10 books like The Warmth of Other Suns

By Isabel Wilkerson,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Warmth of Other Suns. Shepherd is a community of 6,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

Their Eyes Were Watching God

By Zora Neale Hurston,

Book cover of Their Eyes Were Watching God

This is the book that, after three years of a long and often turgid English degree, made me fall back in love with reading. Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on boardis there a better opening line in the English language? The novel tells the story of Janey, an African American woman in Florida in the 1920s, and her three husbands. A candidate for shaming and marginalisation if ever there was one. But Janey resists every constraint that society seeks to impose on her. I read this book whenever I need a good weep. 

Their Eyes Were Watching God

By Zora Neale Hurston,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Their Eyes Were Watching God as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cover design by Harlem renaissance artist Lois Mailou Jones

When Janie, at sixteen, is caught kissing shiftless Johnny Taylor, her grandmother swiftly marries her off to an old man with sixty acres. Janie endures two stifling marriages before meeting the man of her dreams, who offers not diamonds, but a packet of flowering seeds ...

'For me, THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD is one of the very greatest American novels of the 20th century. It is so lyrical it should be sentimental; it is so passionate it should be overwrought, but it is instead a rigorous, convincing and dazzling piece…


Seabiscuit

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Book cover of Seabiscuit: An American Legend

A true-life horse racing Rocky story set against the backdrop of the Great Depression. While the blurb may sound like something straight out of Disney, Hillenbrand doesn’t shy away from exposing the darker side of racing, especially when it comes to the mistreatment of jockeys and horses.

Seabiscuit

By Laura Hillenbrand,

Why should I read it?

5 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…

Slavery by Another Name

By Douglas A. Blackmon,

Book cover of Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II

The wealth gap between Blacks and Whites in the U.S. is enormous! Whites have 10 times the wealth as Blacks. The disparity is not because Whites are smarter or have worked harder. This book does a masterful job of clearly explaining one of the reasons behind the wide wealth gap. 

Most people are aware of the fact that 246 years of slavery was a successful government policy that intentionally enriched Whites while simultaneously impoverishing Blacks. But most people are not aware that a new system with the same dual objectives, followed the abolition of slavery in 1865. This book tells the story of Black Codes, Vagrancy Laws, and convict leasing that occurred for 60 years after the passage of the 13th Amendment, emancipating Black enslaved people. These government supported policies replaced slavery as the new program to subsidize White wealth creation at the expense of millions of Blacks. 

Douglas Blackman…

Slavery by Another Name

By Douglas A. Blackmon,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Slavery by Another Name as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This groundbreaking historical expose unearths the lost stories of enslaved persons and their descendants who journeyed into freedom after the Emancipation Proclamation and then back into the shadow of involuntary servitude shortly thereafter in “The Age of Neoslavery.”

By turns moving, sobering, and shocking, this unprecedented Pulitzer Prize-winning account reveals the stories of those who fought unsuccessfully against the re-emergence of human labor trafficking, the companies that profited most from neoslavery, and the insidious legacy of racism that reverberates today.

Following the Emancipation Proclamation, convicts—mostly black men—were “leased” through forced labor camps operated by state and federal governments. Using a…


The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

By Kim Michele Richardson,

Book cover of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

If you’re looking for a story rich in a southern setting, you cannot go wrong with this one. Richardson is masterful at dialogue, and her prose is sure to sweep you into a surprising, enchanting world. I love stories like The Book Woman because I learn something new, but I don’t feel like I’m learning. I feel like I’m living in the world of the story.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

By Kim Michele Richardson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A USA TODAY BESTSELLER
A LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER
AN OKRA PICK
The bestselling historical fiction from Kim Michele Richardson, this is a novel following Cussy Mary, a packhorse librarian and her quest to bring books to the Appalachian community she loves, perfect for readers of Lee Smith and Lisa Wingate. The perfect addition to your next book club!
The hardscrabble folks of Troublesome Creek have to scrap for everything-everything except books, that is. Thanks to Roosevelt's Kentucky Pack Horse Library Project, Troublesome's got its very own traveling librarian, Cussy Mary Carter.
Cussy's not only…


Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments

By Saidiya V. Hartman,

Book cover of Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals

When I first read this book, I thought “This is the book I’ve been waiting for!” Focused on New York and Philadelphia at the beginning of the 20th century, it explores the intimate lives of Black women who have been largely invisible in Black women’s history: girls and women who did not fit the definitions of Black “respectability.” Using sources in ways creative and thrilling, it explores how those women imagined a “free life” within a world shaped by racism, sexual abuse, single motherhood, and economic insecurity. Sometimes their new forms of intimacy involved “ordinary refusals”to follow the law, to do menial labor, to submitwhile at other times their challenges to Victorian beliefs and practices involved song, luxury, and sex. Hartman’s book is a gorgeous read.

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments

By Saidiya V. Hartman,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Beautifully written and deeply researched, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments examines the revolution of black intimate life that unfolded in Philadelphia and New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. In wrestling with the question of what a free life is, many young black women created forms of intimacy and kinship indifferent to the dictates of respectability and outside the bounds of law. They cleaved to and cast off lovers, exchanged sex to subsist, and revised the meaning of marriage. Longing and desire fueled their experiments in how to live. They refused to labor like slaves or to accept degrading…


The Making of the English Working Class

By E.P. Thompson,

Book cover of The Making of the English Working Class

This doorstop of a book, more than a half-century old, is a sterling example of how to recover the lives of ordinary folk. The subjects here are laboring people who suffered through, accommodated, and resisted the astonishing upheaval of British industrialization. Over the years, Thompson has been criticized for how he defined class and for failing to attend to the women who fought and suffered alongside the men. These are fair criticisms. What stands is his determination to explain how people who were considered lowly and backward by the elites of their day contributed to “the making of history,” and his passionate conviction that lives long gone should be remembered.

The Making of the English Working Class

By E.P. Thompson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Making of the English Working Class as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fifty years since first publication, E. P. Thompson's revolutionary account of working-class culture and ideals is published in Penguin Modern Classics, with a new introduction by historian Michael Kenny

This classic and imaginative account of working-class society in its formative years, 1780 to 1832, revolutionized our understanding of English social history. E. P. Thompson shows how the working class took part in its own making and re-creates the whole-life experience of people who suffered loss of status and freedom, who underwent degradation, and who yet created a cultured and political consciousness of great vitality.

Reviews:

'A dazzling vindication of the…


Caste

By Isabel Wilkerson,

Book cover of Caste

I wish this book was required reading for every American. This book helped me reframe my understanding of racism in the U.S. by contextualizing it in terms of caste systems. It explains and compares three different caste systems—in India, in the U.S., and in the Third Reich in Germany. I had never heard the idea of caste applied to America before, and after reading this, I can’t think of America except in terms of caste. I now realize there are parts of American history and culture where the word ‘racism’ doesn’t quite communicate what’s happening. But understanding and using ‘caste’ in these instances, provides a much more accurate assessment. The better we understand our country’s real issues, the more likely we can address them.

Caste

By Isabel Wilkerson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE TIME NONFICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR | #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"Powerful and timely ... I cannot recommend it strongly enough" - Barack Obama

From one of America's most celebrated and insightful writers, the moving, eye-opening bestseller about what lies hidden under the surface of ordinary lives

In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human…


A Shot in the Moonlight

By Ben Montgomery,

Book cover of A Shot in the Moonlight: How a Freed Slave and a Confederate Soldier Fought for Justice in the Jim Crow South

A riveting true story about a freed slave and a confederate soldier who fought for justice in the Jim Crow South. The freed slave became the first man to beat a lynch mob in court. His small blow to racism made him a hero but one few know. I cried at his setbacks and cheered for every small victory along the way. Once I started reading, I could not put it down.

A Shot in the Moonlight

By Ben Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Shot in the Moonlight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After moonrise on the cold night of January 21, 1897, a mob of twenty five white men gathered in a patch of woods near Big Road in southwestern Simpson County, Kentucky. Half carried rifles and shotguns, and a few tucked pistols in their pants. Their target? George Dinning, a freed slave who'd farmed peacefully in the area for 14 years, and had been wrongfully accused of stealing livestock from a neighboring farm. When the mob began firing through the doors and windows of Dinning's house, he fired back in self-defense, shooting and killing the son of a wealthy Kentucky family.…


His Truth Is Marching on

By John Meacham,

Book cover of His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hope

An intimate and historically accurate portrait of an extraordinary civil rights icon. Meachem carefully recreates the struggles for equality in the life of John Lewis. The passing of Lewis to the close proximity of our loss of Elijah Cummings left a deep hole in my heart that was soothed by this masterful portrayal of a real American hero. An uplifting book that shines a bright light of hope for future improvement.

His Truth Is Marching on

By John Meacham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked His Truth Is Marching on as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An intimate and revealing portrait of civil rights icon and longtime U.S. congressman John Lewis, linking his life to the painful quest for justice in America from the 1950s to the present—from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Soul of America 

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND COSMOPOLITAN 

John Lewis, who at age twenty-five marched in Selma, Alabama, and was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, was a visionary and a man of faith. Drawing on decades of wide-ranging interviews with Lewis, Jon Meacham writes of…

The Power Broker

By Robert A. Caro,

Book cover of The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York

Arguably, no single person has shaped the built environment of New York City as much as Robert Moses. To some, he was an evil dictator imposing his will on the urban fabric; while to others, he was the man who got things done. In his four-decade career, Moses oversaw the buildings of beaches, parks, highways, bridges, tunnels, public housing, slum clearance projects, and World Fairs. Caro’s work is a detailed chronicle of Moses’ life and projects. Five decades later, one can quibble with Caro’s conclusions, but it remains a jaw-dropping tome about how Moses reshaped New York, for good and for bad.

The Power Broker

By Robert A. Caro,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Power Broker as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro is 'simply one of the best non-fiction books in English of the last forty years' (Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times): a riveting and timeless account of power, politics and the city of New York by 'the greatest political biographer of our times' (Sunday Times); chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of All Time and by the Modern Library as one of the 100 Greatest Books of the Twentieth Century; Winner of the Pulitzer Prize; a Sunday Times Bestseller; 'An outright masterpiece' (Evening Standard)

The Power Broker tells the…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Great Migration, human migration, and African Americans?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Great Migration, human migration, and African Americans.

The Great Migration Explore 5 books about the Great Migration
Human Migration Explore 12 books about human migration
African Americans Explore 474 books about African Americans