Alec Ash

Interviews by Alec Ash

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

The best books on Christmas, recommended by Bruce Forbes

Did you know that Santa Claus was a 4th century bishop in what is now Turkey? That Puritans tried to outlaw Christmas? Or Tiny Tim was originally Little Fred? Religious scholar Bruce Forbes recommends books that shed light on Christmas’s pagan past and consumerist present.

The best books on Modern China, recommended by Rana Mitter

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.

The best books on Genocide, recommended by Norman Naimark

Genocide isn’t the preserve of fanatics and racist thugs – it’s part of human nature, says Stanford historian Norman Naimark. He tells us how genocide happens, who denies it, where it could return, and the best books to read about it.

The best books on Being Sceptical, recommended by James Randi

Former magician and internationally renowned debunker of paranormal claims James Randi sharpens his knives against proponents of flim-flam, pseudoscience and the so-called paranormal – and tells us where the creator of Sherlock Holmes went badly wrong. He selects the best books on scepticism for Five Books.

The best books on Cybersecurity, recommended by Misha Glenny

There’s an unseen, mostly unacknowledged cyber war going on. British journalist Misha Glenny, author of Dark Market, tells us who’s involved, how far it spreads and what could happen if we let it continue unchecked. He picks the best books to get a better handle on cybersecurity.