Benedict King

Interviews by Benedict King

The best books on Modern Indian History, recommended by Dinyar Patel

Whether we're thinking about democracy versus authoritarianism, corruption versus good governance, or rich versus poor, there is a lot we can learn from India's recent history, says Dinyar Patel, a historian at SPJIMR in Mumbai. He talks us through some good books on the modern history of a country that has long been the world's largest democracy and is now its most populous country.

The best books on Geopolitics and Global Commerce, recommended by Paul Tucker

For centuries humanity has struggled with how to build an international order based on law and agreed principles, rather than force and the threat of war. In today’s multi-polar world understanding how such an order might and could be shaped has taken on a renewed urgency. Here, Paul Tucker, a fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, chooses five books on geopolitics and global commerce.

The best books on Henri IV of France, recommended by Vincent Pitts

At a time of bitter division, Henri IV succeeded to the French throne and managed to bring the country together after decades of civil war. He converted to Catholicism but brought in toleration for Protestants with the Edict of Nantes. In 1610 he was assassinated by a religious fanatic with a carving knife. Historian Vincent Pitts, author of a great introduction to Henri IV, talks us through the life and times of one of France’s most impressive monarchs.

The best books on The History of Angola (pre-20th century), recommended by Mariana Candido

West Central Africa was involved in the transatlantic slave trade from its inception in the fifteenth century until it ended in the late nineteenth century. It’s the region that lost the largest number of enslaved people to the transatlantic slave trade, with over 5.6 million people taken away. And yet Angola, where three of the five main slaving ports were located, is little studied in English. Here, Mariana Candido, a professor at Emory University, introduces us to some of the best books (available in English) on this era of Angolan history, from the biography of one ruler, Njinga Mbandi, to a survey of the entire period.