100 books like Voices of Protest

By Alan Brinkley,

Here are 100 books that Voices of Protest fans have personally recommended if you like Voices of Protest. 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 Until Justice Be Done: America's First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction

Gerard N. Magliocca Author Of American Founding Son: John Bingham and the Invention of the Fourteenth Amendment

From my list on constitutional history.

Why am I passionate about this?

My books are about American constitutional history, especially the parts or people that are typically overlooked. In these polarized times, there is both wisdom and comfort that can be found in looking at our past. One lesson from looking back is that there was no “golden age” in which Americans all got along. Democracy is sometimes messy, sometimes violent, and almost always involves fierce disagreements. Judged at a distance, there is great drama and great satisfaction in looking at how prior generations addressed their problems. I hope you enjoy the books on my list!

Gerard's book list on constitutional history

Gerard N. Magliocca Why did Gerard love this book?

This is a groundbreaking analysis of how free Blacks and women fought for racial equality before the Civil War and how that fight shaped the Fourteenth Amendment. Professor Masur focuses on states such as Ohio and Illinois where laws discriminating against blacks were commonplace. The political effort to repeal these laws brought together an unprecedented coalition that included many future leaders of Reconstruction, but the critical point is that the people who were the objects of the discrimination found ways to make their voices heard even though they could not vote.

By Kate Masur,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Until Justice Be Done as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The half-century before the Civil War was beset with conflict over equality as well as freedom. Beginning in 1803, many free states enacted laws that discouraged free African Americans from settling within their boundaries and restricted their rights to testify in court, move freely from place to place, work, vote, and attend public school. But over time, African American activists and their white allies, often facing mob violence, courageously built a movement to fight these racist laws. They countered the states' insistences that states were merely trying to maintain the domestic peace with the equal-rights promises they found in the…

Book cover of The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution

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

From my list on understanding America.

Why am I passionate about this?

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?

Eric Foner is our nation’s foremost historian of Reconstruction, the author of dozens of books and articles. This is my favorite—it takes the research and thought of a monumental career and packages it for maximum impact. In just over 200 pages, it takes you through the changes of the Civil War and Reconstruction and their relevance for America today. 

By Eric Foner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Declaration of Independence announced equality as an American ideal but it took the Civil War and the adoption of three constitutional amendments to establish that ideal as law. The Reconstruction amendments abolished slavery, guaranteed due process and the equal protection of the law, and equipped black men with the right to vote. By grafting the principle of equality onto the Constitution, the amendments marked the second founding of the United States.

Eric Foner conveys the dramatic origins of these revolutionary amendments and explores the court decisions that then narrowed and nullified the rights guaranteed in these amendments. Today, issues…

Book cover of Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880

Charlotte Hinger Author Of Nicodemus

From my list on African Americans in the West after the Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a multi-award-winning novelist and Kansas historian. Through reading letters written by African Americans in Kansas, I realized that black people were a major political force. In fact, with the settlement of Nicodemus, for the first time in American history, enough black people had gathered in one place to dominate political decisions and prevail over the white community. No one had told the story of the three black powerhouses who shaped politics on a county, state, and national level. I was thrilled when University of Oklahoma Press published my academic book. It won second place in the Westerner’s International Best Book contest.

Charlotte's book list on African Americans in the West after the Civil War

Charlotte Hinger Why did Charlotte love this book?

W.E.B Du Bois’s magnificent contribution to Post-Reconstrucion history put a stop to the notion that blacks were lightweights when it came to academia. Du Bois is a careful historian but doesn’t hesitate to speak from a black agenda. I’m well aware that this book supports my own ideas that blacks were a force in settling the West, but still, the truth will come out. Black people exerted extraordinary political influence. Du Bois, was a serious scholar, with impeccable credentials, and the founder of the NAACP. This man can write! I’m envious of his matchless ability to present history. 

By W.E.B. Du Bois,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

W. E. B. Du Bois was a public intellectual, sociologist, and activist on behalf of the African American community. He profoundly shaped black political culture in the United States through his founding role in the NAACP, as well as internationally through the Pan-African movement. Du Bois's sociological and historical research on African-American communities and culture broke ground in many areas, including the history of the post-Civil War Reconstruction period. Du
Bois was also a prolific author of novels, autobiographical accounts, innumerable editorials and journalistic pieces, and several works of history.

Black Reconstruction in America tells and interprets the story of…

Book cover of The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

Charles Postel Author Of Equality: An American Dilemma, 1866-1896

From my list on the struggle for equality in the USA.

Why am I passionate about this?

These days I am a history professor and prize-winning author. But before I started my education at my local community college, I dropped out of high school to work odd jobs on farms and in factories, and spent two decades pondering the hows and whys of the gaping inequalities in our society. My books are part of that ongoing quest. They have won a number of awards, including the Bancroft Prize and the Frederick Jackson Turner Award.

Charles' book list on the struggle for equality in the USA

Charles Postel Why did Charles love this book?

Martin or Malcolm? Civil Rights or Black Power? Integration or Separation? In this book, equal parts wise and smart, Joseph shows the limits of such questions. With their different styles and ways, both Martin and Malcolm fought for the common cause of equality and full citizenship. This book gets to the heart of why this cause was the defining struggle for equality of the post-World War Two decades.

By Peniel E. Joseph, Peniel E. Joseph,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Sword and the Shield as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X are the two most iconic figures of the Civil Rights movement. To most Americans, Malcolm and Martin represent contrasting political ideals -- self-defense vs. non-violence, anger vs. pacifism, separatism vs. integration, the sword vs. the shield. The Civil Rights movement itself has suffered the same fate: while non-violent direct action is remembered today as an unalloyed good and an unassailable part of our democracy, the movement's combative militancy has been either vilified or erased outright. In The Sword and the Shield, acclaimed historian Peniel Joseph offers a dual biography of Malcolm and Martin…

Book cover of The Feast of the Goat

Nicholas Shakespeare Author Of Ian Fleming: The Complete Man

From my list on post-war Latin America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a British novelist and biographer who lived on and off in Latin America from the 1960s to the late 1980s. I was a boy in Brazil during the Death Squads; an adolescent in Argentina during the Dirty War; and a young journalist in Peru during the Shining Path insurgency, publishing a reportage for Granta on my search for Abimael Guzman. I gave the 2010 Borges Lecture and have written two novels set in Peru, the second of which, The Dancer Upstairs, was chosen as the best novel of 1995 by the American Libraries Association and turned into a film by John Malkovich.

Nicholas' book list on post-war Latin America

Nicholas Shakespeare Why did Nicholas love this book?

I lived in Lima during the worst excesses of “the Sendero years” when I came to know the Peruvian Nobel laureate and quondam presidential candidate.

This story about the assassination of the Dominican dictator Trujillo is an exhilarating portrait of corruption, violence, and power. Trujillo stands in a long and grubby line of post-Pizarro tyrants like Melgarejo of Bolivia, Rosas of Argentina, Stroessner of Paraguay, and Pinochet of Chile, who deformed their countries.

By Mario Vargas Llosa, Edith Grossman (translator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Feast of the Goat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The Feast of the Goat will stand out as the great emblematic novel of Latin America's twentieth century and removes One Hundred Years of Solitude of that title.' Times Literary Supplement

Urania Cabral, a New York lawyer, returns to the Dominican Republic after a lifelong self-imposed exile. Once she is back in her homeland, the elusive feeling of terror that has overshadowed her whole life suddenly takes shape. Urania's own story alternates with the powerful climax of dictator Rafael Trujillo's reign.

In 1961, Trujillo's decadent inner circle (which includes Urania's soon-to-be disgraced father) enjoys the luxuries of privilege while the…

Book cover of The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Sam Mitrani Author Of The Rise of the Chicago Police Department: Class and Conflict, 1850-1894

From my list on why takes on the police miss the real problem.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of history at College of DuPage, a community college outside of Chicago. Growing up in New York City and rural Vermont in the 1980s and 1990s around people who questioned everything made me think a lot about how and why the social world is organized in such an obviously unjust and irrational way. I have tried to understand the development of this organization ever since.

Sam's book list on why takes on the police miss the real problem

Sam Mitrani Why did Sam love this book?

This might seem like a strange choice since this book is not directly about policing. But it shows in a powerful and direct way how inextricably bound policing is with the basic organization of this society.

Despite the controversies currently surrounding Hayley’s depiction of Malcolm X’s life, the book retains its power to express Malcolm X’s cutting critique of every one of this country’s justifications for its brutal criminal justice system. No one who engages with it can believe that police exist simply to deal with some criminal element in society.

But the book also shows how impossible it would be for this society to somehow “defund” the force used to keep under control the millions of people who, even with all their talents, this society can find no place for.

By Malcolm X, Alex Haley,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Autobiography of Malcolm X as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement. His fascinating perspective on the lies and limitations of the American Dream, and the inherent racism in a society that denies its nonwhite citizens the opportunity to dream, gives extraordinary insight into the most urgent issues of our own time. The Autobiography of Malcolm X stands as the definitive statement of a movement…

Book cover of The Doctor and the Saint: Caste, Race, and Annihilation of Caste, the Debate Between B.R. Ambedkar and M.K. Gandhi

Moshik Temkin Author Of Sacco-Vanzetti Affair: America on Trial

From my list on leadership and history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Moshik Temkin is a historian of the United States and the World and has taught about leadership and history at Tsinghua University in Beijing, Harvard University in Massachusetts, the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and other institutions around the world. He is the author of The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair: America on Trial and is writing a book on leadership in history for PublicAffairs called Warriors, Rebels, and Saints: On Leaders and Leadership in History.

Moshik's book list on leadership and history

Moshik Temkin Why did Moshik love this book?

Anyone who follows India will be acquainted with the writing of Arundhati Roy. In this short and powerful book she focuses on two remarkable leaders of pre-independence India, Mahatma Gandhi and B. R. Ambedkar; the two clashed over the place of the Caste system – and Hinduism itself – in the future Indian nation. Ambedkar, an “Untouchable” (Dalit), believed that ending colonialism was not enough and the Untouchables could never be free until the “annihilation” of the entire Caste system. Gandhi believed that in building a national community there had to be a compromise with people’s strong attachment to Caste. Roy’s book is simultaneously a rediscovery of Ambedkar, a reassessment of Gandhi, and an indictment of Caste-based oppression in India today.

By Arundhati Roy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

To best understand and address the inequality in India today, Arundhati Roy insists we must examine both the political development and influence of M. K. Gandhi and why B. R. Ambedkar’s brilliant challenge to his near-divine status was suppressed by India’s elite. In Roy’s analysis, we see that Ambedkar’s fight for justice was systematically sidelined in favor of policies that reinforced caste, resulting in the current nation of India: independent of British rule, globally powerful, and marked to this day by the caste system.
This book situates Ambedkar’s arguments in their vital historical context— namely, as an extended public political…

Book cover of Ten Years of Madness: Oral Histories of China's Cultural Revolution

Fan Wu Author Of Beautiful as Yesterday

From my list on China’s cultural revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born and raised in China, I grew up on a remote state-run farm where my parents, as condemned intellectuals during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, lived for 20 years. It wasn't until mid-80s they were allowed to return. I have heard many stories and read many books about this tumultuous period in China. I didn’t know much about my parents’ personal experiences until I was in my 30s. Today’s China is very different but I believe that history extends its roots deep into the present. As a writer, what interests me the most is the impact of history on individuals and society. My latest book is a historical wartime novel set in China and Europe.

Fan's book list on China’s cultural revolution

Fan Wu Why did Fan love this book?

Oral history as a literary form is relatively new in China. When asked why he wrote the book, Mr. Feng replied that it was because of his guilt as a survivor and as a witness. The Cultural Revolution has devastated and scarred generation after generation in China, yet most people are silent about their personal experiences. Feng conducted numerous interviews with ordinary people who had lived through that period and wrote these intimate stories in the collection. Every voice is different and deeply personal; together, they portray one of the most disturbing and tumultuous times in Chinese history. 

By Feng Jicai,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ten Years of Madness is a groundbreaking book that draws some parallels to Studs Terkel's "Working" in that it portrays a wide cross section of the Chinese people, but with a harrowing twist: how they survived the disastrous Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976. Families were destroyed; an entire generation of artists and intellectuals was lost. These oral histories, expertly conducted and arranged by noted writer and cultural critic Feng Jicai, are essential in preserving the memory of those who survived and those who did not survive China's most calamitous period in its modern history.

Book cover of Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American Dream

Benjamin C. Waterhouse Author Of Lobbying America: The Politics of Business from Nixon to NAFTA

From my list on why corporations are powerful but economy stinks.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of modern U.S. History and have written books explaining the political and cultural power of corporations, lobbyists, and business people in American life. To me, the signal event of recent history was when the rapid economic growth that followed WWII ended in the 1970s. From globalization and deindustrialization to the rise of authoritarianism under the guise of populism, from systemic racism and the rise of the carceral state to the proliferation of bad jobs and the gig economy—the effects of that historic change shape every aspect of modern life. But this topic can sometimes seem a little dry, so I’m always looking for books that help make sense of it.

Benjamin's book list on why corporations are powerful but economy stinks

Benjamin C. Waterhouse Why did Benjamin love this book?

This book is the most readable treatment I’ve encountered of a very complicated and theoretical set of ideas about how corporations have changed—not only in their legal structure but as social creatures—in the last century. Lemann makes the difficult theories of thinkers like Adolf Berle, John Kenneth Galbraith, Milton Friedman, and Michael Jensen easy to understand and fun to read about. And in the process, he explains how corporations lost their “souls”—how we reached a point where companies are finance-obsessed, detached from their communities, and fixated on short-term profits and not long-term stability.

By Nicholas Lemann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An Amazon Best History Book of 2019

"A splendid and beautifully written illustration of the tremendous importance public policy has for the daily lives of ordinary people." —Ryan Cooper, Washington Monthly

Over the last generation, the United States has undergone seismic changes. Stable institutions have given way to frictionless transactions, which are celebrated no matter what collateral damage they generate. The concentration of great wealth has coincided with the fraying of social ties and the rise of inequality. How did all this come about?

In Transaction Man, Nicholas Lemann explains the United States’—and the world’s—great transformation by examining three remarkable…

Book cover of The Burning Shores: Inside the Battle for the New Libya

Ronald Bruce St John Author Of Historical Dictionary of Libya

From my list on explaining the Libyan Quagmire.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first visited and worked in Libya in 1977. At the time, only a handful of books on Libya were available in English, and all of them were technical studies related to the petroleum industry. In an effort to better understand the political economy of this beautiful and intriguing state, I began to conduct my own field research. This research led to the publication in 1981 of two articles on Libya under the pseudonym of our two sons because it was dangerous for anyone to publish critical analysis of the Qaddafi regime. I remain fascinated with Libya, and over time, I have published five books and well over 100 articles and reviews on Libya.

Ronald's book list on explaining the Libyan Quagmire

Ronald Bruce St John Why did Ronald love this book?

Beginning with service as a military officer at the US embassy in Tripoli in 2009, Frederic Wehrey has had a long association with Libya.

This has enabled him to develop an unparalleled range of contacts inside and outside the country.

With a solid grounding in Libyan history, his analysis of socio-economic and political events has an authoritative freshness that few can equal.

In The Burning Shores, which focuses on Libya after the overthrow of the Qaddafi regime, he explores the missteps and turning points that led to the splintering of Libya, an outcome he rightly believes was not preordained.

This is an exceptional book; it is authoritative, informative, accessible, and will stand the test of time. 

By Frederic Wehrey,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The death of Colonel Muammar Qadhafi freed Libya from forty-two years of despotic rule, raising hopes for a new era. But in the aftermath, the country descended into bitter rivalries and civil war, paving the way for the Islamic State and a catastrophic migrant crisis. In a fast-paced narrative that blends frontline reporting, analysis, and history, Frederic Wehrey tells the story of what went wrong. An Arabic-speaking Middle East scholar, Wehrey interviewed the key actors in Libya and paints vivid portraits of lives upended by a country in turmoil: the once-hopeful activists murdered or exiled, revolutionaries transformed into militia bosses…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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