100 books like Zong!

By M. Nourbese Philip,

Here are 100 books that Zong! fans have personally recommended if you like Zong!. 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 Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

Sara B. Franklin Author Of The Editor: How Publishing Legend Judith Jones Shaped Culture in America

From my list on the stories we tell about women.

Why am I passionate about this?

Judith Jones became an important mentor and mother figure to me in my twenties, in the wake of my parents’ deaths. Her personal wisdom and guidance, which I received both in knowing her personally and from the incredible archive she left behind, have been invaluable to me during a particularly tumultuous and transformative decade in my own life. I wrote The Editor as I was coming into my full adulthood, and the books on this list helped shape my thinking along the way at times when I felt stagnant or stuck or needed to rethink both how to write Judith’s life and why her story is so vital to tell.

Sara's book list on the stories we tell about women

Sara B. Franklin Why did Sara love this book?

Lorde’s landmark collection of essays amplifies ways of living and knowing long familiar to women and other marginalized groups. Her exploration of eroticism—a fully vivacious, embodied experience of life—as a source of women’s knowledge, wisdom, and power is yet unmatched in American letters.

Essential reading for anyone who has felt unsatisfied or unseen by the narratives handed down by the white, heteronormative, patriarchal powers that continue to hold our imaginations in a vice grip. 


By Audre Lorde,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Sister Outsider as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The woman's place of power within each of us is neither white nor surface; it is dark, it is ancient, and it is deep

The revolutionary writings of Audre Lorde gave voice to those 'outside the circle of this society's definition of acceptable women'. Uncompromising, angry and yet full of hope, this collection of her essential prose - essays, speeches, letters, interviews - explores race, sexuality, poetry, friendship, the erotic and the need for female solidarity, and includes her landmark piece 'The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House'.

'The truth of her writing is as necessary today as…


Book cover of Britain's Black Debt

Carole Boyce Davies Author Of Caribbean Spaces: Escapes from Twilight Zone

From my list on Caribbean reparative justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Caribbean-American literary scholar who has spent many years studying, lecturing and writing about the interrelated fields of African Diaspora literature and culture, meaning the creative and theoretical productions of writers from Africa, the United States, Latin America, Brazil, and the Caribbean. I teach a variety of these subjects and enjoy the combinations of politics, creativity, and cultural expression that they contribute. These books provide you with a good cross-section of what is available in the Caribbean and the Caribbean diaspora.

Carole's book list on Caribbean reparative justice

Carole Boyce Davies Why did Carole love this book?

The best book on the legal basis for reparations from the Caribbean’s foremost historian. It offers a historical examination of the justification for reparations for the cost and lost labor the British gained during enslavement and brings together African and indigenous people's rights.

By Hilary McD. Beckles,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Since the mid-nineteenth-century abolition of slavery, the call for reparations for the crime of African enslavement and native genocide has been growing. In the Caribbean, grassroots and official voices now constitute a regional reparations movement. While it remains a fractured, contentious and divisive call, it generates considerable public interest, especially within sections of the community that are concerned with issues of social justice, equity, civil and human rights, education, and cultural identity. The reparations discourse has been shaped by the voices from these fields as they seek to build a future upon the settlement of historical crimes.

This is the…


Book cover of The Groundings with My Brothers

Carole Boyce Davies Author Of Caribbean Spaces: Escapes from Twilight Zone

From my list on Caribbean reparative justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Caribbean-American literary scholar who has spent many years studying, lecturing and writing about the interrelated fields of African Diaspora literature and culture, meaning the creative and theoretical productions of writers from Africa, the United States, Latin America, Brazil, and the Caribbean. I teach a variety of these subjects and enjoy the combinations of politics, creativity, and cultural expression that they contribute. These books provide you with a good cross-section of what is available in the Caribbean and the Caribbean diaspora.

Carole's book list on Caribbean reparative justice

Carole Boyce Davies Why did Carole love this book?

This is a series of essays that examine the importance of bringing historical knowledge to the community and also providing concise accurate information on African history and Caribbean and African American assertions for moving beyond the imposed limitations. It is preceded by a timely introduction and followed by a series of essays which reflect on the contributions of one of the most important Caribbean historians of the African experience who lived a life which manifested the Caribbean radical-intellectual tradition.

By Walter Rodney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"I have sat on a little oil drum, rusty and in the midst of garbage, and some black brothers and I have grounded together." - Walter Rodney In his short life, the Guyanese intellectual Walter Rodney emerged as one of the leading thinkers and activists of the anticolonial revolution, leading movements in North America, South America, the African continent, and the Caribbean. In each locale, Rodney found himself a lightning rod for working class Black Power. His deportation catalyzed 20th century Jamaica's most significant rebellion, the 1968 Rodney riots, and his scholarship trained a generation how to think politics at…


Book cover of Beyond Coloniality: Citizenship and Freedom in the Caribbean Intellectual Tradition

Carole Boyce Davies Author Of Caribbean Spaces: Escapes from Twilight Zone

From my list on Caribbean reparative justice.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Caribbean-American literary scholar who has spent many years studying, lecturing and writing about the interrelated fields of African Diaspora literature and culture, meaning the creative and theoretical productions of writers from Africa, the United States, Latin America, Brazil, and the Caribbean. I teach a variety of these subjects and enjoy the combinations of politics, creativity, and cultural expression that they contribute. These books provide you with a good cross-section of what is available in the Caribbean and the Caribbean diaspora.

Carole's book list on Caribbean reparative justice

Carole Boyce Davies Why did Carole love this book?

Kamugisha, is an able representative of a new generation of scholars who offers a contemporary examination which presents some of the theoretical issues and ideas that inform Caribbean studies and history. The reader will get a good sense of some of the major historical contributors who have shaped Caribbean history, philosophy, and culture as they attempted to move “beyond” the colonial experience.

By Aaron Kamugisha,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Against the lethargy and despair of the contemporary Anglophone Caribbean experience, Aaron Kamugisha gives a powerful argument for advancing Caribbean radical thought as an answer to the conundrums of the present. Beyond Coloniality is an extended meditation on Caribbean thought and freedom at the beginning of the 21st century and a profound rejection of the postindependence social and political organization of the Anglophone Caribbean and its contentment with neocolonial arrangements of power. Kamugisha provides a dazzling reading of two towering figures of the Caribbean intellectual tradition, C. L. R. James and Sylvia Wynter, and their quest for human freedom beyond…


Book cover of Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America

Steven Rogers Author Of A Letter to My White Friends and Colleagues: What You Can Do Right Now to Help the Black Community

From my list on reasons behind the enormous racial wealth gap.

Why am I passionate about this?

Steven Rogers is a retired professor from Harvard Business School (HBS) where he created a new course titled, “Black Business Leaders and Entrepreneurship.” He has written more HBS case studies with Black protagonists than anyone in the world. He is an HBS and Williams College alum. He majored in Black history. He has taught at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and West Point U.S. Military Academy. He has published 3 books including Entrepreneurial Finance (4 editions), Successful Black Entrepreneurs, and A Letter to my White Friends and Colleagues: What You Can Do Now to Help the Black Community.

Steven's book list on reasons behind the enormous racial wealth gap

Steven Rogers Why did Steven love this book?

After reading Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston, I wanted to learn more. This book, about the last Black person captured in Africa and enslaved in America, was astounding, but short. 

My thirst for more about the protagonist, Kossolo Lewis, led me to Dreams of Africa in Alabama. This book gives excellent riveting details about slavery, the crime against humanity. It also fascinatingly tells the detailed story, supported by research of facts and data about a crime against Federal U.S. laws, how Mr. Lewis was taken from Africa in the 1850’s, more than 4 decades after the U.S. prohibited the importation of people to be enslaved in 1808. 

By reading this book, I was exposed to real life stories about a White family, who broke laws, so they could enrich themselves off of the suffering of other humans. But even more importantly, the book chronicles Mr. Lewis’ life after slavery.…

By Sylviane A. Diouf,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dreams of Africa in Alabama as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the summer of 1860, more than fifty years after the United States legally abolished the international slave trade, 110 men, women, and children from Benin and Nigeria were brought ashore in Alabama under cover of night. They were the last recorded group of Africans deported to the United States as slaves. Timothy Meaher, an established Mobile businessman, sent the slave ship, the Clotilda , to Africa, on a bet that he could "bring a shipful of niggers
right into Mobile Bay under the officers' noses." He won the bet.

This book reconstructs the lives of the people in West…


Book cover of Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo"

Errick Nunnally Author Of All The Dead Men: Alexander Smith #2

From my list on history to thrill, disturb, and intrigue.

Why am I passionate about this?

Errick Nunnally was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, and served one tour in the Marine Corps before deciding art school was a safer pursuit. He enjoys art, comics, and genre novels. A graphic designer, he has trained in Krav Maga and Muay Thai kickboxing. His work has appeared in several anthologies of speculative fiction. His work can be found in Apex Magazine, Fiyah Magazine, Galaxy’s Edge, Lamplight, Nightlight Podcast, and the novels, Lightning Wears a Red Cape, Blood for the Sun, and All the Dead Men.

Errick's book list on history to thrill, disturb, and intrigue

Errick Nunnally Why did Errick love this book?

This book is a raw peek into America’s troubled past. It’s a series of interviews that Hurston conducts with a man who was on the last slave ship to make the transatlantic passage. It is a difficult read on two levels: subject matter and English. Hurston presents the words of a man named Cudjo Lewis as authentically as possible. What may seem to some today as parody, is translated to the page with accuracy. For me it communicated first-hand some of the past my main character has lived through. Books like this help to inform my protagonist’s current attitude toward the world (Alexander Smith in Blood For The Sun and All The Dead Men).

By Zora Neale Hurston,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A major literary event: a never-before-published work from the author of the American classic, Their Eyes Were Watching God which brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of the last known survivor of the Atlantic slave trade-illegally smuggled from Africa on the last "Black Cargo" ship to arrive in the United States.

In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama, to interview ninety-five-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of…


Book cover of The Slave Ship: A Human History

Nicholas Radburn Author Of Traders in Men: Merchants and the Transformation of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

From my list on how the Atlantic slave trade operated.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the Atlantic slave trade since 2007, when I first studied the business papers of a Liverpool merchant who had enslaved over a hundred thousand people. I was immediately struck by the coldness of the merchant’s accounts. I was also drawn to the ways in which the merchant’s profit-motivated decisions shaped the forced migrations and experiences of their victims. I have subsequently extended my research to examine slave traders across the vastness of the Atlantic World. I'm also interested in the ways that the slave trade’s history continues to shape the modern world, from the making of uneven patterns of global economic development to such diverse areas as the financing of popular music. 

Nicholas' book list on how the Atlantic slave trade operated

Nicholas Radburn Why did Nicholas love this book?

In 2007, I was writing a biography of Liverpool merchant William Davenport, who had made his fortune via the slave trade.

As I researched Davenport’s dry ledgers and letterbooks, I was fortunate to have Marcus Rediker’s exceptional The Slave Ship to hand. Pushing back against the “violence of abstraction” inherent to the accounts of slavers like Davenport, Rediker’s book exposed the horrors of the Middle Passage in unflinching detail.

His book is also filled with powerful individual stories of captives, captains, and crewmen that demonstrated to me the importance of writing “human histories” of the slave trade.

By Marcus Rediker,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Slave Ship as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The slave ship was the instrument of history's greatest forced migration and a key to the origins and growth of global capitalism, yet much of its history remains unknown. Marcus Rediker uncovers the extraordinary human drama that played out on this world-changing vessel. Drawing on thirty years of maritime research, he demonstrates the truth of W.E.B DuBois's observation: the slave trade was 'the most magnificent drama in the last thousand years of human history'. The Slave Ship" focuses on the so-called 'golden age' of the slave trade, the period of 1700-1808, when more than six million people were transported out…


Book cover of Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery

Dennis L. Peterson Author Of Christ in Camp and Combat: Religious Work in the Confederate Armies

From my list on little-known aspects of the Confederate era.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author, editor, and former history teacher and curriculum writer with a special interest in Southern history, particularly the Confederate era. I have written and published two books on lesser-known aspects of the Confederacy, the civilian government (Confederate Cabinet Departments and Secretaries), and religious work in the Confederate armies (Christ in Camp and Combat: Religious Work in the Confederate Armies). I taught on various levels, from junior high through college, and have B.S. and M.S. degrees with post-graduate work in Southern history and religion.

Dennis' book list on little-known aspects of the Confederate era

Dennis L. Peterson Why did Dennis love this book?

Three veteran journalists without a regional axe to grind but only a desire to find and communicate the historical facts present a compelling argument that slavery was a national, not merely a Southern, problem. Their findings are truly an inconvenient truth that anti-Southern historians must face if they sincerely want to be objective chroniclers of our nation’s history.

By Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, Jennifer Frank

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A startling and superbly researched book demythologizing the North’s role in American slavery
 
“The hardest question is what to do when human rights give way to profits. . . . Complicity is a story of the skeletons that remain in this nation’s closet.”—San Francisco Chronicle
 
The North’s profit from—indeed, dependence on—slavery has mostly been a shameful and well-kept secret . . . until now. Complicity reveals the cruel truth about the lucrative Triangle Trade of molasses, rum, and slaves that linked the North to the West Indies and Africa. It also discloses the reality of Northern empires built on tainted…


Book cover of Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora

Nicholas Radburn Author Of Traders in Men: Merchants and the Transformation of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

From my list on how the Atlantic slave trade operated.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated by the Atlantic slave trade since 2007, when I first studied the business papers of a Liverpool merchant who had enslaved over a hundred thousand people. I was immediately struck by the coldness of the merchant’s accounts. I was also drawn to the ways in which the merchant’s profit-motivated decisions shaped the forced migrations and experiences of their victims. I have subsequently extended my research to examine slave traders across the vastness of the Atlantic World. I'm also interested in the ways that the slave trade’s history continues to shape the modern world, from the making of uneven patterns of global economic development to such diverse areas as the financing of popular music. 

Nicholas' book list on how the Atlantic slave trade operated

Nicholas Radburn Why did Nicholas love this book?

This book really helped me to look beyond slave trading merchants’ papers to think about the lived realities of the slave trade for those merchants’ victims.

Smallwood follows enslaved people from their initial sale on the African coast, aboard the slave ships, and then through their sale and seasoning in the English Americas—a model that brilliantly exposes the multi-staged way that captive Africans were commodified within the slave trade.

Saltwater Slavery also details the experiences of enslaved people within the trade, especially the mental and physical trauma that they suffered aboard the slave ships. 

By Stephanie E. Smallwood,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This bold, innovative book promises to radically alter our understanding of the Atlantic slave trade, and the depths of its horrors. Stephanie E. Smallwood offers a penetrating look at the process of enslavement from its African origins through the Middle Passage and into the American slave market.

Smallwood's story is animated by deep research and gives us a startlingly graphic experience of the slave trade from the vantage point of the slaves themselves. Ultimately, Saltwater Slavery details how African people were transformed into Atlantic commodities in the process. She begins her narrative on the shores of seventeenth-century Africa, tracing how…


Book cover of Dark Work: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island

Joan E. Cashin Author Of War Stuff: The Struggle for Human and Environmental Resources in the American Civil War

From my list on gender and race in 18th and 19th Century America.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a history professor at Ohio State, where I have taught for most of my career. I have always been fascinated by how people in different regions define their own identities, how other Americans perceive them, and how these ideas change over time. Having lived through several wars (as a civilian), I have observed that social and political conflicts on the homefront can be intense in their own right and that non-military events and military events are often connected. In my work, I have published on gender, race, slavery, family, material culture, legal history, and environmental history, from the Revolution through the Civil War. 

Joan's book list on gender and race in 18th and 19th Century America

Joan E. Cashin Why did Joan love this book?

This book establishes that slavery was central to the Rhode Island economy from the colonial period well into the nineteenth century.

For many years, historians concentrated on slavery in the South, but we now have great scholarship on slavery in the North. Clark-Pujara illustrates how the black community, including the women, struggled against oppression in New England.  

Once I started reading, I could hardly put it down.

By Christy Clark-Pujara,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Tells the story of one state in particular whose role in the slave trade was outsized: Rhode Island
Historians have written expansively about the slave economy and its vital role in early American economic life. Like their northern neighbors, Rhode Islanders bought and sold slaves and supplies that sustained plantations throughout the Americas; however, nowhere else was this business so important. During the colonial period trade with West Indian planters provided Rhode Islanders with molasses, the key ingredient for their number one export: rum. More than 60 percent of all the slave ships that left North America left from Rhode…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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