The best books on Modern British History, recommended by Andrew Hindmoor

What will historians say about the latest period in British history? What has stayed the same, and what is vastly different from our parents’ generation? Andrew Hindmoor, professor of politics at the University of Sheffield and author of Twelve Days that Made Modern Britain, recommends books that give insights into contemporary British history.

Landmarks of Scottish Literature, recommended by James Robertson

Scottish culture is best understood as related to, but distinct from, that of Britain or England, says the acclaimed novelist James Robertson. Here, he selects five landmark works of Scottish literature, from Sir Walter Scott’s sweeping, panoramic social novels of the 18th century, through Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde, to Nan Shepherd’s beloved nature writing.

The best books on Brexit, recommended by Anand Menon

Brexit shook British politics in 2016 and, six years on, its long-term consequences both for the UK and for the European Union remain highly uncertain. Here political scientist and Brexit expert Anand Menon recommends books to help you understand Brexit, what caused it and why, and puts those trends in a wider global political context.

The best books on The BBC, recommended by Simon J. Potter

The British Broadcasting Corporation celebrates its centenary this year. The beloved institution has always had a paradoxical identity: part monopoly and government organ, part commercial enterprise and government critic; part bringer of change, part defender of the status quo. Here Simon Potter, Professor of Modern History at the University of Bristol, talks us through the history and the transformations the BBC has undergone since it was first founded in 1922.

The best books on Boudica, recommended by Richard Hingley

Boudica was an Iron Age queen who led her people into rebellion against Roman rule in the province of Britannia. She was defeated, but only after she had burned several towns, including London, to the ground. Here Richard Hingley, Professor of Archaeology at Durham University, explains how to sift the truth from the myth, and why Boudica has remained an enduring source of fascination down the centuries.

The best books on Scottish Nationalism, recommended by Murray Leith

There has been a sharp rise in nationalist and pro-independence sentiment in Scotland since the resumption of the Scottish parliament in 1999. Here, the University of West Scotland political scientist Murray Leith reflects on the changing nature of Scottish identity and separatist visions, as he recommends five key books on Scottish nationalism.

The Best Black British Writers, recommended by Jacqueline Roy

Black British writers have been storming the bestseller charts in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests. Here, Jacqueline Roy—the novelist and lecturer in Black literature—selects five of the best books by Black British writers that deserve more attention.

The best books on Industrial Revolution, recommended by Sheilagh Ogilvie

The Industrial Revolution transformed the world forever by enabling self-perpetuating economic growth. But historians are still at odds about why the industrial revolution happened where it did and when it did. Here, Sheilagh Ogilvie, Chichele Professor of Economic History at All Souls College, Oxford, guides us through the debates and why they are still relevant today.

Great British Thrillers, recommended by Matt Lynn

Author Matt Lynn says that good thrillers need a sense of foreboding and tension – and a brilliant central character. “The thriller has always been a very political genre, a kind of snapshot in time”

The best books on Brexit, recommended by Boris Starling

Looking for a good Brexit book? Brexit is as complicated as the Schleswig-Holstein question and as vicious as Game of Thrones. Boris Starling, author of The Bluffer’s Guide to Brexit, talks us through some Brexit books that will leave you better read and even more mystified about what the future holds for Britain and Europe.

The Best Crime Fiction of 2019, recommended by Val McDermid

It’s been a great year for crime fiction – with soaring sales and global bestsellers emerging from writers all over the world. Crime writing is rightly in the ascendancy, says the celebrated Scottish novelist Val McDermid as she selects the best crime fiction of 2019: five books that stand as great novels in their own right.

The Best Books by Muriel Spark, recommended by Alan Taylor

This year marks the centenary of the birth of the novelist, poet and essayist Muriel Spark, a singular voice of 20th century literature. Her 22 novels are slim and entertaining says Alan Taylor, author of Appointment in Arezzo, but beneath the jeux d’esprit lies a fearsome intellect. Here he selects five of her key works.

The best books on Irish Unionism, recommended by Murray Pittock

As is the norm in many countries with proportional representation, the United Kingdom’s government depends on a small political party to stay in power. Who are the Irish unionists? What is the ideology that guides them? Historian and pro-vice principal of Glasgow University, Murray Pittock, recommends the best books to read to better understand Irish unionism.

Nick Clegg on his Favourite Books

Much as some Brexiteers like to pretend it isn’t, England is not only in Europe, but has been, in various centuries and in various ways, at the very heart of it. The former Deputy Prime Minister of the UK, Nick Clegg, discusses his favourite European novels and the founding text of his own political ideology, liberalism.

The Best Things to Read on Brexit, recommended by Jonathan Portes

Why did Brexit happen? What does the future hold for Britain outside the European Union? Can trade economists help? The economist and former head of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, a non-partisan think tank, recommends the best books (and one blogpost) on Brexit.

The Best Transnational Literature, recommended by Mohsin Hamid

Beleaguered ‘citizens of nowhere’ will be pleased to know they have their own literary genre. For anyone who has ever wondered where they belong, or why, when you leave your home country, it’s never the same when you return, here are the best five books to read—including some by the greatest authors of the 20th century.

The best books on Britishness, recommended by Matthew Engel

Britain is a bewilderingly motley nation of phlegmatic grumblers, says the author and editor Matthew Engel – a seaside resort-going, class-conscious people haunted by loss of empire, and we can’t even agree on what the country is called

The Best Adam Smith Books, recommended by Dennis Rasmussen

Adam Smith tends to be seen as the founder of capitalism and modern economics, but he was, first and foremost, a moral philosopher. Dennis Rasmussen, author of The Infidel and the Professor—a book about Smith’s friendship with David Hume—selects the best books by and about Adam Smith.

The best books on Jacobitism, recommended by Murray Pittock

The failure of the Stuarts to win back the English or Scottish throne changed the course of history, enabling the buildup of a highly centralized British state and, possibly, America’s war for independence. Murray Pittock chooses the best books on Jacobitism, the 18th century phenomenon that nearly overthrew the British government.

The Greatest Romantic Poems, recommended by Gillen D'Arcy Wood

Freud said he owed them everything and even people who have never read a poem in their lives speak their language today. Gillen D’Arcy Wood, Professor of Environmental Humanities and English at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, explains who the Romantic poets were and recommends five of the greatest Romantic poems.

The best books on Academia, recommended by Les Back

Current UK higher education policies, which treat students as consumers, are not only killing thinking but also likely to lead to a financial crisis. And yet, academia is a beautiful vocation, with the power to transform lives year in, year out. University of London professor, Les Back, picks the best books on academia.

The best books on British Buildings, recommended by Harry Mount

Bestselling author Harry Mount thinks that the British sell themselves short when they fail to appreciate their architecture. He also expresses his thanks that Christopher Wren didn’t redesign London on a Parisian/New York grid system following the 1666 fire.