100 books like Woman Under Socialism

By August Bebel,

Here are 100 books that Woman Under Socialism fans have personally recommended if you like Woman Under Socialism. 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 The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State

Kristen R. Ghodsee Author Of Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence

From my list on women and socialism.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an ethnographer, I have been studying the lives of ordinary women in socialist and post-socialist countries in Eastern Europe for over twenty-five years. I have always been fascinated by the differences in women’s life options in the presence or absence of robust social safety nets. As a scholar, I’ve spent decades working in archives and interviewing people across the region, and I have written eight books about the various gendered experiences of everyday life in Eastern Europe. As a professor, I have taught a course called “Sex and Socialism,” almost every year for eighteen years and I am always reading widely in this field to look for new material for my syllabi.

Kristen's book list on women and socialism

Kristen R. Ghodsee Why did Kristen love this book?

Engels provides the canonical theoretical framework for understanding how capitalism uniquely impacts women’s lives and how a more collectivized economy lays the foundation for women’s full emancipation. While many subsequent feminist and socialist scholars have disagreed with this book, The Origin of the Family is a classic that has inspired countless generations of theorists and activists. 

By Friedrich Engels,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State: in the Light of the Researches of Lewis H. Morgan (German: Der Ursprung der Familie, des Privateigenthums und des Staats) is an 1884 historical materialist treatise by Friedrich Engels. It is partially based on notes by Karl Marx to Lewis H. Morgan's book Ancient Society (1877). The book is an early anthropological work and is regarded as one of the first major works on family economics.

Following the death of his friend and co-thinker Karl Marx in 1883, Friedrich Engels served as his literary executor, actively organizing and preparing for…


Book cover of Women, the State and Revolution: Soviet Family Policy and Social Life, 1917 1936

Kristen R. Ghodsee Author Of Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence

From my list on women and socialism.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an ethnographer, I have been studying the lives of ordinary women in socialist and post-socialist countries in Eastern Europe for over twenty-five years. I have always been fascinated by the differences in women’s life options in the presence or absence of robust social safety nets. As a scholar, I’ve spent decades working in archives and interviewing people across the region, and I have written eight books about the various gendered experiences of everyday life in Eastern Europe. As a professor, I have taught a course called “Sex and Socialism,” almost every year for eighteen years and I am always reading widely in this field to look for new material for my syllabi.

Kristen's book list on women and socialism

Kristen R. Ghodsee Why did Kristen love this book?

This deeply researched book explores the massive upheavals that followed the Bolshevik Revolution in the young Soviet Union. By mining a rich body of archival research, Goldman reveals just how radical Soviet policies to emancipate women really were in their historical context. More importantly, she uncovers the heated debates that characterized this early period of Soviet history before the rigidity and paranoia of Stalinism takes over and he reverses many of the early gains.

By Wendy Z. Goldman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Women, the State and Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917, they believed that under socialism the family would 'wither away.' They envisioned a society in which communal dining halls, daycare centres, and public laundries would replace the unpaid labour of women in the home. Yet by 1936 legislation designed to liberate women from their legal and economic dependence had given way to increasingly conservative solutions aimed at strengthening traditional family ties and women's reproductive role. This book explains the reversal, focusing on how women, peasants, and orphans responded to Bolshevik attempts to remake the family, and how their opinions and experiences in…


Book cover of Love in the Time of Communism: Intimacy and Sexuality in the GDR

Kristen R. Ghodsee Author Of Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence

From my list on women and socialism.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an ethnographer, I have been studying the lives of ordinary women in socialist and post-socialist countries in Eastern Europe for over twenty-five years. I have always been fascinated by the differences in women’s life options in the presence or absence of robust social safety nets. As a scholar, I’ve spent decades working in archives and interviewing people across the region, and I have written eight books about the various gendered experiences of everyday life in Eastern Europe. As a professor, I have taught a course called “Sex and Socialism,” almost every year for eighteen years and I am always reading widely in this field to look for new material for my syllabi.

Kristen's book list on women and socialism

Kristen R. Ghodsee Why did Kristen love this book?

McLellan’s book does a wonderful job of exploring the reconfiguration of romantic relationships that occurred in the former Eastern Germany. In addition to excellent sex education and access to birth control, the East German government radically expanded the availability of childcare and job-protected, paid maternity leaves to help women combine their work and family responsibilities. The socialist state also promoted a uniquely sex positive outlook on life that rejected the commodification of sexuality in favor of a more natural and free form of relations between citizens. A fascinating read with lots of rich historical details.

By Josie McLellan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love in the Time of Communism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the aftermath of the reunification of Germany one former dissident recalled nostalgically that under the East German regime 'we had more sex and we had more to laugh about'. Love in the Time of Communism is a fascinating history of the GDR's forgotten sexual revolution and its limits. Josie McLellan shows that under communism divorce rates soared, abortion become commonplace and the rate of births outside marriage was amongst the highest in Europe. Nudism went from ban to state-sponsored boom, and erotica became common currency in both the official economy and the black market. Public discussion of sexuality was,…


Book cover of Sexual Liberation, Socialist Style: Communist Czechoslovakia and the Science of Desire, 1945-1989

Kristen R. Ghodsee Author Of Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence

From my list on women and socialism.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an ethnographer, I have been studying the lives of ordinary women in socialist and post-socialist countries in Eastern Europe for over twenty-five years. I have always been fascinated by the differences in women’s life options in the presence or absence of robust social safety nets. As a scholar, I’ve spent decades working in archives and interviewing people across the region, and I have written eight books about the various gendered experiences of everyday life in Eastern Europe. As a professor, I have taught a course called “Sex and Socialism,” almost every year for eighteen years and I am always reading widely in this field to look for new material for my syllabi.

Kristen's book list on women and socialism

Kristen R. Ghodsee Why did Kristen love this book?

Katerina Liskova’s intriguing sociological and historical study provides a deep dive into the creation of “expert knowledge” by progressive sexologists in the former socialist state of Czechoslovakia. She argues convincingly that while American housewives pottered around their kitchens in the 1950s, Czechoslovak women experienced a sexual revolution after abortion was legalized, same sex love was decriminalized, and scientists focused on how to improve women’s sex lives. State efforts to promote the ideal of full gender equality within romantic relations gave women new opportunities for education and professional advancement that their mothers and grandmothers could scarcely have dreamed of.

By Kateřina Lisková,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sexual Liberation, Socialist Style as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the first account of sexual liberation in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. Katerina Liskova reveals how, in the case of Czechoslovakia, important aspects of sexuality were already liberated during the 1950s - abortion was legalized, homosexuality decriminalized, the female orgasm came into experts' focus - and all that was underscored by an emphasis on gender equality. However, with the coming of Normalization, gender discourses reversed and women were to aspire to be caring mothers and docile wives. Good sex was to cement a lasting marriage and family. In contrast to the usual Western accounts highlighting the importance…


Book cover of Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies

Andrei Znamenski Author Of Socialism as a Secular Creed: A Modern Global History

From my list on the history of socialism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Andrei Znamenski spent 35 years exploring religions, ideologies, and utopias. Formerly Associate Professor at Alabama State University, a resident scholar at the US Library of Congress, and then a visiting professor at Hokkaido University in Japan, he is currently Professor of History at the University of Memphis. Znamenski studied indigenous religions of Siberia and North America, including Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism. At some point, he became intrigued with Western idealization and romanticization of non-Western cultures and spiritualities, the topic that he covered in his The Beauty of the Primitive: Shamanism and Western Imagination. His Socialism as a Secular Creed, which is a logical follow-up to that project, is an attempt to examine the socialist phenomenon as a political religion of the modern age.

Andrei's book list on the history of socialism

Andrei Znamenski Why did Andrei love this book?

This volume complements well the Muravchik book. Written in an easy user-friendly language, the text represents a set of short essays that deal with socialist construction in various countries (Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, Kim Il Sung North Korea, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Castor’s Cuba, Chavez Venezuela). Besides these well-known cases of socialism, Niemietz, a libertarian scholar of a German extract, gives an excellent succinct analysis of the Eastern German communist regime from 1945 to its collapse in 1989.  The reader should also benefit from reading his comprehensive introductory chapter on the enduring appeal of socialism. Both high and home school and college instructors, who want to challenge the dominant socialism-friendly educational mainstream, may want to use Muravchik’s book and this one as textbooks.

By Christian Niemietz,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Socialism is strangely impervious to refutation by real-world experience.
Over the past hundred years, there have been more than two dozen attempts to build a socialist society, from the Soviet Union to Maoist China to Venezuela. All of them have ended in varying degrees of failure.
But, according to socialism's adherents, that is only because none of these experiments were "real socialism".
This book documents the history of this, by now, standard response.
It shows how the claim of fake socialism is only ever made after the event. As long as a socialist project is in its prime, almost nobody…


Book cover of Heaven on Earth: The Rise, Fall, and Afterlife of Socialism

Andrei Znamenski Author Of Socialism as a Secular Creed: A Modern Global History

From my list on the history of socialism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Andrei Znamenski spent 35 years exploring religions, ideologies, and utopias. Formerly Associate Professor at Alabama State University, a resident scholar at the US Library of Congress, and then a visiting professor at Hokkaido University in Japan, he is currently Professor of History at the University of Memphis. Znamenski studied indigenous religions of Siberia and North America, including Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism. At some point, he became intrigued with Western idealization and romanticization of non-Western cultures and spiritualities, the topic that he covered in his The Beauty of the Primitive: Shamanism and Western Imagination. His Socialism as a Secular Creed, which is a logical follow-up to that project, is an attempt to examine the socialist phenomenon as a political religion of the modern age.

Andrei's book list on the history of socialism

Andrei Znamenski Why did Andrei love this book?

If one wants to find a world history of the socialist phenomenon in a user-friendly format, this is your book to turn to. Muravchik is not only a good scholar, but he is also a good writer. A former member of the democratic socialist movement in the United States, he combines a deep knowledge of his subject and a lively narrative accompanied by representative anecdotes. You will not be able to put this text aside. It represents a collection of critical essays on socialist experiences from Robert Owen, Karl Marx, and Vladimir Lenin to Western European democratic socialism, African socialism in Tanzania, and kibbutzim in Israel. Besides, the reader will enjoy a comparative chapter on the collapse of socialism in the Soviet Union and its partial dismantling in China. For this second edition of his book, Muravchik added a special chapter that explores the current rise of socialism in Western…

By Joshua Muravchik,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Socialism was man's most ambitious attempt to supplant religion with a doctrine claiming to ground itself in “science.” Each failure to create societies of abundance or give birth to “the New Man” inspired more searching for the path to the promised land: revolution, communes, social democracy, communism, fascism, Arab socialism, African socialism. None worked, and some exacted a staggering human toll. Then, after two centuries of wishful thinking and bitter disappointment, socialism imploded in a fin de siècle drama of falling walls and collapsing regimes. It was an astonishing denouement but what followed was no less astonishing. After the hiatus…


Book cover of The Socialist Phenomenon

Andrei Znamenski Author Of Socialism as a Secular Creed: A Modern Global History

From my list on the history of socialism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Andrei Znamenski spent 35 years exploring religions, ideologies, and utopias. Formerly Associate Professor at Alabama State University, a resident scholar at the US Library of Congress, and then a visiting professor at Hokkaido University in Japan, he is currently Professor of History at the University of Memphis. Znamenski studied indigenous religions of Siberia and North America, including Shamanism and Tibetan Buddhism. At some point, he became intrigued with Western idealization and romanticization of non-Western cultures and spiritualities, the topic that he covered in his The Beauty of the Primitive: Shamanism and Western Imagination. His Socialism as a Secular Creed, which is a logical follow-up to that project, is an attempt to examine the socialist phenomenon as a political religion of the modern age.

Andrei's book list on the history of socialism

Andrei Znamenski Why did Andrei love this book?

A Soviet dissident scientist and prominent conservative ideologist of Russian nationalism, Shafarevich (1923-2017) traces the roots of modern socialism to statist and collectivist experiments in ancient Egypt, China, and Inca civilizations. He also explores the aggressive egalitarianism of modern socialism’s predecessors among European eschatological movements in medieval and early modern Europe (e.g., Lollards in England, Taborites in Bohemia, Peasants’ War during the Protestant Reformation in Germany, and the Jesuit state in Paraguay). Among other things, the author examines in detail the early 1920s Bolshevik activities in Russia, Maoist assaults on traditional society in China, and the rise of the Western New Left in the 1960s. According to Shafarevich, each time leading to disastrous and suicidal results, socialism represents humanity’s “death wish”; the writer implies that one might slow down this enduring and recurrent dark side of human existence, but, ultimately, we will always have to deal with the socialist phenomenon…

By Igor Shafarevich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Socialist Phenomenon is a powerful survey  of socialism  and socialist thought from ancient times to the present day. Most assume that socialism and communism began with the writings of Karl Marx, but through his book Shafarevich lays out with amazing clarity that socialism is an evil that has been present in man’s thoughts and actions for thousands of years. 

In the age of “democratic socialism” and other modern iterations, The Socialist Phenomenon reminds us of the truth about socialism and the dangers that come when societies embrace socialist policies and ideals.


Book cover of Better to Have Loved: the Life of Judith Merril

Lavie Tidhar Author Of The Circumference of the World

From my list on science fiction’s golden age.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by the Golden Age of science fiction, when a group of young dreamers formed the genre as we know it today. I grew up far away from their world, on a small kibbutz in Israel, and the lives of those god-like beings seemed as remote and as impossible as the moon. I grew up to eventually write stories of my own, and even got to meet some of my childhood heroes, and eventually I thought it would be fun to write a book that was partially about them. I read every book I could get my hands on to try and better understand that time when science fiction was born.

Lavie's book list on science fiction’s golden age

Lavie Tidhar Why did Lavie love this book?

Merrill, a brilliant editor and writer in her own right, was a rare woman to cut through the chauvinistic world of the Golden Age writers.

The book recounts her journey as a writer (she wrote the classic SF story “That Only a Mother”), editor (as in the ground-breaking 60s anthology England Swings SF), her short-lived marriage to Fred Pohl and her fascination with socialism. It certainly gives you a different view of the male-dominated world of science fiction at the time, and an insight into one of SF’s important practitioners.

By Judith Merril, Emily Pohl-Weary,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Better to Have Loved as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Judith merril was a pioneer of twentieth-century science fiction, a proflific author, and editor. She was also a passionate social and political activist. In fact, her life was a constant adventure within the alternative and experimental worlds of science fiction, left politics, and Canadian literature.


Book cover of People's Power: Reclaiming the Energy Commons

Danny Katch Author Of Socialism....Seriously: A Brief Guide to Human Liberation

From my list on winning socialism in our lifetime.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a socialist for my entire adult life and a wise-ass for even longer. As a writer I’ve found a way to combine these two passions, using humor to introduce complex economic and political ideas to a new audience, as well as poke fun at politicians, CEOs, and even myself and my fellow activists. Not all of the books on this list use humor the way I do, but they have all helped me keep my sunny disposition by giving me inspiration that the socialist cause is more dynamic and multifaceted than ever. 

Danny's book list on winning socialism in our lifetime

Danny Katch Why did Danny love this book?

In order to have socialism, we need to have a planet on which to be socialists—preferably a planet that isn’t constantly on fire or under water from climate change. So we need to convert our energy systems from fossil fuels to renewables like solar and wind, but as Ashley Dawson argues in this great book, we can’t afford to then let energy corporations start owning sunlight and air the way they do oil and coal. 

People’s Power introduces us to the age-old idea of commonly owned natural resources and looks to modern examples from around the world where cities, towns, and countries and pioneering ways to make the “energy commons” a reality.

By Ashley Dawson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The science is conclusive: to avoid irreversible climate collapse, the burning of all fossil fuels will have to end in the next decade. In this concise and highly readable intervention, Ashley Dawson sets out what is required to make this momentous shift: simply replacing coal-fired power plants with for-profit solar energy farms will only maintain the toxic illusion that it is possible to sustain relentlessly expanding energy consumption. We can no longer think of energy as a commodity. Instead we must see it as part of the global commons, a vital element in the great stock of air, water, plants,…


Book cover of Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis

Xenia A. Cherkaev Author Of Gleaning for Communism: The Soviet Socialist Household in Theory and Practice

From my list on the possibility of collectivist modern life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am interested in how regimes of ethics and property interrelate, and how this interrelation informs political thought: in questions of cooperatives and collectives, customary use-rights, and household economies. I'm an anthropologist by training and geographically I work in Russia. I've written about socialist property law and stolen late-Soviet penguins, Stalin-era mine-detection dogs and perestroika-era saints, möbius bands, 19th-century Russian cheese-making co-operatives, New World Order theories of “The Golden Billion” and other important matters.

Xenia's book list on the possibility of collectivist modern life

Xenia A. Cherkaev Why did Xenia love this book?

Mises' warnings about socialism bringing about the end of civilization have entered popular lore a sort of common sense, so it's worthwhile to read the original.

This book is less a scientific analysis than an ode to market liberalism: to “the desperate struggle of lovers of freedom prosperity and civilization against the rising tide of totalitarian barbarism.” At stake is the very possibility of non-market modernity.

Mises argues that modern society cannot function without a market defined by acquisitive trade: individuals' peaceful cooperation hinges on their ability to make rational choices about their production and consumption of things, and such choices are possible only when a system of competitive market price expresses the true value of every commodity.

“The socialist order of society,” he warns, “is not realizable” and will lead to the collapse of (western) civilization itself: “Nomad tribes from the Eastern steppes would again raid and pillage Europe,…

By Ludwig Von Mises,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a newly annotated edition of the classic first published in German in 1922. It is the definitive refutation of nearly every type of socialism ever devised. Mises presents a wide-ranging analysis of society, comparing the results of socialist planning with those of free-market capitalism in all areas of life. Friedrich Hayek's foreword comments on the continuing relevance of this great work: "Most readers today will find that Socialism has more immediate application to contemporary events than it had when it first appeared."


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