decades.

Michael's book list on When looking for a soulful deep dive

Michael Teichberg Why did Michael love this book?

This book by Paulo Coelho is a great read for anyone pursuing their dream or in need of motivation to set things in motion.

The book was an early influence to me in prioritizing the pursuit of life’s purpose, following your heart and “gut”, and learning from both the good and bad times. The protagonist goes on a metaphorical journey that makes one think about destiny, spirituality, and how everything is connected in your journey.

By Paulo Coelho,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A global phenomenon, The Alchemist has been read and loved by over 62 million readers, topping bestseller lists in 74 countries worldwide. Now this magical fable is beautifully repackaged in an edition that lovers of Paulo Coelho will want to treasure forever.

Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. This is such a book - a beautiful parable about learning to listen to your heart, read the omens strewn along life's path and, above all, follow your dreams.

Santiago, a young shepherd living in the hills of Andalucia, feels that there is…

Book cover of Young Men and Fire

Matthew O. Jackson Author Of The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviors

From my list on fiction driven by rich historical context.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a lover of both fiction and nonfiction, I find that the ultimate pleasure in reading is when the author combines the two without short-changing either. These are books that provide accurate and deep historical background, but also tell stories shaped by that context. These are also books that have intricate, unusual, and effective narrative structures.   

Matthew's book list on fiction driven by rich historical context

Matthew O. Jackson Why did Matthew love this book?

This book concerns a group of young firefighters known as smokejumpers and the catastrophic Mann Gulch Forest Fire in Montana in 1949. 

Maclean was from the community and worked in the US Forest Service before he became a professor and eventually an author who spent years researching the event. You learn about the physics of forest fires, the invention of the first "escape fire," how multiple and cascading errors can lead to a disastrous outcome, and about the lives and heroics of a group of firefighters.

Interestingly, it is all seen through the journey of a man trying to understand a captivating event from his past. This book falls pretty squarely in the non-fiction category, but has multiple stories interwoven with the facts. It helps that Maclean was not only an author of many nonfiction articles, but also the author of the highly successful novel (and movie) A River Runs…

By Norman MacLean,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Young Men and Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Norman Maclean sent the manuscript of A River Runs through It to New York publishers, he received a slew of rejections. One editor, so the story goes, replied, "It has trees in it." Forty years later, the title novella is widely recognized as one of the great American tales of the twentieth century, and Maclean as one of the most beloved writers of our time. Maclean's later triumph, Young Men and Fire, has over the decades also established itself as a classic of the American West. And with this twenty-fifth-anniversary edition, a fresh audience will be introduced to Maclean's…

Book cover of Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt

Vladimir Alexandrov Author Of To Break Russia's Chains: Boris Savinkov and His Wars Against the Tsar and the Bolsheviks

From my list on grit transforms people’s lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

After more than thirty years of teaching Russian literature and culture at Yale and Harvard, and publishing numerous academic articles and monographs, I switched to writing historical biographies for a general audience. The catalyst was my discovery of Frederick Bruce Thomas, the remarkable son of former slaves in Mississippi who became a multimillionaire impresario in tsarist Moscow and the “Sultan of Jazz” in Constantinople. This resulted in The Black Russian, a widely praised biography that is now well on track to being made into a TV series. I am always drawn to stories of people whose grit makes them rebel against the limits that life seems to impose and allows them to achieve something transcendent.

Vladimir's book list on grit transforms people’s lives

Vladimir Alexandrov Why did Vladimir love this book?

It’s inspiring to read how a sickly boy became the larger-than-life figure who dominated turn of the century America. Although born into a famous and wealthy family, the young Theodore’s future seemed hopeless because of his repeated bouts with an illness that almost killed him. But through his own will, and with the inspiration and support of his remarkable family, he managed to overcome his ailment and grow into robust and productive manhood. McCullough’s discovery of a rich cache of family letters allowed him to create a fine-grained and moving narrative about how this exceptional man came to be.

By David McCullough,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The National Book Award–winning biography that tells the story of how young Teddy Roosevelt transformed himself from a sickly boy into the vigorous man who would become a war hero and ultimately president of the United States, told by master historian David McCullough.

Mornings on Horseback is the brilliant biography of the young Theodore Roosevelt. Hailed as “a masterpiece” (John A. Gable, Newsday), it is the winner of the Los Angeles Times 1981 Book Prize for Biography and the National Book Award for Biography. Written by David McCullough, the author of Truman, this is the story of a remarkable little…

Book cover of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

Laurence Jurdem Author Of The Rough Rider and the Professor: Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, and the Friendship That Changed American History

From my list on the lives of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian who focuses on the political history of the United States during the 20th century. My particular interest focuses on the history of the Republican Party & the American presidency. I am curious about how individuals acquire political power and their use of it. I was drawn to write a book about the friendship between Roosevelt and Lodge because of my fascination with the friendship among Eastern elites and how Lodge served as a mentor to Roosevelt in helping him achieve prominence in United States politics. Despite the many books on T.R. no one has ever written a narrative about his relationship with Lodge. 

Laurence's book list on the lives of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge

Laurence Jurdem Why did Laurence love this book?

A winner of the National Book Award, Morris’ majestic work is the first in a trilogy on Theodore Roosevelt.

A wonderful stylist and prodigious researcher, the author focuses on the formative years of (1858-1901) the man who became the nation’s 26th president. Morris develops a gripping narrative that demonstrates the incredible intellectual and physical vitality that made T.R. such a legendary figure.

While I enjoyed Morris’ prose it was his incredible research that helped me the most. Investigating every archive relating to Roosevelt, Morris’ book allowed me to discover a source that was critical in articulating my argument about the enormous influence Lodge had on Roosevelt’s career.

By Edmund Morris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE AND THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD • Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time

“A towering biography . . . a brilliant chronicle.”—Time

This classic biography is the story of seven men—a naturalist, a writer, a lover, a hunter, a ranchman, a soldier, and a politician—who merged at age forty-two to become the youngest President in history.

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt begins at the apex of his international prestige. That was on New Year’s Day, 1907, when TR, who had just won the Nobel Peace Prize,…

Book cover of Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life

Clay Risen Author Of The Crowded Hour: Theodore Roosevelt, the Rough Riders, and the Dawn of the American Century

From my list on the life and times of Theodore Roosevelt.

Why am I passionate about this?

Clay Risen has been a reporter and senior editor at The New York Times for 11 years. He is the author of three widely respected books on American history, most recently The Crowded Hour: Theodore Roosevelt, the Rough Riders, and the Dawn of the American Century, which was a Times Notable Book for 2019 and a finalist for the Gilder-Lehrman Prize for Military History.

Clay's book list on the life and times of Theodore Roosevelt

Clay Risen Why did Clay love this book?

This is easily the best single-volume account of Roosevelt’s life. Dalton writes with an understated verve and an attention to detail that will pull along even biography-averse readers. While Morris’s trilogy is still the definitive account, Dalton’s is more persuasive, as she is more willing to cast a skeptical eye on Roosevelt’s excesses and shortcomings.

By Kathleen Dalton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

He inherited a sense of entitlement (and obligation) from his family, yet eventually came to see his own class as suspect. He was famously militaristic, yet brokered peace between Russia and Japan. He started out an archconservative, yet came to champion progressive causes. These contradictions are not evidence of vacillating weakness: instead, they were the product of a restless mind bend on a continuous quest for self-improvement.

In Theodore Roosevelt, historian Kathleen Dalton reveals a man with a personal and intellectual depth rarely seen in our public figures. She shows how Roosevelt’s struggle to overcome his frailties as a child…

Book cover of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America

Nate Schweber Author Of This America of Ours: Bernard and Avis Devoto and the Forgotten Fight to Save the Wild

From my list on public lands and conservation.

Why am I passionate about this?

By lucky lottery of birth, Missoula, Montana, nestled between forested mountains and sliced through by trout-filled rivers, is where I was born and raised. Public land conservation came into my consciousness naturally as clean, pine-scented air. But when I moved to overcrowded New York City in 2001 to try a career in journalism, homesickness made me begin researching conservation. Why are there public lands in the West? What forces prompted their creation? Who wants public lands, and who opposes them? Can their history teach us about our present and our future? These books began answering my questions. 

Nate's book list on public lands and conservation

Nate Schweber Why did Nate love this book?

When historian Douglas Brinkley said he intended to write a trilogy of thick environmental books, comedian Jon Stewart quipped, "How many trees will you kill to do it?" But Brinkley's gift is no joke. He did our world a remarkable service by writing this encyclopedia of American conservation.

Despite profiling great presidents, a lesson I learned repeatedly from Brinkley is how much conservation history has been driven by everyday Americans caring about a part of the country and acting. 

By Douglas Brinkley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From New York Times bestselling historian Douglas Brinkley comes a sweeping historical narrative and eye-opening look at the pioneering environmental policies of President Theodore Roosevelt, avid bird-watcher, naturalist, and the founding father of America’s conservation movement.

In this groundbreaking epic biography, Douglas Brinkley draws on never-before-published materials to examine the life and achievements of our “naturalist president.” By setting aside more than 230 million acres of wild America for posterity between 1901 and 1909, Theodore Roosevelt made conservation a universal endeavor. This crusade for the American wilderness was perhaps the greatest U.S. presidential initiative between the Civil War and World…

Book cover of Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival

Elizabeth Flann Author Of Beware of Dogs

From my list on humans fighting for survival in dangerous situations.

Why am I passionate about this?

Elizabeth Flann is a history and literature major who worked for over twenty years in the publishing industry in England and Australia before moving into teaching literature, scriptwriting and editing to postgraduate students at Deakin University, Melbourne. She is a co-author of The Australian Editing Handbook and was awarded a PhD in 2001 for her thesis entitled Celluloid Dreaming: Cultural Myths and Landscape in Australian Film. Now retired, she is able to give full rein to her true love—writing fiction. Her first novel, Beware of Dogs, was awarded the Harper Collins Banjo Prize for a Fiction Manuscript. She now lives in a peaceful rural setting in Victoria, Australia, close to extended family and nature.

Elizabeth's book list on humans fighting for survival in dangerous situations

Elizabeth Flann Why did Elizabeth love this book?

After years of vicarious adventure tales like The Coral Island and Treasure Island, as an adult I discovered a new source: true-life adventures. From the voyage of the raft Kon-Tiki to the epic trek by Robyn Davidson across Australia’s cruelest desert, my fascination with the human capacity for survival found a new revival. One of the most riveting books I’ve ever read in this genre is Touching the Void which, although non-fiction, is written in an extraordinarily poetic form by the two survivors, each of whom suffered terrible physical privations and even more terrible moral dilemmas while climbing in the snow-covered Peruvian mountains. That either of them survived is a miracle. That both of them did is a tribute to what humans can endure in order to survive.

By Joe Simpson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Extensive reading is essential for improving fluency
and there is a real need in the ELT classroom for motivating, contemporary
graded material that will instantly appeal to students

Based on the internationally acclaimed book by Joe Simpson, Touching
the Void is the compelling true story of a mountaineering
expedition which goes dreadfully wrong.



Perfect also for native English speaking children who are struggling
with their reading

Full colour photos and film stills bring story
to life and aid comprehension

Fact File section explores the making of the film, climbing Everest
and other related…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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