The Best Thomas Hobbes Books, recommended by Arash Abizadeh

Thomas Hobbes’s master work Leviathan, in which he argued for the need to unite under a powerful sovereign as part of a ‘social contract’, has become a cornerstone of Western political philosophy. Here, the philosopher and political scientist Arash Abizadeh selects five of the best books for understanding Hobbes’s arguments in their historical context.

The best books on Italian Political Philosophy, recommended by Guglielmo Verdirame

Italy has a rich tradition of political philosophy, producing a number of thinkers with both practical experience and a cosmopolitan outlook. Here Guglielmo Verdirame, Professor of International Law at King’s College London, talks us through the five most important Italian political philosophers, and the best books to read to understand their work.

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.

Peter Singer on Nineteenth-Century Philosophy

The nineteenth century saw not only a widespread interest in philosophical ideas but also philosophy’s development as a more rigorous discipline. Australian philosopher Peter Singer introduces us to the highlights of a century of philosophy books.

The best books on Foucault, recommended by Gary Gutting

“Do not ask who I am and do not ask me to remain the same,” wrote Michel Foucault; a brilliant transdisciplinarian whose work spanned philosophy, history, social theory and literary criticism. He mined past ways of thinking so as to see present-day assumptions and practices afresh, explains the philosopher Gary Gutting.

The best books on Marx and Marxism, recommended by Terrell Carver

Few people have had their ideas reinvented as many times as the German intellectual and political activist, Karl Marx. Professor of political theory, Terrell Carver, takes us through the most influential books, in English, about Marx, Marxism and his friend, publicist and financial backer, Friedrich Engels.

The best books on Racism, recommended by Kurt Barling

The concept of ‘race’ is misleading and inaccurate, argues Kurt Barling, Professor of Journalism at the University of Middlesex and author of The R Word: Racism and Modern Society. He recommends the best books to think about racism.

The Best Isaiah Berlin Books, recommended by Henry Hardy

He was one of the great intellectuals of the 20th century, but a people person with little interest in publishing books. Henry Hardy, the editor who helped publish many of them, chooses the best books by (and one about) Isaiah Berlin.

The best books on Political Philosophy, recommended by Jonathan Wolff

British philosopher Jonathan Wolff chooses five books by thinkers who have shaped the field of political philosophy. He explores the experiences that influenced each writer, saying ‘it’s very rare for philosophers to say very much about their history and what brought them to the views they have’.

Stephen Breyer on his Intellectual Influences

US Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer talks about the books that have influenced his thinking and explains why reading widely, including literature, is essential for judges and lawyers.

The best books on Fairness and Inequality, recommended by Will Hutton

What is the difference between fairness and equality? In contemporary capitalist societies, some inequality is inevitable and desirable. But the rewards for the few at the top have soared while the rest have been squeezed. Is this fair? We need a new social contract, says the author and columnist