95 books like Tilting at Mills

By Lis Harris,

Here are 95 books that Tilting at Mills fans have personally recommended if you like Tilting at Mills. 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 Maximum Feasible Misunderstanding: Community Action in the War on Poverty

Greg Berman Author Of Gradual: The Case for Incremental Change in a Radical Age

From my list on if you want government to work better.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my professional career attempting to reform the justice system and create safer communities. For nearly two decades, I served as the executive director of the Center for Court Innovation (now the Center for Justice Innovation). Now, I co-edit a policy journal called Vital City that attempts to spark new thinking about how to achieve public safety. Over the years, I have worked with numerous city, state, and federal officials. I have seen that most of the people working within government are trying their best in difficult circumstances. I have also seen that it is enormously difficult to change government systems and solve complicated social problems.

Greg's book list on if you want government to work better

Greg Berman Why did Greg love this book?

What would it look like if the federal government launched an ambitious campaign to mobilize community residents to reduce poverty? 

Daniel Patrick Moynihan offers an insider’s account of one such effort, launched in the 1960s as part of the War on Poverty. What he finds is a fundamental disconnect between the ambitions and high-minded theories of reformers in Washington DC, and the hard realities of practice on the ground.

Maximum Feasible Misunderstanding is a cautionary tale and a heartbreaking catalog of missed opportunities, unintended consequences, and wasted resources. I wish someone had handed me this book at the start of my career to help temper my youthful idealism.

By Daniel Patrick Moynihan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Describes the origin, implementation and results of the sociological theory, incorporated in the 1964 Opportunity Act, that anti-poverty programs be carried out with the maximum participation of community residents


Book cover of The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millenium

John Iceland Author Of Why We Disagree about Inequality: Social Justice vs. Social Order

From my list on explaining political polarization.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Penn State professor of sociology and demography who is interested in social inequality, demography, and public opinion. My family moved frequently when I was growing up—I lived in Colombia, Greece, and Mexico. I attended Brown University and worked at the U.S. Census Bureau as an analyst and Branch Chief for several years before returning to academia. My interest in inequality dates back to living in different countries with different cultures, politics, and standards of living. While I have long been interested in the demographics of poverty and inequality, in more recent years I’ve become interested in political polarization and why people disagree about a variety of social issues.

John's book list on explaining political polarization

John Iceland Why did John love this book?

Have you wondered why there has been such a dramatic decline in trust in public institutions in recent years?

In The Revolt of the Public, Gurri argues that the rise of digital technology has allowed people to more easily share information and bypass traditional gatekeepers. Gone are the days from my own youth when most people relied on just a few established news sources. People today are more exposed to stories—either real or imagined—of corruption, incompetence, and misinformation from established institutions.

This has contributed to the rise of populism and political extremism, facilitated by social media where people can organize and coordinate their activities. 

By Martin Gurri,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millenium as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How insurgencies-enabled by digital devices and a vast information sphere-have mobilized millions of ordinary people around the world.

In the words of economist and scholar Arnold Kling, Martin Gurri saw it coming. Technology has categorically reversed the information balance of power between the public and the elites who manage the great hierarchical institutions of the industrial age: government, political parties, the media. The Revolt of the Public tells the story of how insurgencies, enabled by digital devices and a vast information sphere, have mobilized millions of ordinary people around the world.

Originally published in 2014, The Revolt of the Public…


Book cover of The Cost of Good Intentions: New York City and the Liberal Experiment

Greg Berman Author Of Gradual: The Case for Incremental Change in a Radical Age

From my list on if you want government to work better.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my professional career attempting to reform the justice system and create safer communities. For nearly two decades, I served as the executive director of the Center for Court Innovation (now the Center for Justice Innovation). Now, I co-edit a policy journal called Vital City that attempts to spark new thinking about how to achieve public safety. Over the years, I have worked with numerous city, state, and federal officials. I have seen that most of the people working within government are trying their best in difficult circumstances. I have also seen that it is enormously difficult to change government systems and solve complicated social problems.

Greg's book list on if you want government to work better

Greg Berman Why did Greg love this book?

Like many New Yorkers, I am fascinated by the history of the city.

The Cost of Good Intentions details the run-up to a crucial turning point for the city: the fiscal crisis of 1975.

Written by a high-ranking city official after the fact, the book is an insightful analysis of how local government, particularly under Mayor John Lindsay, attempted to respond to a range of significant challenges, including the civil right movement, rising crime, and changing economic conditions. 

Despite the best of intentions, the administration’s reach ended up exceeding its grasp, laying the groundwork not only for the fiscal crisis and for an era of declining public trust in government.  

By Charles R. Morris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book is about public policy making in New York during the zenith of the great liberal experiment, from 1960, Mayor Robert Wagner's third term, through John V. Lindsay, Abraham Beame, and, finally, to Edward Koch and the inevitable return of fiscal conservatism.

The bigger they come the harder they fall. When New York City fell and its intricate, often exotic, budget gimmickry came unstuck, they foundations of every other large city in America shook. If we are not to relive this history it is important to learn the lessons taught so cogently and entertainingly in this book.


Book cover of A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism

Greg Berman Author Of Gradual: The Case for Incremental Change in a Radical Age

From my list on if you want government to work better.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent my professional career attempting to reform the justice system and create safer communities. For nearly two decades, I served as the executive director of the Center for Court Innovation (now the Center for Justice Innovation). Now, I co-edit a policy journal called Vital City that attempts to spark new thinking about how to achieve public safety. Over the years, I have worked with numerous city, state, and federal officials. I have seen that most of the people working within government are trying their best in difficult circumstances. I have also seen that it is enormously difficult to change government systems and solve complicated social problems.

Greg's book list on if you want government to work better

Greg Berman Why did Greg love this book?

When I was the executive director of the Center for Court Innovation (now the Center for Justice Innovation), I made a habit of sharing interesting essays with the rest of the team.

One of my all-time favorites was Adam Gopnik’s “The Caging of America.” In the essay, Gopnik offers this analysis of how crime was reduced in New York City throughout the 1990s and 2000s: “There was no miracle cure, just the intercession of a thousand smaller sanities.”

The idea that small changes can make a big difference has been a bit of a personal crusade for me ever since. 

In A Thousand Small Sanities, Gopnik expands upon this argument, offering a full-throated defense of liberalism against critics on both the right and the left. 

By Adam Gopnik,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Thousand Small Sanities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'WITTY, HUMANE, LEARNED' NEW YORK TIMES

The New York Times-bestselling author offers a stirring defence of liberalism against the dogmatisms of our time

Not since the early twentieth century has liberalism, and liberals, been under such relentless attack, from both right and left. The crisis of democracy in our era has produced a crisis of faith in liberal institutions and, even worse, in liberal thought.

A Thousand Small Sanities is a manifesto rooted in the lives of people who invented and extended the liberal tradition. Taking us from Montaigne to Mill, and from Middlemarch to the civil rights movement, Adam…


Book cover of Bronx Primitive: Portraits in a Childhood

Pamela S. Nadell Author Of America's Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today

From my list on memoirs through the voices of women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of history and Jewish studies at American University and author of America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today, winner of the National Jewish Book Award – 2019 Jewish Book of the Year. Since childhood I have been reading stories of women’s lives and tales set in Jewish communities across time and space. Yet, the voices that so often best evoke the past are those captured on the pages of great memoirs.

Pamela's book list on memoirs through the voices of women

Pamela S. Nadell Why did Pamela love this book?

In this evocative memoir, the first in a series of three and a New York Times 1982 best book of the year, Simon, a travel writer, captures the world of an immigrant child growing up in the Bronx in the 1920s. Their fathers were harsh disciplinarians; mothers knew abortion to be the most effective birth control; and daughters saw poor scores in math crush their dreams. A story of triumph over the odds, of female rebellion, and of the many ways of learning, this memoir evokes a bygone world that also feels very contemporary.

By Kate Simon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"As an account of growing up female, it is a fit companion piece to Mary McCarthy's classic Memoirs of a Catholic Girlhood." Le Anne Schreiber, The New York Times.


Book cover of Chulito

Carla Trujillo Author Of What Night Brings

From my list on queer teenage love by and about people of color.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wrote my first novel in a quest to create a story about a girl who loves girls surviving a violent, repressive world. Reading novels pertinent to the life I’ve lived was both affirming and life-saving. After graduate school, I developed a class at UC Berkeley where I focused on novels written by and about women of color, knowing compelling stories gave the students a chance to live in someone else’s universe. I still believe books can change hearts and minds, and reading them propels me to continue seeking well-told stories by authors—particularly writers of color—who have the courage to put their words on the page. 

Carla's book list on queer teenage love by and about people of color

Carla Trujillo Why did Carla love this book?

I liked this novel because it is rough, heartfelt, and engaging. This story is unusual in that the protagonist, Chulito, a 16-year-old Puerto Rican high school dropout, lives in the South Bronx and is in love with his childhood friend Carlos, but with the barrio’s rampant, ongoing homophobia, he attempts to play straight. Chulito is recruited by a local dealer to sell drugs, and though he acts the tough guy, his love for Carlos persists, even though he struggles to keep his true desire secret. Everything changes when Carlos comes home for the summer after his first year of college and Chulito’s life breaks free.

Their love for each other rises above the trove of hostile masculinity surrounding them, bringing vibrancy to their lives. Yet the struggles persist, as Chulito needs to negotiate the options available for a queer high school dropout caught between limited choices. I enjoyed Rice-Gonzalez’s vibrant…

By Charles Rice-Gonzalez,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A tremendous debut...full of heart and courage and a ferocious honesty."-Junot Diaz, author of The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Set against a vibrant South Bronx neighborhood and the queer youth culture of Manhattan's piers, Chulito is a coming-of-age, coming out love story of a sexy, tough, hip hop-loving, young Latino man and the colorful characters who populate his block. Chulito, which means "cutie," is one of the boys, and everyone in his neighborhood has seen him grow up--the owner of the local bodega, the Lees from the Chinese restaurant, his buddies from the corner, and all of his…


Book cover of Billy Bathgate

Anthony Schneider Author Of Lowdown: A Mafia Romance Thriller

From my list on character-driven gangsters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up on a diet of The Godfather, The Sopranos, thrillers, and gangster novels, and living in New York City with eye-opening trips to Sicily, I became slightly obsessed with the Mafia. I came to see the American Mafia as a quintessentially American fabric, woven of family, power, immigrants, money, history, loyalty, legacy, and, yes, crime.  

Anthony's book list on character-driven gangsters

Anthony Schneider Why did Anthony love this book?

Few writers inhabit history, distill it, and convey the feeling of an era with the verve or immediacy of E.L. Doctorow.

In Billy Bathgate, he trains his lens on the 1930s and introduces us to Billy Behan, a fatherless Irish-Jewish kid from the Bronx, who has a chance encounter with New York gangster Dutch Schultz and decides “whatever my life was going to be in this world it would have something to do with Mr. Schultz.”

Add a love triangle, a colorful cast of mobsters, murder, blackmail, a special prosecutor, and you have the propulsive plot and rich characters that power this unforgettable novel.   

By E.L. Doctorow,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Billy Bathgate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'I was living in even greater circles of gangsterdom than I had dreamed, latitudes and longitudes of gangsterdom'

It's 1930's New York and fifteen-year-old streetkid Billy, who can juggle, somersault and run like the wind, has been taken under the wing of notorious gangster Dutch Schultz. As Billy learns the ways of the mob, he becomes like a son to Schultz - his 'good-luck kid' - and is initiated into a world of glamour, death and danger that will consume him, in this vivid, soaring epic of crime and betrayal.


Book cover of Miracle Moments in New York Yankees History: The Turning Points, the Memorable Games, the Incredible Records

W. Nikola-Lisa Author Of The Men Who Made the Yankees: The Odyssey of the World's Greatest Baseball Team from Baltimore to the Bronx

From my list on the early years of the New York Yankees.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up a Yankee fan during the Mickey Mantle era, traveling to the Bronx in my uncle’s canary-yellow Chrysler Imperial. Those early experiences set me on a trajectory to want to play baseball every chance I got, starting with Little League and ending up on my high school’s varsity squad. Fortunately, my high school was in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where my family had moved in 1962, the same year that the Yankees began playing their pre-season games in the city, which meant when I wasn’t playing baseball at school, I was hanging around Ft. Lauderdale Stadium watching the Yankees. Yes, the Pinstripe Nation was in my blood. 

W.'s book list on the early years of the New York Yankees

W. Nikola-Lisa Why did W. love this book?

Fischer’s Miracle Moments in New York Yankees History is aptly divided into five parts, the first of which—“Birth of a Dynasty”—is the most relevant for the current topic. It covers the “Hilltop Highlander” years (1903-1913), the Yankees’ decade at the Polo Grounds as tenants of their arch-rival, the National League’s New York Giants (1913-1922), the sale of the Yankees to Ruppert and Huston (1914-1915), the acquisition of Babe Ruth (1919-1920), and their move to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and their first World Series title (1923). But Fischer’s Miracle Moments has much more to offer than these early days as it provides a panoramic view of the entire Yankees’ franchise from 1903 to the present. 

By David Fischer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Miracle Moments in New York Yankees History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Throughout its illustrious history, the New York Yankees have produced some of the most memorable highlights in baseball annals. Babe Ruth's "called shot" home run, Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, Derek Jeter's amazing "Flip Play." Most Yankees fans have seen newsreel footage of Lou Gehrig's farewell speech, watched highlights of a young Mickey Mantle, and have heard the story of Billy Martin's five managerial hirings and firings. But what makes the Yankees the world's most celebrated sports franchise goes beyond sheer headlines? it is the stories of the men behind the headlines who have thrilled and enchanted New York fans…


Book cover of More Happy Than Not

Aaron H. Aceves Author Of This Is Why They Hate Us

From my list on books about queer boys written by queer men.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I never saw myself fully represented in fiction. I only glimpsed pieces of my younger self reflected in novels about queer or queer-coded characters, and so I made it my life’s mission to give teenage me exactly what he wanted. As a YA author whose queer male readers are not always young adults, the message I get the most is, “I wish I had this as a teen.” While I often feel this way as well, I still know that reading the five books I recommended (as well as my own) at any age is life-affirming for queer men like myself. 

Aaron's book list on books about queer boys written by queer men

Aaron H. Aceves Why did Aaron love this book?

This novel, often pitched as a gay YA Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (one of my favorite movies), showed a younger me that my style of writing, darkly humorous and contemplative, belonged on a bookstore or library shelf where a teen who needed it could find it.

The book asks a lot of important questions and, by the end, answers them with devastating yet uplifting resonance.

By Adam Silvera,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked More Happy Than Not as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

A special Deluxe Edition of Adam Silvera’s groundbreaking debut featuring an introduction by Angie Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of The Hate U Give; a new final chapter, "More Happy Ending"; and an afterword about where it all began.
 
In his twisty, heartbreaking, profoundly moving New York Times bestselling debut, Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx.

In the months following his father's suicide, sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto can’t seem to find happiness again, despite the support of his girlfriend, Genevieve, and his overworked mom. Grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist won’t…


Book cover of The New York Trilogy

Peter Guttridge Author Of City of Dreadful Night

From my list on quartets and trilogies with unreliable narrators.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by long stories where things aren’t exactly as they seem. Most crime fiction is secrets and lies and their eventual uncovering but most ‘literary’ fiction is too. For what it’s worth, I was a book reviewer for all the posh UK papers for about 15 years, including crime fiction critic for The Observer for twelve (so I’ve read far more crime novels than is healthy for anyone!). I’m a voracious reader and writer and I love making things more complicated for myself (and the reader) by coming up with stuff that I’ve then somehow got to fit together.  

Peter's book list on quartets and trilogies with unreliable narrators

Peter Guttridge Why did Peter love this book?

This is post-modern crime fiction thematically linked and all with increasingly unreliable characters—because they’re each going insane.

In City of Glass private investigator, Daniel Quinn, goes mad sinking deeper into an investigation about identity. Who is telling his story and can they be relied on? Is it any of these characters who appear: ‘the author,’ ‘Paul Auster the writer,’ ‘Paul Auster the detective’?  Whoosh.

I love this stuff but understand it’s an acquired taste!

By Paul Auster,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The New York Trilogy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Paul Auster's signature work, "The New York Trilogy," consists of three interlocking novels: "City of Glass," "Ghosts," and "The Locked Room" - haunting and mysterious tales that move at the breathless pace of a thriller."City of Glass" - As a result of a strange phone call in the middle of the night, Quinn, a writer of detective stories, becomes enmeshed in a case more puzzling than any he might hace written"Ghosts"Blue, a student of Brown, has been hired to spy on Black. From a window of a rented house on Orange street, Blue stalks his subject, who is staring out…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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