Best Books for Understanding Trauma

On this page: a personal selection of nonfiction books on trauma, links to notable articles and podcast episodes about trauma. 


Though trauma is an integral part of our lives, it also takes many shapes and forms. Every single one of my picks were recommended by at least two experts. I polled several doctors, scientists, authors and experts in the field on the books they recommend. The books you’ll find on this page are thoughtfully selected titles I personally recommended for you. Here are some of the best books on trauma.


Must read books about trauma

Body keeps the score

The Body Keeps the Score:
Mind brain and body in the transformation of trauma

By Bessel van der Kolk

Trauma often causes a splitting of body and mind. As many therapies focus on talking, on reason and logic, the body has its own way of dealing with traumatic experiences. Van der Kolk prioritizes the bodily aspect in relation to trauma and discusses how time stands still in the body and how these traces to past times can keep us stuck in a painful past.

Tell Me Who I Am:
Sometimes it´s safer to not know…

By Marcus and Alex Lewis

This memoir is about a boy who gets into an accident when he is 18 years old. The accident causes him his memory and it takes him his whole life to remember the past and to overcome his childhood traumas. With the help of his twin brother they jump on this ride called life. An extraordinary story.

What happened to you

What happened to you?
Conversations on trauma, resilience, and healing

By Bruce D. Perry and Oprah Winfrey

During this book, Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey try to reframe the concept of trauma. In What happened to you? you’ll read the tons of conversations Perry had with Oprah where they get to speak about it and because of his background in the field of trauma related to children he explains the concept in a simple but interesting way.

when the body says no

When the body says no:
The cost of hidden stress

By Dr. Gabor Maté

In the `Body says no` Gabor writes about the link between the mind and the body and provides answers to important questions about the effect of this mind-body link on illness and health and the role that stress and one’s individual emotional makeup play in an array of common diseases. Gabor is famous for making a statement about how trauma is an effect of our childhood experiences – and not so much our genes.

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I’ll be regularly updating this roundup to include additional thrilling new offerings.


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