100 books like Toward- Freedom

By Jawaharlal Nehru,

Here are 100 books that Toward- Freedom fans have personally recommended if you like Toward- Freedom. 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 A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman, and the Birth of Modern China, 1949

Moss Roberts Author Of Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel

From my list on modern Asia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a strong, if contrarian, interest in modern history, Asian history in particular. I have published more than a dozen articles and book reviews on the subject, and I have taught courses on modern Asian history (China, Japan, Vietnam, India) at New York University, where I have been a professor since 1968. A brief history of my somewhat unusual academic career may be found in a 50-page memoir published via Amazon in 2020 together with an appendix containing a sampling of my short writings. It is titled Moss Roberts: A Journey to the East. The memoir but not the appendix is free via Researchgate. In addition, I have studied (and taught) the Chinese language for more than half a century, and published translations of classical works of literature and philosophy.   

Moss' book list on modern Asia

Moss Roberts Why did Moss love this book?

President Truman sends George Marshall to China in December 1945 on a special mission to unify the Communists and Nationalists and create a non-Communist China. Marshall returns to the US in early 1947. The mission has failed. Had he been truly neutral as a broker, could the mission have succeeded?

By Kevin Peraino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Force So Swift as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice • Winner of the 2018 Truman Book Award

A gripping narrative of the Truman Administration's response to the fall of Nationalist China and the triumph of Mao Zedong's Communist forces in 1949--an extraordinary political revolution that continues to shape East Asian politics to this day.
 
In the opening months of 1949, U.S. President Harry S. Truman found himself faced with a looming diplomatic catastrophe--"perhaps the greatest that this country has ever suffered," as the journalist Walter Lippmann put it. Throughout the spring and summer, Mao Zedong's Communist armies fanned out across mainland China,…


Book cover of Viet Nam: A History from Earliest Times to the Present

Moss Roberts Author Of Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel

From my list on modern Asia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a strong, if contrarian, interest in modern history, Asian history in particular. I have published more than a dozen articles and book reviews on the subject, and I have taught courses on modern Asian history (China, Japan, Vietnam, India) at New York University, where I have been a professor since 1968. A brief history of my somewhat unusual academic career may be found in a 50-page memoir published via Amazon in 2020 together with an appendix containing a sampling of my short writings. It is titled Moss Roberts: A Journey to the East. The memoir but not the appendix is free via Researchgate. In addition, I have studied (and taught) the Chinese language for more than half a century, and published translations of classical works of literature and philosophy.   

Moss' book list on modern Asia

Moss Roberts Why did Moss love this book?

This work is thorough and informative on the US invasion and defeat but unlike many books on the war also provides extensive discussion of Vietnam’s long history, which dates back more than two millennia. It covers Vietnam’s contentious relations with China and France.

By Ben Kiernan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For many Westerners, the name Vietnam evokes images of a bloody televised American war that generated a firestorm of protest and brought conflict into their living rooms. In his sweeping account, Ben Kiernan broadens this vision by narrating the rich history of the peoples who have inhabited the land now known as Viet Nam over the past three thousand years.

Despite the tragedies of the American-Vietnamese conflict, Viet Nam has always been much more than a war. Its long history had been characterized by the frequent rise and fall of different political formations, from ancient chiefdoms to imperial provinces, from…


Book cover of Pan-Asianism and Japan's War 1931-1945

Moss Roberts Author Of Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel

From my list on modern Asia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a strong, if contrarian, interest in modern history, Asian history in particular. I have published more than a dozen articles and book reviews on the subject, and I have taught courses on modern Asian history (China, Japan, Vietnam, India) at New York University, where I have been a professor since 1968. A brief history of my somewhat unusual academic career may be found in a 50-page memoir published via Amazon in 2020 together with an appendix containing a sampling of my short writings. It is titled Moss Roberts: A Journey to the East. The memoir but not the appendix is free via Researchgate. In addition, I have studied (and taught) the Chinese language for more than half a century, and published translations of classical works of literature and philosophy.   

Moss' book list on modern Asia

Moss Roberts Why did Moss love this book?

Important for Japan’s shifting policy in China, but also for the responses in China and in Russia.  Identifies key figures in the military responsible for war planning and their conflicts as well as the role of the emperor. This book emphasizes the twisting path toward Pearl Harbor and how it might have been avoided.

By Eri Hotta,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pan-Asianism and Japan's War 1931-1945 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The book explores the critical importance of Pan-Asianism in Japanese imperialism. Pan-Asianism was a cultural as well as political ideology that promoted Asian unity and recognition. The focus is on Pan-Asianism as a propeller behind Japan's expansionist policies from the Manchurian Incident until the end of the Pacific War.


Book cover of The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America

June Carolyn Erlick Author Of A Gringa in Bogotá: Living Colombia's Invisible War

From my list on classics for understanding Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I accidentally fell in love with Latin America, a love that has lasted my lifetime. When I was young, I lived in a Dominican neighborhood in New York, learning Spanish from my neighbors. After I graduated from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism I got a job covering the Cuban community in New Jersey because I spoke Spanish. Eventually I ended up living in Colombia and then Managua as a foreign correspondent. Now I edit a magazine at Harvard about Latin America. It's not just the news that interests me; I love the cadence of the language, the smell and taste of its varied cuisine, the warmth of the people, the culture, and, yes, soccer.

June's book list on classics for understanding Latin America

June Carolyn Erlick Why did June love this book?

Greg Grandin is a historian's historian, a brilliant researcher, a captivating writer. It's honestly hard to pick which of his books to feature here. But since The End of the Myth won the Pultizer Prize, I'll choose it as my favorite. What I loved about this book is that it gives me a new perspective about the history of my own country—about which, frankly, I do not know that much—and the region I have reported on for most of my life, Latin America. He makes connections and does so in a compelling fashion.

The book focuses on the United States and the border, but it sheds much light on how the myth of manifest destiny has shaped the way we think of ourselves and our relationship with our southern neighbors.

By Greg Grandin,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The End of the Myth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE

A new and eye-opening interpretation of the meaning of the frontier, from early westward expansion to Trump’s border wall.

Ever since this nation’s inception, the idea of an open and ever-expanding frontier has been central to American identity. Symbolizing a future of endless promise, it was the foundation of the United States’ belief in itself as an exceptional nation – democratic, individualistic, forward-looking. Today, though, America hasa new symbol: the border wall.

In The End of the Myth, acclaimed historian Greg Grandin explores the meaning of the frontier throughout the full sweep of U.S. history…


Book cover of In the Land of the Blue Poppies: The Collected Plant-Hunting Writings of Frank Kingdon Ward

Teri Dunn Chace Author Of Seeing Flowers: Discover the Hidden Life of Flowers

From my list on flowers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hiking in the flower-covered hillsides of Central California as a nature-loving kid, I couldn’t help but wonder about my companions. One of my first purchases (with babysitting money!) was a wildflower guide. I’ve moved around the country many times and every time I’ve had to start over, make new plant acquaintances and discoveries—always an orienting process. Of course, I’ve also studied plants formally, in college and in my career, and (honestly, best of all) via mentors and independent study. All this has shown me that flowers are more than just beautiful! They’re amazingly diverse, and full of fascinating behaviors and quirks. In fact, they are essential parts of the complex habitats we share.

Teri's book list on flowers

Teri Dunn Chace Why did Teri love this book?

Once upon a time, “plant explorers,” intrepid botanists (mainly from the UK) fanned out over the lesser-known world looking for interesting plants to bring into wider appreciation and cultivation. Frank Kingdon Ward (1885-1958) is best known for introducing the breathtakingly beautiful Tibetan blue poppy. There’s an internet meme featuring his grizzled face with the caption “Make sure you want it enough,” a clear reference to what he went through to bring his prizes back. (Imagine: you spot the fabulous blue poppy in some remote place, but, you have to find a way to return in a few months to get seeds.) This book, edited by Thomas Christopher and with a preface by Jamaica Kincaid (both super-credentialed horticulturists and authors), features highly readable, awe-inspiring selections from the great man’s journals.

By Frank Kingdon Ward,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Land of the Blue Poppies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Modern Library Paperback Original

During the first years of the twentieth century, the British plant collector and explorer Frank Kingdon Ward went on twenty-four impossibly daring expeditions throughout Tibet, China, and Southeast Asia, in search of rare and elusive species of plants. He was responsible for the discovery of numerous varieties previously unknown in Europe and America, including the legendary Tibetan blue poppy, and the introduction of their seeds into the world’s gardens. Kingdon Ward’s accounts capture all the romance of his wildly adventurous expeditions, whether he was swinging across a bottomless gorge on a cable of twisted bamboo…


Book cover of Instead of Education: Ways to Help People Do Things Better

Anthony Weston Author Of Teaching as the Art of Staging: A Scenario-Based College Pedagogy in Action

From my list on to provoke the impresario in every teacher.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve taught Philosophy graduate students at the same time as assisting in kindergartens when my kids were in community co-op schools... staging both classes the same way. Proud to be named Elon University’s 2002 Teacher of the Year, I have led classes “on the edge” ranging from “Millennial Imagination” and “Life in the Universe” (students just called it “Aliens”) to a Philosophy of Education course taught with a totally different pedagogy – embodying a different philosophy – every single session. I also work in environmental philosophy and am deeply involved in designing and building Common Ground Ecovillage in central North Carolina.

Anthony's book list on to provoke the impresario in every teacher

Anthony Weston Why did Anthony love this book?

Holt writes that the best learning experience in his life wasn’t a “learning experience” at all, but serving on a submarine during World War 2. Success – and sheer survival – manifestly hinged on quickly bringing even the rawest and supposedly least educable of the crew to function at the highest level. In such purposive settings, everything about “teaching and learning” is different. School as we know it, Holt argues, is hypocrisy-inducing and soul-crushing, plus stupendously inefficient, but you can take this angry book as also a provocation to rethink pedagogy in a radical but still constructive way... even in, yes, something like school.

By John Holt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Instead of Education is Holt's most direct and radical challenge to the educational status quo and a clarion call to parents to save their children from schools of all kinds. In this breakthrough work Holt lays out the foundation for un-schooling as the vital path to self-directed learning and a creative life.


Book cover of Language and National Identity in Asia

Lewis Glinert Author Of The Story of Hebrew

From my list on the story of a language.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and Linguistics at Dartmouth College since 1997. Previously: Professor of Hebrew at London University.  BA Oxford, Ph.D. London. Author/co-author of seven books, including The Story of Hebrew (Princeton, 2017) – one of CHOICE Magazine’s 'Outstanding Academic Titles for 2017', a Princeton University Press nomination for the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction – and (co-author Jon Schommer) A Screenful of Sugar? Prescription Drug Websites Investigated.  Over 80 papers on language and its social and political impact, in particular in pharmaceutical and financial literacy.

Lewis' book list on the story of a language

Lewis Glinert Why did Lewis love this book?

You can piece together another trove of language stories here, this time from 20 modern Asian countries – each profiled by a different scholar. Once again, I adopted this for a course and the students were engrossed.

To take just one story: for 2000 years the vast Chinese empire had a centralized administrative tongue against a chatter of spoken dialects. But then, in the early 20th century, a sea change: the ripple of Western nationalism and liberalism that carried away the empire also produced a movement for wholesale language reform  creating one standard spoken language to unite the masses, simplifying the daunting Chinese script, even introducing Roman script.

In the end, the Communist Party settled on a Roman script just as a learning tool for children. They couldn’t erase 3000 years of history. And as I was writing my story, the parallels with China kept coming at me:…

By Andrew Simpson (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Language and National Identity in Asia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Language and National Identity in Asia is a comprehensive introduction to the role of language in the construction and development of nations and national identities in Asia.

Leading scholars from all over the world investigate the role languages have played and now play in the formation of the national and social identity in countries throughout South, East, and Southeast Asia. They consider the relation of the regions' languages to national, ethnic, and cultural identity, and examine the status of and interactions between majority, official, and minority languages.

Illustrated with maps and accessibly written this book will interest all those concerned…


Book cover of Ghost Train to the Eastern Star

Neill McKee Author Of Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah

From my list on exotic Asian travel and adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

My first travel memoir, Finding Myself in Borneo, has won three awards. I hold a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Communication from Florida State University. I worked internationally for 45 years, becoming an expert in the field of communication for social change. I directed and produced a number of award-winning documentary films/videos, popular multimedia initiatives, and have written numerous articles and books in my field. I worked and lived in Asia, Africa, and Russia for a total of 18 years and traveled to over 80 countries on short-term assignments. In 2015, I settled in New Mexico, using my varied experiences, memories, and imagination in creative writing.

Neill's book list on exotic Asian travel and adventure

Neill McKee Why did Neill love this book?

When I retired from my 45-year career as an international filmmaker and multimedia producer, I decided to concentrate on creative nonfiction writing, using my experiences and memories as a basis for the many stories I wanted to tell. I began to read and listen to travel memoirs to learn how to write in a captivating and entertaining way. Paul Theroux is one of the top writers in this genre and Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is one of his best. He doesn’t make it to Borneo, but reaches many familiar places I traveled to during my years in Southeast Asia. I love his style, full of descriptions of those old haunts, and his dialog with the people he encounters on his journey.

By Paul Theroux,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ghost Train to the Eastern Star as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Paul Theroux's Ghost Train to the Eastern Star is a journey from London to Asia by train.

Winner of the Stanford Dolman Lifetime Contribution to Travel Writing Award 2020

Thirty years ago Paul Theroux left London and travelled across Asia and back again by train. His account of the journey - The Great Railway Bazaar - was a landmark book and made his name as the foremost travel writer of his generation. Now Theroux makes the trip all over again. Through Eastern Europe, India and Asia to discover the changes that have swept the continents, and also to learn what…


Book cover of Meetings with Remarkable Men: All and Everything, 2nd Series

Rande Brown Author Of Geisha: A Life

From my list on what the West can learn from the East.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an American Jewish girl who was born knowing that I had been Japanese in my previous lifetime. After graduating with a degree in Japanese studies from Princeton University, I moved to Japan at 21 and became a well-known translator. One day the Geisha Mineko Iwasaki, the inspiration behind Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha, asked me to co-author the story of her life. Published in 2002, Geisha, a Life became a bestseller. Writing Geisha awakened memories of my past life as a courtesan in fourteenth-century Kyoto. I began a deep study of reincarnation, which has led me to study the intersection of Buddhism and Psychoanalysis. Please look out for my forthcoming book, Reincarnation Karma.

Rande's book list on what the West can learn from the East

Rande Brown Why did Rande love this book?

I read this book when I was a teenager, and it taught me two very important things: that Enlightenment is possible—even for a Westernerand that living Spiritual Masters exist out in the world who can help to guide you there. This helped me gather the courage to leave home and travel throughout Asia in search of my true teacher, who I eventually found in Japan. My own Remarkable Man.

By G. I. Gurdjieff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Meetings with Remarkable Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Armenian-Greek spiritual teacher, G.I. Gurdjieff's autobiographical account of his youth and early travels has become something of a legend since it was first published in 1963. A compulsive read in the tradition of adventure narratives, but suffused with Gurdjieff's unique perspective on life, it is organized around portraits of remarkable men and women who aided Gurdjieff's search for hidden knowledge or accompanied him on his journeys in remote parts of the Near East and Central Asia. A classic work, suffused with a haunting sense of what it means to live fully - with conscience, with purpose and with heart.


Book cover of The Mongol Empire

Nicholas Morton Author Of The Mongol Storm: Making and Breaking Empires in the Medieval Near East

From my list on the Mongol conquest of Western Eurasia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an associate professor at Nottingham Trent University and my interest in the Mongols first began many years ago during my MA at Royal Holloway University. I had always been interested in the historic relationships between nomadic and agricultural societies, but what I found fascinating about the Mongols was the sheer speed and range of their expansion—how could they have conquered the greater part of the Asia within only a few decades? Exploring how the Mongols grappled with the realities of ruling such a vast imperium remains a very thought-provoking issue, so too is the question of how the peoples they overthrew accommodated themselves to Mongol rule. 

Nicholas' book list on the Mongol conquest of Western Eurasia

Nicholas Morton Why did Nicholas love this book?

In this book Timothy May provides an impressive overview of the history of the Mongol Empire. Covering its history from the time of Chinggis Khan through to its decline and including discussion on matters ranging from the Mongols’ warcraft through to their internal politics and economic activities, The Mongol Empire offers a deeply authoritative and accessible overview of research in this field. This is the book I would recommend to anyone seeking a scholarly introduction to this subject. 

By Timothy May,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book explores the rise and establishment of the Mongol Empire under Chinggis Khan, as well as its expansion and evolution under his successors. It also examines the successor states (Ilkhanate, Chaghatayid Khanate, the Jochid Ulus (Golden Horde), and the Yuan Empire) from the dissolution of the empire in 1260 to the end of each state.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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