Best biographical historical fiction books according to redditors

We found 551 Reddit comments discussing the best biographical historical fiction books. We ranked the 216 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top Reddit comments about Biographical Historical Fiction:

u/rangifer2014 · 102 pointsr/dataisbeautiful

I honestly believe the answers are to be found in the book "Night Comes To The Cumberlands" by Harry M. Caudill. It's an incredibly well-written and well-researched account of precisely how the coal industry destroyed both the culture, the land, and the connection of culture and land in Appalachia. It was published in 1962 and I believe what we are seeing now in those parts of the country is a direct, unforeseen result of that industry having gone unchecked all those years ago.

u/vonmonologue · 21 pointsr/dashcamgifs

If it weren't for us you'd all be speaking German!

edit: Or something. I'm American, I don't really know what I'm doing here. All I know is Mandela, Apartheid, Krugerrands, and District 9.

Oh and The Power of One. That book is amazing.

u/ladycrappo · 19 pointsr/science

The ladycrappo 7-Step Dealing With Depression Plan
Brought to you by a chick who's been hospitalized for major depression on four separate occasions and is now living a relatively stable normal life

  1. Exercise, exercise, exercise. This may be the last thing you feel like doing, but it's one of the cheapest, safest, most effective ways to boost your mood. Don't feel you have to go to a gym if the ambiance creeps you out; ride a bike, get out in the sunshine, whatever works for you.

  2. Eat well. Shitty diets make you feel shitty physically and mentally. Depressed people tend to have trouble with eating either too much or too little, and with eating crappy stuff in general that wrecks your blood sugar and makes you lethargic. You don't need that. Make a good healthy diet a priority: fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean protein, unsaturated fats, you know the drill.

  3. Get your sleep schedule sorted out. Don't let yourself sleep too much because you don't want to face life; it just makes you more listless. If you're having trouble sleeping enough, force yourself to get on a more regular schedule. Sleep is fundamental to good mental health.

  4. Shower every day. Keep up with personal hygiene, even when you feel like a hideous human turdball. A clean turdball can feel slightly better about itself than a dirty turdball, and whatever bit of dignity and self-worth you can reclaim for yourself is really important.

  5. Do stuff. You won't want to, you really won't want to, but do it anyways. Answer your phone, get out of the house, go out to eat or see a movie-- do normal people stuff despite your profound sense of abnormality. This serves to keep you feeling like a member of the human race, keep you connected with the people in your life who are your support system, and also just to distract you from the ugly world inside your head.

  6. Read up on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is focused on concrete strategies of altering your thinking and behavior. Pick up a copy of Feeling Good and give it's recommendations a serious try.

  7. Do what it takes to get out of your own head. Depression turns you in on yourself, blots out the larger world, traps you in the darker aspects of your own thinking. It's a particularly dark and dangerous sort of self-absorption. Do things that force you to empathize with other people, in other places: do some volunteer work, spend time with loved ones, read about people in unfortunate circumstances who maintain a core of dignity (e.g., What is the What).
u/readitonreddit · 16 pointsr/books

I would first recommend Shogun by James Clavell. It's an epic story with a great plot. I don't believe it's too accurate, but it's a good read.

If you want to continue on with historical Japanese literature you can't go wrong with Musashi or Taiko both by Eiji Yoshikawa.

Moving on to more western stuff, I recommend the many James Michener books, but they can be boring at times. My favorite of his is Hawaii.

I'd also recommend Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield about the Battle of Thermopylae.

u/funfungiguy · 12 pointsr/skyrim

Have you ever read Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa? If not and you like big, long books, I'd highly recommend getting yourself a copy. It's the greatest book I've ever had the pleasure of reading in my 35 years, and I've read a shitload of books in my 35 years.

u/camopdude · 11 pointsr/books

Michael Chricton's Eaters of the Dead is a cool retelling of Beowulf, and is a quick, easy read.

James Clavelle's Shogun is a good story with samurais.

Gary Jenninng's The Journeyer details Marco Polo's journey into Asia.

u/theredknight · 9 pointsr/mythology

Here's my best thoughts:

  1. The Monomyth / Hero's Journey
    Lucas said he read the book Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell. This isn't referencing any one myth, it is referencing loads and loads of them. Campbell's conclusion is to build upon the work of Max Muller and Otto Rank's ideas that there are common patterns in myths and fairy tales. Also it is worth noting that Campbell wouldn't have read Propp's Morphology of the Folktale because it wasn't translated into English until the mid-1950s, even though there are a lot of similarities here. Also worth noting Propp's work is exclusively referencing only Russian folktales.

  2. The Lord of the Rings back to the Ring Saga
    You might notice, there are striking similarities between the three Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings trilogy: Obi-wan dies at the same time as Gandalf falls, the stages of the Monomyth (aka Hero's Journey) are very similar: Call to Adventure, Threshold Crossings, etc. This sort of makes sense as LoTR was cool when Lucas was a teenager.

    Now Tolkien's Lord of the Rings was very heavily influenced by Wagner's Ring Cycle which would have been cool when Tolkien was a teen, therefore having at least unconscious influence, though I'm fairly confident Tolkien was highly aware of Wagner's Ring Cycle and its roots in the Nibelung Saga.

    When you get into the Nibelung Saga, there's a story about a cursed ring, a hero whose father was an amazing warrior, the need to re-forge his father's sword, etc. There's lots of other pieces that weren't there, but there's definitely a lot there which is very similar.

  3. The Knights of the Roundtable
    This leads us to the other European idea: Arthurian folklore. The very idea of a Jedi Knight comes from the Knights of the Roundtable. From here, you have the combination of warrior with the idea of a monk or sacred influence (Parsifal becomes a monk in one story, as does Lancelot.) These are the noble warriors who are fighting for a sacred ideal. Of course in these stories, warriors don't have magical powers, but Merlin is running around so you can see Star Wars as a combination of these.

    Further, in the Knights of the Roundtable stories, there are lots of evil / dark knights and dark wizards so you have to include those too.

  4. Eastern Myth of Samurai with a dash of Zen and Taoist Koans
    At the time Lucas was young was the "discovery" of easter martial arts by the west. So, to include some of that would be cool. Also, Lucas loved the early samurai films of Akira Kurosawa. Campbell's argument is these ideas exist everywhere so are good to move together. If you include the ideas of archetypes, knights become very similar to samurai because they are both sacred warriors. So now we can add a moment of this. If you read the book Musashi (a novelization as now Musashi has become a legendary figure in Japan) there are striking similarities between this and the story of Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach. Both come from no-where, raised in the wild, but have a talent which is theorized to be some sort of amazing lineage.

    Throw in a little green guy whose name Yoda is based from Yuddha, the sanskrit word for 'war / warrior' and who talks very similarly to a taoist or zen monk's paradoxical statements (koans) and you get that character.


    So basically, to finish: I don't think Lucas did a lot of mythological research apart from reading Campbell. So to argue it is based on a lot of folklore specifically is tricky. There are even articles which say that Lucas' ex-wife Marcia came up with some of these ideas and no one has asked her what she was reading.
u/sihtydaernacuoytihsy · 8 pointsr/politics

Book recommendation, inspired by this thought: Jonathan Littel's The Kindly Ones.

u/woodD · 8 pointsr/CGPGrey

/u/MindOfMetalAndWheels and /u/JeffDujon, if you two enjoyed Sum the next bookclub should really be Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman.

u/rnev64 · 8 pointsr/suggestmeabook

The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell should leave that impression; doesn't hurt that it's also a masterpiece.

u/[deleted] · 8 pointsr/politics

Well, there's a number of different sources that will attest to that part of the Civil War, depending on which angle(s) you're most interested in studying it from. One I'd have to recommend is Gore Vidal's historical novel [Lincoln,] ( which takes you from then President-elect Lincoln's arrival in Washington several weeks before he was inaugurated to his assassination in 1865, just as the war was winding down. Lincoln himself isn't a direct POV character, but via POVs including but not limited to Lincoln's personal secretary John Hay, Lincoln's Secretary of State William Seward, and Lincoln's first Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase, it offers some really great insights into how Lincoln himself wrestled with the ups and downs of that war. He was simultaneously agonized by the bloody work required to quash an internal rebellion, and frustrated with his generals' unwillingness to be more ruthless in the interest of making the Union whole again quickly.

Of course, since the novel is set almost exclusively in and around Washington D.C., it offers little insight into the tactical details of how Grant and Sherman ultimately succeeded where previous Union generals failed. Unfortunately, I'm not as well-versed on that aspect, and can't give any great recommendations there. But I highly recommend checking out Vidal's book.

u/omaca · 7 pointsr/books

You should definitely try Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel. Not only did it win the Man Booker Prize, it's also the first in a set of three. The second novel in the trilogy (Bring Up the Bodies) has just been published.

Her other books are also excellent, including A Place of Greater Safety, set during the French Revolution.

Another of my favourites is The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (famous for Cloud Atlas). Wonderful.

I also like the historical crime novels of Stephen Saylor, set in Republican Rome.

If you like espionage or thrillers set before and during WWII, then you can't go past the superlative Alan Furst; start with Night Soldiers, one of the best books I've ever read. If you like that genre, let me know as I have plenty of recommendations.

u/shinkouhyou · 7 pointsr/AskHistorians

Clavell's Shogun is loosely based on actual history. Very, very loosely. Decades of history are blended together, and various historical figures are conflated into new characters. It's not even close to an accurate reflection of the political and cultural situation at the time, and of course it shoves in a white guy hero... Yeah, it's an entertaining read, but it also tends to make historians froth at the mouth.

The issue with ninjas is that most of the ninja mythology was invented during the 1800s... a good 200 years after the end of the "Warring States" period when much of this ninja action supposedly took place. A whole slew of popular novels were written featuring Sanada Yukimura (a samurai commander known for his cunning tactics) and his "Ten Braves," who were all legendary ninja. Sarutobi Sasuke is probably the most famous of the Ten Braves. Although Sanada Yukimura and the Ten Braves ultimately lost to Tokugawa Ieyasu (whose dynasty would rule Japan for the next 250 years), they were made out to be folk heroes with almost supernatural skill and cleverness.

...However, there's virtually zero evidence that any of these ninja ever existed outside of novels. The whole "ninja" mythos was invented in the 1800s, partly because it sounded cool and partly because the descendents of Sanada's samurai compatriots had suffered two hundred years of oppression under the ruling (but declining) Tokugawa regime, so there was still plenty of simmering resentment. Those two factors together sold a hell of a lot of books.

Samurai did use spies and saboteurs, but they weren't dudes who ran around in black Cobra Kai outfits slinging shuriken at each other. They were basically normal samurai. Political tensions were high during the Warring States era, but most samurai were surprisingly blatant about their backstabbing. Why go through the trouble of using ninja when you can simply lie, bribe, and threaten your way into power?

The biggest influence on modern ideas about ninja was actually the theatre. Kabuki stage plays and bunraku puppet plays both make use of stagehands who dress all in black and cover their faces with black cloth. Since the actors were brightly dressed and painted, these black-clad stagehands were "invisible." So a "ninja" character could creep around the stage in a stagehand's uniform, totally ignored by the audience until they revealed themselves.

Anyway, you were asking for books! The real history of the samurai is, at least to me, much more interesting than made-up ninja stories. It's full of power struggles and epic battles and tragic miscalculations and dirty tactics. It's good stuff. If you're interested, I highly recommend basically anything by Stephen Turnbull. He's written several visual guides to major battles of the samurai era, with tons of illustrations and analysis. He even has a book on ninja, although as I mentioned, ninja are a pretty contentious point among Japanese historians and any modern "ninja training school" that claims authenticity is full of pure bullshit.

Turnbull's War in Japan 1467-1615 is a good place to start. Osaka 1616 and Sekigahara 1600 (by Anthony Bryant) are the real source for Clavell's "Shogun" novel. Europeans actually did have a pretty significant role in Japan's civil wars, but not to the romanticized extent of "Shogun."

Those are probably the most accessible and easy-to-read books on the Warring States era. Taiko by Eiji Yoshikawa is a semi-fictionalized but very well researched novel that covers some of the same time period, but it's a much more challenging read. Most of the other academic books I have are pretty dry, so start with Turnbull for the fully illustrated action version~

u/FewerMoonves · 6 pointsr/politics

Read some actual, substantive history on Lincoln. Seriously, it's a great, great story. Far more interesting than trying to use an unsophisticated understanding of Lincoln in an attempt to score cheap political points.

[Vidal's novel] ( is a great place to start.

u/nrith · 6 pointsr/WTF

Reminds me of a book (maybe The Journeyer?) that I read surreptitiously in 9th grade or so. One of the main characters is a eunuch who's had his nasal septum removed so that he can be fucked in the nose. Good times.

u/Cilicious · 6 pointsr/AskReddit

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

Watership Down

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

The Cider House Rules by John Irving

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

u/mitsuruugi · 6 pointsr/booksuggestions

One of my favorite books of all time... Not just one of the best Samurai books of all time

u/jsu152 · 5 pointsr/ArtefactPorn

Best damn historical fiction of the period starts with the First Man in Rome. Sulla was a connoisseur of fine poisons which he served to those who blocked his rise.

u/TheDarkTriadMan · 5 pointsr/The48LawsOfPower

Taiko by Eiji Yoshikawa.

It is historical fiction; an astonishingly complete and well-researched look at the Machiavellian cunning of a man who rose from impoverished youngster to supreme dominant warlord of all Japan.

Superb writing.

Merry Christmas.



u/TLR4 · 4 pointsr/countrychallenge
u/cowboyhero · 4 pointsr/books

Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa, based loosely on the life of famed swordsman Miyomoto Musashi.

It's epic in scope and follows several different points of view, sort of a Japanese Game of Thrones meets Count of Monte Cristo.

u/maismione · 4 pointsr/books

My favourite short stories (that aren't by Bradbury, that is) are Light is Like Water by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and The Gospel According to Mark by Jorge Luis Borges.

Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman isn't exactly an anthology, but it's nice to pick up every once in a while if I want dreamy food for thought (if the premise sounds interesting to you, you should also read Bradbury's Frost and Fire).

u/undercurrents · 4 pointsr/Documentaries

There was an earler documentary called The Lost Boys of Sudan made prior to God Grew Tired Of Us, which I can't find online so I'd appreciate if someone could help me find it.

and this is a series of interviews:

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4

This is a speech called They Poured Fire On Us From The Sky

Edit: The book What is the What is an excellent read as well

u/whiteskwirl2 · 4 pointsr/books

Check out Musashi after you're done.

u/PaedragGaidin · 3 pointsr/Christianity

I'm really into the late Roman Republic, naval history (especially the period between the US Civil War and the First World War, and the Second World War), and Russian history, especially the late Romanov/early Soviet era and the Cold War. Book recommendations:

  • Naval history. Just take a look here and go nuts. :P

  • Roman Republic. This may sound strange, but my favorite books about the late Republic aren't actually history books, they're the Masters of Rome series of novels by Colleen McCollough. They're really only semi-fictional, in that they take real events, real people, and the society they lived in, and fill in the gaps of what we don't know with (very plausible, well-written, and exhaustively researched) fictional narratives. The First Man in Rome is the first, and still my favorite out of all of them.

  • Russia. Orlando Figes, A People's Tragedy (Russian Revolution, Civil War/War Communism, and early Soviet era). John Lewis Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History. Both really great.
u/AoF-Vagrant · 3 pointsr/todayilearned

One of my favorite books ever was aMusashi (Amazon book link), a fictionalized retelling of his life.

They made it into a fairly lengthly TV Drama about a decade ago that I very highly recommend. Also, the manga 'Vagabond' is based on this book.

u/engrishspeaker · 3 pointsr/japan

I would recommend the novel Taiko by Eiji Yoshikawa. It's a success story of the man winning the Sengoku period.

If you prefer games and pop culture in general, this Wikipedia article may also be a good start.

u/TheCohen · 3 pointsr/APLang

I change up the books on the non-fiction list every year and this one is no longer on the list. It's a good one though: here's a link to it on Amazon.

Students may enjoy looking into Dave Eggers' work. He's written another book I've considered putting on the non-fiction project list, Zeitoun, a wonderful fictionalized work of true events called What is the What, and he is the editor and founder of McSweeney's, which has spawned the cool sport's writing quarterly Grantland and a sister literary magazine, The Believer.

u/fickle_floridian · 3 pointsr/westworld

Was really fun when that second sword come out. And in the hands of Hiroyuki Sanada, no less.

For those who aren't familiar, Eiki Yoshikawa's historical novelization is the definitive/default work for cultural reference (not historical accuracy). It's this story that was used to create Hiroshi Inagaki's famous late-50s films known as the "Samurai trilogy", which starred no less than Toshiro Mifune as Musashi (!) and are often cited by Quentin Tarantino as an influence. This is the story that brought the legend to modern fans in the West and drew its attention to the Book of Five Rings.

The English translation by Charles Terry (titled Musashi: An Epic Novel of the Samurai Era) is available at most major bookstores including Amazon.

u/DarthContinent · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

The one where Alexander the Great fought Darius, in part because among the casualties was one of his beloved dogs, Peritas:

"Without his dog, Peritas, Alexander the Great might have been Alexander the So-So. When the warrior was swarmed by the troops of Persia's Darius III, Peritas leapt and bit the lip of an elephant charging his master. Alexander lived to pursue his famed conquest, forging the empire underlying Western civilization as we know it."

More info on the dogs in Alexander's time here:

"There are, moreover, historic proofs that the dogs of the strongest breeds are indigenous to Asia, where we still find the dog of Thibet, the most colossal of all; in fact, in Pliny we read the following narrative: Alexander the Great received from a king of Asia a dog of huge size. He wished to pit it against bears and wild boars, but the dog remained undisturbed and did not even rise, and Alexander had it killed. On hearing of this, the royal donor sent a second dog like the first, along with word that these dogs did not fight so weak animals, but rather the lion and the elephant, and that he had only two of such individuals, and in case that Alexander had this one killed, too, he would no longer find his equal. Alexander matched this dog with a lion and then with an elephant, and he killed them both. Alexander was so afflicted at the premature death of the first dog, that he built a city and temples in honor of the animal..."

I'm struck by this battle in large part because Alexander was such a brilliant tactician, but also because I like dogs.

u/MegasBasileus · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions

As a Kentuckian I must recommend Night Comes to the Cumberlands anything by Harry Caudill or his successor Ronald D. Eller (both Appalachian specialists at University of Kentucky) is bound to be great. Our paper did a series Fifty years after night

Fiction wise I understand many books center on the caricature of a strong Appalachian woman- Bean Trees and The Dollmaker, both about displaced Appalachians. The Bean Trees hits the head on what you want, but it's a peripheral theme.

Something about being felt left out Their Eyes Were Watching God there is a longer list here

Good luck! I know all about feeling like an outsider an Appalachia.

u/ovamopice · 2 pointsr/occult

Just to add to this, as I was reminded by notmathrock's mention of حشاشين Hashashins, if anyone wants to read a brilliant historical fiction novel, on Marco Polo's "other half" of tales (that he didn't tell) ... check out "The Journeyer" by Gary Jennings.

u/Dragonswim · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions
u/pseudodoxia · 2 pointsr/gaybros
u/ResonantMango · 2 pointsr/ifyoulikeblank

A book that I can recommend and actually considered placing in the title is Alan Lightman's Einstein's Dreams.

It has a similar format as Sum, however each short story considers what life would be like if time behaved differently as opposed to what the afterlife could look like: if time went faster the closer we were to the Earth, or if there were three directions time can take, etc etc.

One of my favorites is one which imagines that time are birds. If a bird is caught one can hold onto a moment forever, because time is "caught." Those young enough to catch a bird and stop time don't care to, because they are young. The ones that want to hold onto time are too old and so too slow to catch a bird. Gives me the same feeling that most of the stories in Sum do.

u/spencerkami · 2 pointsr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

This is something that's on my To-Read list, but I saw you like memoirs so I'm going to recommend Geisha: A Life or Geisha of Gion as it's known here by Mineko Iwasaki. I plan to read it along side the novel Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. The reason why these intrigue me as a pair is that Iwasaki agreed to help Golden with his novel, as long as he promised not to name her as a source. He went back on his promise and she got a lot of slack for that, especially as a lot of aspects about Geisha life was misrepresented/fabricated in his novel. It was because this she wrote her autobiography as a rebuttal to the novel, in order to contrast what she really experienced with the world Golden created.

u/m4gpi · 2 pointsr/biology

Not necessarily hard/biology, but there's a wonderful little book (literally, it is little) called "Einstein's Dreams" by Alan Lightman. It's a series of vignettes of what life would be like if time/gravity, etc. had different properties. One scenario that i recall is that time moves faster the closer one is to a center of gravity, so people build their homes on tall structures, on top of tall mountains, etc. in order to live a fuller life; eventually this becomes a status symbol, so the wealthiest live at higher altitudes and the poor at sea level. It's very thought provoking and whimsical.

u/buckyVanBuren · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Sorry, They are all packed up right now.

I remember one was by James Clavell, the author of Shogun, and while I was a fan of his fiction, I really thought this was bad.

One was by a retired Special Forces NCO or officer and enjoyed it the most but I can't remember the translator.

But as pointed out, in the late 80s, several different editions came out that were targeted towards corporate strategy than anything else. I'm guessing if you find one in the Asian arts or Philosophy section of your bookstore these days, it will be one of the more traditional translations.

If you want to get a flavor of the period and the person, look at

Yes It's fiction but it was written in 1935 by Eiji Yoshikawa about the life of Miyamoto Musashi and it's a fun read. If I remember, it's around a 1,000 pages so it's not a quick read but what the hell.

u/samiiRedditBot · 2 pointsr/books

If Ancient Rome is more your thing (I'm assuming that if you're reading about the Aztecs than your interest is in the slow degeneration of Ancient Civilizations) then make sure to read the Claudius Novels I, Claudius and Claudius the God. I would also recommend The First Man in Rome or any of Colleen Mccullough's work. This stuff is probably the best that the genre has to offer in my opinion.

-- edit, actually now that I think about it I'm probably completely wrong in that assumption because I was thinking of the Mel Gibson movie Apocalypto which was about the Aztecs and not the Inca. The former being a pretty degenerate society where a comparison with the Romans is pretty apt IMHO, while that later were actually quite a noble people. Sorry, about that.

u/mushpuppy · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman.

u/lubujackson · 2 pointsr/Kingdom

You have to watch Time Commanders. It is a weird British game show where random people attempt to win famous battles in a video game then hear about how they actually went down in real life - it is totally ridiculous and hokey, but sometimes it is great. My favorite one is the Battle of Gaugamela.

For books, Taiko by Eiji Yoshikawa fits the bill. It is a fictionalized version of the most famous era of feudal Japan, the Nobunaga ascension, when Japan was in flux like China during Kingdom. It is not heavy on tactical warfare as much as on the state-building aspects and tricky sieges, things like that.

u/bellyfold · 2 pointsr/writing

I'd say get in at least a few young adult fiction, as they're full of saccharine and angst ridden metaphor:

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

Looking For Alaska

A few historical fictions:

Wolf Hall

Memoirs Of A Geisha


The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

Good Omens

Stephen king (just because he's a favorite)



And finally, some objectively "bad" books, to learn what not to do.

Wild Animus: A Novel

The Da Vinci Code

Moon People

All of these books are personal favorites for one reason or another, and some may fit into multiple categories (see: looking for Alaska under YA fiction and "bad,").

That said, this should at least keep you busy for a bit.

Happy reading, and good luck on your novel!

u/tamssot · 2 pointsr/askscience

Check out this delightful little piece of fiction, called "Einstein's Dreams". It imagines how Einstein may have played out different scenarios in his mind, before coming to his Theory of Relativity.

Einstein's Dreams:

u/inorbeterrumnonvisi · 2 pointsr/army

Koran Kalashnikov and Laptop: The Neo-Taliban Insurgency in Afghanistan 2002-2007

War, Politics and Society in Afghanistan, 1978-1992

Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan 1979-89

No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes

The Afghan Campaign: A Novel

Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History (Princeton Studies in Muslim Politics)

u/Ii-Chan21 · 2 pointsr/MangaCollectors

Just one novel. I have the single volume edition, but I've seen a 5 volume set around before. The single volume is a hefty beast though.

u/ThouShaltNotFart · 2 pointsr/technology

Read Night Comes to the Cumberlands to get an idea of how badly people in coal country have historically been fucked over. Don't get me wrong, over the years coal has created jobs and supported families but this book tells the story of how coal has abused communities also.

u/EvilLittleCar · 2 pointsr/suggestmeabook

You may like "Musashi".

Amazon Link

u/librariowan · 2 pointsr/suggestmeabook

I really enjoyed Jim Fergus's One Thousand White Women. It's an epistolary novel about a government program to assimilate cultures by having white women marry Native Americans.

You could also try Molokai by Alan Brennert. It tells the story of a young Hawaiian girl sent to live in a leprosy colony in the late 1800's. There is some sexual content but it's not graphic or x-rated.

u/PM_ME_CUTE_TOMBOYS · 2 pointsr/grandorder

These aren't free but definitely worth the read.

Musashi - Eiji Yoshikawa

The Book of Five Rings - Miyamoto Musashi

u/madecker · 2 pointsr/books

Off the top of my head, I'd recommend "Einstein's Dreams," by Alan Lightman. You may also like Italo Calvino's "Invisible Cities" and "If on a winter's night a traveler."

u/Spu · 2 pointsr/books

The Republic and Other Works by Plato
Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman
God's Equation by Amir D. Aczel
The Mind's I by Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel Dennett
*Shakespeare's Sonnets by Stephen Booth

u/Erdos_0 · 2 pointsr/books

Check out some of Yoshikawa's writing specifically Musashi and Taiko.

u/Stevefx · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions

You might like Taiko was a good read overall but a lot more focus is placed on Japanese history.

u/itsanerika · 2 pointsr/SRSBooks

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden is another example of a male author creating great female characters.

u/Thesket · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Einstein's Dreams? Remarkable book.

u/conjunctionjunction1 · 2 pointsr/BettermentBookClub

the power of one by byrce courtenay is exactly what you're looking for. Very similar to the alchemist, very inspiring.

u/sacca7 · 2 pointsr/Meditation
u/Modest_Proposal · 2 pointsr/books

Check out Taiko by Eiji Yoshikawa. It basically takes place prior to the beginning of Shogun, although Yoshikawa uses the real names and is slightly less fictionalized. His other books are a lot of fun to read, as well.

u/jdpirtl · 2 pointsr/books

Since I have no idea what kind of books you like I made a short little list of books I generally recommend to people for any reason. All linked to amazon so look for a review or synopsis there.

Let the Great World Spin

The Great War for Civilization

The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway


The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde

Theodore Rex

Lincoln:A Novel

u/Vylanius · 2 pointsr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

This used!

u/CaeliaPortier · 2 pointsr/books

Highly recommend The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. (Don't worry, that's not an affiliate link.) This historical fiction is based on the life of Sarah Grimke, who became one of the first female abolitionists. Ms. Grimke's thinking was so far ahead of her time. At the age of 11, she was given a human gift, a child slave. Ms. Grimke taught "Handful" to read. Although this is based on a true story, some is fact, and some is fiction. There is a fantastic author's note at the end of the book as well, in which Kidd describes her inspiration and research for this book.

It's SUCH a beautiful book. Beautifully written.

u/SupremeReader · 2 pointsr/KotakuInAction

> They're certainly worth reading to understand the psychology of a mass killer

Try at least it's historically accurate and in my opinion much better than those American reviewers thought.

u/2bfersher · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions

Musashi! Its a Japanese epic about the samurai era. One of the more well known books in Japan.

u/eggsuckingdog · 1 pointr/politics

We did not ask for those coal fired plants nor the coal under our hills. Carpetbaggers have been here for 100 years. Look up 'severed estates' as a legal term. Folks here don't even own their mineral rights under their own land in most cases.
We have produced a different kind of blues/bluegrass based on this history starting with Bill Monroe. Sturgill Simpson is our newest from Jackson. The theme is digging your own grave. We have had US Steel, Peabody, company stores, script, coal dust. And we didn't build those damn coal powered plants anyway. TVA projects.
For reference read this:
I am not sure if KY voters will wise up in 10 years, We were the last southern state to fall to whatever the hell this gop revolution in the south is. But we were also neutral int the civil war, so I have hope

u/Bufo_Stupefacio · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook a totally different take on the lone wolf, you could try The Power of One - it is a coming of age story of a loner/outcast English boy in Afrikaner dominated South Africa just before WWII. Again, it is a unique book and very good. But tonally very different from Shantaram, for sure.

u/ThinkingOfYakitori · 1 pointr/japan

I have a love/hate relationship with the book Shogun. You will learn some things from it, but you will not know fact from fiction until readying something that is not so loosely based on history.

For historical fiction, I really liked:

Taiko: An Epic Novel of War and Glory in Feudal Japan

It still has the same issue of being fiction, but Shogun is just silly in comparison.

u/Spinosu · 1 pointr/books

Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman

Each chapter is about 3 pages long (its a novel), it revolves around the nightly dreams that Einstein is having during the time period that he is coming up with his theory of relativity. Each chapter/dream describes worlds where time moves/is defined differently.

Highly suggest it, easy read, beautifully written. Really leaves you sitting there thinking.

u/A_Foundationer · 1 pointr/asoiaf

I see there are a lot of fantasy recommendations here, but I think you may want to try out historical fiction.

GRRM gets a lot of his inspiration from history. Try out Bernard Cornwell, Steven Pressfield, and Colleen McCullough.

u/doofus62 · 1 pointr/booksuggestions

Amy Tan has some wonderful books she may be interested in. Also Memoirs of a Geisha was a fantastic book.

u/yetisquatch · 1 pointr/woahdude

If you want to think about time in ways you may not have thought of it, check out this book. Its many little (very interesting) short stories each describing a different scenario with the focus on different facets of time. A must read for those that enjoy seeing things in a different way...

u/justin37013 · 1 pointr/TheRedPill


I didn't tag book of five rings because this book is about Miyamoto Musashi and not just his philosophy which seems to be what you're looking for. I would read this first then you'll likely want to read the rest. I read this book 10 years ago and it changed my life. It jolted me into action and still affects how I am today.

u/EncasedMeats · 1 pointr/WritersGroup

The novel Wolf Hall is an excellent example of this.

u/onlysane1 · 1 pointr/history

I can't verify the historical accuracy of the little details, but The Afghan Campaign by Steven Pressfield is a fictional account of Alexander the Great's invasion of Afghanistan in 300 BC, as told from the perspective of a common soldier.

u/timmysprinkles · 1 pointr/books
u/plasmaflux · 1 pointr/geek

If you like Flatland, you'll love Einstein's Dreams.

u/dsaavedra · 1 pointr/AskReddit

not gonna help you out but you should read Einstein's Dreams, i bet you would really like it. its a very quick read too, should take you no longer than 1 or 2 afternoons

u/crazygator · 1 pointr/martialarts

Perhaps you've already gotten him a book by now, but here are my recommendations for him and anyone else who reads this thread. I'm a martial arts researcher and a former martial arts teacher. I even wrote my Master's Thesis on martial arts. I've read literally hundreds of books on the subject. There are a lot of terrible books out there on the martial arts but you can't go wrong with any of these.

If he studies Shotokan, the best place to start is with the guy who invented it.
Karate-Do: My Way of Life is written by the founding master of Shotokan, Gichin Funakoshi.

My number one recommendation is When Buddhists Attack by Jeffery Mann - This is an very well researched book on the history of the relationship between Zen and the Martial arts. It is a fantastic book that will help him deepen his understanding of martial arts instead of intentionally mystifying it more to try to sell more books like most martial arts books do.

If he's more into stories, I'd recommend Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa. It's a novelization of one of the most famous samurai to ever live. It's an exaggeration of his life but very entertaining.

If he'd rather learn about the real person I'd recommend The Lone Samurai by William Scott Wilson. Wilson is a famous translator and historian, his work is very well researched and enjoyable to read.

I'll end with a list of books NOT to buy. These are books are really popular but are full of misinformation, outright fabrications, or worse.

Joe Hyams - Zen in the Martial arts
Eugen Herrigel - Zen in the Art of Archery
Inazo - Nitobe - Bushido

Hope this helps! If not, you have gift ideas for next year!

u/breyette · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

Every time someone asks me to recommend a book I always recommend Memoirs of a Geisha. I can't tell you how much I love this book, it's such a beautiful story and I know it's about a geisha but there's nothing bad in it, I wish I could read it every day. I've only read it twice from a library but if I win the raffle that's the book I want.

u/admorobo · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook

You HAVE to check out The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell. Written from the POV of an SS officer, it just a brutal, fascinating examination of the period.

u/ApathyJacks · 1 pointr/AskReddit
u/immobilitynow · 1 pointr/books

Musashi "sold 120 million copies in Japan."

u/gamertag_here · 1 pointr/Nioh

After getting results for Japanese Drums and restaurants, are you referring to this

u/Mriswith88 · 1 pointr/bjj

A pretty good book about overcoming adversity and persisting is The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. I've read it probably 5 times. It's about a boy coming of age as an English kid in South Africa while also boxing. Great

u/copopeJ · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook

Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman. It's a collection of short stories, each demonstrating one possible view of time. It's an incredibly interesting read.

u/WDMC-905 · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook

here's a link to Musashi

Musashi: An Epic Novel of the Samurai Era

u/shazie13 · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

Reading rainbow.



u/nxspam · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook


What does it read like ... historical, fantasy? Do you know of any western novels or simply genres that compare?

u/jordanlund · 1 pointr/

That's just for 2008 though... I'd open it up to other years.

First up is anything by Umberto Eco. He's the guy who wrote "Name of the Rose", but his other books are phenomenal. If you hated "The DaVinci Code" then check out "Foucalt's Pendulum". He makes Dan Brown look mildly retarded. His novels are so heavy and serious that I was surprised by his tiny book of essays "How To Travel With a Salmon" which is hilarious.

Let's see... what else... "Shadow of the Wind" is excellent. The Musashi novels are fun to read. Scaramouche, which was turned into an OK movie. Classics like Cyrano de Bergerac should be required reading.

I had a hard time hunting down all the volumes to "Journey to the West" and it's not a task that should be taken on lightly, but I think I'm a better person for having muscled through them.


u/cellarduur · 1 pointr/CGPGrey

If anyone else happens to like those short-format thought collection-style books, two other interesting ones that I really like are:

Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

I come back to both of these books repeatedly for creative inspiration, I like them so much. I have yet to read Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, but from what Grey said, I feel like the two that I mentioned might be a little bit more in-depth and may require a bit more work to understand in some cases.

u/call_me_cthulhu_ · 1 pointr/Wishlist

memoirs of a geisha because I think Im the only person who hasnt seen the movie or read the book

u/minerva330 · 1 pointr/martialarts

/u/Toptomcat nailed it. Wholeheartedly agree in reference to Bubishi, not very practical but interesting nonetheless. I loved Draeger's CAFA and Unante is comprehensive thesis on the historical origins and lineages of the Okinawan fighting arts. These titles might not be for everyone but I am a history buff in addition to a martial artist so I enjoyed them.

Couple of others:

u/xokolatl · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

feudal Japan is a fascinating topic. I recommend Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa,as a fun intro to an amazing time and place.

u/SlowSlicing · 1 pointr/movies

Anyone interested in Marco Polo should check out The Journeyer

u/MissMaster · 1 pointr/Fantasy

You can currently buy "with Notes" versions of books from Oprah's Book Club on Kindle (example here) that have Oprah's highlights and notes in them and it seems to be a popular feature. No reason to think that fans of a particular author would not love this feature as well.

u/neanderthal_math · 1 pointr/HistoryMemes
u/airial · 1 pointr/TwoXChromosomes

I haven't read this yet but I've heard really good things: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. It's next up on my to-read list, after I finish Cloud Atlas.

Which I also highly recommend.

u/Parrk · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Michio Kaku does a great job of explaining advanced concepts of physics in layman's terms. He describes 14 dimensions in the book.

read this book:

get it elsewhere please.

edit: OOH! since you mentioned time. This will help you learn to conceive alternate states of such....and is a really kick-ass book.


u/darkmodem · 1 pointr/japan


Forget the other crap and get Musashi.

u/fourgbram · 1 pointr/AskReddit

The First Man in Rome by Colleen McCullough.

u/farnsworth_esq · 1 pointr/AskReddit

When I was about 15-16, I read "The Journeyer" by Gary Jennings.

For a 15-16 year old, that shit was fucked up, and I loved it. It's the untold half of Marco Polo's adventures. It's pretty stinking awesome.

u/asianwaste · 1 pointr/gaming

I recommend you read Taiko

Edit:Musashi is my favorite novel of all time btw. The idea of living your life dedicated to one idea or skill or trade yet still exploring a life of diversity all vectored towards that one thing you've set your life towards. It's genuinely inspiring.

u/Wylkus · 1 pointr/InsightfulQuestions

To this day there is still no greater book for opening up the world of thought than Will Durant's The Story of Philosophy. This book is indispensable.

Aside from that the best advice, as many here have noted, is to simply read widely and often. Here are some other books I can personally recommend as being particularly insightful:

u/GrassCuttingSword · 1 pointr/books

It's an epic book, based in reality. It's a fictionalized biography of Miyamoto Musashi, likely the most famous swordsman ever to have lived.

u/peenoid · 1 pointr/funny

ITT: negative nancies who don't realize the movie was based on an actual guy and actual events. there's also a book about it:

u/insilico23 · 1 pointr/whatsthatbook

Is it One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus?

u/punninglinguist · 1 pointr/books

Here's what I was reading at that age. It was awesome.

u/SPQR_all_day · 1 pointr/bestof

Anyone who enjoys this should read The First Man In Rome series

u/doom_souffle · 1 pointr/books

A Boy Called H A story of a kid growing up during WW2

Shank's Mare also know as Tōkaidōchū Hizakurige. The best way the book was described to me was Beavis and Butthead in medieval Japan. It's about two travelers walking around and getting into trouble.

Musashi: An Epic Novel of the Samurai Era - the story of Miyoto Musashi, one of the most well known sword saints in Japan.

Shipwrecks A story of a village set in the Edo era, interesting premise but disappointing ending.

If you like the book Shogun, James Clavell wrote another one based during the Meji Restoration titled Gai-Jin

u/1demerit · 1 pointr/todayilearned

People can sell the damnedest things as "historical fiction." If you want to check out some prime author wank, look at the negative reviews here and the author's responses:

u/rnelsonee · 1 pointr/askscience

If anyone is interested in this topic, I highly recommend Einstein's Dreams. A very small book filled with different extreme worlds in which time is different than our own, including one like the OP is talking about where people try to live in tall buildings and only the poor scurry about at low altitudes. It's probably my favorite book, and I've read such masterpieces a the novelization of Adventures in Babysitting.

u/One_Catholic · 1 pointr/AskHistorians

I've been reading Wolf Hall, which is excellent, and wondering how historically accurate it was. I understand it's historical fiction, but wondered if any scholars of the period had read it and had an opinion on it?

EDIT: Oh, and what's everyone think about the Lincoln trailer?

u/vondahl · 1 pointr/AskWomen

Oh gosh, I'm actually kind of horrible about reading! Some of my favorite little books are:

  • Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman. It's a bunch of short stories about different universes based on some of Einstein's theories. For example, one of them is kind of like, "In this universe, time flows backwards. A woman picks a moldy peach out of her trashcan, puts it on her counter to ripen..." They're really interesting! It's a quick and wonderful read.

  • Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David Eagleman is similar to the aforementioned book. Short stories about different afterlives. It's not a religious thing though. I was actually rereading it this afternoon! Really interesting ideas, some romantic, some ironic, cute, sad, etc. I think it could spark some great conversation.
u/JustHereForTheTips · 1 pointr/cigars

'Einstein's Dreams' by Alan Lightman.

It's a fictional book that itemizes Einstein's dreams leading up to his creation of the theory of relativity. It's a really fun read and gets your head thinking about time and what time is. It's short, with each "dream" lasting only a handful of pages. It's been one of my favorite books to come back to anytime I can.

You can read reviews on Amazon as well as read the first few pages. Clicky for Amazon.

Once you read this you'll probably find that you want to read more of Lightman's books in the hopes of finding other really enjoyable reads. While his other books are good, they're not the same. I haven't found anything that's quite like this book so far, which is a shame. Would love to hear suggestions from folks who have read this and found other books similarly enjoyable.

u/RogueVert · 0 pointsr/books

That book basically just plagiarizes Japanese history and inserts a western character where none would have been possible at the time.

Let your friend know about Taiko.

It's historical fiction on the generals that fostered the unification of Japan around late 1400's. Very epic book.

u/larevolucion · 0 pointsr/books

I would also suggest cross-posting this to r/booksuggestions.

Also, I love historical fiction so a few of my recommendations:

u/newloaf · -1 pointsr/pics
u/The_Dead_See · -1 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

I've no answer to your question (if I did I'd be God), but I just want to share a book that you might be interested in - Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman. It considers time from a lot of different, fascinating angles.