35 books like The Year of the People

By Eugene J. McCarthy,

Here are 35 books that The Year of the People fans have personally recommended if you like The Year of the People. 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 We Won’t Go: Personal Accounts of War Objectors

Patrick Parr Author Of One Week in America: The 1968 Notre Dame Literary Festival and a Changing Nation

From my list on America in 1968.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a literary historian and I love reconstructing times in the past with enough factual detail that a reader feels as if they are there with the characters, side-by-side. I didn’t start this way. In fact, I wrote fiction for over a decade. It was only after writing eight atrocious, tension-less, now-in-a-box novels that I realized the books I enjoyed reading most were in the history and biography sections of a bookstore. Still, I was undeniably affected by my years in the trenches of fiction writing. As you may see from my choices, I love reading material from writers attempting to check the pulse of the country at that time. 

Patrick's book list on America in 1968

Patrick Parr Why did Patrick love this book?

We Won’t Go is a treasure trove of primary document material combined with personal accounts of regular American citizens objecting to the war in Vietnam. Instead of understanding the issue at a surface level, the stories Lynd collected help us understand the kind of arguments objectors had not just with the government, but also with each other. “If we try to avoid arrest,” wrote one conscientious objector, “or are content to let our friends be arrested instead of ourselves, we hand over to the government the key to deter everyone by jailing a few.” Whether you agree or not, Lynd’s book will give you a variety of perspectives on the issue, along with the actual ‘conscientious objector’ application.

By Alice Lynd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We Won’t Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the back of the book: "We Won't Go is a collection of accounts by men confronted with the dilemma of conscience which military service poses. In addition to the accounts of these war registers, We Won't Go contains the full text of the Seeger decision, a copy of the application for conscientious objector status, a selection of documents related to war crimes, and a list of sources of information for those who are faced with the problem of the draft."


Book cover of The Jeweler's Eye, A Book Of Irresistible Political Reflections

Patrick Parr Author Of One Week in America: The 1968 Notre Dame Literary Festival and a Changing Nation

From my list on America in 1968.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a literary historian and I love reconstructing times in the past with enough factual detail that a reader feels as if they are there with the characters, side-by-side. I didn’t start this way. In fact, I wrote fiction for over a decade. It was only after writing eight atrocious, tension-less, now-in-a-box novels that I realized the books I enjoyed reading most were in the history and biography sections of a bookstore. Still, I was undeniably affected by my years in the trenches of fiction writing. As you may see from my choices, I love reading material from writers attempting to check the pulse of the country at that time. 

Patrick's book list on America in 1968

Patrick Parr Why did Patrick love this book?

You can’t fairly assess the sixties without understanding one of the counterculture’s more prominent antagonists. In his sharp and at times scathing syndicated columns, William F. Buckley gave the Republican party some intellectual ground to stand on as the war in Vietnam escalated. This collection of his work, read in tandem with Lynd’s book, should give readers a sharp understanding of the tension coursing through the nation in 1968. Love him or hate him, his April 9, 1968 editorial, ‘The End of Martin Luther King,’ is worth a read. “Whatever [King’s] virtues and whatever his faults,” wrote Buckley, “he did not deserve assassination.” 

By William F. Buckley, Jr.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Jeweler's Eye, A Book Of Irresistible Political Reflections as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE JEWELER'S EYE, William Buckley is clearly at his best. He takes on everyone and everything-Gore Vidal, H. Rap Brown homosexuality, Playboy, Red China, Beatle John Lennon, the poll tax, Norman Mailer-you name it. But he never loses his poise, or lets up in his love affair with the English language.


Book cover of Redemption: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Last 31 Hours

Patrick Parr Author Of One Week in America: The 1968 Notre Dame Literary Festival and a Changing Nation

From my list on America in 1968.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a literary historian and I love reconstructing times in the past with enough factual detail that a reader feels as if they are there with the characters, side-by-side. I didn’t start this way. In fact, I wrote fiction for over a decade. It was only after writing eight atrocious, tension-less, now-in-a-box novels that I realized the books I enjoyed reading most were in the history and biography sections of a bookstore. Still, I was undeniably affected by my years in the trenches of fiction writing. As you may see from my choices, I love reading material from writers attempting to check the pulse of the country at that time. 

Patrick's book list on America in 1968

Patrick Parr Why did Patrick love this book?

I love books that use original interviews and granular detail to recreate specific moments in history. Rosenbloom’s book is a well-paced narrative rich with unique descriptions. There are several books about Dr. King’s assassination, but the reason I appreciate Rosenbloom’s account is that he attempts to recreate without agenda what is arguably the most traumatic moment of 1968. In Rosenbloom’s words: “This book is, most of all, a close-up view of King as he struggled against enormous odds to end poverty in America.” It’s a struggle that continues today. 

By Joseph Rosenbloom,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An “immersive, humanizing, and demystifying” (Charles Blow, New York Times) look at the final hours of Dr. King’s life as he seeks to revive the non-violent civil rights movement and push to end poverty in America.

At 10:33 a.m. on April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., landed in Memphis on a flight from Atlanta. A march that he had led in Memphis six days earlier to support striking garbage workers had turned into a riot, and King was returning to prove that he could lead a violence-free protest.

King’s reputation as a credible, non-violent leader of the civil…


Book cover of A Bill of Rites, A Bill of Wrongs, A Bill of Goods

Patrick Parr Author Of One Week in America: The 1968 Notre Dame Literary Festival and a Changing Nation

From my list on America in 1968.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a literary historian and I love reconstructing times in the past with enough factual detail that a reader feels as if they are there with the characters, side-by-side. I didn’t start this way. In fact, I wrote fiction for over a decade. It was only after writing eight atrocious, tension-less, now-in-a-box novels that I realized the books I enjoyed reading most were in the history and biography sections of a bookstore. Still, I was undeniably affected by my years in the trenches of fiction writing. As you may see from my choices, I love reading material from writers attempting to check the pulse of the country at that time. 

Patrick's book list on America in 1968

Patrick Parr Why did Patrick love this book?

Perhaps you’re already aware of all of these books. Well, allow me to introduce Nebraska-born author Wright Morris—a perpetually ignored force of nature. Morris mainly wrote award-winning fiction, but this collection of essays was a refreshing and straightforward way of looking at, to take one offbeat example, hippies: “Hippies share some knowledge of where they have been, but no demonstrable insight into where they are going…What they share is a condition, not a direction.” Morris even temporarily torpedoes his own genre to make his point. “Who needs fiction? What could be stranger than the news on the hour?” In 1968 America, the ‘truth’ was indeed stranger than fiction.

Book cover of Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

Why am I passionate about this?

I have had a long career as a professor of organizational behavior. My view is that the most ignored and undervalued aspect of leadership is the development and implementation of political skills. Any leader who claims, “I don’t do politics” or “I’m not political,” is not serving themselves very well and, in fact, may be setting themselves up for failure. Whether in organizational life, in the sphere of public policy, or in daily life, we need to overcome the obstacles that impede our capacity to implement agendas and ideas and achieve our aspirations. Dreamers who lack political skills remain dreamers, not leaders. 

Samuel's book list on books for leaders who need to master the political skills to move ideas and innovations and overcome resistance

Samuel Bacharach Why did Samuel love this book?

Any book by Robert Caro is a worthy read. His quadrilogy on LBJ is a study of the ultimate, driven pragmatist.

Johnson, in pursuit of his agenda, was the epitome of the deal-maker, sweet-talker, persuader, and sometime-bully. In the work of Caro, Johnson may not be the most lovable of leaders, but certainly, he ranks among one of the most calculating and determined. He understood that achieving consensus, while essential, is not everything.

Furthermore, he had an appreciation that the appropriate use of power is a leadership skill. With that framework, Johnson had an innate understanding of the structural and legal limitations of the use of power. He recognized the rules of the Senate and realized the limitations of the presidency. Within these constraints, he was indeed the master of the influence game and truly the “Master of the Senate.”

There are lessons to learn and warnings to heed for…

By Robert A. Caro,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The greatest biography of our era ... Essential reading for those who want to comprehend power and politics' The Times

Robert A. Caro's legendary, multi-award-winning biography of US President Lyndon Johnson is a uniquely riveting and revelatory account of power, political genius and the shaping of twentieth-century America.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, Master of the Senate takes Johnson's story through one of its most remarkable periods: his twelve years, from 1949 to 1960, in the United States Senate. Once the most august and revered body in politics, by the time Johnson arrived the Senate…


Book cover of True Believer: Hubert Humphrey's Quest for a More Just America

John Kenneth White Author Of Grand Old Unraveling: The Republican Party, Donald Trump, and the Rise of Authoritarianism

From my list on who we are, how we’ve changed, and what gives us hope.

Why am I passionate about this?

Reading was a childhood passion of mine. My mother was a librarian and got me interested in reading early in life. When John F. Kennedy was running for president and after his assassination, I became intensely interested in politics. In addition to reading history and political biographies, I consumed newspapers and television news. It is this background that I have drawn upon over the decades that has added value to my research.

John's book list on who we are, how we’ve changed, and what gives us hope

John Kenneth White Why did John love this book?

Hubert Humphrey was a hero of mine. I met him a few times as a teenager. I loved this book and learned things about him, especially his hardscrabble childhood, that I did not know before.

Traub describes his rise to power at the 1948 Democratic Convention when he gave a powerful civil rights speech and his later frustrations as vice president under Lyndon Johnson. I love good biographies, and this is an especially good one.

By James Traub,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A celebrated historian recounts Hubert Humphrey's role as a liberal hero of twentieth-century America

Hubert Humphrey was liberalism's most dedicated defender, and its most public and tragic sacrifice. As a young politician in 1948, he defied segregationists and forced the Democratic Party to commit itself to civil rights. As a senator in 1964, he made good on that commitment by helping pass the Civil Rights Act. But as Lyndon B. Johnson's vice president, his support for the war in Vietnam made him a target for both Right and Left, and he suffered a shattering loss in the presidential election of…


Book cover of The Titanic Reports: The Official Conclusions of the 1912 Inquiries Into the Titanic Disaster by the Us Senate and the British Wreck Commis

Christopher Ward Author Of And the Band Played On...: The Enthralling Account of What Happened After the Titanic Sank

From my list on the Titanic from a variety of angles.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a former national newspaper editor and magazine publisher – and the grandson of Jock Hume, a violinist in the Titanic’s band. Jock, who was just 21 years old, had been playing on passenger ships since he was sixteen. His body was recovered ten days after the sinking, 40 miles from the scene the wreck. His family couldn’t afford to bring him home to Dumfries in Scotland, so he was buried alongside 121 other unclaimed Titanic bodies at Fairview Lawn Cemetery, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. My book is the story of Jock’s life, his death…and the previously untold scandal of the aftermath of the sinking.

Christopher's book list on the Titanic from a variety of angles

Christopher Ward Why did Christopher love this book?

Public inquiries these days last ten years or more, often without reaching a conclusion. But the American Senate inquiry into the sinking of Titanic opened the day after survivors docked in New York and was wrapped up in five weeks, with all the ugly facts laid bare.

Like its British counterpart some weeks later, the Senators had the advantage of questioning witnesses while events were still fresh in their minds and before stories could be conveniently changed. No stone was left unturned: the ice warnings about the danger of icebergs, the inadequate number of lifeboats, the Titanic’s unanswered SOS calls from nearby ships, the shameful statistics of those who lived and those who died…and so on. The White Star Line’s chairman, Bruce Ismay, was accorded no favours.

A single page sets out the stark reality of how the class system determined who lived and who died. More than half the…

By Senate Us Senate,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The official reports of the 1912 American and British inquiries into the Titanic. "Report of the United States Senate Committee to Investigate the Causes of the Loss of the White Star Liner Titanic" and "The British Wreck Commissioner's Report on the Loss of the Titanic".


Book cover of John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, a Private Life

Jason Emerson Author Of Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln

From my list on presidential children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an independent historian and journalist who has spent over 25 years studying Abraham Lincoln and his family. My fascination with the Great Emancipator began when I worked first as a student volunteer and then as a park ranger at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois. As I writer who has always loved history, I decided I should start writing about history. I've authored or edited eight books (seven on Lincoln and his family) as well as numerous articles. My big break came when I discovered a cache of Mary Lincoln’s missing letters, written during her time in a sanitarium in 1875, which had been missing for nearly 100 years.

Jason's book list on presidential children

Jason Emerson Why did Jason love this book?

John Quincy Adams is considered the most accomplished presidential son in U.S. history, as well as one of the most important and influential Americans since the nation’s founding. His lackluster one-term presidency and his cold demeanor, however, have left him with a tainted reputation—and yet his years both before and after his presidency are practically unparalleled in their achievements. John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, a Private Life by Paul C. Nagel is definitely the best distillation of Adams’s enormous life into one volume. Nagel covers the entirety of the great man’s public career while also digging into his complex psyche. I walked away from this book shocked and appalled at all I did not know of the younger Adams and his contributions to the creation of the American republic, and left with a voracious hunger to learn even more.

By Paul C. Nagel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

John Quincy Adams was raised, educated, and groomed to be President, following in the footsteps of his father, John. At fourteen he was secretary to the Minister to Russia and, later, was himself Minister to the Netherlands and Prussia. He was U.S. Senator, Secretary of State, and then President for one ill-fated term. His private life showed a parallel descent. He was a poet, writer, critic, and Professor of Oratory at Harvard. He married a talented and engaging Southerner, but two of his three sons were disappointments. This polymath and troubled man, caught up in both a democratic age not…


Book cover of Social Security: The Unfinished Work

John A. Turner Author Of Sustaining Social Security in an Era of Population Aging

From my list on fixing social security.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an economist with a PhD from the University of Chicago, I have focused my research on fixing Social Security and pension policy. I have researched and written about these issues for the U.S. and other countries around the world, as well as consulting on these issues in a number of countries. My career has included working at policy research offices in the Social Security Administration the Department of Labor (pensions), the International Labour Organisation in Geneva, Switzerland, AARP, and heading the Pension Policy Center. 

John's book list on fixing social security

John A. Turner Why did John love this book?

This book is a thoughtful approach to Social Security reform from a conservative perspective.

Arguing that an equitable Social Security solution is unattainable unless stakeholders have a common understanding of the facts, this book presents some often misunderstood, basic factual background about Social Security. It discusses how Social Security affects program participants and explains the demographic, economic, and political factors that threaten its future.

By Charles Blahous,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Drawing on more than fifteen years of work on Social Security policy, first in the U.S. Senate and later in the White House, Chuck Blahous argues that our national Social Security debate is more polarized than it needs to be, even given the depth of legitimate differences over the program's appropriate future direction. Unless we identify and understand our respective initial assumptions, he explains, we will not be able to fathom the conflicting policy initiatives that they drive. In Social Security: The Unfinished Work he presents some often misunderstood, basic factual background about Social Security. He discusses how it affects…


Book cover of Democracy

Mark Spivak Author Of Friend of the Devil

From my list on human obsession.

Why am I passionate about this?

From an early age, it became obvious there were two types of people in the world. There were those who played it safe, who sold life insurance or worked for the government, who took their kids to soccer games and dutifully hosted Thanksgiving dinner. Then there were those who were haunted and driven by inner forces they couldn’t begin to understand. After realizing that I fell into the second category, I discovered many kindred spirits who had written books. While some of them sugar-coated their stories into “page-turners” or “beach reads,” the core of human obsession was unmistakable. I resolved to explore the outer edge of that obsession.

Mark's book list on human obsession

Mark Spivak Why did Mark love this book?

Some of us marry our childhood sweetheart, while others carry a lifelong torch for a love that seems unattainable. For Inez Victor—married to a U.S. Senator and failed Presidential candidate, a woman who has spent her entire adult life being photographed—the memories of Jack Lovett come in and out of focus like a camera lens. For decades, the two of them nurture a fantasy that finally explodes into the open with the force of the munitions that Lovett sells to governments around the world.

By Joan Didion,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the bestselling, award-winning author of The Year of Magical Thinking and Let Me Tell You What I Mean—a gorgeously written, bitterly funny look at the relationship between politics and personal life.

Moving deftly between romance, farce, and tragedy, from 1970s America to Vietnam to Jakarta, Democracy is a tour de force from a writer who can dissect an entire society with a single phrase.

Inez Victor knows that the major casualty of the political life is memory. But the people around Inez have made careers out of losing track. Her senator husband wants to forget the failure of his…


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