Books That Changed Your Life
Books That Changed Your Life
A List Compiled by Louie Crew
Note: I queried many colleagues in the academic world and in the Episcopal Church
them to tell me which books most changed their lives. I am very grateful for their
responses represented in this site. LC
- Abbey. Edward, The Monkeywrench Gang. Philadephia: LIppencott, 1965.
Recommended by Michael T. McEwen.
- Addams, Jane, Twenty Years at Hull-House. NY, Macmillan, 1910. Recommended
by Daphne McClellan.
- Amos, Book of Amos. Any translation of the Bible. Recommended by Linda
- Angelou, Maya, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. NY: Bantam, 1971.
Recommended by Barbara Gross.
- Anonymous, A Course in Miracles. http://www.facim.org/. "As far as I'm concerned is the most
important book ever published, affecting the lives of millions and
currently in the process of being translated into at least 20 languages." --
The Rev. Hugh Magee
- Ateek, Naim, Justice and Only Justice: a Palestinian theology of
liberation. Marynoll, NY: Orbis, 1989. Recommended by Mary Miller.
- Attaway, Richard, Blood on the Forge. New York : Monthly Review Press,
c1987. Recommended by Barbara Foley.
- Baldwin, James, Nobody Knows My Name. NY: Library of America, 1998.
Recommended by Mary Miller.
- Baldwin, James, The Fire Next Time. NY: Library of America, 1998.
Recommended by Robert Cromey.
- Bellah, Robert N., Habits of the Heart: The Individual and Commitment in American
Life. New York : Harper & Row, 1986, c1985. . Recommended by Maggie Gat.
- Berger, John, Ways of Seeing. NY, Viking, 1973. Recommended by Richard
Ruane. It gives a very straight-forward and accessible examination of painting, nudity, and
advertising from the perspective of class and gender justice issues (rape, possession,
- Berrigan, Daniel, The Discipline of the Mountain: Dante's Purgatorio in a Nuclear
World. NY: Seabury, 1979. Recommended by Timothy E Kruse.
- Brock, Rita Nakashima and Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, Casting Stones:
prostitution and liberation in Asia and the United States. Minneapolis: Fortress
Press, 1996. Recommended by Jacquelyn O'Sullivan. This is a powerful book about the
international sex trade. Very compelling and challenging. Might be good as recommended
supplimental reading. I will be looking forward to this bibliography, which might be of
assistance to those charged with planning Foundations.
- Brown, Dee, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. NY: Holt, Rinehart & Winston,
1971. Recommended by Judy Fleener & Lee Shaw.
- Buber, Martin, I and Thou. NY: Scribner, 1970. Recommended by Cynthia Ann
- Burke, Phyllis, Family Values: A Lesbian Mother's Fight for Her Son . NY:
Random House, 1993. Recommended by Daphne McClellan. From the jacket: 'Here, alongside
accounts of shopping for Pampers and improvising costumes for a nursery-school Halloween
party, are bulletins from a struggle that pits outrageous acts of civil disobedience against
gay-bashing and homophobic films like Basic Instinct.
- Campbell, Will, And Also With You. Providence House, 1997; ISBN:
1577360362. Recommended by David Elliot. It traces Bishop Duncan Gray and his struggle in
Mississippi and the south for social justice.
- Campbell, Will, Brother to a Dragon Fly. NY: Seabury, 1977. Recommended by
- Campo, Rafael, The Poetry of Healing: A Doctor's Education in Empathy, Identiy,
and Desire. New York:WW Norton and Co. 1997 (ISBN: 0-393-04009-7). Recommended by Jan
- Carson, Rachel, Silent Spring. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1962.
Recommended by Cynthia Ann Gilliatt.
- Caudill, Harry M., Night Comes to the Cumberlands: Biography of a Depressed
Area. Boston: Little, Brown, 1963. Recommended by Bruce Green.
- Commanger, Henry S., American Mind. New Haven, Yale, 1950. Recommended by
- Day, Dorothy, Selected Writing. . Recommended by Richard Ruane.
- Day, Dorothy, The Long Loneliness. HarperSanFrancisco in paperback.1981.
ISBN 0-06-061751-9. Recommended by John Calabrese & Paul Gibson. The Catholic Worker
movement, which she led, embraced the vision of a new social order, together with pacificism,
and commitment to agrarian reform. The hospitality houses and farms they opened were intended
to prepare for and anticipate the "utopia" they sought
- Day. Dorothy, Loaves & Fishes. San Franisco: Harpers, 1983. Recommended by
- Diamond, Michael, If You Can Keep It: A Constitutional Roadmap to Enviornmental
Security. Brass Ring Press, P.O. Box 2697, Westfield, NJ 07091, phone 1-800-777-8145;
ISBN 0-9651309-0-8 published. Recommended by Joseph R Parrish Jr .
- Dillard, Annie, Holy, the Firm. NY: Harper & Row, 1977. Recommended by
Tonda Smith. Worth a read but not the depth of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
- Dillard, Annie, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. NY: Harper's Magazine Press,
1974. Recommended by Cynthia Ann Gilliatt & Tonda Smith. My all-time favorite nonfiction
nomination may not fit into a peace and justice category. (Tonda Smith)
- Douglass, Frederick, Autobiographies / Frederick Douglass. NY: Library of
America, 1996. Recommended by Brian Kelly & Sue Bolden. A short but very gripping and moving
work that clearly exposes the injustice of slavery (Brian Kelly)
- Douglass, James W., The Non Violent Cross: A Theology of Revolution and
Peace. Macmillan, 1969. Recommended by Rosemari Sullivan.
- Edelman, Marian Wright, The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to my Children and
Yours. HarperPerennial 1992 paperback 97 pages. Recommended by Daphne
- Fishcher, David Hackett, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America.
NY: Oxford U. Press, 1989. Recommended by Esther Walter. He looks at the way in which we
were settled by immigrants from various parts of Britain with various approaches to law,
family, honor, justice, etc., and how those cultures have continued over 300 years. It
clarified my understanding of retributive justice - a belief that is based on tribalism and
has a great many social consequences. The book is interesting, well written and not
difficult to read, although not short.
- Fox, Matthew, Coming of the Cosmic Christ. . Recommended by Jon A. Egger.
- Fox, Matthew, Original Blessing. Bear & Co, 1996. ISBN: 1879181274.
Recommended by Ann Markle.
- Friere, Paulo, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. NY: Continuum, 1993. Recommended
by John Gish.
- Gandhi, Mohandas, Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth.
Washington: Public Works Press, 1948. Recommended by Rosemari Sullivan.
- Golding, William, Lord of the Flies. NY, Coward-McCann, 1962. Recommended
by Viginia Tiger.
- Greenlee, Sam, The Spook Who Sat by the Door. Detroit: Wayne State, 1989.
Recommended by Glenda DeKruif. A story about a black man who was hired (by the FBI I
believe) to be basically a show piece but had no real responsibilities.
- Hall, Radcliffe, Well of Loneliness. NY: Doubleday, 1928. Recommended by
John S. Moving.
- Hallie, Phillip, Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed: The story of the village of Le
Chambon and how goodness happened there. NY: Harper, 1985. Recommended by Mary
- Hershey, J., Hiroshima. NY: Knopf, 1985. Recommended by Jim
- Hilfiker, David, Not All of us Are Saints: A Doctor's Journey with the
Poor.. New York:Hill and Wang. 1994 (ISBN: 0-8090-3921-4). Recommended by Jan S.
- Huddleston, Trevor, Naught for Your Comfort. Garden City, NY: Doubleday,
1956. Recommended by Mary Miller & Robert Cromey.
- Hull, Scott and Smith, Eds., All the Women Are White, All the Blacks are Men, but
Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women's Studies. Old Westbury, NY: Feminist Press,
1982.. Recommended by Adrienne Dillon.
- Isaiah, Deutero and Trito Isaiah (chapters 40-66). An translation of the
Bible. Recommended by Paul Gibson. I suggest that that document may have done more to shape
western ideals of justice and hope for universal harmony of people and nature than any other
single piece of literature and may, through its dissemination by Christian missions and
schools, have influenced the highest ideals of the Chinese communist revolution as well. It
embraces hope for the alienated (40), a vision of return of exiles to what they had lost (43,
49), a sense that the suffering of the oppressed finds meaning in the recovery of wholeness
by all (53), a theology of justice as the ultimate religion (58), a doctrine of judgement on
warmongering and exploitation (59), a vision of a new age (61) and a new creation (65.17-25),
with global implications (56.1-8) -- to touch its headings only briefly.
- John, The Gospel of John. Any bible translation. Recommended by Sue Bolden
and Jane Banning.
- Jones, Jacqueline , Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the
Family from Slavery to the Present. New York: Vintage Books, 1995. Recommended by
Adrienne Dillon. Highlights the problem of women of color, who experience marginalization in
both their racial and their gender identity.
- Kierkegaard, Soren, Purity of Heart Is To Will One Thing. NY: Harper,
1956. Recommended by Cynthia Ann Gilliatt.
- King, M. L, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail". San Francisco, Harper's,
1994. Recommended by Adrienne Dillon & Cynthia Ann Gilliatt.
- King, M. L, Strides Toward Freedom. New York, Harper, 1964. Recommended by
- King, M. L, Where Do We Go From Here. Boston, Beacon Press, 1967.
Recommended by Adrienne Dillon.
- King, M. L, Why We Can't Wait. New York, Harper ^ Row, 1964. Recommended
by Adrienne Dillon & Mary Miller.
- King, M. L., "Pilgrimage to Non-Violence". Christian Century Magazine.
Recommended by Robert Heylmun.
- King, M. L., I have a dream". . Recommended by Linda Strohmier.
- Kozol, Jonathan, Amazing grace : the lives of children and the conscience of a
nation. NY: Crown Books, 1995. Recommended by Rebecca Black-Graham.
- Kozol, Jonathan, Savage Inequalities. NY: Crown, 1991. Recommended by
Eugene Kohlbecker. About the gross inequities in public funded elementary education in the
U.S. I read this disturbing book years ago, and it's terrible images remain fixed in my
- Lakey, G., Strategy for a Living Revolution. NY: Grossman, 1973.
Recommended by Jim Pickens.
- Lee, Harper, To Kill a Mockingbird. Philadelphia: LIppencott, 1960.
Recommended by Glenda DeKruif.
- Leech, Kenneth, Eye of the Storm. . Recommended by Geoff Curtiss.
- Leister, Burton M., Liberty, Justice and Morals: Contemporary Moral
Conflicts. Macmillan, 1983. Recommended by John Gish.
- Mandela, Nelson, Mandela : an illustrated autobiography. Boston, Little,
Brown, 1996. Recommended by Adrienne Dillon.
- Massie, Robert Kinloch, Loosing the Bonds: The United States and South Africa in
the Apartheid Years. Doubleday, NY, 1997. Recommended by George F. Mackey. This is
an impressive tome. It fills in a lot of the history of our own civil rights movement for
those too young to have remembered it.
- McCall, Nathan, Makes me wanna holler : a young Black man in America. NY:
Random House, 1994.. Recommended by Jacqueline O'Sullivan, Rebecca Black-Graham. This is an
amazing book, which *demands* careful, open process. Written in language which is easy to
read, but holding content which is deeply disturbing. It was assigned to the one class
required of EDS students, Foundations, which is a generally ham-fisted approach to
consciouness-raising around diversity issues. This book, along with _Black Ice_, redeemed the
- McNight, John and Carolyn ?, . . Recommended by Geoff Curtiss.
- Meeks, M. Douglas, God the Economist: The Doctrine of God and Political
Economy. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1989. Recommended by Geoff Curtiss.
- Merton, Thomas, Passion for Peace: The Social Essays. NY: Crossroads,
1995. Recommended by David Mycoff.
- Mill, John Stuart, On Liberty. Indianapolis, Bobbs-Merrill, 1956.
Recommended by Viginia Tiger.
- Mills, C. Wright, The Power Elite. Oxford U. Press, 1959. Recommended by
- Morisy, Ann, Beyond the Good Samaritan. . Recommended by Geoff
- Myrdal, Gunnar, An American Dilemma: The Condensed version known at The Negro in
America.. NY: Harper, 1964. Recommended by Mary Donovan. Is still for me one of the
most powerful calls for social justice I ever experienced
- Newman, Gene, All God's Children: Ministry with Disabled Children.
Zondervan, 1993. Recommended by Daphne McClellan.
- Oats, Stephen B., Let the Trumpet Sound. NY: New Amerian Library, 1984.
Recommended by Paul Gibson.
- Orwell, George, The Road to Wigan Pier. San Diego: Harcourt, Brace, 1958.
Recommended by Jeffrey Barnes.
- Page, Myra, Moscow Yankee. Rerpt paperb 1995, Univ of Illinois Pr (Trd);
ISBN: 0252064992. Recommended by Barbara Foley.
- Palmer, Parker, The company of Strangers: Christians and the Renewal of America's
Public Life. NY: Crossroads, 1981. Recommended by Rosemari Sullivan.
- Patton, Allen, Cry, Beloved Country. NY: Scribner, 1976. Recommended by
- Piven, Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, Regulating the Poor: the functions
of public welfare. NY: Pantheon, 1971. Recommended by Wes Miller.
- Powell, Colin, My American Journey. NY: Random House, 1995. Recommended by
John S. Moving.
- Rifkin, Jeremy, Who should play God? : The artificial creation of life and what it
means for the future of the human race . New York: Delacorte Press, c1977.
Recommended by Glenda DeKruif. It deals with cloning, dna research etc. Although the author
is obviously anti His book raises a lot of questions that I found soul searching.
- Rubin, Jerry, Do it. NY: Simon and Schuster, 1970. Recommended by John
- Schweitzer, Albert, Out of My Life and Thought. NY: Rinehart & Winston,
1966. Recommended by Lee Shaw.
- Shilts, Randy, Conduct Unbecoming. NY: St. Martin's, 1993. Recommended by
John S. Moving. Randy Shilts talks about social justice on many levels. It has great emotive
power. It makes its case over and over -- its real and contemporary.
- Sider, Ronald J., Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger. Downer's Grove, IL:
Intervarsity Press, 1984. Recommended by Tom Scott.
- Smedley, Agnes, The Great Road: Biography of Chu Teh, Founder of the Red
Army. NY: Monthly Review Press, 1956.. Recommended by Paul Gibson. My copy was given
to me by the great Bishop Hall of Hong Kong. (Hall himself was deeply influenced by F.D.
Maurice and came to issues of justice from that perspective.)
- Solzheni*t*syn, Alexandr, The First Circle. NY: Harper & Row, 1968.
Recommended by Barbara Gross.
- Stack, Carol B., All Our Kin: Strategies for Survival in a Black
Community. Harper & Row, 1975. Recommended by Daphne McClellan.
- Steinbeck, John, Grapes of Wrath. NY: Penguin, 1986. Recommended by
Barbara Foley and Barry Seiler. I was 15-16 and it shook the foundations of my mid-class
urban complacency. (Barry Seiler). Has surprising lasting power. (Barbara Foley)
- Stowe, Harriet Beecher, Uncle Tom's Cabin. NY: Airmont, 1967. Recommended
by Maggie Gat & Sue Bolden.
- Stringfellow, William, My People is the Enemy. NY: Holt, Rinehart,
Winson, 1964. Recommended by Mary Miller.
- Tatum, Beverly Daniel , Why Are the Black Kids Sitting Together in the
Cafeteria. NY: Basic Books, 1997. Recommended by Rebecca Black-Graham.
- Tawney, R. H., The Acquisitive Society. NY: Harcourt Brace, 1948.
Recommended by Ferdinand von Prondzynski.
- Thoreau, Henry David, Walden. Princeton: Princeton U. Press, 1989.
Recommended by Cynthia Ann Gilliatt.
- Wallace, Jim, 2 most recent book. . Recommended by Geoff Curtiss.
- Weisel, Elie, Night. Glasgow: Fontana/Collins, 1960. Recommended by Lee
- West, Cornell, Restoring Hope: Conversations on the future of Black
America. Boston. Beacon, 1997. Recommended by Geoff Curtiss.
- Wilson, Midge and Kathy Russell, Divided Sisters: Bridging the Gap Between Black
Women and White Women.. New York:Doubleday. 1996 (ISBN: 0-385--47361-3). Recommended
by Jan S. Martin.
- Wink, Walter, Naming the Powers: the language of power in the New Testament
. Phila., Fortress, 1984. Recommended by Mary Miller.
- Wink, Walter, Powers Trilogy into one. Phila., Fortress Press, 1984.
Recommended by Jane Garrett.
- Wink, Walter, Unmasking the Powers. Vol. 2 of the Powers Trilogy. Phila.,
Fortress, 1986. Recommended by Mary Miller.
- Wollstonecraft, Mary, Maria or the Wrongs of Women: A vindication of the Rights of
Women. NY: Norton Library, 1975. Recommended by Viginia Tiger.
- Woolman, John, The Journal and Major Essays. . Recommended by Jon A.
- Wright, James, Above the River. NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux .
Recommended by Barry Seiler. He exposed me to the depth of compassion we must have for the
outcasts of the world. Beautiful stuff!
- Wright, Richard, Uncle Tom's Children. In Works, 1991, vol 1. Viking, NY
1991. Recommended by Barbara Foley.
- Wylie-Kellerman, Jeanie, Assorted Issues of The Witness Magazine. .
Recommended by Linda Strohmier.
- X, Malcolm, Autobiography of Malcolm X. NY, Ballentine Books, 1993.
Recommended by Kathy McAdams.
- Yoder, John Howard, The Politics of Jesus. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994.
Recommended by David Mycoff.
- Young-Bruehl, Elisabeth, Anatomy of Prejudices. Cambridge, MA, Harvard U.
Press, 1996. Recommended by Jackie O'Sullivan. Although not 'Diversity, 101,' this volume
might be a good research for motivated students, or those interested in a project. Examines
how misogyny, homophobia and anti-Semitism play on emotions and vulnerabilities, real and
perceived. A challenging book, very dense, from a psycho-social perspective.
- Zehr, Howard, Doing Life: Reflections of Men and Women Serving Life
Sentences. Intercourse, PA:Good Books. 1996 (ISBN:1-56148-203-X). Recommended by Jan
- Zinn, Howard, A People's History of the United States. (Teaching
Edition--materials by Kathy Emory) 1997 edition (paper) 1-56584-366-5 ISBN. Recommended by
- Zinn, Howard, Declarations of Independence. NY: Harper Collins, 1990.
Recommended by Wes Miller.
- , Mother Jones Online. http://nlln.org/motherjones.html. Recommended by
- , Sojourners Online. http://www.sojourners.com/sojourners/home.html.
Recommended by Richard Ruane & Geoff Curtiss. Accessible, articulate, well-written and deal
with a wide variety of issues. (Ruane)
- , The Gospels. Any translation of the Bible. Recommended by Linda
- , Tikkun Online: A bimonthly Jewish critique of politics, culture, and
society. http://www.tikkun.org/. Recommended by Richard Ruane.
- , Voices from the Catholic Worker. Phila., Temple U., 1993. Recommended by
- , Subversive Orthodoxy. . Recommended by Geoff Curtiss.