The Russian revolution was the beginning of the modern age, says award-winning author Roland Chambers. He tells us what Solzhenitsyn imagined Lenin was like, and about the children’s author who led a double life as a spy in Bolshevik Russia.
Civic Ideals: Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History
by Rogers M. Smith
At America's Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943
by Erika Lee
Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America
by Mae M. Ngai
Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement
by Patricia Sullivan
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander
Postwar Europe was a scene of both physical and moral destruction. Keith Lowe, author of the award-winning Savage Continent, recommends essential reading for understanding the sheer scale of suffering, dislocation and fighting after the war was over.
It’s not the first period in history that American society has suffered from a crisis of inequality. Former labour secretary, Robert Reich, recommends books to help us understand the response of previous generations to the same kinds of challenges we now face.
Nelson Mandela was a most unusual and unusually astute leader, says journalist and author of Playing the Enemy, John Carlin. He chooses the best books to understand Nelson Mandela, who used forgiveness as a political tool, and South Africa, the country he brought peacefully out of apartheid.
The job of the intelligence services is to understand others and help leaders act more wisely, says the author of a new history of the FBI. There’s a balance to be struck between liberty and security but when the CIA and FBI do not harmonise their intelligence missions, people die.
Author and Arabist Tim Mackintosh-Smith tells us about the rich tradition in Islam of travelling to gain knowledge, and directs us towards some of those, both Western and Arab, who’ve inspired with their tales of life on the road.
In October 1911, China’s last imperial dynasty fell. The legacy of that revolution remains deeply ambiguous in today’s People’s Republic. China scholar Rana Mitter tells us about the country’s tumultuous changes from 1911 to the present day.
Russia at War
by Alexander Werth
A Writer At War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941-1945
by Vasily Grossman, translated by Antony Beevor and Luba Vinogradova
Reflections on the Russian Soul
by Dmitry Likhachov
Less Than One
by Joseph Brodsky
Conversations with Stalin
by Milovan Djilas
It’s their frailty that makes politicians such interesting characters, says Tony Blair’s biographer Anthony Seldon. He tells us about the art of political biography and the writers who’ve best captured leaders such as Churchill and Thatcher
Many people have heard of manga and anime, but would be surprised to learn how deeply this niche is steeped in Japanese tradition and culture—or how often manga features strong, smart female leads, says Susan Napier, anime expert and Professor of the Japanese Program at Tufts University. Here, she picks five books that encapsulate manga and anime as both forms of art and cathartic re-workings of Japanese history.
The author of the Tales of the City novel series, Armistead Maupin, tells us about San Francisco’s spirit of place, and the books that best capture the city’s sense of possibility and noirish feel. He recommends the best novels set in San Francisco.