100 books like Thomas Jefferson's European Travel Diaries

By Thomas Jefferson, Persephone Weene, James McGrath Morris

Here are 100 books that Thomas Jefferson's European Travel Diaries fans have personally recommended if you like Thomas Jefferson's European Travel Diaries. 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 Suite Française

David Snell Author Of Sing to Silent Stones: Part One

From my list on wartime books about families torn apart by the conflict in WW1 and WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

My reading is almost entirely influenced by my own family’s extraordinary history. My mother and father-in-law were both illegitimate. Both suffered for the fact and my father-in-law was 11 years old when he first found out and was reunited with his mother, albeit on a second-class basis compared to his half siblings. My mother trained bomb aimers. My father flew Lancaster bombers and was just 19 years old in the skies above wartime Berlin. My own books combine history, my personal experiences, and my family’s past to weave wartime stories exploring the strains that those conflicts imposed on friendships.

David's book list on wartime books about families torn apart by the conflict in WW1 and WW2

David Snell Why did David love this book?

An abiding theme within my own book is that love and friendship can supplant racial and cultural differences, and this book, set in a village in France during the 2nd World War, highlights a growing and reluctant friendship between an occupier and the occupied.

The hatred that invasion induces causes any fraternisation to be labelled ‘collaboration.’ Sometimes it is. Sometimes, it is just people caught out of context seeking comfort and normality.

It is easy for those whose countries have never been occupied to scoff at the behaviour of those who had to live in the atmosphere and the reality of a hostile invasion. Let’s hope we never have to find out firsthand.

By Irene Nemirovsky,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Suite Française as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1941, Irene Nemirovsky sat down to write a book that would convey the magnitude of what she was living through, not in terms of battles and politicians, but by evoking the domestic lives and personal trials of the ordinary citizens of France. She did not live to see her ambition fulfilled, or to know that sixty-five years later, "Suite Francaise" would be published for the first time, and hailed as a masterpiece. Set during a year that begins with France's fall to the Nazis in June 1940 and ends with Germany turning its attention to Russia, "Suite Francaise" falls…

Book cover of The Life and Campaigns of the Black Prince: From Contemporary Letters, Diaries and Chronicles, Including Chandos Herald's Life of the Black Prince

Colin Duncan Taylor Author Of Lauragais: Steeped in History, Soaked in Blood

From my list on France through foreign eyes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Colin Duncan Taylor is the author of Lauragais: Steeped in History, Soaked in Blood, and Menu from the Midi: A Gastronomic Journey through the South of France. He has been a French resident for 20 years, and through his books he shares his passion for the region’s culture, gastronomy, history, and language.

Colin's book list on France through foreign eyes

Colin Duncan Taylor Why did Colin love this book?

Richard Barber gathers together and translates letters written by, among others, the Black Prince and his steward, and the work of two contemporary chroniclers. Between them, these sources constitute an extraordinary collection of first-hand accounts of military campaigns in 14th-century France, including the battles of Crécy and Poitiers, and the 1355 expedition when the Black Prince rode through the area where I live – the Lauragais, between Toulouse and Carcassonne – and ordered his army to destroy and loot most of the towns along its route.

Sometimes verging on propaganda aimed at convincing those back in England that the war was worth fighting, and at others full of anecdotes from military life such as the time the Black Prince’s men were passing through an area so dry, they had to give their horses wine instead of water, this book paints a vivid picture of daily life in a…

By Richard Barber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Life and Campaigns of the Black Prince as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Edward of Woodstock, eldest son of Edward III, known as the Black Prince, is one of those heroes of history books so impressive as to seem slightly unreal. At sixteen he played a leading part in the fighting at Crecy; at twenty-six he captured the king of France at Poitiers; and eleven years later he restored Pedro of Castile to histhrone at the battle of Najera. His exploits were chronicled by Jean Froissart, but Froissart was writing three or four decades after the events he describes. There are other sources much closer to events, and it is on these that…

Book cover of Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes: And Other Travel Writings

Hilary Bradt Author Of A Connemara Journey: A Thousand Miles on Horseback Through Western Ireland

From my list on travel with animals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Until I did my own animal-accompanied journey with Mollie and Peggy in 1984, my only association with animals on the trail was inadvertently with a collection of cockroaches in my backpack. It was when Bradt decided to add to their anthologies with a collection of stories about travelling with animals in 2018, Beastly Journeys, that I was able to read a wide variety of books on the topic. A delightful exercise!

Hilary's book list on travel with animals

Hilary Bradt Why did Hilary love this book?

Like Tschiffely’s Ride this is a travel narrative, given heightened interest and amusement by the addition of Modestine the donkey who carried Stevenson’s luggage. Modestine, like all donkeys, was a master at manipulating her inexperienced new owner, but the two forged an understanding that took them nearly 300km through some of France’s wildest landscapes. Written in 1879, this is a fascinating account of a vanished France, beset by religious conflict, where lodging might be found in the corner of a field as well as a flea-ridden inn. The Robert Louis Stevenson Trail is now a popular walking route through the Cevennes. I walked it earlier this year and enjoyed nightly readings from the book.

By Robert Louis Stevenson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Temperament and poor health motivated Robert Louis Stevenson to travel widely throughout his short life, and before he was celebrated as the author of Treasure Island, A Child's Garden of Verses, and other immortal works, he was known for his travelogues. This collection presents some of his finest writing in that vein, starting with "An Inland Voyage." This 1878 chronicle of a canoe journey through Belgium and France charmingly captures the European villages and townspeople of a bygone era.
Other selections include "Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes," a humorous account of a mountain trek, and "Forest Notes," a…

Book cover of A Moveable Feast

Stephen Rowley Author Of The Lost Coin: A Memoir of Adoption and Destiny

From my list on memoirs that will ignite your soul.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am captivated by memoirs that shed light on the deeper life experiences of their authors. My curiosity about inner life compelled me to learn about the psychological essence of memoir writers, resulting in my writing a memoir from an in-depth psychological perspective. My curiosity also led me to become a psychotherapist, which helped me better navigate dark and uncertain waters with my clients. By probing the inner psychological dynamics of such memoirs, I learned more about myself and became a writer with rare psychological insight. Such illumination served to ignite my very soul. My passion is fueled by tapping the mysteries of what lies within us all. 

Stephen's book list on memoirs that will ignite your soul

Stephen Rowley Why did Stephen love this book?

At age 15, I was captivated by Ernest Hemingway and his depiction of Paris in the 1920s. This book today reignites the enchantment of those years. Hemingway's profound influence shaped my aspirations as a writer. Through his eyes, I can vividly see Paris's cafés, salons, and vibrant social scenes, which ultimately became the backdrop of my dreams.

This book, rich with lovemaking, drinking, writing, betting at the track, and the bohemian lifestyle of so many young artists in Paris, reawakens my desire to immerse myself in that world. Hemingway's narrative voice and his novels continue to speak to me in a language that feels intimately mine, reminding me of the undying impact of his work on my life and aspirations.

By Ernest Hemingway,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked A Moveable Feast as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Published posthumously in 1964, A Moveable Feast remains one of Ernest Hemingway's most beloved works. Since Hemingway's personal papers were released in 1979, scholars have examined and debated the changes made to the text before publication. Now this new special restored edition presents the original manuscript as the author prepared it to be published.

Featuring a personal foreword by Patrick Hemingway, Ernest's sole surviving son, and an introduction by the editor and grandson of the author, Sean Hemingway, this new edition also includes a number of unfinished, never-before-published Paris sketches revealing experiences that Hemingway had with his son Jack and…

Book cover of Securing the Fruits of Labor: The American Concept of Wealth Distribution, 1765-1900

Sam Pizzigati Author Of The Case for a Maximum Wage

From my list on why we need a world without billionaires.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the 1950s next door to Long Island’s iconic Levittown. All my aunts and uncles lived in similar modest suburbs, and I assumed everyone else did, too. Maybe that explains why America’s sharp economic U-turn in the 1970s so rubbed me the wrong way. We had become, in the mid-20th century, the first major nation where most people—after paying their monthly bills—had money left over. Today we rate as the world’s most unequal major nation. Our richest 0.1 percent hold as much wealth as our bottom 90 percent. I’ve been working with the Institute for Public Studies, as co-editor of Inequality.org, to change all that.

Sam's book list on why we need a world without billionaires

Sam Pizzigati Why did Sam love this book?

The urge to limit vast accumulations of individual wealth, the historian James Huston reminds us in this 1998 deep dive into America’s largely forgotten past, turns out to be as American as apple pie.

The new American nation, as John Adams put in in 1776, would only be able to preserve the “balance of power on the side of equal liberty and public virtue” by dividing the nation’s land “into small quantities, so that the multitude may be possessed of landed estates.”

Thomas Jefferson fully agreed. A republic, he insisted, “cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property.” Our founders never lived up to these noble aims. We still can.

By James L Huston,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In his comprehensive study of the economic ideology of the early republic, James L. Huston argues that Americans developed economic attitudes during the Revolutionary period that remained virtually unchanged until the close of the nineteenth century. Viewing Europe's aristocratic system, early Americans believed that the survival of their new republic depended on a fair distribution of wealth, brought about through political and economic equality.

The concepts of wealth distribution formulated in the Revolutionary period informed works on nineteenth-century political economy and shaped the ideology of political parties. Huston reveals how these ideas influenced debates over reform, working-class agitation, political participation,…

Book cover of Jefferson's Empire: The Language of American Nationhood

Francis D. Cogliano Author Of Emperor of Liberty: Thomas Jefferson's Foreign Policy

From my list on Thomas Jefferson from a historian's view.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've spent three decades teaching the history of the United States, especially the American Revolution, to students in the UK. Invariably some students are attracted by the ideals they identify with the United States while others stress the times that the US has failed to uphold those ideals. Thomas Jefferson helped to articulate those ideals and often came up short when it came to realizing them. This has fascinated me as well as my students. I'm the author or editor of eight books on Jefferson and the American Revolution including, Thomas Jefferson: Reputation and Legacy and The Blackwell Companion to Thomas Jefferson. I'm currently completing a book about the relationship between Jefferson and George Washington.

Francis' book list on Thomas Jefferson from a historian's view

Francis D. Cogliano Why did Francis love this book?

Onuf, who held the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Chair at the University of Virginia, is the most accomplished student of Jefferson’s thought. In Jefferson’s Empire, Onuf interrogates Jefferson’s thinking about the meaning of the American Revolution. He places Jefferson’s thinking in the context of the Enlightenment showing that his vision of the American future arose from his idealized notions of nationhood and empire. Rather than see the US as the antithesis of empire, Onuf shows that Jefferson believed that Americans should craft a new form of republican empire that he believed would be a model for the rest of the world. Onuf recognizes, as Jefferson didn’t, that this vision depended on enslaved labor and the displacement of Indigenous people and he explores these contradictions. Onuf’s reading of the Declaration of Independence transformed my own thinking about that foundational document.   

By Peter S. Onuf,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Thomas Jefferson believed that the American revolution was a transformative moment in the history of political civilization. He hoped that his own efforts as a founding statesman and theorist would help construct a progressive and enlightened order for the new American nation that would be a model and inspiration for the world. Peter S. Onuf's new book traces Jefferson's vision of the American future to its roots in his idealized notions of nationhood and empire. Onuf's unsettling recognition that Jefferson's famed egalitarianism was elaborated in an imperial context yields strikingly original interpretations of our national identity and our ideas of…

Book cover of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

James B. Conroy Author Of The Devils Will Get No Rest: FDR, Churchill, and the Plan That Won the War

From my list on making history live and breathe.

Why am I passionate about this?

History has enthralled me from a very young age, drawn as a child as I was to Vikings, cowboys and Indians, medieval knights, ancient conquerors, and mythological gods. After practicing law in Boston for 38 years, I retired to write history full time, not to string dates and facts together in a powder-dry mix but to try to breathe life into the vibrant men and women who enlivened their times and can shed a timeless light on the challenges of ours. Hard work though it is, I have never been so satisfied with life.

James' book list on making history live and breathe

James B. Conroy Why did James love this book?

In researching and writing my book about our third president, I revisited Jon Meacham’s masterly portrait of the man and rediscovered its many rewards, steeped as it is in the subtleties of Jefferson’s character, the brilliance of his mind, and his unsurpassed contributions to our country’s democratic foundations, despite his disappointing flaws and missed opportunities.

I have always found Meacham’s peerless prose and storytelling skills a worthy match for his perceptive insights. If I could recommend just one book about Jefferson (excluding my own, of which I have positive opinions), it would be his. 

By Jon Meacham,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Times Book Review • The Washington Post • Entertainment Weekly • The Seattle Times • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Bloomberg Businessweek

In this magnificent biography, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of American Lion and Franklin and Winston brings vividly to life an extraordinary man and his remarkable times. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power gives us Jefferson the politician and president, a great and complex human being forever engaged in the wars of his era. Philosophers think; politicians maneuver. Jefferson’s genius was that he was both and could…

Book cover of Astoria: Astor and Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Tale of Ambition and Survival on the Early American Frontier

Kevin Sites Author Of The Ocean Above Me

From my list on true-life sea adventures that blow you overboard.

Why am I passionate about this?

You have to appreciate the intrepid nature of those who ventured out to sea in the days before satellite-enabled navigation, modern weather forecasting, and Coast Guard rescue swimmers. The books I’ve listed span a time of great global exploration occurring simultaneously with the engines of novel economic development. Most of that development was based on the exploitation of human and natural resources. A thread of curiosity through all of these picks is how those individuals most directly involved in its physical pursuit and transport were rarely the same who benefitted from it. But instead lived lives of constant hardship and danger – profiting, if at all, only in the adventure itself.

Kevin's book list on true-life sea adventures that blow you overboard

Kevin Sites Why did Kevin love this book?

This is another early American expedition lost to modern memory. In 1810, one of America’s richest men, John Jacob Astor, sent out two expeditions to exploit the riches of the western coast of North America. Unclaimed at the time.

One was to progress overland the other by sea. Both ended in personal and economic disaster. Yet, showcasing moments of heroism and cowardice, selflessness, and greed – but ultimately awakening America to this untapped potential of this rich, rugged, and unforgiving territory.

Stark writes like a novelist weaving rich, character studies Into the narrative that helped invest me in the people and their mostly, unfortunate fates. 

By Peter Stark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the tradition of The Lost City of Z and Skeletons in the Zahara, Astoria is the thrilling, true-adventure tale of the 1810 Astor Expedition, an epic, now forgotten, three-year journey to forge an American empire on the Pacific Coast. Peter Stark offers a harrowing saga in which a band of explorers battled nature, starvation, and madness to establish the first American settlement in the Pacific Northwest and opened up what would become the Oregon trail, permanently altering the nation's landscape and its global standing.

Six years after Lewis and Clark's began their journey to the Pacific Northwest, two of…

Book cover of Those Rebels, John & Tom

Natasha Wing Author Of The Story of Eliza Hamilton: A Biography Book for New Readers

From my list on Founding Mothers and Fathers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love relearning history I learned way back in high school and looking at it with wiser eyes. I wanted to pay tribute to both the Founding Fathers and Mothers since it took quite a few brave, smart and determined people to figure out how the new nation of the United States of America would operate. After watching the musical, Hamilton, I was curious to discover more about some of the characters. That’s what’s so great about children’s books – they can be used to extend and deepen the learning process for kids and adults.

Natasha's book list on Founding Mothers and Fathers

Natasha Wing Why did Natasha love this book?

Here’s another take on America’s relationship with King George III. The story shows the differences between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson but despite their differences, they have a love of country and a hate for King George. They unite their strengths - John’s power of persuasion and Tom’s mighty pen - to formulate the Declaration of Independence. The endnotes are just as fascinating, talking about how their relationship continued - and almost ended. They both died on the same day, on July 4th.

By Barbara Kerley, Edwin Fotheringham (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Those Rebels, John & Tom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

A brilliant portrait of two American heroes from the award-winning creators of The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy)!

"Adams and Jefferson help bring forth the Declaration of Independence and... model successful collaboration. Their secret: Speak up and listen to the other guy. Good lessons for today's Washington." --San Francisco ChroniceAn NCTE Orbis Pictus Award Honor Book John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were very different. John Adams was short and stout. Thomas Jefferson was tall and lean. John was argumentative and blunt. Tom was soft-spoken and polite. But these two very different gentlemen did have two things in common: They…

Book cover of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy

Ann Little Author Of The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright

From my list on biographies of American women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by American women’s lives my whole life, reading and writing women’s biographies from high school through graduate school and into my career as a professional historian. I was raised in the Great Lakes region of the United States, and was educated at Bryn Mawr College and the University of Pennsylvania. I teach early American history, women’s history, and the history of sexuality at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, and am at work on a book about women’s lives in the generation after the American Revolution.

Ann's book list on biographies of American women

Ann Little Why did Ann love this book?

Not a biography in the strict sense, this book is an investigation into “an American controversy” by a legal scholar that demonstrates the value of historical research and analysis by showing how Jefferson’s grandchildren, and white scholars and biographers following their lead, effectively conspired to hide the truth of Jefferson’s 30+ relationship with a woman he owned. And Gordon-Reed published this book a full year before the DNA-based analysis showed that Jefferson was overwhelmingly likely to have been the only father to Hemings’s four children.

By Annette Gordon-Reed,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Annette Gordon-Reed's groundbreaking study was first published, rumors of Thomas Jefferson's sexual involvement with his slave Sally Hemings had circulated for two centuries. Among all aspects of Jefferson's renowned life, it was perhaps the most hotly contested topic. The publication of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings intensified this debate by identifying glaring inconsistencies in many noted scholars' evaluations of the existing evidence. In this study, Gordon-Reed assembles a fascinating and convincing argument: not that the alleged thirty-eight-year liaison necessarily took place but rather that the evidence for its taking place has been denied a fair hearing.

Friends of Jefferson…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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