100 books like To Make Men Free

By Heather Cox Richardson,

Here are 100 books that To Make Men Free fans have personally recommended if you like To Make Men Free. 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 Saving Yellowstone: Exploration and Preservation in Reconstruction America

Drew A. Swanson Author Of Remaking Wormsloe Plantation: The Environmental History of a Lowcountry Landscape

From my list on why American parks look the way they do.

Who am I?

I grew up a farm kid and then worked as a park ranger fresh out of college. This background draws me to the history of American preservation, where so much that seems natural also has deep cultural roots. I find the American South—with its combination of irony and tragedy, beauty, and flaws—the most fascinating place on earth to study. Or maybe I’m just pulling for the home team.

Drew's book list on why American parks look the way they do

Drew A. Swanson Why did Drew love this book?

An acclaimed historian of the Civil War, Nelson’s newest book connects the nation’s Reconstruction struggles with its impulse to set aside dramatic western landscapes as national parks. The compelling narrative follows not only western scientist-adventurers like Ferdinand Hayden, but also weaves the preservation of Yellowstone into the Indian Wars and the violence against freedpeople in the American South. At a time when Americans sought healing in the aftermath of a divisive war, they turned to magnificent western landscapes like Yellowstone, only to find they were also contested ground.

By Megan Kate Nelson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From historian and critically acclaimed author of The Three-Cornered War comes the captivating story of how Yellowstone became the world’s first national park in the years after the Civil War, offering “a fresh, provocative study…departing from well-trodden narratives about conservation and public recreation” (Booklist, starred review).

Each year nearly four million people visit Yellowstone National Park—one of the most popular of all national parks—but few know the fascinating and complex historical context in which it was established. In late July 1871, the geologist-explorer Ferdinand Hayden led a team of scientists through a narrow canyon into Yellowstone Basin, entering one of…


Book cover of Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate

Andrei P. Tsygankov Author Of Russia's Foreign Policy: Change and Continuity in National Identity

From my list on Russia’s foreign policy after the Cold War.

Who am I?

I am a Russian academic living in the West and a contributor to both Western and Russian academia. I move between the two and try to build bridges by explaining the two sides’ differences and areas of potential cooperation. I do it in my teaching and research on international politics, which I understand through the lens of culture and politics. Most of my books analyze Russian and Western patterns of thinking formed through history and interaction with each other. I love reading good books about these topics and hope you enjoy my selected list!

Andrei's book list on Russia’s foreign policy after the Cold War

Andrei P. Tsygankov Why did Andrei love this book?

The book is a great guide to understand Russia’s perspective on post-Cold War developments and the contemporary crisis of relations with the West. Written by a historian, the book reconstructs the role of NATO expansion in shaping Russia’s security interests since the 1990s. The author documents opportunities, errors, and (mis)perceptions by both sides in setting their relations in the course of growing geopolitical tensions.

By M. E. Sarotte,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Not One Inch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A leading expert on foreign policy reveals how tensions between America, NATO, and Russia transformed geopolitics in a Foreign Affairs Best Book of 2021

"Sarotte has the receipts, as it were: her authoritative tale draws on thousands of memos, letters, briefs, and other once secret documents-including many that have never been published before-which both fill in and complicate settled narratives on both sides."-Joshua Yaffa, New Yorker

"The most engaging and carefully documented account of this period in East-West diplomacy currently available."-Andrew Moravcsik, Foreign Affairs

Prize-winning historian, M.E. Sarotte pulls back the curtain on the crucial decade between the fall of…


Book cover of Madison's Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention

Lindsay M. Chervinsky Author Of The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution

From my list on for Father’s Day.

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by power and how people use it; from the time I was tiny, I’ve loved reading about how people left their fingerprint on history. I now make my career as a presidential historian, and I’m committed to sharing this history with a broad public audience in books, opinion editorials, podcasts, and other media. In my experience, most people find history fascinating if they can learn about it in an interesting way. That’s my goal with all my work and the goal of the books I’ve recommended below!

Lindsay's book list on for Father’s Day

Lindsay M. Chervinsky Why did Lindsay love this book?

In Madison’s Hand, Bilder meticulously dissects James Madison’s notes from the Constitutional Convention. Madison’s notes are widely considered to be the authoritative source on the Convention, but Bilder demonstrates that Madison revised, edited, obscured, and added to this record to suit his purposes. Carefully researched and smartly written, Madison’s Hand reveals the true story of the Convention and the creation of the Constitution. Perfect for the dads who are lawyers and Revolutionary and Founding history buffs.

By Mary Sarah Bilder,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Winner of the Bancroft Prize
Winner of the James Bradford Best Biography Prize, Society for Historians of the Early American Republic
Finalist, Literary Award for Nonfiction, Library of Virginia
Finalist, George Washington Prize

James Madison's Notes on the 1787 Constitutional Convention have acquired nearly unquestioned authority as the description of the U.S. Constitution's creation. No document provides a more complete record of the deliberations in Philadelphia or depicts the Convention's charismatic figures, crushing disappointments, and miraculous triumphs with such narrative force. But how reliable is this account?

"[A] superb study of the Constitutional Convention as selectively reflected in Madison's voluminous…


Book cover of Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic

David S. Parker Author Of The Pen, the Sword, and the Law: Dueling and Democracy in Uruguay

From my list on dueling that explain why people fought duels.

Who am I?

I am a social and legal historian of late 19th and early 20th Century Latin America, and the majority of my work is about the emergence of the middle class. I first got interested in researching dueling because I had the idea that the duel probably played a role in creating and enforcing a social dividing line between the upper elite and the middle class. But once I got immersed in the historical documents I realized how wrong my initial hypothesis had been, how little dueling had to do with social class, and how much it was about maintaining—or sometimes gaming for advantage—the norms of decorum in politics and the press.

David's book list on dueling that explain why people fought duels

David S. Parker Why did David love this book?

This is one of the books that inspired and provided source material for the musical Hamilton. Freeman is a Pulitzer prize-winning historian of post-1776 United States. This masterful history of the early American republic shows how dueling needs to be understood as politics by other means, as part of the mad scramble for power and prestige in the context of never-ending “paper wars” in the partisan press. They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but I’ll never forget how much the cover art captured my imagination, and how brilliantly it reflects what you will find inside.

This book is not just about duels; it also covers political alliances, gossip, insults, and elections.  But that is Freeman’s whole point, that they are all interconnected, and dueling is just one piece of a larger picture.

By Joanne B. Freeman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A major reassessment of American political culture in the days of Jefferson, Hamilton, and Burr

"[A] landmark study of Hamilton and the founders."-Jeff Sharlet, Chronicle of Higher Education

"Demands the attention of everyone with a serious interest in the history of American politics."-Pauline Maier, Washington Post

In this extraordinary book, Joanne Freeman offers a major reassessment of political culture in the early years of the American republic. By exploring both the public actions and private papers of key figures such as Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, and Alexander Hamilton, Freeman reveals an alien and profoundly unstable political world grounded on the…


Book cover of Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, From Eisenhower to the Tea Party

Robert L. Fleegler Author Of Brutal Campaign: How the 1988 Election Set the Stage for Twenty-First-Century American Politics

From my list on explaining today’s polarized US politics.

Who am I?

I'm a history professor at the University of Mississippi and I've been a political junkie for a long time. I really began following politics during the 1988 presidential election and I vividly remember reading about the race in the newspaper every morning and then watching the evening news coverage each night. Thus, it seemed like the perfect topic for my second book. It was really fascinating to see the similarities and differences between my memories and the sources from the time.

Robert's book list on explaining today’s polarized US politics

Robert L. Fleegler Why did Robert love this book?

Both major political parties formed much bigger ideological tents during most of the post-World War II period than they do today.

Kabaservice’s book is fascinating because it depicts a time and place in the 1960s when the Republican Party was extremely heterogenous and featured large and politically potent moderate and liberal wings.  Geographically, the Party of Lincoln still held great sway in its original base in New England and the Midwest. As a result, centrists like New York’s Nelson Rockefeller, Michigan’s George Romney, and Massachusetts’ Ed Brooke were power brokers in the GOP of that era.

Kabaservice also shows how conservatives ascended to power as the liberal and moderate wings gradually declined and disappeared by the early 21st century, giving us the contemporary Republican Party.

By Geoffrey Kabaservice,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As the 2012 elections approach, the Republican Party is rocketing rightward away from the center of public opinion. Republicans in Congress threaten to shut down the government and force a U.S. debt default. Tea Party activists mount primary challenges against Republican officeholders who appear to exhibit too much pragmatism or independence. Moderation and compromise are dirty words in the Republican presidential debates. The GOP, it seems, has suddenly become a
party of ideological purity.

Except this development is not new at all. In Rule and Ruin, Geoffrey Kabaservice reveals that the moderate Republicans' downfall began not with the rise of…


Book cover of The Broken Constitution: Lincoln, Slavery, and the Refounding of America

Kermit Roosevelt III Author Of The Nation That Never Was: Reconstructing America's Story

From my list on understanding America.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved America and our Constitution. I went to law school, I clerked at the Supreme Court, and I ended up teaching Constitutional law at Penn. But as I learned more about the Constitution and our history, I realized that the story I’d absorbed growing up about what our values were and where they came from didn’t ring true. Things were a little more complicated. And so I did my own research. I read dozens of books, including the ones listed here. And in the end, I found a story that was both more true and more inspiring than the one we learned in school. 

Kermit's book list on understanding America

Kermit Roosevelt III Why did Kermit love this book?

What happened to our Constitution during the Civil War? Noah Feldman argues that Lincoln, whose goal was to save the Union, had to break the Constitution to do so. But this rupture created the possibility of a new order. The original Constitution was filled with compromises, most notably between the supporters and opponents of slavery. But a broken document could be mended to eliminate those compromises and produce an anti-slavery Constitution.

I think this book is really insightful—it will change the way you think about what it means to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

By Noah Feldman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice

An innovative account of Abraham Lincoln, constitutional thinker and doer.

When Abraham Lincoln assumed the presidency in 1861, the United States’ constitutional arrangements were not the ones we know today. It was widely believed that the federal government could not use armed force to prevent a state from seceding. It was also assumed that it had no authority over slavery in states where the institution existed and that basic civil liberties could not be suspended during a rebellion without the consent of Congress. As president, Lincoln broke decisively with all these precedents,…


Book cover of Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches

Bill Kuhn Author Of Facts & Fury: An Unapologetic Primer on How the GOP Has Destroyed American Democracy

From my list on to understand the American political system.

Who am I?

I write about politics. I grew up in a political household. My mother was a key fundraiser for the Democratic Party and my stepfather served as a White House counsel to President Clinton. Politics and the Washington experience were the air I breathed during my formative years. I followed in their footsteps and co-founded Fight for a Better America, an organization that invests in key battleground districts and states throughout the US, with the goal of either flipping them blue or maintaining a Democratic incumbent. Through my travels with the organization, I have made hundreds of contacts with folks in local civic clubs and organized hundreds of volunteers on the ground. 

Bill's book list on to understand the American political system

Bill Kuhn Why did Bill love this book?

President Nixon’s former White House Counsel, John Dean, has had the inside seat to Republican malfeasance and corruption. He utilizes his deep experience in government to write about his former party (Republican) of the 1990s and 2000s. He painstakingly documents the brutal no holds barred tactics of Republican leaders in Congress and in the executive branch. The damage former Speaker Newt Gingrich and Vice President Dick Cheney wreaked on our democracy are incalculable. Dean proves this definitively. 

By John W. Dean,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The concluding volume of The New York Times bestselling trilogy

One of today's most outspoken and respected political commentators asks: How can our democracy function when the key institutions of government no longer operate as intended by the Constitution? Stepping back to assess three decades of nearly continuous Republican rule, John W. Dean surveys the damage done to the three branches of government and traces their decline through the presidencies of Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II. Speaking to what the average moderate citizen can do to combat extremism, authoritarianism, incompetence, and the Republicans' deliberate focus on polarizing…


Book cover of On Another Man's Wound

Mark Bulik Author Of Ambush at Central Park: When the IRA Came to New York

From my list on the Irish Republican Army from the 1920s to 1990s.

Who am I?

I grew up in one of America’s most heavily Irish areas, outside Philadelphia. After Northern Ireland exploded in 1969, IRA gunrunning cases made the local news, and came up in conversations – one friend told me his ancestors smuggled weapons in the 1920s. So I was hooked when I ran across a vivid 1922 account of an IRA shooting in Manhattan, splashed on the front page of The New York Times, my employer. My first book was about Irish rebel gunmen, the Molly Maguires of the Pennsylvania coal fields, where my Irish ancestors were miners. I’ve given lectures about the IRA’s American activities at conferences in Cork and California. 

Mark's book list on the Irish Republican Army from the 1920s to 1990s

Mark Bulik Why did Mark love this book?

This searing memoir by a former commandant of the IRA not only gives an inside look at the Irish War for Independence, but does so with literary panache.

And the tale of O’Malley transformation from medical student to rebel leader seems to have inspired not one but two movies – Shake Hands With the Devil, a Cagney flick in which Don Murray goes from medical student to IRA man, and The Wind That Shakes the Barley, in which Cillian Murphy follows the same arc.

The interviews O’Malley collected with IRA veterans later in life proved invaluable for my book. And I count his son as a friend.

By Ernie O'Malley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On Another Man's Wound as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

More than any other book of the period, On Another Man's Wound captures the feel of Ireland―the way people lived, their attitudes and beliefs―and paints brilliant cameo sketches of the great personalities of the Rising and the War. Like many of the Irish, O'Malley was largely indifferent to the attempts to establish an independent Ireland―until the Easter Rising of 1916. As the fight progressed his feelings changed and he joined the Irish Republican Army.


Book cover of There Will Be Fire: Margaret Thatcher, the IRA, and Two Minutes That Changed History

Mark Bulik Author Of Ambush at Central Park: When the IRA Came to New York

From my list on the Irish Republican Army from the 1920s to 1990s.

Who am I?

I grew up in one of America’s most heavily Irish areas, outside Philadelphia. After Northern Ireland exploded in 1969, IRA gunrunning cases made the local news, and came up in conversations – one friend told me his ancestors smuggled weapons in the 1920s. So I was hooked when I ran across a vivid 1922 account of an IRA shooting in Manhattan, splashed on the front page of The New York Times, my employer. My first book was about Irish rebel gunmen, the Molly Maguires of the Pennsylvania coal fields, where my Irish ancestors were miners. I’ve given lectures about the IRA’s American activities at conferences in Cork and California. 

Mark's book list on the Irish Republican Army from the 1920s to 1990s

Mark Bulik Why did Mark love this book?

We know from the start that the British prime minister survived the IRA bomb explosion at a Conservative Party conference in Brighton, but that doesn’t lessen the tension in this fine history of the incident.

Rory Carroll gives us nuanced portraits of Thatcher and the bomb maker who tried to kill her. This tale of an overseas attack by the IRA really resonated with me because that’s what “Ambush at Central Park” is all about – and my book includes a chapter about the involvement of some of the IRA gunmen in New York in a plot to assassinate members of the British Cabinet more than sixty years before the explosion that nearly killed Thatcher.

By Rory Carroll,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked There Will Be Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A race-against-the-clock narrative that finally illuminates a history-changing event: the IRA’s attempt to assassinate Margaret Thatcher and the epic manhunt that followed.

    A bomb planted by the Irish Republican Army exploded at 2:54 a.m. on October 12, 1984. It was the last day of the Conservative Party Conference at the Grand Hotel in the coastal town of Brighton, England. Rooms were obliterated, dozens of people wounded, five killed. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was in her suite when the explosion occurred; had she been just a few feet in another direction, flying tiles and masonry would have sliced her to ribbons.…


Book cover of The Last Nazi

David Wickenden Author Of The Home Front

From my list on Nazis and the threat they posed in the past and today.

Who am I?

I can recommend this topic because of my interest in anything about WWII and the Nazi horror. It also comes from the recent revival of the ideology, even though the entire world fought to defeat them seventy years ago. I have been haunted by PTSD because of my experiences as a first responder and can speak to that personally. As a former reservist with the Canadian Armed Forces, I also have experience in firearms and munitions. I have recently written my own story, The Home Front, which deals with the rise of the neo-Nazis in the United States through the eyes of a WWII veteran.

David's book list on Nazis and the threat they posed in the past and today

David Wickenden Why did David love this book?

From well-documented facts that the US government hid escaping Nazis after the war, comes a brutal story. This book has it all. Buried Nazi treasure, political wheeling and dealing, revenge, greed, and ruthless killers. Joe Johnson has been hunting war criminals for years after a stint in the CIA. When a story is leaked that Nazi treasure might finance the contender of the U.S. Republican party, Johnson is hired to ferret out the truth. But people don’t like having him poking into matters better left in the past. Can these types of people ever change or do they continue to hurt the weak for their own gains? From the United States to Argentina and England to Poland, this story just doesn’t stop until the last bullet is fired.

By Andrew Turpin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Dark truths uncovered . . . The buried contents of a Nazi train. An aging SS killer—with a final sting in his tail. And the World War II secrets of a US presidential hopeful’s Jewish family, hidden in London for 70 years.

★★★★★ “A great read, has more twists than a country road.” — Amazon reviewer.

In this gripping thriller, war crimes investigator and ex-CIA officer Joe Johnson uncovers links between financing for the presidential campaign, the Nazi train, and a ruthless British blackmail plot.

But the mystery becomes bigger and more deeply personal than Johnson expects when it turns…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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