The most recommended books about political violence

Who picked these books? Meet our 65 experts.

65 authors created a book list connected to political violence, and here are their favorite political violence books.
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What type of political violence book?



By Jamie Raskin,

Book cover of Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy

Kevin James Shay Author Of Operation Chaos: The Capitol Attack and the Campaign to Erode Democracy

From the list on the January 6th Capitol attack.

Who am I?

I was born in Washington, D.C., in a hospital not far from the U.S. Capitol. I remember being awestruck walking through its halls on tours as a kid. As a journalist, I covered some hearings and interviewed Congress representatives and staff there. The attack on January 6, 2021, was more than a breach of a landmark, historic building representing the top legislative body in the country; it was an assault on the fabric of democracy itself. A tragic crime occurred there that left several people dead and many injured, both physically and emotionally. We must hold everyone involved, especially those at the top who planned this invasion, accountable for what occurred that day.

Kevin's book list on the January 6th Capitol attack

Why did Kevin love this book?

U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin was not only inside the Capitol on January 6 when it was stormed, he had just tragically buried his 25-year-old son the previous day. His book, a cathartic exercise for himself and a shocked nation, drills down to the heart of what happened, showing in graphic detail how violent and terrifying that day was from an insider’s perspective. 

As a former constitutional law professor at American University who later became a Trump impeachment manager and member of the U.S. House Select Committee investigating the attack, Raskin eloquently explains the underlying events and issues that led to the violent breach. He argues forcefully why the former president himself must be held accountable before the country can begin a crucial, difficult healing process.

By Jamie Raskin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


In this searing memoir, Congressman Jamie Raskin tells the story of the forty-five days at the start of 2021 that permanently changed his life-and his family's-as he confronted the painful loss of his son to suicide, lived through the violent insurrection in our nation's Capitol, and led the impeachment effort to hold President Trump accountable for inciting the political violence.

On December 31, 2020, Tommy Raskin, the only son of Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin, tragically took his own life after a long struggle with depression. Seven days later on January 6, Congressman Raskin returned…

When Rains Became Floods

By Lurgio Gavilán Sánchez, Margaret Randall (translator),

Book cover of When Rains Became Floods: A Child Soldier's Story

Miguel La Serna Author Of With Masses and Arms: Peru's Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement

From the list on reads before your trip to Peru.

Who am I?

I am a professor of Latin American history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My teaching and research focus on Andean history, and I have written several books on the period of political violence that pitted guerrillas of the Shining Path and Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) against Peruvian security forces and peasant militias during the 1980s and 1990s. I have been researching in Peru for twenty years, from Lima’s shantytowns, to the Andes mountains, to the Amazon jungle. A Peruvian-American, I maintain strong family ties to the region and am a proud, yet frequently heartbroken, supporter of the national soccer team.

Miguel's book list on reads before your trip to Peru

Why did Miguel love this book?

The Shining Path war was the bloodiest episode in modern-Peruvian history, claiming the lives of nearly 70,000 people. While there are a number of excellent books on the Shining Path, I have never read an account of the war as captivating as this—and I doubt I ever will. Gavilán, an Indigenous peasant from the Andean region at the heart of the conflict, recounts his harrowing journey from child soldier in the guerrilla ranks to teenaged soldier in the Peruvian military. Along the way, the author invites readers to share the innermost struggles of a young man driven to survive against incredible odds. The writing is notable for its quick pace and brutal honesty. A must-read for anyone wishing to understand Peru’s political backdrop and contemporary history.

By Lurgio Gavilán Sánchez, Margaret Randall (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When Rains Became Floods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Rains Became Floods is the gripping autobiography of Lurgio Gavilan Sanchez, who as a child soldier fought for both the Peruvian guerrilla insurgency Shining Path and the Peruvian military. After escaping the conflict, he became a Franciscan priest and is now an anthropologist. Gavilan Sanchez's words mark otherwise forgotten acts of brutality and kindness, moments of misery and despair as well as solidarity and love.

A Hall of Mirrors

By Robert Stone,

Book cover of A Hall of Mirrors

Scott Turow Author Of Suspect

From the list on thrillers powered by an eccentric hero.

Who am I?

The key to a great contemporary thriller—as opposed to older novels about say, Sherlock Holmes or James Bond—is that solving the mystery reveals something essential about the protagonist. In other words these are character investigations as well as whodunits, where the same action provides revelations in both arenas. It’s what I discovered I wanted to do, when I veered from “serious fiction” to the books I began to write, starting with Presumed Innocent.

Scott's book list on thrillers powered by an eccentric hero

Why did Scott love this book?

Stone’s debut novel, a brilliant and prophetic book that is seldom classified as a thriller, but which finds its hero, Rheinhardt, an alcoholic former clarinetist and sometimes disc jockey, slowly unraveling a dark political conspiracy full of apocalyptic potential. Cynical, funny, lost, but deeply moral, Rheinhardt moved me intensely.

By Robert Stone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rheinhardt, a disk jockey and failed musician, rolls into New Orleans looking for work and another chance in life. What he finds is a woman physically and psychically damaged by the men in her past and a job that entangles him in a right-wing political movement. Peopled with civil rights activists, fanatical Christians, corrupt politicians, and demented Hollywood stars, A Hall of Mirrors vividly depicts the dark side of America that erupted in the sixties. To quote Wallace Stegner, "Stone writes like a bird, like an angel, like a circus barker, like a con man, like someone so high on…

Killing Strangers

By T. K. Wilson,

Book cover of Killing Strangers: How Political Violence Became Modern

Daniel S. Chard Author Of Nixon's War at Home: The FBI, Leftist Guerrillas, and the Origins of Counterterrorism

From the list on the history of terrorism and counterterrorism.

Who am I?

I’m a history professor at Western Washington University. I first got interested in understanding social movements, power, and political violence in the late 1990s and early ‘00s as a young anarchist. Later, while studying history in graduate school, I realized that much of what I thought I knew about the FBI, violence, and radical movements of the 1960s and ‘70s was inaccurate. I don’t have any magic solutions to the problems facing humanity, but I believe that studying history—including the history of political violence—can help us better understand our present moment and how we might build a more just and peaceful world.

Daniel's book list on the history of terrorism and counterterrorism

Why did Daniel love this book?

Prior to this book, most works on the long history of terrorism applied contemporary definitions of the term to various incidents throughout world history. Wilson turned the page on this framework. Killing Strangers analyzes the gamut of political violence in Western Europe and North America since the late eighteenth century to explain how we’ve arrived at a contemporary reality characterized, in part, by recurring fear of impersonal atrocities carried out in public gathering spaces. Wilson shows how, on one hand, the rise of the modern bureaucratic state’s “monopoly” on legitimate force pushed most violent challengers to the fringes of society. On the other hand, various technological innovations—from dynamite and automobiles to commercial airlines and satellite television—offered new possibilities for those intent on violent havoc. 

By T. K. Wilson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A bewildering feature of so much contemporary political violence is its stunning impersonality. Every major city centre becomes a potential shooting gallery; and every metro system a potential bomb alley. Victims just happen, as the saying goes, to 'be in the wrong place at the wrong time'.

We accept this contemporary reality - at least to some degree. But we rarely ask: where has it come from historically? Killing Strangers tackles this question head on. It examines how such violence became 'unchained' from inter-personal relationships. It traces the rise of such impersonal violence by examining violence in conjunction with changing…

American Midnight

By Adam Hochschild,

Book cover of American Midnight: The Great War, a Violent Peace, and Democracy's Forgotten Crisis

Emily Arnold McCully Author Of Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business - And Won!

From Emily's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Curious Skeptical Gifted Quick

Emily's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Emily love this book?

This nonfiction picture of a “forgotten crisis,” the hysterical extremism in America surrounding World War I, is so packed with shocking information I finished it in a fury, thinking, “Everyone must read this book.”

As daily news reports strike so many these days with the sense that things have never been worse, I believe that we need to know more about history, understand the antecedents of our troubles, and learn from the brave men and women who fought evil and folly in the past.

The book presents so many parallels to today’s threats to democracy, some even more deadly than the ones we face— but the country survived them. For me, this book made me furious but also kindled hope. 

By Adam Hochschild,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

National Bestseller • One of the year's most acclaimed works of nonfiction • A Best Book of 2022: New York Times, Washington Post, New Yorker, Chicago Tribune, Kirkus

From legendary historian Adam Hochschild, a "masterly" (New York Times) reassessment of the overlooked but startlingly resonant period between World War I and the Roaring Twenties, when the foundations of American democracy were threatened by war, pandemic, and violence fueled by battles over race, immigration, and the rights of labor

The nation was on the brink. Mobs burned Black churches to the ground. Courts threw thousands of people into prison for opinions…

The Killing Wind

By Tan Hecheng, Stacy Mosher (translator), Guo Jian (translator)

Book cover of The Killing Wind: A Chinese County's Descent Into Madness During the Cultural Revolution

Kerry Brown Author Of China

From the list on modern Chinese history.

Who am I?

I have been working on China as a student, teacher, diplomat, business person, and academic since 1991. 
Currently, professor of Chinese Studies and Director of the Lau China Institute at King’s College London, my work involves trying to understand how the country’s deer and more recent history has created the remarkable country that we see today. I have written over 20 books on modern China, and lived there in total 5 and a half years. I have visited every single province and autonomous region, and have lectured on China in over 40 countries, across four continents.

Kerry's book list on modern Chinese history

Why did Kerry love this book?

A searing account by a retired Chinese journalist of the impact of social unrest and factional clashes in a rural area of central Hunan province in the late 1960s during the Cultural Revolution. Tan’s haunting account starts with his memories of passing through this area around the time the events he goes on to recount as a young journalist decades before. With research and investigation, he finds that the quiet but unsettling place he remembers witnessing was in fact consumed by murder and bloodshed. Some of these events he documents. A book that describes but does not judge, making its impact even more powerful.

By Tan Hecheng, Stacy Mosher (translator), Guo Jian (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A spasm of extreme radicalism that rocked China to its foundations in the mid- to late 1960s, the Cultural Revolution has generated a vast literature. Much of it, however, is at a birds-eye level, and we have very few detailed accounts of how it worked on the ground. Long after the event, Tan Hecheng, now a retired Chinese writer and editor, was sent to Daoxian, Mao's home county, to report on the official investigation into the massacre that took place there during
the Cultural Revolution.

In The Killing Wind, Tan recounts how over the course of 66 days in 1967,…


By Jonathan Karl,

Book cover of Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show

Kathy L Wheeler Author Of Captivated By His Countess

From the list on romance to keep you turning when you want to sleep.

Who am I?

I began my own writing journey in 2007. I skipped many HS classes just to stay home and read. I want to know the ending of a story. I want happy ending. Life is hard, but when I have the ability to write the stories I write with the ending that so many are deprived of, at least I know I can find it in a book of my own choosing. That is my love of romance.

Kathy's book list on romance to keep you turning when you want to sleep

Why did Kathy love this book?

Okay! I know this isn’t a romance. However, this book did keep me up at night. I couldn’t put it down.

The reason? Fear. It’s shocking to read about going through the last few years and seeing how things played out through another lens. Because, you know you saw the same thing. But Mr. Karl was right there. Up close and personal.

It’s chilling to read how perilous things were, and frankly, still are. This is a very good book.

By Jonathan Karl,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

***THE INSTANT New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and IndieBound BESTSELLER***

An NPR Book of the Day

Picking up where the New York Times bestselling Front Row at the Trump Show left off, this is the explosive look at the aftermath of the election—and the events that followed Donald Trump’s leaving the White House all the way to January 6—from ABC News' chief Washington correspondent.

Nobody is in a better position to tell the story of the shocking final chapter of the Trump show than Jonathan Karl. As the reporter who has known Donald Trump longer than any…

Book cover of The Logic of Violence in Civil War

Jurgen Brauer Author Of War and Nature: The Environmental Consequences of War in a Globalized World

From the list on unusual stories about conflict, war, and peace.

Who am I?

Born of refugee parents, I grew up stateless in occupied, cold war-era Berlin, Germany. It is perhaps not surprising that the how and why of war, and the economic deprivation and poverty it produces, came to be my professional interest. I earned a doctoral degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame (USA) and became a professor of economics with specialties in development economics and the economics of conflict, war, and peace. I like “grazing” along disciplinary boundaries and have written on economic aspects of military history, the economics of the firearms market, the impact of war on nature, and the economics of genocides and other mass atrocities.

Jurgen's book list on unusual stories about conflict, war, and peace

Why did Jurgen love this book?

Inter- and intrastate war are commonplace. News media play up the human drama and transmit the impression that much war is irrational, and that violence is dished out indiscriminately.

Scholars have long since discarded the notion of irrationality of and in warfare. Nonetheless, in their studies of the causes, conduct, and consequences of violence, they tend to treat violence itself as an unexamined entity. Enter Kalyvas who, in this book, disassembles violence into its components, much like natural scientists have disassembled molecules into atoms and atoms into subatomic particles.

With the constituent elements in hand, Kalyvas then proceeds to build a theory of (civil war) violence that is starkly logical, or rational. The hope is that once this logic is understood, better policy intervention tools to prevent violence may be designed. 

By Stathis N. Kalyvas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Logic of Violence in Civil War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

By analytically decoupling war and violence, this book explores the causes and dynamics of violence in civil war. Against the prevailing view that such violence is an instance of impenetrable madness, the book demonstrates that there is logic to it and that it has much less to do with collective emotions, ideologies, and cultures than currently believed. Kalyvas specifies a novel theory of selective violence: it is jointly produced by political actors seeking information and individual civilians trying to avoid the worst but also grabbing what opportunities their predicament affords them. Violence, he finds, is never a simple reflection of…

The Commander's Dilemma

By Amelia Hoover Green,

Book cover of The Commander's Dilemma: Violence and Restraint in Wartime

Leigh Binford Author Of From Popular to Insurgent Intellectuals: Peasant Catechists in the Salvadoran Revolution

From the list on violence and restraint in wartime.

Who am I?

I’m an anthropologist, trained in political economy, who began doing fieldwork in southern Mexico in the early 1980s. While there, Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees were flowing into the area from Chiapas. I visited El Salvador in 1986 and in 1991 made several trips to an FMLN-controlled area. After the war ended I made nine field trips to northern Morazán, the last in 2012. My interests in catechists and liberation theology developed early on as I sought to reconstruct the region’s pre-war history. I wrote one book on the El Mozote massacre and am currently working on a third book on the area.

Leigh's book list on violence and restraint in wartime

Why did Leigh love this book?

Green investigates The Commander’s Dilemma in the Salvadoran Revolution through a combination of questionnaires with ex-combatants from the FMLN and government forces, interviews, documents, and secondary resources. She argues that all military commanders everywhere confront the dilemma of ensuring that troops are skilled in meting out violence but that they reign in their violent tendencies so as to respect the human rights of civilians and adversaries that have been wounded and captured. The rebel FMLN educated its troops far more than the government military and according to the United Nations and other organizations committed but a small percentage of the wartime human rights violations.

By Amelia Hoover Green,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Why do some military and rebel groups commit many types of violence, creating an impression of senseless chaos, whereas others carefully control violence against civilians? A classic catch-22 faces the leaders of armed groups and provides the title for Amelia Hoover Green's book. Leaders need large groups of people willing to kill and maim-but to do so only under strict control. How can commanders control violence when fighters who are not under direct supervision experience extraordinary stress, fear, and anger? The Commander's Dilemma argues that discipline is not enough in wartime. Restraint occurs when fighters know why they are fighting…

Book cover of Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa

Daniel Combs Author Of Until the World Shatters: Truth, Lies, and the Looting of Myanmar

From the list on the human toll of civil war.

Who am I?

As an author, humanitarian, and diplomat, I’ve seen firsthand how the everyday brutality of civil wars and ethnic conflicts is often overlooked in favor of statistics: 100,000 displaced; 500 arrested; 7 villages torched. In places like Myanmar, Ethiopia, Congo, Nigeria, and Bangladesh, I have tried to use human-centered reporting to bring a magnifying glass to the effect of these tragedies on everyday people. By focusing on the stories that most of the world would rather turn away from, I think we have a better chance to understand, and ultimately prevent, these violent political and social upheavals. 

Daniel's book list on the human toll of civil war

Why did Daniel love this book?

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s civil wars have claimed 5.5 million lives since the mid-1990s, but most people have never heard the stories of those who died. Stearns is an academic who spent years in the DRC researching how and why communities that once lived side by side could descend into brutal violence. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to better understand how intercommunal conflict can turn neighbors into enemies, ethnicity into a weapon, and school children into genocidal street gangs. I spent two years living in DRC reporting on human rights abuses, and found Stearns’s treatment of his subjects and their personal histories arresting, respectful, and deeply humane. 

By Jason Stearns,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dancing in the Glory of Monsters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Best Book of the Year- The Economist & the Wall Street Journal At the heart of Africa is the Congo, a country the size of Western Europe, bordering nine other nations, that since 1996 has been wracked by a brutal war in which millions have died. In Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, renowned political activist and researcher Jason K. Stearns has written a compelling and deeply-reported narrative of how Congo became a failed state that collapsed into a war of retaliatory massacres. Stearns brilliantly describes the key perpetrators, many of whom he met personally, and highlights the nature…


By Frank Herbert,

Book cover of Dune

Kim Alexander Author Of The Sand Prince

From the list on fantasy that make you feel like you’ve been there.

Who am I?

I’m a writer of epic fantasy and paranormal romance, and my obsession is writing about the fashion, food, language, and social politics of the worlds I create. World building is vital if you intend to create a lived-in backdrop for your story, but intricate, elaborate world building will only take you so far. You (the author) must have a cast of characters equally well developed. I’ve tried to take lessons away from every book I’ve read and every author I’ve interviewed and worked to balance characters to fall in love with against places that feel absolutely alive. Their joy/terror/love/hate/experience becomes the readers. It’s that combination that makes a book unforgettable.

Kim's book list on fantasy that make you feel like you’ve been there

Why did Kim love this book?

Well, I suppose a few words have been devoted to Dune already, but I’m going to chime in!

I read Dune the first time as a teenager, and found some of it (Paul’s adventures, everything to do with Jessica) exciting and engrossing. On the other hand, some of it I couldn’t puzzle out—mostly politics. Now, that’s my favorite part! Honestly, I got my first and most vital lesson in world building from Dune, and it remains a huge influence on my writing.

What does it smell like, this new world? What happens if you get caught outside in a storm? What do your clothes look like and do they mark you as an outsider? What do you eat and when? And so on, ad infinitum. And I loved the quotes that open the chapters, so much that I created my own book-within-a-book just so I could similarly quote it.

By Frank Herbert,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender's Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune: winner of the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards, and widely considered one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written.

Melange, or 'spice', is the most valuable - and rarest - element in the universe; a drug that does everything from increasing a person's lifespan to making interstellar travel possible. And it can only be found on a single planet: the inhospitable desert world of Arrakis.

Whoever controls Arrakis controls the spice. And whoever controls the spice controls the universe.

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of…

Violence in War and Peace

By Nancy Scheper-Hughes (editor), Philippe I. Bourgois (editor),

Book cover of Violence in War and Peace: An Anthology

T.M. Lemos Author Of Violence and Personhood in Ancient Israel and Comparative Contexts

From the list on the comparative history of violence.

Who am I?

I am a biblical scholar who has become a historian of violence because I could no longer ignore the realities of the present or my own past. I write of violence for my childhood self, who was bullied for a decade and used to run away from school.  I write of it for my grandfather, who was born of exploitation.  I write of it for my African-American wife and daughter, in the hopes that I might contribute to the elimination of hierarchies that threaten their dignity and sometimes their lives.  Doing this work is not just intellectual for me—it is a memorialization and a ritual of healing. 

T.M.'s book list on the comparative history of violence

Why did T.M. love this book?

The editors of this volume are two of the most important and influential medical anthropologists in the world and major scholars of violence. In addition to collecting a set of useful texts on violence, the introduction to the volume is a piece of writing that I have returned to many times.

By Nancy Scheper-Hughes (editor), Philippe I. Bourgois (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From Hannah Arendt's 'banality of evil' to Joseph Conrad's 'fascination of the abomination', humankind has struggled to make sense of human-upon-human violence. Edited by two of anthropology's most passionate voices on this subject, "Violence in War and Peace: An Anthology" is the only book of its kind available: a single volume exploration of social, literary, and philosophical theories of violence. It brings together a sweeping collection of readings, drawn from a remarkable range of sources, that look at various conceptions and modes of violence.The book juxtaposes the routine violence of everyday life against the sudden outcropping of extraordinary violence such…

Book cover of Morality and Political Violence

Vicente Medina Author Of Terrorism Unjustified: The Use and Misuse of Political Violence

From the list on terrorism and why it matters.

Who am I?

I was born and spent my childhood living under a tyrannical regime that indiscriminately used violence against innocent civilians. Such cruelty made a lasting impact on me. For the past thirty-two years, I have been teaching philosophy at Seton Hall University. Given my childhood experiences, I have chosen to write on issues related to social and political philosophy and applied ethics. After the catastrophic event of 9/11, I wondered about the motivations, explanations, justifications, or excuses for this kind of unprecedented act of war against civilians. I have spent a great deal of my research exploring the relationship between justified acts of war and terrorist acts.

Vicente's book list on terrorism and why it matters

Why did Vicente love this book?

This is an accessible book for those who want to learn about some of the arguments in favor of a just war tradition and pacifist arguments against any use of political violence. Coady does justice to both traditions. He defends the sometimes neglected or misunderstood “doctrine of double effect” to offer a compelling argument against the deliberate use of terrorist violence by either nonstate or state actors against innocent non-combatants. While not popular nowadays, Coady makes a compelling case that unless we take the doctrine of double effect seriously, noncombatant immunity would be significantly reduced. Our ordinary intuition shows that if we remove the idea of intentionality from evaluating people’s behavior, especially in war, we are virtually giving a carte blanch for all parties involved to deliberately target the innocent. 

By C.A.J. Coady,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Political violence in the form of wars, insurgencies, terrorism and violent rebellion constitutes a major human challenge. C. A. J. Coady brings a philosophical and ethical perspective as he places the problems of war and political violence in the frame of reflective ethics. In this book, Coady re-examines a range of urgent problems pertinent to political violence against the background of a contemporary approach to just war thinking. The problems examined include: the right to make war and conduct war, terrorism, revolution, humanitarianism, mercenary warriors, the ideal of peace and the right way to end war. Coady attempts to vindicate…

The Cry of the Renegade

By Raymond B. Craib,

Book cover of The Cry of the Renegade: Politics and Poetry in Interwar Chile

Kirwin R. Shaffer Author Of Anarchists of the Caribbean: Countercultural Politics and Transnational Networks in the Age of US Expansion

From the list on Latin American anarchism and anti-authoritarianism.

Who am I?

As someone who studies and writes about Latin American anarchism for a living, I’ve encountered no shortage of influential historical accounts written by scholars and activists writing in Spanish, Portuguese, and English during the past sixty years. My “best of” list includes English-language histories that reflect important shifts in how people began to study and write about anarchism beginning in the 1990s. Before then—and continuing up to today to some extent—historians often focused on the role of anarchists in a country’s labor movement. Today, historians increasingly explore both the cultural and transnational dimensions of Latin American anarchism. In these studies, authors frequently explore the roles of and attitudes toward women in anarchist politics.

Kirwin's book list on Latin American anarchism and anti-authoritarianism

Why did Kirwin love this book?

Craib’s Renegade uses a biographical approach to explore larger cultural and transnational politics—this time in early twentieth-century Chile. Again, migration—so crucial to the history of Latin American anarchism—plays a central role in understanding the multinational dimensions of anarchism in countries across the region. Craib uses the life and death of the anarchist poet Domingo Gómez Rojas, along with his friends and comrades, to explore the Chilean anarchists and their relations with student rebels. The book illustrates how anarchists in Chile created urban “transnational communities” of anarchists born in Santiago, anarchists who moved to the capital, and anarchists who immigrated to Chile. They then used their culture and multinational experiences to forge transnational connections beyond Chile.

By Raymond B. Craib,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On October 1, 1920, the city of Santiago, Chile, came to a halt as tens of thousands stopped work and their daily activities to join the funeral procession of Jose Domingo Gomez Rojas, a 24 year old university student and acclaimed poet. Nicknamed "the firecracker poet" for his incendiary poems, such as "The Cry of the Renegade", Gomez Rojas was a member of the University of Chile's student federation (the FECh) which had come under repeated attack for
its critiques of Chile's political system and ruling parties. Government officials accused the FECh's leaders of being advocates for the destruction of…

We Need New Names

By NoViolet Bulawayo,

Book cover of We Need New Names

Ellen Banda-Aaku Author Of Patchwork

From the list on about childhood that make you cry.

Who am I?

My name is Ellen Banda-Aaku a writer from Zambia and the UK. I have been writing – mainly for young adults - for many years. My latest YA book The Elephant Girl which I have co-authored with James Patterson is due in July 2022. A memorable book for me is one that haunts me long after I turn the last page even though it’s fiction. Whilst the books mentioned here are very different, I have linked them in that they have child protagonists who go through a lot of suffering through no fault of their own. That is what makes them tearjerkers.

Ellen's book list on about childhood that make you cry

Why did Ellen love this book?

Having lived in poverty and forced to grow up fast due to the hardship of life, what makes this book tragic is that when Darling the child protagonist arrives in the US, the land she dreamed of, she misses ‘home’ and her dreams don’t come true. Recommended for the author's narrative verve and its general overview of Zimbabwe through the lens of the less privileged. The lesson for me was that material comfort does not guarantee happiness. 

By NoViolet Bulawayo,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked We Need New Names as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

* Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013*

* US National Book Award 5 Under 35 *

* Winner of the Etisalat Prize 2014*

'To play the country-game, we have to choose a country. Everybody wants to be the USA and Britain and Canada and Australia and Switzerland and them. Nobody wants to be rags of countries like Congo, like Somalia, like Iraq, like Sudan, like Haiti and not even this one we live in - who wants to be a terrible place of hunger and things falling apart?'

Darling and her friends live in a shanty called Paradise, which…

Anatomy of a Killing

By Ian Cobain,

Book cover of Anatomy of a Killing: Life and Death on a Divided Island

T. R. Croke Author Of The Devil's Luck

From the list on crime thrillers that leave you wanting more.

Who am I?

Since my childhood reading of Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven books I’ve been addicted to series. I love the character development, that ability to learn more about your favourite with each new story. Crime thrillers became my preferred leisure reading as an adult and, unsurprisingly my passion when I began a full-time writing career. My background as a retired detective from Ireland’s police force helps me understand the individual stresses on investigators and the strain of maintaining relationships and family life while pursuing suspects and protecting lives. I lived in Dublin for over twenty-five years and enjoy using the ever-changing city as a base for my series.

T. R.'s book list on crime thrillers that leave you wanting more

Why did T. R. love this book?

Ian Cobain’s writing style is fluid and his story of the real-life murder of Constable Millar McAllister by the IRA in 1978 reads like a bestselling crime novel.

The politically violent period between 1968 and 1998 is euphemistically referred to in Ireland as ‘The Troubles.’ A civil rights campaign in Northern Ireland’s divided society was hijacked by violent people on either side. Cobain, a British journalist, superbly sets the story of the killing in the political context of the time. He vividly describes the role each IRA member played in the murder and the consequences for them as individuals. If you are interested in Ireland, Irish politics, or would just like to comprehend the domestic terrorist war that was—‘The Troubles,’ Cobain’s account is riveting.

By Ian Cobain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On the morning of Saturday 22nd April 1978, members of an Active Service Unit of the IRA hijacked a car and crossed the countryside to the town of Lisburn. Within an hour, they had killed an off-duty policeman in front of his young son.
In Anatomy of a Killing, award-winning journalist Ian Cobain documents the hours leading up to the killing, and the months and years of violence, attrition and rebellion surrounding it. Drawing on interviews with those most closely involved, as well as court files, police notes, military intelligence reports, IRA strategy papers, memoirs and government records, this is…

Wave of Terror

By Theodore Odrach, Emma Odrach (translator),

Book cover of Wave of Terror

J. Conrad Guest Author Of A World Without Music

From the list on PTSD and overcoming oppression of the human spirit.

Who am I?

My father retired from the Marines before he married my mother. Sadly, he was more drill instructor to me than father. He never shared with me his experience on Okinawa, yet he was proud of his service. He kept in touch with several marines and attended many reunions. It was only after Dad’s death that I discovered With the Old Breed. Eugene Sledge told me everything my father withheld from me, and why he was the way he was. Today, Dad would be diagnosed with PTSD. Thus began a quest to read other accounts of wartime experiences, as soldiers and civilians, which led me to write A World Without Music.

J. Conrad's book list on PTSD and overcoming oppression of the human spirit

Why did J. Conrad love this book?

Hidden from the English-speaking world for more than 50 years, this panoramic novel begins with the Red Army invasion of Belarus in 1939. Ivan Kulik has just become headmaster of school number 7 in Hlaby, a rural village in the Marsh of Pinsk. Through his eyes, I witnessed the tragedy of Stalinist domination where people are oppressed, randomly deported to labor camps, or tortured in Zovty Prison in Pinsk.

The author’s individual gift that sets him apart from his contemporaries is the range of his sympathies and his unromantic, unsentimental approach to the sensual lives of women. His debt to Chekhov is obvious in his ability to capture the internal drama of his characters with psychological conciseness.

This historical novel serves as a stern warning against adopting socialism in America.

By Theodore Odrach, Emma Odrach (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This panoramic novel hidden from the English-speaking world for more than 50 years begins with the Red Army invasion of Belarus in 1939. Ivan Kulik has just become Headmaster of school number 7 in Hlaby, a rural village in the Pinsk Marshes. Through his eyes we witness the tragedy of Stalinist domination where people are randomly deported to labour camps or tortured in Zovty Prison in Pinsk. The author's individual gift that sets him apart from his contemporaries is the range of his sympathies and his unromantic, unsentimental approach to the sensual lives of females. His debt to Chekhov is…

Book cover of The Formation of Kurdishness in Turkey: Political Violence, Fear and Pain

Ceren Sengül Author Of Customized Forms of Kurdishness in Turkey: State Rhetoric, Locality, and Language Use

From the list on the relationship between Turkey and Kurds.

Who am I?

I have always been interested in political and social events around me, and being from Turkey, it was inevitable not to be surrounded by the news of the conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK that has been going on for decades. However, perhaps due to being a member of the non-Muslim minority community of Turkey myself, I have always been interested in the ‘non-mainstream’ explanations of a state-ethnic group conflict. This interest in alternative explanations led me to study an MSc in Nationalism Studies and to a PhD in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, with the focus of my thesis being Kurdishness in Turkey. 

Ceren's book list on the relationship between Turkey and Kurds

Why did Ceren love this book?

This book is a brilliant example of how to properly conduct an anthropological ethnography amongst Kurds and to use the ethnographic data whilst presenting your argument.

I read and reviewed this book when it was first published in 2014, one year after I had finished my own ethnographic fieldwork across different cities in Turkey and Northern Kurdistan for my PhD research that I eventually turned it into the book I advertise here.

I could not help but feel impressed and influenced by the meticulous attention to detail in the ethnographic work.

This detailed work, combined with the tragic personal narratives of the interviewees, makes this an intriguing book to get a glimpse into what being a Kurd means in current Turkey. 

By Ramazan Aras,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Formation of Kurdishness in Turkey examines political violence, the politics of fear and the Kurdish experience of pain through an analysis of life stories, personal narratives and testimonies of Kurdish subjects in contemporary Turkey. It traces the physical and psychological impacts of the war between the state security forces and the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) guerrillas in the last three decades, in Kurdish populated areas in the south-eastern part of Turkey.

Focusing on the instrumentalization of violence, the ensuing and manufactured culture of fear, gendered experiences of state violence, pain, incarceration, and corporeal punishment, Ramazan Aras argues that these…