100 books like They Came to Baghdad

By Agatha Christie,

Here are 100 books that They Came to Baghdad fans have personally recommended if you like They Came to Baghdad. 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 Travels with My Aunt

Cookie Boyle Author Of Entitled: Life isn't easy when you're a book

From my list on a unique narrator perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Canadian author who has been fascinated with how others see the world since I was a child. I was captivated by Charlotte’s Web. If pigs and spiders could be having unheard conversations, what else was I missing? I delight in stories that invite me into the distinct world of the narrator, so it’s no surprise that my novel, Entitled, is written from a unique perspective—that of a book. When done well, these stories let us see life through the eyes of someone else. If we all experienced our surroundings, just for a minute, as others did, perhaps there would be more humanity in this world. 

Cookie's book list on a unique narrator perspective

Cookie Boyle Why did Cookie love this book?

Henry Pulling, a reluctantly retired bank manager, meets his 70-ish-year-old Aunt Augusta for the first time in more than 50 years at his mother’s funeral. His Aunt is vibrant, even outrageous, and he is anything but—a man whose only hobby is growing dahlias. An Aunt myself, I love a story about a wild, non-traditional Aunt, and her relationship with her nephew. As the title suggests, the story is told through the eyes of Henry. His views of his life and their travels are filled with humor and insight. The joy of this novel follows the challenges that arise when two generations confront their expectations of each other and themselvesexpectations that are never more alive than when we travel. 

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Travels with My Aunt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Henry Pulling, a retired bank manager, meets his septuagenarian Aunt Augusta for the first time in over fifty years at his mother's funeral. Soon after, she persuades Henry to abandon Southwood, his dahlias and the Major next door to travel her way, through Brighton, Paris, Istanbul, Paraguay... Accompanying his aunt, Henry joins a shiftless, twilight society: mixing with hippies, war criminals, CIA men; smoking pot, breaking all the currency regulations and eventually coming alive after a dull suburban lifetime.


Book cover of Nobody Said Not to Go: The Life, Loves, and Adventures of Emily Hahn

Autumn Cornwell Author Of Carpe Diem

From my list on fish out of water travel books.

Why am I passionate about this?

Squat toilets, profuse sweating, jumbo centipedes, ear nibbling—these are just some of the delights I’ve encountered in my global travels, which inspired my YA comedic adventure novels, Never Sorry Ever Jolly and Carpe Diem, which was published in the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, and China. Carpe Diem was also nominated for numerous YA awards, chosen as a Book Sense/Indie Bound Pick, received a starred review from the School Library Journal, and according to The Washington Post: “This is self-confessed travel junkie Autumn Cornwell's first novel—and she's hit one out of the park.” Basically, I live my life as an adventure then write about it!

Autumn's book list on fish out of water travel books

Autumn Cornwell Why did Autumn love this book?

If Emily Hahn’s real-life adventures were in a novel, you’d say they were completely implausible. I discovered this unorthodox travel journalist when I was in my twenties, longing for my own travel experiences. Born in 1905 when women’s options were limited, Emily simply saw life as an adventure and didn’t let her gender or youth stop her from traveling the world solo. She voyaged to Africa on a steamer; worked for the Red Cross in the Belgian Congo; became a concubine and got hooked on opium in Shanghai; moved to Hong Kong where she helped with underground relief work — all the while writing books and articles for publications like The New Yorker. She inspired me to live life as an adventure and then write about it. (But obviously, without all the affairs and opium!)

By Ken Cuthbertson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nobody Said Not to Go as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Known as Mickey to her friends, Emily Hahn was a feminist trailblazer before the word existed. She ran away to the Belgian Congo as a Red Cross Worker during the Great Depression, was the concubine of a Chinese poet in Shanghai in the 1930s, had a child with the head of the British Secret Service in Hong Kong before WWII ...


Book cover of The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax

Harini Nagendra Author Of The Bangalore Detectives Club

From my list on historical crime books with spunky women protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an ecologist who loves history. I love incorporating elements from the past in my non-fiction and fiction writing. I’ve learnt so much about parts of the world I have never visited from historical mysteries, especially those with strong female characters. My grandmother, born in 1907 during the British Raj, fought just to go to school. I love books that offer an insight into the lives and thoughts of fierce, feisty women like her, everyday women who did extraordinary things. Each of the books I’ve selected is the first in a series, and I hope they give you endless hours of reading pleasure, just as they did for me.

Harini's book list on historical crime books with spunky women protagonists

Harini Nagendra Why did Harini love this book?

While this wasn’t written as a historical, it was published in the 1960s, so it qualifies as one.

Mrs. Pollifax is another unlikely spunky heroine who’s one of my favorites. A suburban housewife and widow with grown children and an empty nest, Pollifax is so bored with gardening and yoga that she volunteers to help the CIA! What was supposed to be a short and safe trip to Mexico City turns into something far more sinister, and she ends up in an Albanian prison.

It could be a wild and unbelievable read, but in this author’s skillful hands, the plot comes together perfectly. Gillman’s sense of society and cultural context is nuanced, and I love how her books bring out her belief in the strength of innate human kindness.

By Dorothy Gilman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Mrs Emily Pollifax is a 60-ish widow wanting more from life than teas and garden club meetings. In search of adventure, she decides to offer her services to the CIA - who, after all, would spot a suburban grandmother as a cold war secret agent? - and adventure she finds. Her first assignment, in Mexico City, doesn't sound dangerous until something goes wrong. She suddenly finds herself abducted across the world, embroiled in quite a hot Cold War... and her abductors find themselves entangled with one unbelievably feisty lady. Armed with only an open mind and a little karate, Mrs…


Trans-Mongolian Express

By David L. Robbins,

Book cover of Trans-Mongolian Express

David L. Robbins Author Of War of the Rats

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve penned (so far) seventeen novels, most set during some historical conflict or other, all of them revolving around intense personal relationships (loyalty, love, betrayal, those sorts of profound truths). I tend to read the sorts of books I wish to write. I also teach creative writing at a university (VCU); I tell my students that if they want to really know what a character is made of, shoot at them or have them fall in love. In my own work, I do both.

David's book list on love and war and describing both battlefields

What is my book about?

In the harrowing aftermath of Chornobyl's meltdown in 1986, the fate of Eastern Europe hangs by a thread.

From Beijing, American radiation scientist Lara, once a thorn in the Russian mob's side, is drawn back into the shadows of the Soviet Union on the Trans-Mongolian Express. She isn't alone. Anton, a Soviet scientist exiled for predicting Chornobyl's catastrophe, is on a quest to expose the truth. Amidst them, Timur, a Chechen giant fueled by vengeance, plots to destroy the already crumbling Soviet Union.

Suddenly, a murder on the remote tracks of the Gobi thrusts them into a deadly game of cat and mouse. As Chief Sheriff Bat races to solve the murder, their lives are thrown into jeopardy. Lara finds an unexpected ally in Gang, a reluctant assassin sent to end her life, and an illicit romance blooms amidst the chaos. But Gang isn't the only killer onboard. A hidden menace lurks, threatening to unravel all their plans.

In this electrifying ride across a historical backdrop, suspense and passion collide in an unyielding dance of survival and redemption. Who will survive the Trans-Mongolian Express?

Trans-Mongolian Express

By David L. Robbins,

What is this book about?

In the harrowing aftermath of Chernobyl's meltdown in 1986, the fate of Eastern Europe hangs by a thread.

From Beijing, American radiation scientist Lara, once a thorn in the Russian mob's side, is drawn back into the shadows of the Soviet Union on the Trans-Mongolian Express. She isn't alone. Anton, a Soviet scientist exiled for predicting Chernobyl's catastrophe, is on a quest to expose the truth. Amidst them, Timur, a Chechen giant fueled by vengeance, plots to destroy the already crumbling Soviet Union.

Suddenly, a murder on the remote tracks of the Gobi thrusts them into a deadly game of…


Book cover of Flight 714 (The Adventures of Tintin)

Autumn Cornwell Author Of Carpe Diem

From my list on fish out of water travel books.

Why am I passionate about this?

Squat toilets, profuse sweating, jumbo centipedes, ear nibbling—these are just some of the delights I’ve encountered in my global travels, which inspired my YA comedic adventure novels, Never Sorry Ever Jolly and Carpe Diem, which was published in the U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, and China. Carpe Diem was also nominated for numerous YA awards, chosen as a Book Sense/Indie Bound Pick, received a starred review from the School Library Journal, and according to The Washington Post: “This is self-confessed travel junkie Autumn Cornwell's first novel—and she's hit one out of the park.” Basically, I live my life as an adventure then write about it!

Autumn's book list on fish out of water travel books

Autumn Cornwell Why did Autumn love this book?

I couldn’t resist adding a Tintin graphic novel to my list since Herge’s adventure series is widely beloved — and this one is a particular favorite. The story opens when the miserly millionaire, Laszlo Carreidas, "the millionaire who never laughs," invites Tintin, Captain Haddock, and Professor Calculus to accompany him on his private jet to Sydney instead of taking commercial Flight 714. It all seems rather jolly — until the millionaire’s jet is hijacked and diverted to a volcanic island in Java. As always, Herge nails the geographical details, plot twists, cheeky humor — and the idiosyncrasies of human nature, like grizzled Captain Haddock’s constant frustration with absentminded Professor Calculus. As a kid, these books opened entire worlds to me — I couldn’t wait to grow up and embark on my own adventures!

By Hergé,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Flight 714 (The Adventures of Tintin) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic graphic novel. On their way to Sydney, Tintin and Captain Haddock run into an old friend, a pilot who offers them a ride on a private jet. But when the plane gets hijacked, Tintin and the Captain find themselves prisoners on a deserted volcanic island!


Book cover of War Stories

Zahera Harb Author Of Reporting the Middle East: The Practice of News in the Twenty-First Century

From my list on the Middle East from a Lebanese journalist.

Why am I passionate about this?

Arriving in the UK to pursue my PhD after a career in Journalism in my native country Lebanon, a few days before September 11, 2001, set me on a journey to put right the way my region and its people are represented in British and international media. The Middle East, the Arab region, Islam, and Muslims became the focal point of coverage for many years that followed. Most of that coverage had been tainted with negative stereotypes that do not speak true to who we are and what we stand for. Achieving fair representation and portrayal of ethnic and religious minorities have become one of my life passions.  

Zahera's book list on the Middle East from a Lebanese journalist

Zahera Harb Why did Zahera love this book?

I have read this book years ago and till today I am still able to remember encounters Bowen had experienced and dealt with as a journalist and had cleverly brought it to life for his readers. He is one of those Middle East correspondents who got to study and know the region closely, not from afar, and hence reported on it accurately and with much-appreciated humanity. It is all reflected in his book. From Baghdad to South Lebanon, Bowen’s storytelling tells future journalists a story of conviction in seeking and standing up for the truth no matter the pressures journalists may face to act differently.

By Jeremy Bowen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Having joined the BBC as a trainee in 1984, Jeremy Bowen first became a foreign correspondent four years later. He had witnessed violence already, both at home and abroad, but it wasn't until he covered his first war -- in El Salvador -- that he felt he had arrived. Armed with the fearlessness of youth he lived for the job, was in love with it, aware of the dangers but assuming the bullets and bombs were meant for others. In 2000, however, after eleven years in some of the world's most dangerous places, the bullets came too close for comfort,…


Book cover of When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World: The Rise and Fall of Islam's Greatest Dynasty

Wayne H. Bowen Author Of Undoing Saddam: From Occupation to Sovereignty in Northern Iraq

From my list on the history of the Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

My primary field in history is Spain, over which I have published six books. However, I became interested in the Middle East when the US Army deployed me to Iraq in 2004. Although I had taught the history of the region, experiencing war and reconstruction for myself, and spending time in Iraq, Kuwait, and Qatar made the Middle East come alive to me. I wrote Undoing Saddam, my war diary, during my Iraq tour. I followed up that work with a textbook on Arabia, articles on the Ottoman Empire, and plans for future projects on the region, both on its own and in relation to early modern and modern Spain.  

Wayne's book list on the history of the Middle East

Wayne H. Bowen Why did Wayne love this book?

Few cities in history have had powerful claims to be at the center of the world: Rome in the ancient world, Constantinople in the early Middle Ages, London in the late 19th century, and Washington during the early Cold War. To this we need to add another city: Baghdad from the 9th to 11th centuries. Not only was it at the center of the most powerful and united Islamic dynasty, it accumulated and created the greatest library and center for learning in world history. With an empire stretching from India to North Africa, the Abbasids were the hub for global trade, intellectual life, and military strength. This book tells the story of the dynasty and their capital, a remarkable city with incredible technology, religious dynamism, and tolerance for diversity. It’s a captivating story, well-told and deserving of more attention. 

By Hugh Kennedy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A "remarkable narrative history" (The Times) of the dynasty that ruled from Baghdad during Islam's greatest era The "golden age of Islam" in the eighth and ninth centuries was as significant to world history as the Roman Empire was in the first and second centuries. Islamic culture and enterprise stretched from Tunisia to India; its legacy influenced politics and society for years to come. From the founding of the city of Baghdad in AD 762 to the end of the ninth century, the rule of the Abbasid dynasty was the zenith of Islamic conquest and influence. The caliphs of Baghdad…


Book cover of Metropolis: A History of the City, Humankind's Greatest Invention

Conrad Kickert Author Of Dream City: Creation, Destruction, and Reinvention in Downtown Detroit

From my list on the exciting life of cities.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in a Dutch city, I vividly remember witnessing the excitement of urban life through the windows of a streetcar, on foot, or by bike. Soon, I began to recreate this excitement by drawing maps of imaginary cities of my own. My small towns turned into entire regions, their streets coming to life as I closed my eyes. I essentially turned my childhood fascination into my job, as I now study, design, and teach students how to improve cities. Our best cities are places where citizens can interact with one another, overcoming social, economic, and environmental evolutions and revolutions. I never cease to be fascinated with the key to these everlasting cities.

Conrad's book list on the exciting life of cities

Conrad Kickert Why did Conrad love this book?

To understand cities today, you also have to understand why and how they were built to begin with. After all, our environment contains the materialization of previous decisions – we should know why those were made! Through the story of over a dozen global cities, historian Ben Wilson demonstrates how cities are concentrations of hopes, dreams, power, and conflict. While many great historians like Lewis Mumford and Stephen Hall have preceded him with excellently detailed urban history books of their own, this book stands out in its readability, attention to detail, and especially its coverage of global cities. After all, the urban future of most of the world lies beyond the Global North, and this broad survey shows the vast differences in urbanism between cultures.

By Ben Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the Sunday Times bestselling author, a dazzling, globe-spanning history of humankind's greatest invention: the city.

'Brilliant...enchanting' Evening Standard 'Exhilarating' New York Times

The story of the city is the story of civilisation. From Uruk and Babylon to Baghdad and Venice, and on to London, New York, Shanghai and Lagos, Ben Wilson takes us through millennia on a thrilling global tour of the key urban centres of history.

Rich with individual characters, scenes and snapshots of daily life, Metropolis is at once the story of these extraordinary places and of the vital role they have played in making us who…


Book cover of Paper Girls, Volume 1

Amber Mosby Author Of Thunder and Lightning

From my list on strong female leads of color.

Why am I passionate about this?

I chose these stories because as a Black woman, seeing characters like me in stories as the main character instead of the sidekick or friend is always so refreshing. Like the main characters of my own novels, Black women taking charge is something to be celebrated.

Amber's book list on strong female leads of color

Amber Mosby Why did Amber love this book?

This group of graphic novels will take you on a time traveling, inter-dimensional, coming-of-age journey for a group of 12-year-old girls. I include this choice because of the versatility of the characters. It's easy for the reader to see themselves in any of the leads including Tiff Quilkin, a smart, video game-loving young woman from a mixed-race family. She learns a lot about herself as a Black woman, learns about what it means to have white loved ones in modern society, and learns about what she stands for as an individual. It is her quick thinking that helps the others navigate the future they are suddenly transported to and it is her prudent planning that gives the girls a way to escape when they are being hunted. 

As a whole, Paper Girls is an amazing series. The fact that a young Black woman plays an integral part in the story…

By Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang (artist),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Paper Girls, Volume 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang's Eisner Award winning series Paper Girls is coming Amazon Prime Video in July 2022!

From Brian K. Vaughan, #1 New York Times bestselling writer of SAGA, and Cliff Chiang, legendary artist of WONDER WOMAN, comes the first volume of an all-new ongoing adventure.

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

Collecting Issues #1-5 for only $9.99! "Along with Paper Girls,…


Book cover of Frankenstein in Baghdad

Andy Owen Author Of Land of the Blind

From my list on books that capture the tragedy and comedy of war.

Why am I passionate about this?

War is perhaps the most extreme human activity. I have seen firsthand some of these extremes in Iraq and Afghanistan. I now write about the philosophy and ethics of war and geopolitics, exploring some of the impacts and enduring truths that war and its conduct tell us about ourselves that might be hidden under the surface of our everyday lives. The books I have chosen here explore, with elegance, sensitivity, and sometimes brutal and unflinching honesty, what the battlefield exposes, showing us that there is both tragedy and comedy at the extremities of human nature, and without one, you cannot really truly appreciate the other.

Andy's book list on books that capture the tragedy and comedy of war

Andy Owen Why did Andy love this book?

I have recommended this novel as it is one of the few to come out of the Iraq war written by an Iraqi writer, telling its story from the point of view of the local Iraqis. 

Hadi, an old junk dealer, dismayed by the hasty burials of incomplete bodies after the daily bombings, puts together a body from the parts he finds. This composite body, he calls “Whatsitsname,” becomes possessed with the soul of a bombing victim and sets about killing those responsible for turning Baghdad into a slaughterhouse.

Blending its style between war fiction, horror, and fantasy, this darkly effective satire of the fatal logic of sectarianism follows Whatsitsname as he expands his scope, claiming: “There are no innocents who are completely innocent, and no criminals who are completely criminal.”

By Ahmed Saadawi,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Frankenstein in Baghdad as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Man Booker International Prize finalist*

"Brave and ingenious." -The New York Times

"Gripping, darkly humorous . . . profound." -Phil Klay, bestselling author and National Book Award winner for Redeployment

"Extraordinary . . . A devastating but essential read." -Kevin Powers, bestselling author and National Book Award finalist for The Yellow Birds

From the rubble-strewn streets of U.S.-occupied Baghdad, Hadi-a scavenger and an oddball fixture at a local cafe-collects human body parts and stitches them together to create a corpse. His goal, he claims, is for the government to recognize the parts as people and to give them proper burial.…


Book cover of The Fist of God

Jay Bonansinga Author Of Return to Woodbury

From my list on thrillers that begin with a bang.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a veteran novelist who believes this over all else: The opening is everything. This has been my modus operandi as a storyteller for over thirty books, as well as a half dozen screenplays. I love a great opening. It is how a reader or viewer will subconsciously decide whether they will devote themselves to a story. It is the first kiss. The first shot over the bow. The ignition, the countdown, and the launch. It is the alpha and omega… because the beginning dictates the ending. Oh my, how I love the beginning! 

Jay's book list on thrillers that begin with a bang

Jay Bonansinga Why did Jay love this book?

“The man with ten minutes to live was laughing.” Thus begins one of the greatest war novels by one of the greatest living writers of espionage thrillers. 

Frederick Forsyth’s epic story of the Persian Gulf War mingles fact with fiction, and never lets up its humming current of suspense. Incidentally, that laughing man was Gerald Vincent Bull, a real historical figure who invented a super-gun for Saddam Hussein. Not exactly the safest line of work. 

His assassination triggered a Rube Goldberg series of events that only Forsyth would have the… well… foresight to use as the first sentence in this violent, epochal tale. 

By Frederick Forsyth,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From behind-the-scenes decision making of the Allies to the secret meeting of Saddam Hussein's war cabinet, from the brave American fliers running dangerous missions over Iraq to a heroic young spy planted deep in the heart of Baghdad, Forsyths incomparable storytelling keeps the suspense at a breakneck pace.

Peopled with vivid characters, brilliantly displaying the intricacies of intelligence operations moving back and forth between Washington and London, Baghdad and Kuwait, and revealing espionage tradecraft as only Frederick Forsyth can, The Fist of God tells the utterly convincing story of what may actually have happened behind the headlines.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Baghdad, the Middle East, and fish?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Baghdad, the Middle East, and fish.

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Fish Explore 58 books about fish