65 books like The White Masai

By Corinne Hofmann,

Here are 65 books that The White Masai fans have personally recommended if you like The White Masai. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

Sylvia Vetta Author Of Not so Black and White

From my list on insights into Kenya.

Why am I passionate about this?

EM Forster said, "Only Connect." That has inspired my life and work. The Oxford Times published my Oxtopian castaway series, and those life stories were turned into three books. The castaways, with links to Oxford, were from five continents. One of those castaways was Kenyan-born Nancy Mudenyo Hunt. Nancy founded the Nasio Trust, which has transformed the lives of hundreds of disadvantaged young people in West Kenya and Oxfordshire. With friends, I’m currently fundraising to build the first community library in West Kenya. Nancy asked if we could write a book together, and we did. We wrote a novel inspired by her life.

Sylvia's book list on insights into Kenya

Sylvia Vetta Why did Sylvia love this book?

Barack Obama’s father was part of the story of Kenya’s road to freedom, and yet his son, Barrack, hardly knew him. His father met Barack’s mother while on a scholarship to the USA but abandoned her and his son when he returned to Kenya in 1964 and became a senior economist in the Kenyan Ministry of Finance.

We researched his life when writing our book. My co-author, Nancy Mudenyo Hunt, is also of Luo ancestry. Her father attended Obama’s funeral. This memoir is a testimony to the struggle of children of mixed heritage to decide on their identity. I find it sad that the young Obama is identified by the father who left him and not by his mother who cherished him.

By Barack Obama,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Dreams from My Father as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • ONE OF ESSENCE’S 50 MOST IMPACTFUL BLACK BOOKS OF THE PAST 50 YEARS

In this iconic memoir of his early days, Barack Obama “guides us straight to the intersection of the most serious questions of identity, class, and race” (The Washington Post Book World).
 
“Quite extraordinary.”—Toni Morrison 
 
In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns that his father—a figure he knows more…


Book cover of Britain's Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya

Sylvia Vetta Author Of Not so Black and White

From my list on insights into Kenya.

Why am I passionate about this?

EM Forster said, "Only Connect." That has inspired my life and work. The Oxford Times published my Oxtopian castaway series, and those life stories were turned into three books. The castaways, with links to Oxford, were from five continents. One of those castaways was Kenyan-born Nancy Mudenyo Hunt. Nancy founded the Nasio Trust, which has transformed the lives of hundreds of disadvantaged young people in West Kenya and Oxfordshire. With friends, I’m currently fundraising to build the first community library in West Kenya. Nancy asked if we could write a book together, and we did. We wrote a novel inspired by her life.

Sylvia's book list on insights into Kenya

Sylvia Vetta Why did Sylvia love this book?

I appreciate books that help me understand the world and how we got here. Professor of History at Harvard, Caroline Elkins, spent seven years researching Britain’s Gulag. The UK is justly proud of standing up to Hitler’s fascism, but we need to look dispassionately at the history of the British Empire. Kenyan soldiers fought alongside British armed forces in WW2, but their reward was not medals.

The Mau Mau uprising in Kenya in the fifties was a massive armed rebellion by the Kikuyu people, demanding the return of their land and freedom. The response of Britain's colonial government was to detain nearly the entire Kikuyu population of one-and-a-half-million - to hold them in camps or confine them in villages ringed with barbed wire - to treat and portray them, including ex-British soldiers, as sub-human savages.  

By Caroline Elkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Britain's Gulag as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Only a few years after Britain defeated fascism came the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya - a mass armed rebellion by the Kikuyu people, demanding the return of their land and freedom. The draconian response of Britain's colonial government was to detain nearly the entire Kikuyu population of 1.5 million and to portray them as sub-human savages. Detainees in their thousands - possibly a hundred thousand or more - died from exhaustion, disease, starvation and systemic physical brutality. For decades these events remained untold.

Caroline Elkins conducted years of research to piece together this story, unearthing reams of documents and…


Book cover of Unbowed: A Memoir

Sylvia Vetta Author Of Not so Black and White

From my list on insights into Kenya.

Why am I passionate about this?

EM Forster said, "Only Connect." That has inspired my life and work. The Oxford Times published my Oxtopian castaway series, and those life stories were turned into three books. The castaways, with links to Oxford, were from five continents. One of those castaways was Kenyan-born Nancy Mudenyo Hunt. Nancy founded the Nasio Trust, which has transformed the lives of hundreds of disadvantaged young people in West Kenya and Oxfordshire. With friends, I’m currently fundraising to build the first community library in West Kenya. Nancy asked if we could write a book together, and we did. We wrote a novel inspired by her life.

Sylvia's book list on insights into Kenya

Sylvia Vetta Why did Sylvia love this book?

In the 1970s, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on tree planting, environmental conservation, and women's rights. She became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy, and peace.”

That sounds straightforward if remarkable, but it doesn’t reflect the courage she needed to achieve it. Her work was often considered both unwelcome and subversive in her own country, where her outspokenness constituted stepping far outside traditional gender roles—a situation Nancy understands all too well, having grown up in West Kenya. Unbowed is Wangari’s story in her own words.

By Wangari Maathai,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NOBEL PRIZE WINNER • A remarkable memoir of courage, faith, and the power of persistence about one woman's extraodinary journey from her childhood in rural Kenya to the world stage.  

“[Maathai’s] story provides uplifting proof of the power of perseverance—and of the power of principled, passionate people to change their countries and inspire the world.”  —The Washington Post

In Unbowed, Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai recounts her extraordinary life. When Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977, she began a vital poor people’s environmental movement, focused on the empowerment of women, that soon spread across Africa. Persevering through run-ins…


Book cover of Cosmic Cats

Sylvia Vetta Author Of Not so Black and White

From my list on insights into Kenya.

Why am I passionate about this?

EM Forster said, "Only Connect." That has inspired my life and work. The Oxford Times published my Oxtopian castaway series, and those life stories were turned into three books. The castaways, with links to Oxford, were from five continents. One of those castaways was Kenyan-born Nancy Mudenyo Hunt. Nancy founded the Nasio Trust, which has transformed the lives of hundreds of disadvantaged young people in West Kenya and Oxfordshire. With friends, I’m currently fundraising to build the first community library in West Kenya. Nancy asked if we could write a book together, and we did. We wrote a novel inspired by her life.

Sylvia's book list on insights into Kenya

Sylvia Vetta Why did Sylvia love this book?

Feel the force of fifty children’s voices and celebrate how art and story-telling unite young people who live continents apart. At age seven, I discovered libraries and a love of reading and writing, but the idea that a working-class girl from Luton could become an author was as crazy as eating the straw boater with which my birthplace was associated.

Middle-class parents can afford to buy books for their children. Lack of access to books for children without them is a handicap for upward mobility. That is why the Nasio Trust wants to build the first community library in West Kenya, and Cosmic Cats will be the first book in the library to show the children that they belong there. In our imaginations, we are all equal. BBC South recorded the launch, bringing together the two schools.

By Various,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Cosmic Cats as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

Feel the force of fifty children's voices. Recognise the bravery of turning an empty page into a living story and celebrate how art and story-telling brings together young people who live continents apart.


Cosmic Cats connects Mumias Township Primary School (Kenya) and St Swithuns CE Primary School (England).


Book cover of Women of Discriminating Taste: White Sororities and the Making of American Ladyhood

Jana Mathews Author Of The Benefits of Friends: Inside the Complicated World of Today's Sororities and Fraternities

From my list on making you wish you joined a sorority or fraternity.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 2011, I was a newly minted college professor who was trying to support my students’ interests (Greek life) in hopes that they would return the favor and support mine (medieval literature). Never in a million years would I have guessed that accepting an invitation to attend a Greek event on campus would snowball into receiving a bid to join a National Panhellenic Conference sorority and serve as its faculty advisor. Somewhere along the way, I realized that my perspective uniquely positioned me to shed new light on the longstanding controversies plaguing these organizations and provide a new lens through which to view their impact not only on campus culture but society at large. 

Jana's book list on making you wish you joined a sorority or fraternity

Jana Mathews Why did Jana love this book?

I’m a self-professed history junkie, and this recent contribution to the history of white Greek life picks up more or less where Turk left off.

The most fascinating and important argument that this book makes is that white southern sororities fundamentally influenced the definition of femininity in the South in the mid-twentieth century.

Understanding how and why southern sororities constructed womanhood before the advent of social media goes a long way in explaining why sorority women at universities in Oregon and Minnesota look and act eerily like sorority women at Ole Miss and the University of Alabama.

By Margaret L. Freeman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Women of Discriminating Taste examines the role of historically white sororities in the shaping of white womanhood in the twentieth century. As national women’s organizations, sororities have long held power on college campuses and in American life. Yet the groups also have always been conservative in nature and inherently discriminatory, selecting new members on the basis of social class, religion, race, or physical attractiveness. In the early twentieth century, sororities filled a niche on campuses as they purported to prepare college women for “ladyhood.” Sorority training led members to comport themselves as hyperfeminine, heterosocially inclined, traditionally minded women following a…


Book cover of The Trouble with White Women: A Counterhistory of Feminism

Nancy A. Hewitt Author Of Radical Friend: Amy Kirby Post and Her Activist Worlds

From my list on racial politics and women’s activism in the US.

Why am I passionate about this?

In Rochester, New York, where I was raised, Susan Anthony and Frederick Douglass are local heroes. But in the late 1960s, I was drawn more to grassroots movements than charismatic leaders. Despite dropping out of college—twice—I completed a B.A. in 1974 and then pursued a PhD in History. My 1981 dissertation and first book focused on three networks of mainly white female activists in nineteenth-century Rochester. Of the dozens of women I studied, Amy Post most clearly epitomized the power of interracial, mixed-sex, and cross-class movements for social justice. After years of inserting Post in articles, textbooks, and websites, I finally published Radical Friend in hopes of inspiring scholars and activists to follow her lead. 

Nancy's book list on racial politics and women’s activism in the US

Nancy A. Hewitt Why did Nancy love this book?

Schuller’s book critiques the elitist and racist views of well-known white feminists from Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Sheryl Sandberg and highlights a counter-politics created by women of color and poor and trans women. The author explores as well white feminists who embraced the latter’s intersectional vision. Each chapter examines two contemporary feminists. I found the comparisons of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Frances E. W. Harper, Pauli Murray and Betty Friedan, and Harriet Beecher Stowe and Harriet Jacobs especially powerful. (The author’s discussion of Jacobs draws on letters she wrote to her friend and ally, Amy Post.) Schuller presents a powerful critique of one version of white feminism and an equally powerful vision of a racially-inclusive intersectional feminism. 

By Kyla Schuller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Trouble with White Women as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An incisive history of self-serving white feminists and the inspiring women who’ve continually defied them

Women including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Margaret Sanger, and Sheryl Sandberg are commonly celebrated as leaders of feminism. Yet they have fought for the few, not the many. As award-winning scholar Kyla Schuller argues, their white feminist politics dispossess the most marginalized to liberate themselves.

In The Trouble with White Women, Schuller brings to life the two-hundred-year counter history of Black, Indigenous, Latina, poor, queer, and trans women pushing back against white feminists and uniting to dismantle systemic injustice. These feminist heroes such as Frances Harper,…


Book cover of We Mean to Be Counted: White Women and Politics in Antebellum Virginia

Mark R. Cheathem Author Of The Coming of Democracy: Presidential Campaigning in the Age of Jackson

From my list on early U.S. presidential campaigning.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a historian of the U.S. presidency, I have long been fascinated by the ways in which aspirants for the White House energize and harness popular support for their candidacy. Tracing the development of electioneering practices from the early 1800s to today has been fascinating. Is there a connection between the hickory sprigs worn by Andrew Jackson’s supporters and the MAGA hats worn by Donald Trump’s supporters? Between the political rallies of William Henry Harrison and those of every modern presidential candidate? Between the derision leveled at politically active women in the 1830s and that directed at Sarah Palin and Hilary Rodham Clinton in the twenty-first century? You betcha!

Mark's book list on early U.S. presidential campaigning

Mark R. Cheathem Why did Mark love this book?

Varon’s book is another classic study. She examines not only the role of women in supporting traditionally male political activities but also in broadening the definition of what constituted political activity. While Varon focuses on Virginia, evidence of her argument can be seen in other parts of the United States, as I found in my own research.

By Elizabeth R. Varon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Mean to Be Counted as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Over the past two decades, historians have successfully disputed the notion that American women remained wholly outside the realm of politics until the early twentieth century. Still, a consensus has prevailed that, unlike their Northern counterparts, women of the antebellum South were largely excluded from public life. With this book, Elizabeth Varon effectively challenges such historical assumptions. Using a wide array of sources, she demonstrates that throughout the antebellum period, white Southern women of the slaveholding class were important actors in the public drama of politics. Through their voluntary associations, legislative petitions, presence at political meetings and rallies, and published…


Book cover of Recitatif: A Story

Alice Neikirk Author Of The Elephant Has Two Sets of Teeth: Bhutanese Refugees and Humanitarian Governance

From my list on cross-cultural interactions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a small, rural community that is perhaps best defined by cold, grey, rainy days – perfect reading weather. I developed an interest in learning about different places and cultures through books. Then I started traveling and my interest turned into a passion, that transformed my educational journey. I completed a Masters and PhD in Anthropology and did my field research for my degree in Australia and Nepal. I still love to learn about new cultures, though the children have meant less traveling and more adventuring via books!

Alice's book list on cross-cultural interactions

Alice Neikirk Why did Alice love this book?

The third book is possibly one of the shortest standalone books I have read, but also one of the most powerful.

Toni Morrison’s post-humous work Recitatif is the story of two poor girls, one white and one black, living in a shelter and their lives as adults. They share their past experiences, and unfortunately both witness a disturbing incident while wards of the state.

This book makes my list for best books about cross-cultural interactions because the reader doesn’t know which girl is black and which is white. It unsettles the reader and forces self-reflection, why am I trying to determine the race of these girls and what does that reflect about my own culture?

By Toni Morrison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER • A beautiful, arresting story about race and the relationships that shape us through life by the legendary Nobel Prize winner—for the first time in a beautifully produced stand-alone edition, with an introduction by Zadie Smith

“A puzzle of a story, then—a game.... When [Morrison] called Recitatif an ‘experiment’ she meant it. The subject of the experiment is the reader.” —Zadie Smith, award-winning, best-selling author of White Teeth

In this 1983 short story—the only short story Morrison ever wrote—we meet Twyla and Roberta, who have known each other since they were eight years old and…


Book cover of White Feminism: From the Suffragettes to Influencers and Who They Leave Behind

Macaela Mackenzie Author Of Money, Power, Respect: How Women in Sports Are Shaping the Future of Feminism

From my list on explaining why the gender gap is bullsh*t.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a journalist, I write about women and power. I’ve written about everything from taboos in women’s health, to the importance of reproductive autonomy, to the ability of women athletes to shape culture. Across all of these subjects, my work is rooted in the desire to explore the factors that drive gender inequity and how we can create lasting cultural changes that will close the gap. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in writing over 2,500 stories, it’s that gender inequity—from the pay gap, to the motherhood penalty—always comes back to power. And to one group’s desire to keep it at all costs. 

Macaela's book list on explaining why the gender gap is bullsh*t

Macaela Mackenzie Why did Macaela love this book?

White Feminism should be required reading for all but particularly for those interested in building more feminist spaces.

Journalist Koa Beck outlines the history of white feminism—essentially feminism that aspires to gain power within a system that harms marginalized groups—in a way that challenged me to rethink some of the biggest “feminist” movements in history.

From suffragettes to girlbosses, she sheds light on the ugly truth at the heart of so many feminist movements, which have often helped to perpetuate inequality, particularly for women of color. Instead, she argues for the building of new systems that center the most marginalized in what is one of the most galvanizing books I’ve ever read. 

By Koa Beck,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Koa Beck writes with passion and insight about the knotted history of racism within women's movements and feminist culture, past and present. Curious, rigorous, and ultimately generous, White Feminism is a pleasure and an education.' Rebecca Traister, New York Times bestselling author of Good and Mad
'Intellectually smart and emotionally intelligent, Beck brilliantly articulates how feminism has failed women of colour and non-binary people. She illuminates the broad landscapes of systemic oppression and demands that white feminism evolve lest it continue to be as oppressive as the patriarchy.' Patrisse Khan-Cullors, cofounder of Black Lives Matter, author of When They Call…


Book cover of Lion Lights: My Invention That Made Peace with Lions

Patricia Newman Author Of A River's Gifts: The Mighty Elwha River Reborn

From my list on conservation that give readers hope.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write nonfiction books for children and teens that focus on current environmental stories. But environmental headlines are usually gloomy and filled with foreboding, so, I prefer to focus on stories that involve individuals identifying an environmental problem and working to develop a solution – hence this list of happy conservation stories. The stories in this list – and many others are the antidote to the headlines. They are the hope. They show human ingenuity at its most creative, most flexible, and most caring. Happy conservation stories empower kids, teens, and adults to care about the role they play in nature and unite them in action. 

Patricia's book list on conservation that give readers hope

Patricia Newman Why did Patricia love this book?

Conservation success isn’t always about saving animals or an ecosystem. Sometimes it’s about learning to live with nature.

Richard Turere’s story is a wonderful tale about how he protected his family’s cows – the first duty of a Maasai warrior – with an invention of his own making. And he was only twelve years old! His lion lights became so popular, they are protecting other Maasai families’ herds, too. I love this story of ingenuity, STEM, and learning to decrease human-wildlife conflicts to coexist.

By Richard Turere, Shelly Pollock, Sonia Possentini (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Lion Lights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

Richard Turere's own story: Richard grew up in Kenya as a Maasai boy, herding his family's cattle, which represented their wealth and livelihood. Richard's challenge was to protect their cattle from the lions who prowled the night just outside the barrier of acacia branches that surrounded the farm's boma, or stockade. Though not well-educated, 12-year-old Richard loved tinkering with electronics. Using salvaged components, spending $10, he surrounded the boma with blinking lights, and the system works; it keeps lions away. His invention, Lion Lights, is now used in Africa, Asia, and South America to protect farm animals from predators.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Kenya, Africa, and nature conservation?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Kenya, Africa, and nature conservation.

Kenya Explore 59 books about Kenya
Africa Explore 260 books about Africa
Nature Conservation Explore 35 books about nature conservation