92 books like We Own This City

By Justin Fenton,

Here are 92 books that We Own This City fans have personally recommended if you like We Own This City. 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 All the President's Men

G. Wayne Miller Author Of Unfit to Print: A Modern Media Satire

From my list on an important moment or time in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been passionate about journalism since I was a teenager, when I became the co-editor of my high school newspaper. My career as a full-time journalist began decades ago, at a small family-owned newspaper in Berkshire County, Mass., and continued through staff writer positions at The Cape Cod Times, Providence Journal and now at OceanStateStories.org, the new non-profit news outlet based at Salve Regina University’s Pell Center in Newport, R.I., that I co-founded and now direct. So I have the long and inside view of American journalism!

G.'s book list on an important moment or time in history

G. Wayne Miller Why did G. love this book?

This is arguably the most important book by journalists in the modern era.

Not only did the reporting behind it lead to the impeachment and subsequent resignation of President Richard Nixon in the wake of Watergate, it inspired generations of other journalists to investigate political crimes and criminals and hold office-holders at all levels accountable. One could reasonably say that it helped to save American democracy.

By Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked All the President's Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

50th Anniversary Edition—With a new foreword on what Watergate means today.

“The work that brought down a presidency...perhaps the most influential piece of journalism in history” (Time)—from the #1 New York Times bestselling authors of The Final Days.

The most devastating political detective story of the century: two Washington Post reporters, whose brilliant, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation smashed the Watergate scandal wide open, tell the behind-the-scenes drama the way it really happened.

One of Time magazine’s All-Time 100 Best Nonfiction Books, this is the book that changed America. Published just months before President Nixon’s resignation, All the President’s Men revealed the…


Book cover of The Bluegrass Conspiracy: An Inside Story of Power, Greed, Drugs & Murder

Mara Leveritt Author Of The Boys on the Tracks: Death, Denial, and a Mother's Crusade to Bring Her Son's Killers to Justice

From my list on true crime books about cover-ups.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a longtime reporter in a small state with big politics, I’ve become fascinated by how sly intrusions of power can distort what should be routine police investigations. One of my sources observed, “Sometimes the cover-up is more interesting than the crime.” With that in mind, I began writing books to examine cases whose outcomes didn’t seem to make sense. It’s become a genre I call “crime after crime.”

Mara's book list on true crime books about cover-ups

Mara Leveritt Why did Mara love this book?

I was wowed by this book. Denton looks beyond the immaculate white fences and princely politics of Lexington, Kentucky’s thoroughbred horse culture and sees into a drug ring run by a thoroughly corrupt former cop. Her account of a lone police investigator’s confrontation with powerful forces bent on keeping their secrets stands the test of time. It’s a look at how justice too often runs offtrack—a harrowing tale well told.

By Sally Denton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Kentucky Blueblood Drew Thornton parachuted to his death in September 1985 carrying thousands in cash and 150 pounds of cocaine, the gruesome end of his startling life blew open a scandal that reached to the most secret circles of the U.S. government. The story of Thornton and The Company he served, and the lone heroic fight of State Policeman Ralph Ross against an international web of corruption, is one of the most portentous tales of the 20th century.


Book cover of The Infiltrator: The True Story of One Man Against the Biggest Drug Cartel in History

Mara Leveritt Author Of The Boys on the Tracks: Death, Denial, and a Mother's Crusade to Bring Her Son's Killers to Justice

From my list on true crime books about cover-ups.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a longtime reporter in a small state with big politics, I’ve become fascinated by how sly intrusions of power can distort what should be routine police investigations. One of my sources observed, “Sometimes the cover-up is more interesting than the crime.” With that in mind, I began writing books to examine cases whose outcomes didn’t seem to make sense. It’s become a genre I call “crime after crime.”

Mara's book list on true crime books about cover-ups

Mara Leveritt Why did Mara love this book?

The movie based on this book featured the drama of Mazur’s undercover work as a U.S. Customs agent penetrating the money laundering behemoth known as BCCI, the bank that served crooks and governments around the world. What the film didn’t capture was the difficulty Mazur faced from federal officials who refused to act on the evidence he’d risked his life to obtain. After a state prosecuting attorney finally won indictments that brought down BCCI, Mazur testified that Department of Justice officials had ignored “hundreds of leads” that might have linked the institution to other cases of drug money, arms deals, and secret ownership of American banks.

By Robert Mazur,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The electrifying true story of Robert Mazur's life as an undercover agent who infiltrated one of the world's largest drug cartels by posing as a high-level money launderer -- the inspiration for the major motion picture The Infiltrator.

Robert Mazur spent years undercover infiltrating the Medellín Cartel's criminal hierarchy. The dirty bankers and businessmen he befriended -- some of whom still shape power across the globe -- knew him as Bob Musella, a wealthy, mob-connected big shot living the good life. Together they partied in $1,000-per-night hotel suites, drank bottles of the world's finest champagne, drove Rolls-Royce convertibles, and flew…


Book cover of Moneyland: The Inside Story of the Crooks and Kleptocrats Who Rule the World

Mara Leveritt Author Of The Boys on the Tracks: Death, Denial, and a Mother's Crusade to Bring Her Son's Killers to Justice

From my list on true crime books about cover-ups.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a longtime reporter in a small state with big politics, I’ve become fascinated by how sly intrusions of power can distort what should be routine police investigations. One of my sources observed, “Sometimes the cover-up is more interesting than the crime.” With that in mind, I began writing books to examine cases whose outcomes didn’t seem to make sense. It’s become a genre I call “crime after crime.”

Mara's book list on true crime books about cover-ups

Mara Leveritt Why did Mara love this book?

Ever wonder why, from one end of the world to the other, people are taking to the streets to reclaim their governments from the expanding reach of kleptocrats? Bullough literally follows the money into a realm few of us ever imagine—the rarified, nationless atmosphere where laws written for most mortals do not apply. His picture of Moneyland is a heads-up for the rest of us, a warning that whenever moguls in that world shake hands with public officials we commoners had better take notice.

By Oliver Bullough,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From ruined towns on the edge of Siberia, to Bond-villain lairs in London and Manhattan, something has gone wrong. Kleptocracies, governments run by corrupt leaders that prosper at the expense of their people, are on the rise.

Once upon a time, if an official stole money, there wasn't much he could do with it. He could buy himself a new car or build himself a nice house or give it to his friends and family, but that was about it. If he kept stealing, the money would just pile up in his house until he had no rooms left to…


Book cover of Filthy Rich: The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein - The Billionaire's Sex Scandal

Rob St. Clair Author Of Saving Stacy: The Untold Story of the Moody Massacre

From my list on true crime tragedies.

Why am I passionate about this?

Working as a prosecutor, trial lawyer for defendants, and as a magistrate, I’m always bothered by the misconception most people have of our criminal justice system. Unfortunately, cops are crooked, judges are corrupt, and witnesses lie on the stand. Not everyone, not every day, but more often than you would ever imagine. I write true crime books about cases where the underlying focus is on officials who are incompetent, derelict in their duties, or simply downright corrupt. The cases are always suspenseful, but justice is rarely served, and both the defendant and the public are the ones who lose.

Rob's book list on true crime tragedies

Rob St. Clair Why did Rob love this book?

There’s a reason James Patterson is a popular, best-selling author. His books are well-written, entertaining, and – when he turns his pen to nonfiction – informative.

Jeffrey Epstein rose from humble origins into the New York City and Palm Beach elite. A college dropout with an instinct for numbers – and for people – Epstein amassed his wealth through a combination of access and skill. But even after he had it all, Epstein wanted more. That unceasing desire – and especially a taste for underage girls – resulted in sexual abuse charges, to which he pleaded guilty and received a shockingly lenient sentence.

Included in Filthy Rich are police interviews with girls who alleged sexual abuse by Epstein, details of the investigation against him, and a new introduction with up-to-the-minute developments on the case, including Epstein's death by suicide. 

Filthy Rich is a riveting tale of wealth, power, and the…

By Tim Malloy, James Patterson, John Connolly

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Operation Jungle

Sandi Logan Author Of Betrayed: The incredible untold inside story of the two most unlikely drug-running grannies in Australian history

From my list on life’s adventures featuring crime, drugs, and travel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I learned from a young age to question everything. The law always interested me, but I was an impatient high school graduate who instead completed a journalism cadetship in Sydney, Australia. I always loved police reporting and the ability to get inside the ‘real’ story where few others could. There is a certain pleasure observing the lives of (witting or unwitting) criminals and an element of “there by the grace…” too! I’ve always empathised with the underdog and the Drug Grannies were indeed just that. I believed there was more to their story. Earning their trust was important. I threw myself into their fight – more an activist than a journalist!

Sandi's book list on life’s adventures featuring crime, drugs, and travel

Sandi Logan Why did Sandi love this book?

This is a memoir by a former narcotics agent who writes about a major drug importation masterminded by a combination of crooks and cops (though it is hard sometimes to work out who was who!).

On a broader scale, Operation Jungle also details the high-level corruption which existed in Queensland under disgraced senior police and politicians in league with each other. Shobbrook – as a brave, serving narcotics agent who transferred into the Australian Federal Police – “ratted” on the corrupt police and politicians before the Australian Royal Commission of Inquiry into Drugs, and so sealed his fate.

Australia was not ready for the truth. Instead of treating his evidence with respect, the author was forced out of the Australian Federal Police in 1980. It’s a gripping, thrilling true story.

By John Shobbrook,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A gripping blend of memoir, true crime, and corruption in the tropics. In the late 1970s, criminal mastermind John Milligan and his associates conspired to import heroin into Far North Queensland via a remote mountain-top airdrop. In a story that is stranger than fiction, it took them three trips through dense jungle to locate the heroin, but they only recovered one of the two packages. When narcotics agent John Shobbrook took on the investigation of this audacious crime, codenamed ‘Operation Jungle,’ his career was on the rise within the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. What he discovered unwittingly set in motion…


Book cover of Blue on Blue: An Insider's Story of Good Cops Catching Bad Cops

Paul Letersky Author Of The Director: My Years Assisting J. Edgar Hoover

From my list on American history, scandal and corruption.

Why am I passionate about this?

My entire fifty-year professional life has been dedicated to law and order, investigating crime and corruption at its highest levels in government and the private sector. I’ve worked on hundreds of cases together with local, state, and federal law enforcement. Also, internationally with Scotland Yard, GSG9, New South Wales, and the Soviet KGB. There is deep gratification in taking the “bad” guy off the street, protecting those who cannot protect themselves. I have a law degree and am an Adjunct Professor of Constitutional Law looking forward in contributing to winning the battle of “equality for all” in the justice system.

Paul's book list on American history, scandal and corruption

Paul Letersky Why did Paul love this book?

Police departments are comprised of, and are considered, the largest gangs in the country. They have developed a culture all its own. Within that culture are good cops and bad cops. I have personally encountered both while an FBI Agent and working cases of joint jurisdiction. Corruption within certain departments was so great during my tenure with the Bureau that we were ordered not to share information. That is why the author’s position as head of NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau for nearly two decades is incredible. It is a position where its chief is the most disliked cop in the entire department. Blue on Blue goes deep into the world of cops. Its content has provided a major portion of my Criminal Justice syllabus and teachings on “Leading Police Resilience.”

By Charles Campisi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In one of the most illuminating portraits of police work ever, Chief Charles Campisi describes the inner workings of the world’s largest police force and his unprecedented career putting bad cops behind bars. “Compelling, educational, memorable…this superb memoir can be read for its sheer entertainment or as a primer on police work—or both” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).

From 1996 to 2014 Charles Campisi headed NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau, working under four police commissioners and gaining a reputation as hard-nosed and incorruptible. During Campisi’s IAB tenure, the number of New Yorkers shot, wounded, or killed by cops every year declined by…


Book cover of The Son

Charles Harper Webb Author Of Ursula Lake

From my list on that take a walk on the dark side.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by the human mind. The deeper I spelunked into that cave, the deeper into the dark I wanted to go. It’s not surprising that I became a writer obsessed with the unconscious, a clinical psychotherapist, and now a Professor of English. Before that, I was a professional rock singer/ guitarist, which also gained me entry into parts of life that most people don’t see. I tell my students, “I read because one life isn’t enough.” The books I’m recommending gave me a chance to enter other lives, and to inhabit minds—some strange and twisted, all astonishing—that I could not have accessed on my own.

Charles' book list on that take a walk on the dark side

Charles Harper Webb Why did Charles love this book?

This novel, translated from Norwegian, features a protagonist who is like a junkie-Christ, and an antagonist who makes Satan look like a kind old man. The atmosphere is as dark as I imagine an Oslo winter would be; the story, full of fascinating characters who propel the plot through twists and turns that kept me guessing and gasping. In one of the first, the junkie-Christ discovers that his father, a once-revered police officer, did not commit suicide as everyone believes, but was murdered. When junkie-Christ kicks heroin, snuffs his nimbus of sweetness and light, and sets out to avenge his father, the book, for me, was un-put-downable.

By Jo Nesbo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER • From the author of the bestselling Harry Hole series comes an electrifying tale of vengeance set amid Oslo's brutal hierarchy of corruption.

“The crime author of the moment.”—The New York Times Book Review

Sonny Lofthus has been in prison for almost half his life: serving time for crimes he didn't commit. In exchange, he gets an uninterrupted supply of heroin—and a stream of fellow prisoners seeking out his Buddha-like absolution. Years earlier Sonny’s father, a corrupt cop, took his own life rather than face exposure. Now Sonny is the center of a vortex of corruption: prison staff,…


Book cover of The Girl Beneath the Sea

Nicholas Harvey Author Of Twelve Mile Bank

From my list on female scuba diving thrillers and mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

My wife suggested we try scuba diving while on holiday in Grand Cayman. We were already falling in love with the island, and the incredible experience underwater opened a whole new world to us. From that moment on, our yearly travels changed completely. Our destination choices were now based upon diving opportunities. That was twenty years ago. Today, I’m a certified divemaster with dives all over the US (including Hawaii), the Caribbean (including Cuba), Australia, and even Iceland. Throw in my sense of adventure as a former race car driver, motorcycle rider, and outdoor adventurer, and I had plenty of personal experiences to create the AJ Bailey series.

Nicholas' book list on female scuba diving thrillers and mysteries

Nicholas Harvey Why did Nicholas love this book?

I’d already written several books in my AJ Bailey series when Girl beneath the Sea came out. With the might of a large publisher behind the book it hit best-seller lists and proved to me that I was writing books with a subject matter appealing to a broad audience.

Mayne’s protagonist, Sloan McPherson, is a police diver in Florida, who takes cases much farther than her role suggests. She’s an imperfect person with baggage and problems, but her gutsy determination drives the stories forward.

I dive into each new book in the series on the day they’re released.

By Andrew Mayne,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An Amazon Charts bestseller.

For a Florida police diver, danger rises to the surface in an adventurous thriller by the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Naturalist.

Coming from scandalous Florida treasure hunters and drug smugglers, Sloan McPherson is forging her own path, for herself and for her daughter, out from under her family’s shadow. An auxiliary officer for Lauderdale Shores PD, she’s the go-to diver for evidence recovery. Then Sloan finds a fresh kill floating in a canal―a woman whose murky history collides with Sloan’s. Their troubling ties are making Sloan less a potential witness than a suspect.…


Book cover of Drugs and Democracy in Rio de Janeiro: Trafficking, Social Networks, and Public Security

Robert Gay Author Of Bruno: Conversations with a Brazilian Drug Dealer

From my list on the drugs and violence in Brazil.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was twelve, my family moved to Brazil for a year because of my father’s work. I’ve been fascinated by the country and it has been always been the focal point of my research. Initially, my focus was how neighborhood associations in Rio’s favelas took advantage of new political opportunities during the transition to democracy in the mid-1980s. By the mid-1990s, however, the neighborhoods had all been occupied by heavily armed and occasionally violent drug gangs. Since then, I've tried to figure out the dynamics of this process, from the involved actors’ points of view. Including the voices of participants in drug gang life and those, like Bruno, who bring drugs to market.

Robert's book list on the drugs and violence in Brazil

Robert Gay Why did Robert love this book?

Arias’ book is the product of nine years of intensive ethnographic research in three favelas (shanty towns) of Rio de Janeiro. This enables him to assess how local community leaders deal with the parallel power of drug gangs that become entrenched in their neighborhoods. Unable to rely on the police, who are violent and corrupt, community leaders are forced to find ways to coexist with actors who represent a substantial financial and military threat to their authority. In terms of methodology, this is a really impressive piece of research!

By Enrique Desmond Arias,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Drugs and Democracy in Rio de Janeiro as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Taking an ethnographic approach to understanding urban violence, Enrique Desmond Arias examines the ongoing problems of crime and police corruption that have led to widespread misery and human rights violations in many of Latin America's new democracies. Employing participant observation and interview research in three favelas (shantytowns) in ""Rio de Janeiro"" over a nine-year period, Arias closely considers the social interactions and criminal networks that are at the heart of the challenges to democratic governance in urban Brazil. Much of the violence is the result of highly organized, politically connected drug dealers feeding off of the global cocaine market. Rising…


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