100 books like The Savage Freud and Other Essays on Possible and Retrievable Selves

By Ashis Nandy,

Here are 100 books that The Savage Freud and Other Essays on Possible and Retrievable Selves fans have personally recommended if you like The Savage Freud and Other Essays on Possible and Retrievable Selves. 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 Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence

Georgette F. Bennett Ph.D. Author Of Religicide: Confronting the Roots of Anti-Religious Violence

From my list on human rights that focus on religion.

Why am I passionate about this?

Between us, we’ve been in the interreligious relations business for a combined 50 years. We started working together when Jerry was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under President Barack Obama. In 2015, we were both invited by Prince Ghazi of Jordan to join other interreligious leaders to advance a UN resolution defining and taking a stand against religicide. That resolution never made it to the Security Council. But we joined forces to sound the alarm about religicide. We wrote our book in the hope of inspiring an international campaign to end this killing in the name of God – or being killed because of your God.   

Georgette's book list on human rights that focus on religion

Georgette F. Bennett Ph.D. Why did Georgette love this book?

One of the most popular historians of religion, this book examines each of the great religions over time and reveals the context for the warrior traditions that emerged in them. One of her key insights is that every religious movement is rooted in the fear…"that modern society is out to destroy not only their faith but also themselves and their entire way of life.… When people fear annihilation, their horizons tend to shrink and they can lash out violently.”

By Karen Armstrong,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It is the most persistent myth of our time: religion is the cause of all violence. But history suggests otherwise. Karen Armstrong, former Roman Catholic nun and one of our foremost scholars of religion, speaks out to disprove the link between religion and bloodshed.

* Religion is as old as humanity: Fields of Blood goes back to the Stone Age hunter-gatherers and traces religion through the centuries, from medieval crusaders to modern-day jihadists.

* The West today has a warped concept of religion: we regard faith as a personal and private matter, but for most of history faith has informed…


Book cover of Violence and the Sacred

Mark Juergensmeyer Author Of Terror in the Mind of God

From my list on religious violence.

Why am I passionate about this?

Though religious violence is an odd obsession for a nice guy like me, the topic was forced on me. Having lived for years in the Indian Punjab, I was struck by the uprising of Sikhs in the 1980s. I wanted to know why, and what religion had to do with it. These could have been my own students. It is easy to understand why bad people do bad things, but why do good people—often with religious visions of peace—employ such savage acts of violence? This is the question that has propelled me through a half-dozen books, including the recent When God Stops Fighting: How Religious Violence Ends. 

Mark's book list on religious violence

Mark Juergensmeyer Why did Mark love this book?

This is one of the classics in the field. I choose it not because I agree with all of it but because it has made such an impact and has such an ardent academic following. Girard picks up a thesis propounded by Sigmund Freud that symbolic expressions of violence in religion (the eating of Christ’s body and blood in the ritual of the eucharist, for example) helps to defuse real acts of violence. Girard regards mimesis—the imitation of the desires of a competitor—as the driving force behind violence and the instrument that is tamed through symbolic expressions. 

By René Girard, Patrick Gregory (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"His fascinating and ambitious book provides a fully developed theory of violence as the `heart and secret soul' of the sacred. Girard's fertile, combative mind links myth to prophetic writing, primitive religions to classical tragedy."--Victor Brombert, 'Chronicle of Higher Education.'


Book cover of How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror

Mark Juergensmeyer Author Of Terror in the Mind of God

From my list on religious violence.

Why am I passionate about this?

Though religious violence is an odd obsession for a nice guy like me, the topic was forced on me. Having lived for years in the Indian Punjab, I was struck by the uprising of Sikhs in the 1980s. I wanted to know why, and what religion had to do with it. These could have been my own students. It is easy to understand why bad people do bad things, but why do good people—often with religious visions of peace—employ such savage acts of violence? This is the question that has propelled me through a half-dozen books, including the recent When God Stops Fighting: How Religious Violence Ends. 

Mark's book list on religious violence

Mark Juergensmeyer Why did Mark love this book?

A popular author of books on Islam and Christianity, Aslan in this book expounds on the idea of cosmic war that I have discussed in Terror in the Mind of God, and more recently as the central subject of my God at War: A Meditation on Religion and Violence. Aslan correctly asserts that struggles that are animated by visions of cosmic war are not easily defeated through conventional means. He cites the “war on terror” proclaimed by President George W. Bush as an ill-conceived effort to fight one concept of cosmic war with another and concludes that the best way to fight a cosmic war is to refuse to fight like one. 

By Reza Aslan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Win a Cosmic War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Why do they hate us? An entire cottage industry has arisen to answer this question. But what no one has really figured out is, who exactly are they? Is it al-Qaeda? Islamic nationalists? The whole Muslim world?

*HOW TO WIN A COSMIC WAR lays out, for the first time, a comprehensive definition of the movement behind and surrounding al-Qaeda and the like, a global ideology properly termed Jihadism.

*Contrasting twenty-first-century religious extremism across Christianity, Judaism and Islam with its historical antecedents, Aslan demonstrates that while modern Jihadis may have legitimate social grievances - the suffering of the Palestinians, American support…


Book cover of The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World

Mark Juergensmeyer Author Of Terror in the Mind of God

From my list on religious violence.

Why am I passionate about this?

Though religious violence is an odd obsession for a nice guy like me, the topic was forced on me. Having lived for years in the Indian Punjab, I was struck by the uprising of Sikhs in the 1980s. I wanted to know why, and what religion had to do with it. These could have been my own students. It is easy to understand why bad people do bad things, but why do good people—often with religious visions of peace—employ such savage acts of violence? This is the question that has propelled me through a half-dozen books, including the recent When God Stops Fighting: How Religious Violence Ends. 

Mark's book list on religious violence

Mark Juergensmeyer Why did Mark love this book?

This modern classic by a Harvard anthropologist is about torture and inflicted body pain in general, though it has abundant examples from the bible and religion-related conflicts. Her main thesis is that acts of torture are attempts to destroy the worlds of the victim and remake them in the mold of the torturer. It helps us understand that acts of religious violence are always so some extent a clash of worldviews and the attempt to forcibly destroy one view of reality with another. 

By Elaine Scarry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Part philosophical meditation, part cultural critique, this profoundly original work explores the nature of physical suffering. Elaine Scarry bases her study on a wide range of sources: literature and art, medical case histories, documents on torture compiled by Amnesty International, legal transcripts of personal injury trials, and military and strategic writings by such figures as Clausewitz, Churchill, Liddell Hart, and Henry Kissinger. Scarry begins with the fact
of pain's inexpressibility. Not only is physical pain difficult to describe in words, it also actively destroys language, reducing sufferers in the most extreme cases to an inarticulate state of cries and moans.…


Book cover of The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India

Mircea Raianu Author Of Tata: The Global Corporation That Built Indian Capitalism

From my list on capitalism in 21st century India.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a historian of global capitalism and South Asia, writing about corporations as they are and how they could be. I've looked at India with the eyes of an outsider, drawing on my experiences growing up in 1990s Eastern Europe during a time of political upheaval and shock privatizations as the old communist order crumbled. Having witnessed the rise of a new class of monopolists and oligarchs in its stead, I became interested in the many different ways capitalists exercise power in society over time and around the world, and how we as ordinary citizens relate to them. I'm now interested in thinkers, activists, and entrepreneurs who have tried to experiment with alternatives

Mircea's book list on capitalism in 21st century India

Mircea Raianu Why did Mircea love this book?

Readers are spoiled for choice when it comes to investigative journalism and narrative non-fiction about contemporary India, but Siddhartha Deb’s collection of essays (titled after F. Scott Fitzgerald) stands out in a crowded field. Though a decade old, it has not lost any of its relevance or punch. Deb profiles a series of unforgettable figures, from a controversial upstart businessman to emigrant engineers, peasant revolutionaries, informal industrial workers, and a waitress who serves the rich and powerful. The book moves seamlessly from the city to the countryside, exposing both the aspirations and the frustrations of capitalism as it is really lived and felt by a wide cross-section of people across India. 

By Siddhartha Deb,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Globe and Mail Best Books of the Year 2011 Title

Siddhartha Deb grew up in a remote town in the northeastern hills of India and made his way to the United States via a fellowship at Columbia. Six years after leaving home, he returned as an undercover reporter for The Guardian, working at a call center in Delhi in 2004, a time when globalization was fast proceeding and Thomas L. Friedman declared the world flat. Deb's experience interviewing the call-center staff led him to undertake this book and travel throughout the subcontinent.

The Beautiful and the Damned examines India's…


Book cover of The Home and the World

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni Author Of Independence

From my list on the many mysteries of India.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer and a professor, I love sharing knowledge of my birth country (India) and the experiences of Indian immigrants in America. My first book, Arranged Marriage, is about the transformed lives of immigrant women and won an American Book Award. Mistress of Spices is about a spice-shop owner who knows magic, was a national bestseller, and became a film. One Amazing Thing is a multicultural novel about nine people trapped by an earthquake, was a Citywide Read in over 25 US cities. Recently, fascinated by the richness of Indian history, I have delved into it in novels like The Last Queen, set in the 1800s, and Independence, set in the 1940s. 

Chitra's book list on the many mysteries of India

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni Why did Chitra love this book?

Tagore’s novel, though set in the same time period as Forster’s, invited me into a very different India—the interior of a great, mysterious mansion and the minds and hearts of the women who live there, especially Bimala, the heroine. It helped me understand the freedom movement that was taking shape against the British, the desire of women to be part of this adventure, and the corruption and greed that crept in among the patriots. It’s a coming-of-age story and a love story, too.  

By Rabindranath Tagore, William Radice (editor), Surendranath Tagore (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Set on a Bengali noble's estate in 1908, this is both a love story and a novel of political awakening. The central character, Bimala, is torn between the duties owed to her husband, Nikhil, and the demands made on her by the radical leader, Sandip. Her attempts to resolve the irreconciliable pressures of the home and world reflect the conflict in India itself, and the tragic outcome foreshadows the unrest that accompanied Partition in 1947.


Book cover of The Silent Coup: A History of India's Deep State

Shivam Shankar Singh Author Of How to Win an Indian Election

From my list on understanding Indian politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I graduated early from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor to come back to my home country and work in Indian politics. Since then I’ve worked with a Member of Parliament, handled campaign design in states across India, and headed data analytics for India’s largest political party. This experience gave me an inside view of how politics operates and how elections are actually won. The fact that this was at a time when Indian politics was going through massive changes with micro-targeting, digital technologies and disinformation gaining ground made the experience even more unique. Based on this experience, my books detail how power is gained, (mis)used, and lost.

Shivam's book list on understanding Indian politics

Shivam Shankar Singh Why did Shivam love this book?

Although elections are dependent on how people choose to cast their ballot in the voting booth, politics is much larger than just elections. Political power isn’t just retained by convincing citizens to vote for you, it is sometimes also retained by crushing opposition voices and concocting fake narratives. This book shows how political parties in India have used organs of the state, including the police, investigative bodies, and intelligence agencies to consolidate power. It was a heartbreaking read, but it offered key insights into understanding how political power is actually wielded in the world’s largest democracy. 

By Josy Joseph,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of The Free Voice: On Democracy, Culture and the Nation

Shivam Shankar Singh Author Of How to Win an Indian Election

From my list on understanding Indian politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I graduated early from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor to come back to my home country and work in Indian politics. Since then I’ve worked with a Member of Parliament, handled campaign design in states across India, and headed data analytics for India’s largest political party. This experience gave me an inside view of how politics operates and how elections are actually won. The fact that this was at a time when Indian politics was going through massive changes with micro-targeting, digital technologies and disinformation gaining ground made the experience even more unique. Based on this experience, my books detail how power is gained, (mis)used, and lost.

Shivam's book list on understanding Indian politics

Shivam Shankar Singh Why did Shivam love this book?

It takes a lot from a lot of different stakeholders for a democracy to thrive. It requires unbiased institutions that ensure a level playing field for all political parties and candidates, and one of the primary institutions that keep democracy alive is the media. A vote is only an informed decision when voters have accurate information to base their decision on. The responsibility of making this information accessible rests with a nation’s media. For this reason, it is also one of the first institutions that is targeted by any politician wanting to consolidate power. This book, written by one of India’s leading journalists details how media institutions can be transformed from sources of accurate information to drivers of fear, and how that damages democracy. 

By Ravish Kumar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'This brave and timely book should be required reading for every Indian.'--Nayantara Sahgal

In this revised paperback edition of his best-selling book, Ravish Kumar, one of our bravest and most mature public voices, examines why debate and dialogue have given way to hate and intolerance in India, how elected representatives, the media and other institutions are failing us, and looks at ways to repair the damage to our democracy.

A new introduction and two additional essays examine developments since the election results of May 2019.


Book cover of A Feast of Vultures: The Hidden Business of Democracy in India

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta Author Of Gas Wars - Crony Capitalism and the Ambanis

From my list on crony capitalism.

Why am I passionate about this?

For over 44 years, I have been a writer, speaker, anchor, interviewer, teacher, analyst/commentator, publisher, producer, director, and consultant across different mass media: the written word, the spoken word, and the audio-visual medium – printed publications and websites, radio and podcasts, television, and documentary cinema. As a student of the political economy of India, I have sought to investigate the working of the nexus between business and politics. I am of the view that crony capitalism and oligarchy are at the roots of much that has gone wrong in the country of my birth and domicile which is often described as the “world’s largest democracy”.

Paranjoy's book list on crony capitalism

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta Why did Paranjoy love this book?

This book describes in fascinating detail several episodes of crony capitalism in contemporary India. The author focuses on the intimate nexus between big business and politics that shapes economic policies and covertly funds elections, often to the detriment of the interests of underprivileged sections of society. Drawing on his experience as an investigative journalist, Josy Joseph delineates corporate rivalries, the activities of shady lobbyists and recounts financial scandals. A riveting read.

By Josy Joseph,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Every day, millions of people -- the rich, the poor and the many foreign visitors -- are hunting for ways to get their business done in modern India. If they search in the right places and offer the appropriate price, there is always a facilitator who can get the job done. This book is a sneak preview of those searches, the middlemen who do those jobs, and the many opportunities that the fast-growing economy offers.' Josy Joseph draws upon two decades as an investigative journalist to expose a problem so pervasive that we do not have the words to speak…


Book cover of Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India

Sayeed Ferdous Author Of Partition as Border-Making: East Bengal, East Pakistan and Bangladesh

From my list on South Asian history and culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

I teach anthropology but find my niche in the blurred zone of history and anthropology. My research interests include South Asian Studies; Historiography; Memory/Forgetting, and Postcolonial Nation, State, and Nationalism. My book Partition as Border-Making draws upon ethnographic details, using oral historical accounts from the Bengal borderland and archival materials. Focusing upon the significance of the mundane in history and its presentness, this research contributes to understanding postcolonial South Asia beyond “indocentrism.” At present, I am co-editing a Bangladesh Reader. In 2021, I jointly conducted a research project on the Partition migrants to Dhaka in partnership with Goethe Institute, Bangladesh.

Sayeed's book list on South Asian history and culture

Sayeed Ferdous Why did Sayeed love this book?

Reading Guha was an eye-opening experience for me for at least two reasons. One, he was the founding figure of subaltern historiography; and two, abandoning the colonial knowledge project, he introduced a whole new horizon of South Asian studies to his readers. First by acknowledging and then by understanding the consciousness and politics of the colonial marginal, Guha explored peasant insurgency in a new light.

In his battle against colonialist and nationalist historiographies, Guha also distanced himself from his Marxist colleagues in history. 

By Ranajit Guha,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Foreword by James Scott

This classic work in subaltern studies explores the common elements present in rebel consciousness during the Indian colonial period. Ranajit Guha-intellectual founder of the groundbreaking and influential Subaltern Studies Group-describes from the peasants' viewpoint the relations of dominance and subordination in rural India from 1783 to 1900.
Challenging the idea that peasants were powerless agents who rebelled blindly against British imperialist oppression and local landlord exploitation, Guha emphasizes their awareness and will to effect political change. He suggests that the rebellions represented the birth of a theoretical consciousness and asserts that India's long subaltern tradition lent…


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