100 books like Working IX to V

By Vicki Leon,

Here are 100 books that Working IX to V fans have personally recommended if you like Working IX to V. 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 24 Hours in Ancient Rome: A Day in the Life of the People Who Lived There

Melissa Addey Author Of From the Ashes

From my list on non-fiction to immerse yourself in Ancient Rome.

Why am I passionate about this?

Curious about Ancient Rome and especially about gladiators, I asked myself, who were the backstage team of the Colosseum? The more I searched for the team, the more I realised there was hardly any mention of them. If there were hundreds of animals, dancers, singers, gladiators, criminals, and more about to be shown off to an audience of 60,000, who was planning and managing it all? And so I created the Colosseum’s backstage team – a retired centurion called Marcus and his scribe Althea, along with a motley crew of slaves, a prostitute, a street boy, even a retired Vestal Virgin… they came alive for me while researching and I eventually created a four-book series.

Melissa's book list on non-fiction to immerse yourself in Ancient Rome

Melissa Addey Why did Melissa love this book?

Hour by hour, we follow various Romans as they go about their day, seeing many different jobs and possible fates ahead for a whole cast of characters. Engagingly written, it smoothly shares a real wealth of knowledge and detail about Ancient Rome without falling into the trap of ‘info-dumping’. I really liked that it mainly follows plebians, not the ruling class: no villas and togas here, rather blocks of flats and plain tunics. A great read.

By Philip Matyszak,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked 24 Hours in Ancient Rome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Walk a day in a Roman's sandals ... What was it like to live in one of the ancient world's most powerful and bustling cities - one that was eight times more densely populated than modern day New York?

In this entertaining and enlightening guide, bestselling historian Philip Matyszak introduces us to 24 characters who lived and worked there. In each hour of the day we meet a new character - from a senator to a slave girl, a gladiator to an astrologer, watchmen to washerwomen - and discover the fascinating details of their daily lives.


Book cover of Rome: In Spectacular Cross-Section

Melissa Addey Author Of From the Ashes

From my list on non-fiction to immerse yourself in Ancient Rome.

Why am I passionate about this?

Curious about Ancient Rome and especially about gladiators, I asked myself, who were the backstage team of the Colosseum? The more I searched for the team, the more I realised there was hardly any mention of them. If there were hundreds of animals, dancers, singers, gladiators, criminals, and more about to be shown off to an audience of 60,000, who was planning and managing it all? And so I created the Colosseum’s backstage team – a retired centurion called Marcus and his scribe Althea, along with a motley crew of slaves, a prostitute, a street boy, even a retired Vestal Virgin… they came alive for me while researching and I eventually created a four-book series.

Melissa's book list on non-fiction to immerse yourself in Ancient Rome

Melissa Addey Why did Melissa love this book?

People sometimes look surprised when I say I start my historical research with children’s books, but when those books are works of art like this one, you’ll quickly see why. Stephen Biesty’s ability to take the most complex of buildings and draw their most intricate workings and construction elements is legendary. Explore the Forum, Temple, Baths, Colosseum, and Circus Maximus in wonderful detail and learn about Ancient Rome at a single glance… or many hours poring over every page. Might be out of print – buy a secondhand copy quickly before they all get snapped up!

By Stephen Biesty, Andrew Solway,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rome as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

"The ancient city of Rome is the perfect subject for Stephen Biesty's illustrations - beautifully constructed, technologically advanced, and teeming with life. Titus's "Roman Holiday" takes in the Temple, the Forum and the Baths, the Colosseum and chariot racing at the Circus Maximus, all illustrated in stunning, painstaking detail". "There are cross-sections, cut-aways and explosions, authoritative annotations, lists and explanations. Biesty captures the epic scale of the city - the capacity crowd at the Colosseum, for example - and there is some wonderful attention to detail in the architecture and the engineering. But he also succeeds in capturing the humanity…


Book cover of Invisible Romans: Prostitutes, Outlaws, Slaves, Gladiators, Ordinary Men and Women ... The Romans That History Forgot

Guy D. Middleton Author Of Women in the Ancient Mediterranean World: From the Palaeolithic to the Byzantines

From my list on real women in the ancient Mediterranean.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wrote Women in the Ancient Mediterranean World: From the Palaeolithic to the Byzantines when my partner and I found out that we were having a daughter. I finished it just as daughter number two appeared! I wanted to write something they could connect with easily as young women to share my lifelong passion for Mediterranean history. I grew up inspired by my local landscape of castles and ruins, trips to Greece, Michael Wood documentaries, and lots of books. I studied ancient history and archaeology at Newcastle University and later got my PhD from Durham University. I’ve written on various aspects of the ancient world in journals, magazines, websites, and my previous books.

Guy's book list on real women in the ancient Mediterranean

Guy D. Middleton Why did Guy love this book?

This is one of the best books on life in the ancient Roman world – about life for the 99% rather than kings, queens and aristocrats.

In it, Robert Knapp seeks to rescue the invisible majority of ‘ordinary people’, their activities, beliefs, and dreams, from relative obscurity. The book draws on a huge range of sources and every page reveals something interesting. Women form a large proportion of the Roman invisible, and Knapp explores the lives of all kinds of subaltern women, free and enslaved.

Sometimes, as with prostitutes or the poor, the stories are grim – but they are as valid as any discussion of a Cleopatra or a Livia. I really liked Knapp’s idea of historians making invisible people visible again and it really chimed with my work on ancient women.

By Robert Knapp,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Invisible Romans as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Robert Knapp brings invisible inhabitants of Rome and its vast empire to life. He seeks out the ordinary men, housewives, prostitutes, freedmen, slaves, soldiers, and gladiators, who formed the fabric of everyday life in the ancient Roman world, and the outlaws and pirates who lay beyond it. He finds their own words preserved in literature, letters, inscriptions and graffiti and their traces in the nooks and crannies of the histories, treatises, plays and poetry created by members of the elite. He tracks down and pieces together these and other tell-tale bits of evidence cast off by the visible mass of…


Book cover of Chariot Racing in the Roman Empire

Melissa Addey Author Of From the Ashes

From my list on non-fiction to immerse yourself in Ancient Rome.

Why am I passionate about this?

Curious about Ancient Rome and especially about gladiators, I asked myself, who were the backstage team of the Colosseum? The more I searched for the team, the more I realised there was hardly any mention of them. If there were hundreds of animals, dancers, singers, gladiators, criminals, and more about to be shown off to an audience of 60,000, who was planning and managing it all? And so I created the Colosseum’s backstage team – a retired centurion called Marcus and his scribe Althea, along with a motley crew of slaves, a prostitute, a street boy, even a retired Vestal Virgin… they came alive for me while researching and I eventually created a four-book series.

Melissa's book list on non-fiction to immerse yourself in Ancient Rome

Melissa Addey Why did Melissa love this book?

Oddly there aren’t actually that many books dedicated solely to chariot racing, but this one makes up for that. Huge amount of detail about everything from wheels to horses, but also a real sense of the passion the Romans had for this sport and just how terrifyingly dangerous it was to be a charioteer… almost makes being a gladiator look like a nice safe desk job! I loved the feel of the race day and all the parts that made it a spectacular event – from the vast crowd to the pre-race parades and the many different roles taking part on the day. Gripping read. 

By Fik Meijer, Liz Waters (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chariot Racing in the Roman Empire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A massive crowd of people, cloaked in the colors of their beloved athletes, slowly fill a 150,000-seat arena to cheer on their favorite teams. Athletes enter the stadium amid great pomp and circumstance as opposing fans hurl insults at one another and place bets on the day's outcome. Although this familiar scene might describe a contemporary football game, it also portrays a day at the chariot races in ancient Rome, where racers were the sports stars of the ancient world. Following close on the heels of his successful book on gladiators, Fik Meijer reveals all there is to know about…


Book cover of Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains

Anne Elizabeth Moore Author Of Gentrifier: A Memoir

From my list on quasi-memoirs by women that are secretly about money.

Why am I passionate about this?

We had money for a while when I was a kid in the Midwest and then, suddenly, we did not. I watched my world of opportunity change dramatically almost overnight, and my mother struggle to redefine herself as not only a mother but now also a breadwinner. It took time for me to understand that the questions I was asking then about gender and access to money weren’t unique to my life, or the lives of Midwestern white women; they got at some grand-scale problems that people had been writing about for a long time about gender and capitalism. Those are the works that helped me formulate my own memoir.

Anne's book list on quasi-memoirs by women that are secretly about money

Anne Elizabeth Moore Why did Anne love this book?

A truly engaging personal history of a paper mill’s impact on a working-class town in Maine. Arsenault tracks rising public health hazards and the decline of the working class through her rural hometown and over the course of her life, reckoning with the meaning and nature of home and abandonment.

By Kerri Arsenault,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In Mill Town "[Kerri] Arsenault pays loving homage to her family's tight-knit Maine town even as she examines the cancers that have stricken so many residents."-The New York Times Book Review

"Mill Town is a powerful, blistering, devastating book. Kerri Arsenault is both a graceful writer and a grieving daughter in search of answers and ultimately, justice. In telling the story of the town where generations of her family have lived and died, she raises important and timely questions." -Dani Shapiro, author of Inheritance

Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. For over 100…


Book cover of My Blue Heaven

Carl Abbott Author Of Suburbs: A Very Short Introduction

From my list on suburbs around the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a suburban kid in Knoxville, Tennessee and Dayton, Ohio and didn’t see much wrong with my neighborhood. As someone who then grew up to write and teach about the history of cities and city planning, I’ve long been struck by the mismatch between high-brow scorn for “suburbia” and the everyday experience of people who live in suburban communities. This short book is an effort to show how the world became suburban and what that meant to people in the different corners of the world—and maybe to put in a plug for my suburban Meadow Hills and College Hill neighborhoods. 

Carl's book list on suburbs around the world

Carl Abbott Why did Carl love this book?

American suburbs are all tidy middle-class places like where I grew up, right? Wrong.

Do-it-yourself housing and shantytowns were never confined to the developing world. The fringes of Toronto and Cleveland and Los Angeles could look a lot like the fringes of Sao Paolo or Istanbul in the first half of the twentieth century.

My Blue Heaven is a revelation about DIY community building on the south side of Los Angeles at the same time high-end developers were creating Pasadena and Beverly Hills. 

By Becky M. Nicolaides,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the 1920s, thousands of white migrants settled in the Los Angeles suburb of South Gate. Six miles from down-town and adjacent to Watts, South Gate and its neighboring communities served as L.A.'s Detroit, an industrial belt for mass production of cars, tires, steel, and other durable goods. Blue-collar workers built the suburb literally from the ground up, using sweat equity rather than cash to construct their own homes. As Becky M. Nicolaides shows in My Blue Heaven, this ethic of self-reliance and homeownership formed the core of South Gate's identity. With post-World War II economic prosperity, the community's emphasis…


Book cover of Blue Collar Aristocrats: Life-Styles at a Working-Class Tavern

Andrew J. Cherlin Author Of Labor's Love Lost: The Rise and Fall of the Working-Class Family in America

From my list on what has happened to the American working class.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a sociologist who studies American family life. About 20 years ago, I began to see signs of the weakening of family life (such as more single-parent families) among high-school educated Americans. These are the people we often call the “working class.” It seemed likely that this weakening reflected the decline of factory jobs as globalization and automation have proceeded. So I decided to learn as much as I could about the rise and decline of working-class families. The books I am recommending help us to understand what happened in the past and what’s happening now.

Andrew's book list on what has happened to the American working class

Andrew J. Cherlin Why did Andrew love this book?

LeMasters hung out at a tavern in Wisconsin from 1967 to 1972, talking to factory workers who held well-paying, unionized jobs in the heyday of American industrial production. Working-class lives are so different now that I wish I could enter a time machine and travel back to the 1960s and talk to working-class men then. LeMasters’s book is as close as one can get to doing that. He describes the outlook of the tavern regulars on their work, their families, and the world around them. Despite their prosperity, they express attitudes about public life that, in some respects, would not sound out of place in a focus group of working-class adults today.   

By E. E. Lemasters,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“LeMasters’ book is a valuable and popularly written source of information on the attitudes of working class men and women. Highly recommended.”—Library Journal



Blue-Collar Aristocrats is a major statement about a group of Americans too little understood and too long ignored by by the country's decision- and policy-makers. Thanks to the work of E. E. LeMasters, we now have a rare and human insight into the lives, feelings, attitudes, and problems of America's blue-collar aristocrats—one that has the potential both to add to our knowledge and to contribute toward solutions to some of our nation's broadest social problems.



“LeMasters has…


Book cover of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Vicki Olsen Author Of A Sparrow Falls

From my list on vulnerable protagonists with family secrets.

Why am I passionate about this?

My idyllic childhood while following my father, a US Air Force JAG officer, around the country and around the world did not prepare me to understand and recognize an abusive relationship. I had never seen or experienced abuse until I married. After twenty years of emotional abuse, which eventually led to domestic violence, I was able to leave it behind. It is only with therapy that I came to understand the early warning signs, why I had ignored them and why I stayed so long. While preparing to write A Sparrow Falls, I read many personal accounts of domestic violence and child abuse and conducted an interview with a survivor of child sexual abuse.

Vicki's book list on vulnerable protagonists with family secrets

Vicki Olsen Why did Vicki love this book?

Here is another book I added to my TBR list while researching my book—and another that sat there for years. But the similarities don’t end there. This is a coming-of-age story about clannish poor whites in the rural south. In both books the protagonist is a child growing up in a dysfunctional family. Again, I found a YouTube interview in which the author spoke of the love he has for his grandparents who were unconventional in their behavior.

It is my view that children from dysfunctional families often think their lives are normal.

By J. D. Vance,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Hillbilly Elegy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER Coming November 2020 as a major motion picture from Netflix starring Amy Adams and Glenn Close

'The political book of the year' Sunday Times

'A frank, unsentimental, harrowing memoir ... A superb book' New York Post

'I bought this to try to better understand Trump's appeal ... but the memoir is so much more than that. A gripping, unputdownable page-turner' India Knight, Evening Standard

J. D. Vance grew up in the hills of Kentucky. His family and friends were the people most of the world calls rednecks, hillbillies or white trash.

In this deeply moving memoir, Vance…


Book cover of The Man Who Never Died: The Life, Times, and Legacy of Joe Hill, American Labor Icon

James Sullivan Author Of Which Side Are You On?: 20th Century American History in 100 Protest Songs

From my list on protest movements.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of five books on subjects ranging from comedy and music to sports and pants (specifically, blue jeans). I’m a longtime Boston Globe contributor, a former San Francisco Chronicle staff critic, and a onetime editor for Rolling Stone. I help develop podcasts and other programming for Sirius and Pandora. I teach in the Journalism department at Emerson College, and I am the Program Director for the Newburyport Documentary Film Festival and the co-founder of Lit Crawl Boston.

James' book list on protest movements

James Sullivan Why did James love this book?

I devoured this book on the recommendation of my friend Otis Gibbs, a songwriter with a particular interest in the great tradition of songs of, by, and for the working class. “Educate – Agitate – Organize,” reads the Joe Hill mural painted on the side of a rare books store in Salt Lake City, where the Wobbly songwriter was sentenced to death by firing squad in 1915. In The Man Who Never Died (2011), journalist William M. Adler contextualizes the vital importance of songs like Hill’s to the union movement, and he uncovers new details about the activist’s controversial conviction.

By William M. Adler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Man Who Never Died as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1914, Joe Hill, the prolific songwriter for the Industrial Workers of the World (also known as the Wobblies), was convicted of murder in Utah and sentenced to death by firing squad, igniting international controversy. In the first major biography of the radical historical icon, William M. Adler explores an extraordinary life and presents persuasive evidence of Hill's innocence. Hill would become organized labor's most venerated martyr, and a hero to folk singers such as Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. His story shines a beacon on the early-twentieth-century American experience and exposes the roots of issues critical to the twenty-first…


Book cover of The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner

Dennis Barker Author Of The River Road: Becoming a Runner in 1972

From my list on discovery & experience of running.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a runner for 50 years and a coach for 30 years. From 2001-2016 I was the coach of Team USA Minnesota Distance Training Center. During that time I coached 24 U.S. National Champions, including an Olympian & 2 USATF Running Circuit Champions, at 1500 meters, 3000 meters, and 10,000 meters on the track; the mile, 10k, 15k, 10 miles, half-marathon, 20k, 25k, and marathon on the road; 4k, 6k, 8k and 10k in cross country.  Athletes I coached qualified for 30 U.S. national teams competing in IAAF World Championships in cross country, indoor track, outdoor track, and road, and achieved 73 top-three finishes in U.S. Championships. 

Dennis' book list on discovery & experience of running

Dennis Barker Why did Dennis love this book?

A non-runner begins running in prison and discovers its therapeutic benefits that help him do his time and start him on a journey of self-discovery. Having been an early morning runner for many years, I appreciated the protagonist’s descriptions of frosty early morning runs, which I think are some of the best in literature.

By Alan Sillitoe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Perhaps one of the most revered works of fiction in the twentieth-century, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner is a modern classic about integrity, courage, and bucking the system. Its title story recounts the story of a reform school cross-country runner who seizes the perfect opportunity to defy the authority that governs his life. It is a pure masterpiece. From there the collection expands even further from the touching “On Saturday Afternoon” to the rollicking “The Decline and Fall and Frankie Buller.” Beloved for its lean prose, unforgettable protagonists, and real-life wisdom, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the working class, Rome, and ancient civilizations?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the working class, Rome, and ancient civilizations.

The Working Class Explore 102 books about the working class
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Ancient Civilizations Explore 18 books about ancient civilizations