The best books on Big History, recommended by Toby Ord

‘Big history’ looks at history on the timescale of the Earth and the universe, rather than just the short period of time that humanity has been around. Here, Toby Ord, a moral philosopher at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute, recommends books to get a handle on it, and explains why now is a critical time for Homo sapiens.

The best books on War, recommended by Cécile Fabre

If killing is wrong, how can going to war be justified? Is it always wrong to kill civilians? If a Nazi soldier were billeted in your home, should you respond when he greets you? Philosopher Cécile Fabre chooses Five Books that help explore the profound ethical dilemmas of war.

The best books on Zombies, recommended by Greg Garrett

Zombies have returned with a vengeance in recent years, the secret to their undying popularity lying in their ability to embody many different kinds of menace, from social unrest to pandemics, financial insecurity to international terrorism. Greg Garrett, author of Living with the Living Dead, recommends five books to help you prepare for the zombie apocalypse

The best books on Drone Warfare, recommended by Hugh Gusterson

The introduction of drones “makes possible perpetual war without costs”, warns the anthropology professor and security expert Hugh Gusterson. Here he selects the best books that examine their ethical, psychological and political impact upon 21st century warfare.

The best books on Radiation, recommended by Timothy J. Jorgensen

Public understanding of radiation needs to improve if people are to properly assess its benefits and risks argues author and academic, Timothy Jorgensen. From the discovery of radio to a cancer cluster in New Jersey, he chooses highly readable books illuminating different aspects of radiation.

P W Singer and August Cole choose the best books on World War III

What will the next global conflict look like? Two of America’s leading defence experts, P W Singer and August Cole, turned to science fiction to explore the prospect of a future war, and how existing technology might be used in one. Here, they choose five novels depicting a fictional World War Three that served as inspiration.

The best books on War, recommended by Michael Howard

Fear is a great examiner of one’s character, argues the World War II veteran and eminent historian of war, Sir Michael Howard. He recommends the best books on war, two on strategy and three on what it’s actually like for soldiers and commanding officers.