100 books like Wicked Lexington, Kentucky

By Fiona Young-Brown,

Here are 100 books that Wicked Lexington, Kentucky fans have personally recommended if you like Wicked Lexington, Kentucky. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Trapped!: The Story of Floyd Collins

Keven McQueen Author Of Kentucky Book of the Dead

From my list on Kentucky weirdness.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a lifelong Kentuckian with a lifelong fascination for history, true crime, biography, and the supernatural, once I started writing, I pursued these and related topics. The writer Charles Fort’s research methods interested me: he read old newspapers looking for forgotten stories. That seemed a good way to find little-known information. I am a lecturer in the English Department at Eastern Kentucky University and have spent two decades reading old newspapers issue by issue between classes and taking notes on possible stories. The books on my list also include much detail on entertaining obscurities, and I hope you enjoy them. 

Keven's book list on Kentucky weirdness

Keven McQueen Why did Keven love this book?

This book is the frightening tale of Floyd Collins, the Kentucky cave explorer who in 1925 violated one of the cardinal rules of spelunking: don’t go alone.

His leg was pinned by a falling rock, and rescuers’ ultimately tragic efforts to feed and free him became a worldwide sensation. The book resonates with me because the incident well illustrates the best side of humanity (the dangerous rescue attempt) as well as the worst (persons who exploited Collins’s plight for personal gain). 

By Robert K. Murray, Roger W. Brucker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"When Floyd Collins became trapped in a cave in southern Kentucky in early 1925, the sensationalism and hysteria of the rescue attempt generated America's first true media spectacle, making Collins's story one of the seminal events of the century. The crowds that gathered outside Sand Cave turned the rescue site into a carnival. Collins's situation was front-page news throughout the country, hourly bulletins interrupted radio programs, and Congress recessed to hear the latest word. Trapped! is both a tense adventure and a brilliant historical recreation of the past. This new edition includes a new epilogue revealing information about the Floyed…


Book cover of Weird Kentucky: Your Travel Guide to Kentucky's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets

Keven McQueen Author Of Kentucky Book of the Dead

From my list on Kentucky weirdness.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a lifelong Kentuckian with a lifelong fascination for history, true crime, biography, and the supernatural, once I started writing, I pursued these and related topics. The writer Charles Fort’s research methods interested me: he read old newspapers looking for forgotten stories. That seemed a good way to find little-known information. I am a lecturer in the English Department at Eastern Kentucky University and have spent two decades reading old newspapers issue by issue between classes and taking notes on possible stories. The books on my list also include much detail on entertaining obscurities, and I hope you enjoy them. 

Keven's book list on Kentucky weirdness

Keven McQueen Why did Keven love this book?

This is a lavishly illustrated collection of old and new oddities from around the state, including cryptids, ghosts, cave mummies, UFOs, roadside attractions, the Melungeons (what’s a Melungeon? Read it and see), and the famous Blue People.

I was attracted by the entertaining writing style, the inclusion of both documented fact and folklore, and biographies of historical characters.

By Jeffrey Scott Holland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Best Travel Series of the Year 2006!"—Booklist

What’s weird around here?

That’s a question Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman have enjoyed asking for years—and their offbeat sense of curiosity led them to create the bestselling phenomenon, Weird N.J. Now the weirdness has spread throughout key locales in the U.S. Each fun and intriguing volume offers more than 250 illustrated pages of places where tourists usually don’t venture—it’s chock-full of oddball curiosities, ghostly places, local legends, crazy characters, cursed roads, and peculiar roadside attractions. What’s NOT shockingly odd here: that every previously published Weird book has become a bestseller in its…


Book cover of Dark Highway: Love, Murder, and Revenge in 1930s' Kentucky

Keven McQueen Author Of Kentucky Book of the Dead

From my list on Kentucky weirdness.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a lifelong Kentuckian with a lifelong fascination for history, true crime, biography, and the supernatural, once I started writing, I pursued these and related topics. The writer Charles Fort’s research methods interested me: he read old newspapers looking for forgotten stories. That seemed a good way to find little-known information. I am a lecturer in the English Department at Eastern Kentucky University and have spent two decades reading old newspapers issue by issue between classes and taking notes on possible stories. The books on my list also include much detail on entertaining obscurities, and I hope you enjoy them. 

Keven's book list on Kentucky weirdness

Keven McQueen Why did Keven love this book?

Dark Highway is the best piece ever written on one of the state’s most fascinating murder cases.

In November 1936, Gen. Henry Denhardt, prominent politician and former lieutenant governor, was suspected of shooting his fiancée Verna Garr Taylor (“the prettiest woman in two counties”). DAngelo uses an impressive array of sources to recreate what almost certainly happened.

The case strikes me as especially enigmatic since an elderly woman claimed to be the only surviving person who knew the truth behind the murder but swore she would never reveal it. As I recall, she died just after the book was published in 2016, so if she had information of value it is lost forever.

By Ann DAngelo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On a cold November night in 1936, the body of beautiful businesswoman Verna Garr Taylor is found in a ditch along a lonely highway in rural Kentucky. Verna has been shot through the heart, and fiancé, former lieutenant governor and brigadier general Henry Denhardt insists she committed suicide.

But the clues left behind point to murder, and General Denhardt quickly becomes the target of investigators. The general's sensational murder trial draws reporters from all over the country to the small Kentucky community. The case is featured in the New York Times, the London Herald, Newsweek, Time, Life, and other national…


Book cover of Wicked Western Kentucky

Keven McQueen Author Of Kentucky Book of the Dead

From my list on Kentucky weirdness.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a lifelong Kentuckian with a lifelong fascination for history, true crime, biography, and the supernatural, once I started writing, I pursued these and related topics. The writer Charles Fort’s research methods interested me: he read old newspapers looking for forgotten stories. That seemed a good way to find little-known information. I am a lecturer in the English Department at Eastern Kentucky University and have spent two decades reading old newspapers issue by issue between classes and taking notes on possible stories. The books on my list also include much detail on entertaining obscurities, and I hope you enjoy them. 

Keven's book list on Kentucky weirdness

Keven McQueen Why did Keven love this book?

Eastern Kentucky’s long history of violence is well documented, so it is time the other end of the state is also represented.

Parker’s book examines the frontier serial killers the Harpe Brothers, feuds, moonshiners, and the Night Riders who terrorized farmers in the Black Patch tobacco wars—domestic terrorists not unlike the KKK. In modern times, we have the chilling story of Rod Ferrell and his murderous vampire cult.

My favorite story is “Murder Mansion,” about a 1948 Bowling Green crime with outlandish twists and turns. 

By Richard Parker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Western Kentucky has always had a dark side, despite being the Birthplace of Bluegrass Music. Mary James Trotter, an arrested moonshine-selling grandma, remarked to a judge that she simply had to sell a little liquor now and then to take care of my four grandchildren. Rod Ferrell led a bloodsucking vampire cult in Murray, Kentucky, and traumatized parents of the 1990s. In the early morning of July 13, 1928, at the Castle on the Cumberland, seven men were put to death in Kentucky's deadliest night of state-sponsored executions. Join award-winning author Richard Parker as he takes you on a journey…


Book cover of Violence Against Latina Immigrants: Citizenship, Inequality, and Community

Allison Bloom Author Of Violence Never Heals: The Lifelong Effects of Intimate Partner Violence for Immigrant Women

From my list on domestic violence from a cross-cultural perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been a researcher, educator, and practitioner of domestic violence services for over 15 years, and am extremely passionate about this topic. After having worked in the domestic violence field, I then pursued my PhD to study this problem, which I now continue to research and teach about as an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Moravian University. In our ever-globalizing world, I believe it's especially important for us to consider domestic violence from a cross-cultural perspective, and having studied this issue in Latin America and among Latina women in the U.S., I hope to spread that knowledge even further. More than ever, it is important for everyone to gain knowledge on this worldwide problem.

Allison's book list on domestic violence from a cross-cultural perspective

Allison Bloom Why did Allison love this book?

For people specifically interested in understanding issues around domestic violence and the justice setting in the U.S., this is an excellent read.

Villalón provides an intimate look at the difficulties Latina immigrants specifically face when navigating their marginality in a system that is already clunky and incomplete. While my book looks more at the experience of being a Latina immigrant survivor from a health and aging perspective, this book offers more insights into the legal implications of being an immigrant survivor, and I reference her excellent research many times in my own.

By Roberta Villalon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Violence Against Latina Immigrants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Caught between violent partners and the bureaucratic complications of the US Immigration system, many immigrant women are particularly vulnerable to abuse. For two years, Roberta Villalon volunteered at a nonprofit group that offers free legal services to mostly undocumented immigrants who had been victims of abuse. Her innovative study of Latina survivors of domestic violence explores the complexities at the intersection of immigration, citizenship, and violence, and shows how inequality is perpetuated even through the well-intentioned delivery of vital services. Through archival research, participant observation, and personal interviews, Violence Against Latina Immigrants provides insight into the many obstacles faced by…


Book cover of Aspects of Violence: A Critical Theory

Andrew Hiscock Author Of Shakespeare, Violence and Early Modern Europe

From my list on thinking about how violence can shape our lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor of Early Modern Literature at Bangor University, Wales UK and Research Fellow at the Institut de Recherche sur la Renaissance, l'Âge Classique et les Lumières, Université Paul-Valéry, Montpellier 3, France. I am someone who has been interested throughout his career in all aspects of what used to be called the European Renaissance and especially in establishing a dialogue between cultural debates raging four hundred years ago and those which dominate our own everyday lives in the twenty-first century. In the past, my work has addressed ideas, for example, concerned with social theory, the construction of cultural space, and the significance of memory.

Andrew's book list on thinking about how violence can shape our lives

Andrew Hiscock Why did Andrew love this book?

This is an immensely readable book and a wonderful introduction to the very different ways in which violence might be interpreted from a dizzying range of perspectives.

Schinkel urges us to reflect on our appetites for violence in our reading matter, our cinema and theatre-going, and our hunger for news. He also poses thorny questions about the ‘productive’ potential of violent action.

By W. Schinkel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book provides a novel approach to the social scientific study of violence. It argues for an 'extended' definition of violence in order to avoid subscribing to commonsensical or state propagated definitions of violence, and pays specific attention to 'autotelic violence' (violence for the sake of itself), as well as to terrorism.


Book cover of Lethal Intersections: Race, Gender, and Violence

Why am I passionate about this?

I come from the Dusun hilltribes of Indigenous Borneo. My mountain is Kinabalu, and my river is Kiulu. My upbringing gives me a new way to talk about the world. I have participated in ongoing rituals, witnessed the loss of once-abundant wilderness, and shared in stories that are filled with ancient wisdom. My Elders’ knowledge about the land, sea, and sky is etched in my memory, grounding me to cultural roots and prompting reflection on life’s essential questions. In my travels, I have found that these universal questions intersect with the stories and experiences of Indigenous communities worldwide. This worldview urges me to not let these stories fade.

Olivia's book list on books about Indigenous experiences by Indigenous writers (about us by us and why that matters)

Olivia Guntarik Why did Olivia love this book?

This one is left field as it doesn’t fall neatly into the list. I included this book to avoid the impression that only Indigenous writers can write about Indigenous experiences. It’s important that we do, of course, but this book puts a slightly different slant on the “self-representation” question from an intersectional perspective.

Black feminist writer, Patricia Hill Collins, introduces the concept of intersecting lives and experiences, highlighting common struggles among Indigenous, Black, Minority, and Queer communities and how we are affected by violence in different and shared ways, invisible and public.

I encountered this work during a period of similar oppressions, finding it to be a transformative gift. Patricia’s ideas expand my world to new possibilities beyond institutional thinking. I love how the writing is so accessible, and the pages just fly along. Love this woman!

By Patricia Hill Collins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

School shootings, police misconduct, and sexual assault where people are injured and die dominate the news. What are the connections between such incidents of violence and extreme harm?

In this new book, world-renowned sociologist Patricia Hill Collins explores how violence differentially affects people according to their class, sexuality, nationality, and ethnicity. These invisible workings of overlapping power relations give rise to what she terms "lethal intersections," where multiple forms of oppression converge to catalyze a set of violent practices that fall more heavily on particular groups. Drawing on a rich tapestry of cases, Collins challenges readers to reflect on what…


Book cover of Into the Darkest Corner

Louise Stone Author Of S is for Stranger

From my list on to send shivers down your spine.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love psychological thrillers because I have firsthand dealt with OCD and gaslighting. Therefore, I find the human mind fascinating, and how the line between sanity and insanity is changeable. I think as humans we want to feel safe and hence, we box things into categories but all these thrillers I have recommended force you to look outside of the boxes and they can be chillingly thought-provoking. I am obsessed with writing that gives the reader such graphic insight into a character’s thoughts and actions. If you want unputdownable books, these are the ones for you!

Louise's book list on to send shivers down your spine

Louise Stone Why did Louise love this book?

This book personally resonates with me as I suffer with OCD.

The character must overcome countless mental challenges now that she thinks she has met the man of her dreams. It is a brilliant portrayal of gaslighting, so accurate and chillingly on point. If you like books that are emotionally immersive and you can almost touch and breathe the characters, this is superb.

By Elizabeth Haynes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Into the Darkest Corner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Catherine Bailey has been enjoying the single life long enough to know a catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic and spontaneous, Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell. But what begins as flattering attentiveness and passionate sex turns into raging jealousy, and Catherine soon learns there is a darker side to Lee. His increasingly erratic, controlling behaviour becomes frightening, but no one believes her when she shares her fears. Increasingly isolated and driven into the darkest corner of her world, a desperate Catherine plans a…


Book cover of Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence

Frank J. Cirillo Author Of The Abolitionist Civil War: Immediatists and the Struggle to Transform the Union

From my list on the long and difficult fight against slavery in America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent many a night growing up glued to the television, watching Ken Burns’ Civil War. But as I got older, I found my interests stretching beyond the battles and melancholic music on the screen. I decided to become a historian of abolitionism–the radical reform movement that fought to end the evils of slavery and racial prejudice. Through my research, I seek to explain the substantial influence of the abolitionist movement as well as its significant limitations. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in 2017, and have since held positions at such institutions as The New School, the University of Bonn, and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Frank's book list on the long and difficult fight against slavery in America

Frank J. Cirillo Why did Frank love this book?

This book demonstrates a point that I always try to make to students: the antislavery movement was much more than mass meetings and heroic escapes along the Underground Railroad.

It was far more complex–and, at times, far more violent. Many Black activists in the years before the Civil War turned to the tactics of violence to try and shake a complacent nation into action. They did so in desperation, and only with much anguish–and much controversy.

Jackson's book gets deep into the weeds of how the struggle for antislavery progress actually worked. 

By Kellie Carter Jackson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From its origins in the 1750s, the white-led American abolitionist movement adhered to principles of "moral suasion" and nonviolent resistance as both religious tenet and political strategy. But by the 1850s, the population of enslaved Americans had increased exponentially, and such legislative efforts as the Fugitive Slave Act and the Supreme Court's 1857 ruling in the Dred Scott case effectively voided any rights black Americans held as enslaved or free people. As conditions deteriorated for African Americans, black abolitionist leaders embraced violence as the only means of shocking Northerners out of their apathy and instigating an antislavery war.
In Force…


Book cover of The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century

Guido Alfani Author Of As Gods Among Men: A History of the Rich in the West

From my list on the rich, the super-rich, and wealth inequality in general.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was a student, I have been fascinated with social and economic inequality–the more so because back then, my professors seemed to disregard this subject of study. So, I made it one of my own main areas of research: I simply needed to understand more about the nature and the causes of inequality in human societies. In recent years, I have been busy researching economic inequality in different historical settings, also looking at specific socioeconomic strata. I began with the poor, and more recently, I focused on the rich. In my list of recommendations, I included books that, I believe, are particularly insightful concerning wealth and the wealthy.

Guido's book list on the rich, the super-rich, and wealth inequality in general

Guido Alfani Why did Guido love this book?

In this book, Walter Scheidel proficiently exploits the new information that we now have available about wealth inequality in the past to make one bold claim: across history, only catastrophes and large-scale violence (the “Great Leveler”) could significantly reduce economic inequality. Otherwise, the concentration of political power and of coercive force in a few hands also led wealth to become ever more concentrated.

This is a rather depressing view, with which I partially disagree for scientific reasons (as it downplays the importance of human agency and of our collective choices).

Nevertheless, I love this book for its scope, its ambition, and the treasure trove of information about the Classical Age and non-Western societies and cultures that it brings to the debate on wealth inequality in human history.

By Walter Scheidel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Are mass violence and catastrophes the only forces that can seriously decrease economic inequality? To judge by thousands of years of history, the answer is yes. Tracing the global history of inequality from the Stone Age to today, Walter Scheidel shows that it never dies peacefully. The Great Leveler is the first book to chart the crucial role of violent shocks in reducing inequality over the full sweep of human history around the world. The "Four Horsemen" of leveling-mass-mobilization warfare, transformative revolutions, state collapse, and catastrophic plagues-have repeatedly destroyed the fortunes of the rich. Today, the violence that reduced inequality…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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