Entertainment/Literature - Non-Fiction

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Ruth Benedict

Patterns of Culture (1934) – shows that a unique configuration of traits defines each human culture.

The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture (1946) – is a study of Japan written at the invitation of the U.S. Office of War Information in order to understand and predict the behaviour of the Japanese.

Franz Boas

The Mind of Primitive Man (1911) – takes a critical look at the concept of primitive culture.

Claude Levi-Strauss

Tristes Tropiques (1955) – documents his travels and anthropological work, focusing principally on Brazil.

Mythologiques – is a four-volume work of cultural anthropology. The first volume is The Raw and the Cooked (1964).

Margaret Mead

Coming of Age in Samoa (1928) – details the sexual life of teenagers on the Samoan island of Ta’u in the early 20th century.

Lewis H Morgan

Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family (1871) – is a foundation work for the discipline of anthropology and particularly for the study of human kinship


Leon Battista Alberti

On the Art of Building (1452) – published in ten books.

John Betjeman

Ghastly Good Taste (1933) – first architectural work.

Alain de Botton

The Architecture of Happiness (2006).

Francis D. K. ‘Frank’ Ching

Architecture: Form, Space, and Order (1979) – is the classic introduction to the basic vocabulary of architectural design.

Bannister Fletcher

A History of Architecture on the Comparative Method (1895) – is a standard reference work.

Augustus Pugin

Contrasts (1836).

The True Principles of Pointed Architecture (1841).

Andrea Palladio

I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura (The Four Books of Architecture, 1570) – is an Italian treatise on architecture.

Nikolaus Pevsner

The Buildings of England (1951-1974) – is a 46-volume series of county-by-county guides.


De architectura (1st century BC) – is a treatise of ten books on architecture dedicated to his patron, the emperor Caesar Augustus as a guide for building projects. Published as Ten Books on Architecture.


Leon Battista Alberti

On Painting (1435) – is a groundbreaking Renaissance work on art theory.

John Berger

Ways of Seeing (1972) – is an essay on art criticism. Adapted from a BBC television series.

Ernst Gombrich

The Story of Art (1950) – is an introduction to the visual arts. Over seven million copies have been sold, making it the best-selling art book of all time.

Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation (1960).

Robert Hughes

The Shock of the New: Art and the century of change (1980) – addresses the development of modern art since the Impressionists. Accompanied by a television series of the same name.

Grayson Perry

Playing to the Gallery: Helping Contemporary Art in its Struggle to Be Understood (2014).

John Ruskin

Modern Painters (1843-1860) – argues that recent painters emerging from the tradition of the picturesque are superior in the art of landscape to the old masters. The book was primarily written as a defense of the later work of Turner.

Simon Schama

The Power of Art (2006) – examines works by Caravaggio, Bernini, Rembrandt, David, Turner, Van Gogh, Picasso, and Rothko. Accompanied by a television series of the same name.

Leo Tolstoy

What Is Art? (1897) – argues that art is the intentional communication of feelings

Giorgio Vasari

The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects (1550) – is also known as Lives of the Artists. Series of artist biographies. Arguably the single most important source of information for artists of the Italian Renaissance. First biography is of Cimabue.


John Carreyrou

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup (2018) – covers the rise and fall of Theranos.

Evan Davis

Post-Truth: Why We Have Reached Peak Bullshit and What We Can Do About It (2017).

Bill Gates

The Road Ahead (1995).

Michael Lewis

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game (2003) – is about the Oakland Athletics baseball team and its general manager Billy Beane. Its focus is the team's analytical, evidence-based, sabermetric approach to assembling a competitive baseball team.

Liar's Poker: Rising through the Wreckage on Wall Street (1989) – describes Lewis's experiences as a bond salesman on Wall Street.

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine (2010) – is about the build-up of the US housing bubble during the 2000s.

Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt (2014) – is an investigation into the phenomenon of high-frequency trading in the US financial market.

Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind

The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron (2004).

Eric Schlosser

Fast Food Nation (2001) – examines the fast-food process in the US from meat to marketing.

Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen

The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business (2013) – discusses the geopolitical implications of increasingly widespread Internet use and access to information.

Donald Trump

Trump: The Art of the Deal (1987) – is credited to Donald Trump and journalist Tony Schwartz.

Jack Welch

Jack: Straight from the Gut (2001).

Winning (2005).

William H. Whyte

The Organisation Man (1956) – is one of the most influential books on management ever written and has sold over two million copies.


Isabella Beeton known as Mrs Beeton

Book of Household Management – is an 1861 guide to running a household in Victorian Britain.

Heston Blumenthal

In Search of Perfection (2006).

The Fat Duck Cookbook (2008).

Julia Child

Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961).

Elizabeth David

A Book of Mediterranean Food (1950) – first book.

French Country Cooking (1951).

Summer Cooking (1955).

Alexandre Dumas

Great Dictionary of Cuisine (1873) – published posthumously.

Auguste Escoffier

Le Guide Culinaire (1903).

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Fizz Carr

The River Cottage Family Cookbook (2005).

Hannah Glasse

The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy (1747).

Nigella Lawson

How to Eat (1998).

How to Be a Domestic Goddess (2000).

Samin Nosrat

Salt Fat Acid Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking (2017).

Jamie Oliver

The Naked Chef (1999).

5 Ingredients – Quick & Easy Food (2017).

Yotam Ottolenghi

Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London's Ottolenghi (2010).

Jerusalem: A Cookbook (2012).

Lorraine Pascale

Baking Made Easy (2011).

Home Cooking Made Easy (2011).

Marguerite Patten

Everyday Cook Book in Colour (1961).

Delia Smith

How to Cheat at Cooking (1971) – first book.

One is Fun (1986).

Joe Wicks

Lean in 15 (2015/2016) – is a series of cookbooks with recipes for 15-minute meals.


Cesare Beccaria

On Crimes and Punishments (1764) condemned torture and the death penalty and was a founding work in the field of penology.

Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry

Helter Skelter: The True Story of The Manson Murders (1974).

Kate Colquhoun

Mister Briggs’ Hat (2011) – an account of the first railway murder, in 1864.

Patricia Cornwell

Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper—Case Closed (2002) – presents the theory that Walter Sickert was Jack the Ripper and was followed up by Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert (2017).

Misha Glenny

McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld (2008).

John Grisham

The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town (2006) – is Grisham’s first non-fiction book. The book details the story of former minor league baseball aspirant 'Ron' Williamson of Oklahoma, where he was raised in the strict Pentecostal household of his parents.

Ludovic Kennedy

Ten Rillington Place (1961) – re-examines the murder conviction of Timothy Evans

Kate Summerscale

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House (2008) – is based on a real-life crime committed by Constance Kent and investigated by Jack Whicher.


Ambrose Bierce

The Devil’s Dictionary (1906) – consists of common words followed by humorous and satirical definitions.

William and Robert Chambers

Chamber’s English Dictionary (1872) – is now known as Chambers Dictionary.

Samuel Johnson

A Dictionary of the English Language (1755).

Eric Partridge

A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (1937).

Noah Webster

American Dictionary of English Language (1928) – “Webster's" has since become a genericized trademark in the United States for English dictionaries.

Oxford English Dictionary (1884) – traces the historical development of the English language.


Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone

Pinch of Nom (2019- ) – is a series of books of slimming recipes.

Rosemary Conley

The Hip & Thigh Diet (1988).

Pierre Dukan

The Dukan Diet (2000) – is a high-protein low-carbohydrate diet.

Audrey Eyton

The F-Plan Diet (1982) – is a high-fibre diet.

Judy Mazel

The Beverly Hills Diet (1981).


Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (2005) – has been described as melding pop culture with economics.

SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance (2009) – is a sequel to Freakonomics.

Rosa Luxemburg

The Accumulation of Capital (1913) – argues that capitalism needs to constantly expand into non-capitalist areas in order to access new supply sources, markets for surplus value and reservoirs of labour.

Thomas Piketty

Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2013) – focuses on wealth and income inequality in Europe and the United States.

Jeffrey Sachs

The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time (2005).

The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity (2011).

Thorstein Veblen

The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions (1899) – presents the evolutionary development of the social and economic institutions of society, wherein technology and the industrial arts are the creative forces of economic production.

Joel Waldfogel

Scroogenomics (2009) – argues that purchasing gifts for other people is a terrible way to allocate resources.


Charles Clover

The End of The Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat (2004).

Paul R. Ehrlich

The Population Bomb (1968) – predicted worldwide famine in the 1970s and 1980s due to overpopulation.

Al Gore

An Inconvenient Truth (2006) – raised awareness of global warming.

Nigel Lawson

An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming (2008) – argues that the impact of man-made global warming has been exaggerated.

Thomas Malthus

An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798) – is based on an interpretation of the population increasing in geometric progression while food production increased in an arithmetic progression, which would leave a difference resulting in the want of food and famine, unless birth rates decreased.

Rachel Carson

Silent Spring (1962) – documents the detrimental effects on the environment – particularly on birds – of the indiscriminate use of pesticides.

E F Schumacher

Small is Beautiful (1973) – argues that small, appropriate technologies are a superior alternative to the mainstream ethos of "bigger is better".

John Seymour

The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency (1976) – is a practical handbook which draws on the author's personal experiences of husbandry and rural life.

Henry David Thoreau

Walden, first published as Walden; or, Life in the Woods (1854) – documents Walden’s two-year independent living project on Walden Pond, which spanned from 1845 to 1847. He illuminates his desire to live a solitary, simple life outside of civilization.


Matthew Arnold

Culture and Anarchy (1869) – is a series of essays. According to Arnold “Culture is a study of perfection”.

James Baldwin

Notes of a Native Son (1955) – is a collection of ten essays, mostly tackling issues of race in America and Europe.

Isaiah Berlin

The Hedgehog and the Fox (1953) – divides writers and thinkers into two categories: hedgehogs, who view the world through the lens of a single defining idea, and foxes, who draw on a wide variety of experiences and for whom the world cannot be boiled down to a single idea.

Albert Camus

The Rebel (1951) – treats both the metaphysical and the historical development of rebellion and revolution in societies, especially Western Europe.

Joan Didion

Slouching towards Bethlehem (1968) – is a collection of essays that describes her experiences in California during the 1960s. It takes its title from the poem The Second Coming by W. B. Yeats.

Nick Hornby

Songbook (published in the United Kingdom as 31 Songs) (2003) – is a collection of 26 essays about songs and the particular emotional resonance they carry for him.

Charles Lamb

Essays of Elia (1823) – is a collection of essays.

Octavio Paz

The Labyrinth of Solitude (1950) – is predominantly concerned with the theme of Mexican identity.

Jonathan Swift

A Modest Proposal (1729) – is a satirical essay written and published anonymously. Swift suggests that the impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies.

Henry David Thoreau

Civil Disobedience (1849) – argues that governments are typically more harmful than helpful. Motivated by his disgust with slavery and the Mexican–American War.


Letters Concerning the English Nation (1734) – is based on his experiences living in Great Britain between 1726 and 1729.

Oscar Wilde

The Critic as Artist (1891) – is a statement of Wilde’s aesthetic philosophy.

Tom Wolfe

Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers (1970) – are essays that look at the conflict between black rage and white guilt.

Virginia Woolf

A Room of One's Own (1929) – is an extended essay. Includes the famous dictum, “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”.


Caroline Criado-Perez

Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men (2019).

Angela Davis

Women, Race and Class (1981) – applies Marxist analysis to the relation of class and race to capitalism in America

Reni Eddo-Lodge

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race (2017) – explores the links between gender, class and race in Britain and other countries.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Women Who Run with the Wolves (1992) – explores the themes of the Wild Woman archetype, the forces that stand in the way of female self-awareness, and the necessary growth cycles of life, death, and rebirth.

Betty Friedan

The Feminine Mystique (1963) – describes the assumptions that women would be fulfilled from their housework, marriage, sexual lives, and children.

Germaine Greer

The Female Eunuch (1970) – argues that the "traditional" suburban, consumerist, nuclear family represses women sexually.

bell hooks – pen name of Gloria Jean Watkins

Ain't I a Woman?: Black women and feminism (1981) – is titled after Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?" speech. hooks examines the effect of racism and sexism on Black women, the civil rights movement, and feminist movements from suffrage to the 1970s.

Kate Millett

Sexual Politics (1970) – analyses the subjugation of women in prominent art and literature in the 20th century.

Susie Orbach

Fat is a Feminist Issue (1978) – analyses the psychology of dieting and over-eating in women.

Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In – Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (2013) – encourages women to assert themselves at work and at home.

Christina Hoff Sommers

Who Stole Feminism? (1994) – contends that equity feminists seek equal legal rights for women and men, while gender feminists seek to counteract historical inequalities based on gender.

Naomi Wolf

The Beauty Myth (1991) – argues that as the social power and prominence of women have increased, the pressure they feel to adhere to unrealistic social standards of physical beauty has also grown stronger because of commercial influences on the mass media.

Vagina: A New Biography (2012).

Mary Wollstonecraft

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) – focuses on women's rights, arguing that women should be allowed to have the same educational opportunities as men

Guides and Manuals

Scouting for Boys – has been published in various editions since 1908. Early editions were written and illustrated by Robert Baden-Powell with later editions being extensively rewritten by others.

The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks – is a 1948 book about cocktails by David A. Embury.

Married Love (1918) – by Marie Stopes was one of the first books openly to discuss birth control.

The Joy of Sex – is an illustrated sex manual by Alex Comfort.

Shell Guides were a series of guidebooks on the counties of Britain that were aimed at motorists. The series started in June 1934, with John Betjeman's Cornwall, and continued until 1984.

Baedeker Guides are travel guidebooks published by the Karl Baedeker firm of Germany beginning in the 1830s. The guides were used to select English cities as targets for bombing by the Luftwaffe in 1942.

Rough Guides travel titles cover more than 200 destinations beginning with the 1982 Rough Guide to Greece.

Lonely Planet was founded in Australia in 1973 by Tony and Maureen Wheeler. First book – Across Asia on the Cheap.

Fodor’s was founded in the US by Eugene Fodor in 1949. The guidebooks have a distinctive orange colour.

Frommer’s was founded by Arthur Frommer in 1957. First book – Europe on $5 a Day.


Peter Ackroyd

London: The Biography (2000).

The History of England – multi-volume v.1 Foundation (2011); v.2 Tudors (2012); v.3 Civil War (2014); v.4 Revolution (2016); v.5 Dominion (2018) and v.6 Innovation (2021).

Anne Applebaum

Gulag: A History (2003).

Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956 (2012).

Bede (also known as The Venerable Bede)

Ecclesiastical History of the English People (c. 731) – is the first comprehensive history of the early English Christian church as well as English secular life.

Anthony Beevor

Stalingrad (1998).

Berlin: The Downfall 1945 (2002).

D-Day: The Battle for Normandy (2009).

The Second World War (2012).

Fernand Braudel

The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (3 volumes) (1949-1966) – focuses on the second half of the sixteenth century but ranges back in history to the world of Odysseus and forward to the present day.

Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century (3 volumes) (1967-1979) – is a broad-scale history of the pre-industrial modern world.

Dee Brown

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (1970) – is a history of Native Americans in the American West in the late 19th century. The title is taken from the final phrase of a poem titled American Names by Stephen Vincent Benet.

Thomas Carlyle

The French Revolution: A History (1837) – charts the course of the French Revolution from 1789 to the height of the Reign of Terror and culminates in 1795.

E.H. Carr

A History of Soviet Russia (1950-1978) – is a 14-volume history of the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1929 which Carr later distilled into the single volume The Russian Revolution: from Lenin to Stalin, 1917-1929 (1979).

What is History? (1961) – a key text in the field of historiography.

Bruce Catton

Army of the Potomac trilogy - Mr. Lincoln's Army (1951); Glory Road (1952); and A Stillness at Appomattox (1953).

Centennial History of the Civil War trilogy - The Coming Fury (1961); Terrible Swift Sword (1963); and Never Call Retreat (1965).

Ulysses S. Grant trilogy - Grant Moves South (1960); Grant Takes Command (1969) – completed a trilogy which started with Lloyd Lewis's Captain Sam Grant (1950).

Winston Churchill

A History of the English-Speaking Peoples (1956-1958) – covers the period from Caesar's invasions of Britain (55 BC) to the end of the Second Boer War (1902).

William Dalrymple

The Last Mughal, The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi 1857 (2006) – tells the story of Bahadur Shar Zafar.

Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan (2012) – is the story of the first Afghan war of 1839–42.

Bernal Diaz del Castillo

The Conquest of New Spain (1568) – is a chronicle of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire, and also an eyewitness account of one of the most important military campaigns in military history.

Robert M. Edsel

The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History (2007) – a feature film based on the book was released in 2014.

Moses Finley

The World of Odysseus (1954)

The Ancient Economy (1973) – concerns the economic system of classical antiquity

Shelby Foote

The Civil War: A Narrative (1958-1974) – is a three volume, 2,968-page history of the American Civil War - Fort Sumter to Perryville (1958), Fredericksburg to Meridian (1963), and Red River to Appomattox (1974).

John Foxe

Actes and Monuments (1563), popularly known as Foxe's Book of Martyrs – is a work of Protestant history and martyrology.

Anna Funder

Stasiland: Stories from behind the Berlin Wall (2003) – concerns individuals who resisted the East German regime, and others who worked for its secret police, the Stasi.

Geoffrey of Monmouth

The History of the Kings of Britain (c. 1136) – chronicles the lives of the kings of the Britons over the course of two thousand years. It contains the earliest known version of the story of King Lear and his three daughters, and helped popularize the legend of King Arthur.

Gerald of Wales

Journey through Wales (c. 1191) – was written in Latin.

Edward Gibbon

The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776) – is a six-volume work that covers the history, from 98 to 1590, of the Roman Empire, the history of early Christianity and then of the Roman State Church, and the history of Europe.

David Goldfield

America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation (2011).

Max Hastings

All Hell Let Loose: The World at War 1939-1945 (2011).

Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy (2018).

Thomas Hobbes

Behemoth (1681). Full title: Behemoth: the history of the causes of the civil wars of England, and of the counsels and artifices by which they were carried on from the year 1640 to the year 1660. Also known as The Long Parliament.

Eric Hobsbawm

The Age of Revolution: Europe 1789–1848 (1962) – first in a trilogy of books about "the long 19th century" (1789-1914).

The Age of Capital: 1848-1875 (1975).

The Age of Empire: 1875–1914 (1987).

The Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century, 1914–1991 (1994).

James Holland

The War in the West - A New History – 2 volumes (to date) - Volume 1: Germany Ascendant 1939-1941 (2015); Volume 2: The Allies Fight Back 1941-43 (2017).

Tom Holland

Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic (2003).

Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West (2005).

Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom (2008).

In the Shadow of the Sword: The Battle for Global Empire and the End of the Ancient World (2012) – about the rise of Islam.

Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar (2015) - covers the reigns of the first five Roman emperors, from Augustus to Nero.

Robert Hughes

The Fatal Shore (1986) – is a history of the early years of British colonisation of Australia.

David Irving

The Destruction of Dresden (1963).

Hitler's War (1977).

Uprising! (1981) – is about the 1956 revolt in Hungary.

Churchill's War (1987).

Goebbels – Mastermind of the Third Reich (1996).

C.L.R. James

The Black Jacobins (1938) – is a history of the Haitian Revolution of 1791–1804. Focuses on the leadership of Toussaint L'Ouverture.

Ian Kershaw

The "Hitler Myth": Image and Reality in the Third Reich (1987).

Hitler 1889–1936: Hubris (1998).

Hitler 1936–1945: Nemesis (2000).

The End: Hitler’s Germany 1944-45 (2011).

To Hell and Back: Europe, 1914–1949 (2015)

Robin Lane Fox

Alexander the Great (1973).

The Search for Alexander (1981).

James McPherson

Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (1988) – is a Pulitzer Prize-winning work on the American Civil War.

Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay

The History of England from the Accession of James the Second (1848) – is the full title of the five-volume work also known as The History of England. Covers the period from 1685 to 1702.

Ben Macintyre

Agent Zigzag: The True Wartime Story of Eddie Chapman: Lover, Betrayer, Hero, Spy (2007) – tells the story of British World War II double agent Eddie Chapman.

Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story that Changed the Course of World War II. (2010) – covers the successful British deception operation to disguise the 1943 Allied invasion of Sicily.

The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War (2018) – focuses on Oleg Gordievsky, who was a KGB agent but was also secretly spying for the British intelligence service in the 1970s and 1980s.

Simon Sebag Montefiore

Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar (2003).

Jerusalem: The Biography (2011).

The Romanovs 1613-1918 (2016).

Neil Oliver

The Story of the British Isles in 100 Places (2018).

The Story of the World in 100 Moments (2021).

John Prebble

Fire and Sword Trilogy – concerns the fall of the clan system in Scotland. Culloden (1961) chronicles the defeat of the clans in one pivotal battle. The two other works are The Highland Clearances (1963) and Glencoe (1966).

Walter Raleigh

The History of the World (1614).

The Discovery of Guiana (1596).

Peter Read

The Stolen Generations (1981) – refers to children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families by the Australian and State government agencies and church missions.

John Reed

Ten Days that Shook the World (1919) – concerns the October Revolution in Russia in 1917 which Reed experienced firsthand.

Steven Runciman

A History of the Crusades (1951-54) – is a three-volume work in the historiography of the Crusades. Vol 1 The First Crusade and the Foundation of the Kingdom of Jerusalem (1951); Vol 2 The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Frankish East, 1100-1187 (1952) and Vol 3 The Kingdom of Acre and the Later Crusades (1954).

Cornelius Ryan

The Longest Day (1959) – tells the story of D-Day, 6 June 1944.

A Bridge Too Far (1974) – tells the story of Operation Market Garden in 1944.

Saki (Hector Hugh Munro)

The Rise of the Russian Empire (1900).

Simon Schama

Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution (1989).

A History of Britain – a three-volume work written to accompany a series of BBC documentaries. At the Edge of the World?: 3000 BC–AD 1603 (2000); The British Wars: 1603–1776 (2001) and The Fate of Empire: 1776–2001 (2002).

W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman

1066 and All That (1930) – is a parody of the style of history teaching in English schools at the time.

William L. Shirer

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany (1960).

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The Gulag Archipelago (1973) – describes the Gulag system in place in the Soviet Union in the middle of the 20th century. The book was not published in the Soviet Union. Solzhenitsyn was arrested and charged with treason in 1974, and was exiled from the Soviet Union.

Oswald Spengler

The Decline of the West (1918) – theorises that all civilisations go through an inevitable cycle of ages of rise and decline in power, with the West currently entering its declining period.

David Starkey

Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII (2003).

The Monarchy of England: The Beginnings (2004).

Monarchy: From the Middle Ages to Modernity (2006).

Magna Carta: The True Story Behind the Charter (2015).

A. J. P. Taylor

The Origins of the Second World War (1961) – controversially argues that Hitler did not set out to cause World War II as part of an evil master plan, but blundered into it partly by accident, aided by the shortcomings of others.

English History 1914–1945 (Volume XV of the Oxford History of England) (1965) – examines the social and cultural history of England.

Studs Terkel

The Good War: An Oral History of World War II (1984) – consists of a series of interviews with various men and women who directly experienced the events leading up to, including, and following World War II.

E.P. Thompson

The Making of the English Working Class (1963) – concentrates on English artisan and working-class society from 1780 to 1832.

G. M. Trevelyan

Garibaldi's Defence of the Roman Republic (1907).

Garibaldi and the Thousand (1909).

Garibaldi and the Making of Italy (1911).

History of England (1926).

The English Revolution, 1688–1689 (1938).

English Social History: A Survey of Six Centuries: Chaucer to Queen Victoria (1942).

Arnold J. Toynbee

A Study of History – is a 12-volume universal history published from 1934 to 1961.

Hugh Trevor-Roper

The Last Days of Hitler (1947) – emerged from his assignment as a British intelligence officer in 1945 to discover what happened in the last days of Hitler's bunker.

Barbara W. Tuchman

The Guns of August (1962) – is centred on the first month of World War I.

The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World before the War, 1890–1914 (1966).

Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911–45 (1972) – covers the life of Joseph Stilwell, the military attache to China from 1935 to 1939 and commander of United States forces and allied chief of staff to Chiang Kai-shek from 1942 to 1944.

A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century (1978) discusses how the calamitous events of the 20th century might be mirrored by those of the 14th century.

The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam (1984) – examines possible ‘government folly’ in pursuing policies against their own interests.

Alison Weir

The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1991).

Eleanor of Aquitaine: By the Wrath of God, Queen of England (1999).

Isabella: She-Wolf of France, Queen of England (2005).

Edmund Wilson

To the Finland Station: A Study in the Writing and Acting of History (1940) – a history of revolutionary thought and socialism from 1789 to 1917.

Woodrow Wilson

A History of the American People (1901-02) – was published in five volumes.

Karl August Wittfogel

Oriental Despotism: A Comparative Study of Total Power (1957) – asserts that Oriental “hydraulic civilizations”, that maintain control over the population by means of controlling the supply of water, are essentially different from those of the Western world.

Howard Zinn

A People's History of the United States (1980) – portrays a side of American history that can largely be seen as the exploitation and manipulation of the majority by rigged systems that hugely favour a small aggregate of elite rulers.


Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward

All the President’s Men (1974) – concerns the two journalists investigating the Watergate scandal for The Washington Post.

Michael Herr

Dispatches (1977) – describes the author's experiences in Vietnam as a war correspondent for Esquire magazine.

Marshall McLuhan

The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) – includes the first use of the term “global village”.

The Medium is the Massage (1967) – is a play on the phrase “The medium is the message”.

Jacob Riis

How the Other Half Lives (1890) – is an early publication of photojournalism, documenting squalid living conditions in New York City slums in the 1880s.

Jon Ronson

The Men Who Stare at Goats (2004) – concerns the U.S. Army's exploration of New Age concepts and the potential military applications of the paranormal.

Hunter S. Thompson

Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (1967).

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 – analyzes the 1972 presidential campaign in which Richard Nixon was re-elected President.

Tom Wolfe

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968) – chronicles the adventures of Ken Kesey and his group of followers known as the Merry Pranksters. Acid Tests are parties with LSD-laced Kool-Aid.

The Right Stuff (1977) – contrasts the "Mercury Seven" astronauts and their families with other test pilots such as Chuck Yeager.


Henry Watson Fowler and Francis George Fowler

The King's English (1906) – covers English usage and grammar.

Henry Watson Fowler

A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1926) – is a style guide to the English language.

Ernest Gowers

The Complete Plain Words (1954) – is a style guide.

John Humphrys

Lost for Words: The Mangling and Manipulating of the English Language (2004).

William Strunk and E. B. White

The Elements of Style (1959) – is a revision of Stunk’s original 1918 book.


Lesley and Roy Adkins

The Keys of Egypt (2000) - an account of Champollion's successful deciphering of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Harold Bloom

The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages (1994) – is a survey of the major literary works of Europe and the Americas since the 14th century.

John Chadwick

The Decipherment of Linear B (1958) – the story of the decipherment of the ancient Minoan script by Chadwick and Michael Ventris.

Stephen Fry

The Ode Less Travelled (2005) – is a book about writing poetry.

Paul Fussell

The Great War and Modern Memory (1975) – is a cultural and literary analysis of the impact of World War I on the development of modern literature.

Cyrus H. Gordon

Forgotten Scripts: the Story of their Decipherment (1968).

John Ray

The Rosetta Stone and the Rebirth of Ancient Egypt (2007) – the story of the stone’s discovery and the subsequent decipherment of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs by Thomas Young and Jean-Francois Champollion.

Philip Sidney

The Defence of Poesy (1595) – addresses general objections to poetry.



The Canon of Medicine (1025) – set the standards for medicine in Medieval Europe and the Islamic world.

Henry Gray

Gray's Anatomy (1858) – is a standard reference book of human anatomy.

Thomas Sydenham

Observationes Medicae (1676) – was a standard textbook of medicine for two centuries.


David Byrne

How Music Works (2012).

George Grove

Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1878).

Gustav Kobbe

The Complete Opera Book (1919).

Luigi Russolo

The Art of Noises (1913) – is a Futurist manifesto. One of the most influential texts in 20th century musical aesthetics.

Natural history

John James Audubon

The Birds of America (1827) – consists of 435 hand-coloured, life-size prints, made from engraved plates. First plate is a wild turkey. Printed in Double Elephant Folio.

Thomas Bewick

History of British Birds – was published in two volumes. Volume 1, Land Birds (1797). Volume 2, Water Birds (1804). The book is admired mainly for the wood-engravings.

James Bond

Field Guide to the Birds of the West Indies (1936) – was owned by novelist Ian Fleming, who used the ornithologist's name for his own fictional British secret agent character.

Edith Holden

The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady (1977) – was the posthumous publication of Holden’s Nature Notes for 1906.

William Keble Martin

The Concise British Flora in Colour (1965).

Gilbert White

The Natural History of Selborne (1789) – contains observations made by White in the Hampshire village of Selborne.

Peter Wohlleben

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate (2015) – explains the processes of life, death, and regeneration that occur in trees.


Alain de Botton

The Consolations of Philosophy (2000).

Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler

The Art of Happiness (1998) – Howard Cutler, a psychiatrist poses questions to the 14th Dalai Lama.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

Communist Manifesto (1848) – presents an analytical approach to the class struggle (historical and then-present) and the conflicts of capitalism and the capitalist mode of production

Karl Marx

Das Kapital (Capital: A Critique of Political Economy) consists of 3 volumes: Capital (1867), Capital: The Process of Circulation of Capital (1885) and Capital: The Process of Capitalist Production (1894). Marx died in 1883 and the second and third volumes were prepared by Friedrich Engels from Marx’s notes. Marx expounds his theory of the capitalist system, its dynamism, and its tendencies toward self-destruction. He described his purpose as to lay bare “the economic law of motion of modern society”.

Nassim Taleb

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (2007) – refers to a large-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare event beyond the realm of normal expectations.

Alan Watts

The Way of Zen (1957) – played a major role in introducing Buddhism to a mostly young, Western audience.

Colin Wilson

The Outsider (1956) – examines the role of the social "outsider" in seminal works by various key literary and cultural figures. The book helped popularise existentialism in Britain.


Walter Bagehot

The English Constitution (1867) – explores the constitution of the United Kingdom, specifically the functioning of Parliament and the British monarchy.

Hillary Clinton

It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us (1996) – presents Clinton’s vision for the children of America.

William Cobbett

Rural Rides (1830) – collects together the articles published in his Political Register between 1822 and 1826, reflecting conditions of farmers and labourers in the English countryside, together with his views on the necessary actions for remedy and the shortcomings of government. London is described as ‘The Great Wen’.

Anthony Crosland

The Future of Socialism (1956) – argues for prioritising the end of poverty and improving public services.

Barbara Demick

Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea (2009) – is based on interviews with refugees from the city of Chongjin who had escaped North Korea.

Benjamin Disraeli

The Vindication of the English Constitution (1835).

Friedrich Engels

The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845) – argues that the Industrial Revolution made workers worse off.

David Frum

Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic (2018).

Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy (2020).

Muammar Gaddafi

The Green Book (1975) – sets out the political philosophy of Gaddafi.

Barry Goldwater

The Conscience of a Conservative (1960) – is a statement of politically and economically American conservative ideas which were to gain influence during the following decades.

Robert Kagan

Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order (2003) – addresses philosophical disparities between Europe's steadfast aim toward a negotiated paradise of perpetual peace and America's conviction of the continuing necessity for military power.

Henry Kissinger

On China (2011) – focuses on Chinese history through foreign policy considerations.


The Spirit of Law (1748) – is a treatise on political theory, as well as a pioneering work in comparative law, first published anonymously. The book influenced the Founding Fathers of the United States in drafting the U.S. Constitution.

P. J. O’Rourke

How The Hell Did This Happen? The Election of 2016 (2017).

Margaret Thatcher

Statecraft: Strategies for a Changing World (2003).

Bob Woodward

Fear: Trump in the White House (2018).

Mary Wollstonecraft

A Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790) – is a political pamphlet which attacks aristocracy and advocates republicanism. Written as a response to the publication of Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France.

Michael Woolf

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House (2018).

Siege: Trump Under Fire (2019).


Viktor Frankl

Man's Search for Meaning (1946) – chronicles his experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during World War II, and describes his psychotherapeutic method known as logotherapy.

Daniel Kahnemann

Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011) – describes two different ways the brain forms thoughts: System 1 (fast), and System 2 (slow).

Arthur Koestler

The Ghost in the Machine (1967) – argues that the personal experience of duality arises from what Koestler calls a ‘holon’, something that is simultaneously a whole in and of itself, as well as a part of a larger whole.

William James

The Principles of Psychology (1890) – was a hugely influential textbook on psychology.


Roget’s Thesaurus was created in 1805 by Peter Mark Roget. It was released to the public in 1852. The most recent edition (the eighth) contains 443,000 words.

Encyclopedia Britannica was first published between 1768 and 1771 in Edinburgh, as three volumes. The 2010 version of the 15th edition, which spans 32 volumes, was the last printed edition.

Whitaker’s Almanac was originally published by J Whitaker & Sons from 1868 to 1997.

Crockford’s Clerical Directory is the authoritative directory of Anglican clergy and churches in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It was first issued in 1858 by John Crockford.

Debrett’s was founded by John Debrett in 1769. Debrett's Peerage & Baronetage is the only up-to-date printed reference guide to the United Kingdom's titled families.

Guinness Book of Records was founded in 1955 by Norris and Ross McWhirter. It has been known as Guinness World Records since 1999.

A to Z of Almost Everything: A Compendium of General Knowledge by Trevor Montague is currently on the eighth edition.

The Cambridge Ancient History – covers prehistory-600 in 15 volumes (19 books)

The Cambridge Medieval History – covers 300-1500 in 8 volumes

The New Cambridge Medieval History – covers 500-1500 in 7 volumes

The New Cambridge Modern History – covers 1493-1945 in 14 volumes

The Oxford History of England – covers Roman Britain-1945 in 15 volumes (16 books)

The New Oxford History of England – covers 1075-1990 in 11 volumes


Aleister Crowley

The Book of the Law (1909) – sacred central text of Thelema.

James George Frazer

The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion – is a wide-ranging, comparative study of mythology and religion. Originally published in 2 volumes in 1890. Expanded to 12 volumes by 1915.

Thomas a Kempis

The Imitation of Christ (c. 1418) – is a Christian devotional book.

Herman Wouk

This is My God (1959) – is an explanation of Judaism from a Modern Orthodox perspective, written for Jewish and non-Jewish audiences.


Georgius Agricola

De re metallica (1556) – the state of the art of mining, refining, and smelting metals.

Jacob Bronowski

The Ascent of Man (1973) – traces the development of human society through its understanding of science. Adapted from a BBC television series.

Bill Bryson

A Short History of Nearly Everything (2003) – explains some areas of science, using easily accessible language.

Lewis Carroll

The Game of Logic (1886) – describes the use of a board game to represent logical propositions and inferences.

Symbolic Logic (1897).

Robert Chambers

Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844) – is a work of speculative natural history and philosophy published anonymously. It was so controversial that his authorship was not acknowledged until after his death.

Marcus Chown

Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You: A Guide to the Universe (2007)

We Need to Talk About Kelvin (2009).

The Ascent of Gravity: The Quest to Understand the Force that explains everything (2017).

Giulia Enders

Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ (2014).

Conrad Gessner

Historiae animalium – is a 4,500-page encyclopaedia of animals that was published in five volumes between 1551 and 1587. It was the first modern zoological work that attempts to describe all the animals known.

James Gleick

Chaos: Making a New Science (1987) – was one of the first books describing chaos theory.

Time Travel: A History (2016) – covers the origin of the idea of time travel and of its usage in literature.

Ben Goldacre

Bad Science (2008) – is a critique of irrationality and certain forms of alternative medicine.

Bad Pharma (2012) – is an examination of the pharmaceutical industry and its relationship with the medical profession.

Brian Greene

The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory (1999).

John Gribbin

In Search of Schrodinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality (1984).

Almost Everyone's Guide to Science: The Universe, Life, and Everything (1999).

The Universe: A Biography (2007).

Michio Kaku

Physics of the Impossible (2008) – discusses speculative technologies to introduce topics of fundamental physics.

Physics of the Future (2011) – discusses possible future technological development over the next 100 years.

The Future of the Mind (2014) – discusses various possibilities of advanced technology that can alter the brain and mind.

The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything (2021) explores the history of unification theories of physics.

Alfred Kinsey

Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male (1948).

Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female (1953).

David Lack

Darwin’s Finches (1947) – describes the finches of the Galapagos Islands.

Leon Lederman

The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? (1993) – Lederman explains in the book why he gave the Higgs boson the nickname "The God Particle".

William H. Masters and Virginia E. Johnson

Human Sexual Response (1966).

Brian May, Patrick Moore and Chris Lintott

Bang! The History of the Universe (2006).

Patrick Moore

A Guide to the Moon (1953) – debut book.

Eugene Odum and Howard Odum

Fundamentals of Ecology (1953).

Luca Pacioli

On Divine Proportions (1509) – concerns mathematical proportions and their applications to geometry, to visual art through perspective, and to architecture. Illustrated by Leonardo da Vinci.

John Playfair

Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory of the Earth (1802).

Gavin Pretor-Pinney

The Cloudspotter’s Guide (2006).

The Wavewatcher’s Companion (2010).

Venki Ramakrishnam

Gene Machine: The Race to Decipher the Secrets of the Ribosome (2018) – concerns the structure and function of ribosomes.

Carlo Rovelli

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics (2015) – has sold over a million copies worldwide.

Reality is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity (2016).

The Order of Time (2018).

Simon Singh

Fermat’s Last Theorem (1997) – tells the story of the search for a proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, first conjectured by Pierre de Fermat in 1637, and not solved until 1995 by Andrew Wiles.

Dava Sobel

Longitude (1995) – tells the story of John Harrison, an 18th century clockmaker who created the first chronometer sufficiently accurate to be used to determine longitude at sea.

Herbert Spencer

Principles of Biology (1864) – includes the first use of the expression “survival of the fittest”.

Steven Weinberg

The First Three Minutes: A Modern View of the Origin of the Universe (1977) – attempts to explain the early stages of the universe after the Big Bang.

Thomas Willis

Anatomy of the Brain (1664) – coined the term ‘neurology’.


Helen Gurley Brown

Sex and the Single Girl (1962) – is an advice book that encourages women to become financially independent and experience sexual relationships before or without marriage.

David D. Burns

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy (1980) – popularized cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

The Feeling Good Handbook (1989).

Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936).

Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989) – presents an approach to being effective in attaining goals. The book has sold over 40 million copies.

John Gray

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus (1992) – states that most common relationship problems between men and women are a result of fundamental psychological differences between the sexes.

Robert Greene

The 48 Laws of Power (1998) – details the laws for attaining power in life, business, and more, and gives historical examples of each law in practice. The book is popular with prison inmates and celebrities.

Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich (1937).

Spencer Johnson

Who moved My Cheese? (1998) – describes the way one reacts to major change in one's work and life, and four typical reactions to those changes by two mice and two "Littlepeople", during their hunt for “cheese”.

Sarah Knight

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k (2015) – is a parody of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

Marie Kondo

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (2011) – one of the main principles is keeping only possessions which "spark joy".

Mark Manson

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life (2016) – argues that life's struggles give it meaning, and that the mindless positivity of typical self-help books is neither practical nor helpful

Paul McKenna

I Can Make you Thin (2005).

I Can Make you Rich (2007).

I Can Make you Happy (2011).

M. Scott Peck

The Road Less Travelled (1978) – is a description of the attributes that make for a fulfilled human being. First line: “life is difficult”.

Jordan Peterson

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (2018).

Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life (2021).

Samuel Smiles

Self-Help (1859) – has been called "the bible of mid-Victorian liberalism".

Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now (1997) – is based on the message that living in the now is the truest path to happiness and enlightenment.

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (2005) – calls on us to transform our consciousness to a more awakened state, in order to create a better world.

Bill Wilson

The Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous) (1939) – describes how to recover from alcoholism. It is the originator of the "twelve-step method" widely used to treat many addictions.

Paul Wilson

The Little Book of Calm (1997) – is aimed at counteracting stress.


Richard Hoggart

The Uses of Literacy (1957) – a key influence in the history of English and media studies and in the founding of cultural studies.

Robert K. Merton

Social Theory and Social Structure (1949) – is one of the most frequently cited texts in social sciences.

C. Wright Mills

The Power Elite (1956) – describes the relationships and class alliances among the US political, military, and economic elites.

George Ritzer

The McDonaldization of Society (1993) – describes the process where a society adopts the characteristics of a fast-food restaurant.

Seebohm Rowntree

Poverty, A Study of Town Life (1901) – details his investigation of poverty in York.

Edward Said

Orientalism (1978) – establishes the eponymous term "Orientalism" as a critical concept to describe the West's commonly contemptuous depiction and portrayal of "The East".

Culture and Imperialism (1993) – expands the arguments of Orientalism.

Georg Simmel

The Philosophy of Money (1900) – is a book on economic sociology that views money as a structuring agent that helps people understand the totality of life.


Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack – was founded by John Wisden in 1864. Its annual publication has continued uninterrupted to the present day, making it the longest running sports annual in history.

Arthur Ashe

A Hard Road to Glory: A History of the African American Athlete (1993).

Jim Fixx

The Complete Book of Running (1977) – is the book that launched the jogging craze.

Laura Hillenbrand

Seabiscuit: An American Legend (2001) – is a biography of the Thoroughbred racehorse Seabiscuit.

Horace Lindrum

Snooker Billiards and Pool (1974).

David Wallechinsky

The Complete Book of the Olympics (1984).

Izaac Walton

The Compleat Angler (1653).


Karen Armstrong

A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (1993).

Thomas Cranmer

Book of Common Prayer (1549).

C. S. Lewis

Mere Christianity (1952).

William Paley

Natural Theology or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity (1802) – includes the watchmaker analogy, that a design implies a designer.

Travel books

James Boswell

The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson (1785)

Bill Bryson

The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America (1989).

Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe (1992).

Notes from a Small Island (1996) – describes Bryson’s travels around Great Britain.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (1998).

Down Under (2000) – describes Bryson’s travels in Australia.

The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island (2015).

Robert Byron

The Road to Oxiana (1937) – documents Byron's travels around Persia and Afghanistan in 1933-34.

Bruce Chatwin

In Patagonia (1977).

Anton Chekhov

Sakhalin Island (1893) – consists of "travel notes" written after Chekhov's trip to the island of Sakhalin in 1890.

Daniel Defoe

A Tour thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain (1724).

Heinrich Harrer

Seven Years in Tibet (1952) – is based on his real-life experiences in Tibet between 1944 and 1951.

Ernest Hemingway

Green Hills of Africa (1935) is an account of a month on safari he and his wife took in East Africa.

Mary Kingsley

Travels in West Africa (1897).

Jan Morris

Venice (1960).

Dervla Murphy

Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle (1965) – describes an overland cycling trip through Europe, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

V. S. Naipaul

Among the Believers (1981) – describes a six-month journey across the Asian continent after the Iranian Revolution.

Eric Newby

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush (1958) – is an autobiographical account of his adventures in the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan.

J. B. Priestley

English Journey (1934).

John Steinbeck

Travels with Charley (1960) – depicts a road trip around the United States made by Steinbeck, in the company of his poodle Charley.

Robert Louis Stevenson

An Inland Voyage (1878) – concerns a canoeing trip through France and Belgium. It is Stevenson's earliest book.

Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes (1879) – depicts a 12-day solo hiking journey through the sparsely populated Cevennes mountains in France. It was one of the first books to present hiking and camping as recreational activities. The donkey is called Modestine.

Paul Theroux

The Great Railway Bazaar (1975) – describes a train journey through Europe to Japan and back again.

The Old Patagonian Express (1979) – is an account of a train journey from Boston to Patagonia.

The Kingdom by the Sea (1983) – describes a journey around Great Britain.

Riding the Iron Rooster (1988) – describes a train journey through China.

Dark Star Safari (2002) – is an account of a journey from Cairo to Cape Town.

Frances Milton Trollope

Domestic Manners of the Americans (1832) – created a sensation, as Trollope had a caustic view of the Americans and found America strongly lacking in manners and learning.

Mark Twain

A Tramp Abroad (1880) – details a journey through central and southern Europe.

Alfred Wainwright

Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells – was published between 1955 and 1966 and has become the standard reference work to 214 of the fells of the English Lake District.

A Coast to Coast Walk (1973) – from St Bees on the West Coast to Robin Hood's Bay on the East Coast.

Evelyn Waugh

When the Going Was Good (1946) – is an anthology of travel books.

Rebecca West

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941) – is an account of Balkan history and ethnography during West's six-week trip to Yugoslavia in 1937.


Christopher Andrew

The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 (2009).

Ronald Blythe

Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village (1969) – is an account of agricultural life in Suffolk from the turn of the century to the 1960s.

Alain de Botton

Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion (2012) – argues that while supernatural claims made by religion are false, some aspects of religion are still useful and can be applied in secular life and society.

Robert Burton

The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621) – though presented as a medical text, the book uses melancholy as the lens through which all human emotion and thought may be scrutinized.

Joseph Campbell

The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949) – is a work of comparative mythology. Introduced the term monomyth, or “hero’s journey”.

Baldassare Castiglione

The Book of the Courtier (1528) – is a courtesy book dealing with questions of the etiquette and morality of the courtier.

Thomas Chippendale

The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director (1754) – is a book of his designs.

Amy Chua

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011) – describes the strict parenting regimes of Chinese mothers.

Kenneth Clark

Civilisation (1969) – outlines the history of Western art, architecture and philosophy. Adapted from a BBC television series.

Jared Diamond

Guns, Germs and Steel (1997) – argues that civilization is not created out of superior intelligence, but is the result of a chain of developments, each made possible by certain preconditions.

Ronald Dworkin

Law’s Empire (1986) – describes Dworkin’s theory of law as integrity.

Terry Eagleton

Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983).

Joshua Foer

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything (2011) – in 2006, Foer won the USA Memory Championship.

Thomas L. Friedman

The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization (1999) – introduces the Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention, that states "No two countries that both had McDonald's had fought a war against each other since each got its McDonald's".

David Graeber

Debt: The First 5000 Years (2011) – claims that debt and credit historically appeared before money, which itself appeared before barter.

Bullshit Jobs (2018) – contends that over half of societal work is pointless. He describes five types of meaningless jobs: flunkies, goons, duct tapers, box tickers, and taskmasters.

Hugo Grotius

Freedom of the Seas (1609) – formulated the view that the sea was international territory, and all nations were free to use it for seafaring trade.

On the Law of War and Peace (1625) – is a foundational work in international law.

Richard Hakluyt

The Principall Navigations, Voiages, Traffiques and Discoueries of the English Nation (1589) – promoted colonisation by England in the New World.

Yuval Noah Harari

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2014) – surveys the history of humankind, starting from the Stone Age.

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2016) – describes mankind's current abilities and achievements and attempts to paint an image of the future.

Heinrich Harrer

The White Spider (1959) – is the story of the first ascent of the north face of the Eiger.

Ernest Hemingway

Death in the Afternoon (1932) – concerns the ceremony and traditions of Spanish bullfighting

The Dangerous Summer – describes the real-life bullfighting rivalry that took place in 1959 between legendary bullfighters Luis Miguel Dominguin and his brother-in-law Antonio Ordonez. Published posthumously in 1985.

Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray

The Bell Curve (1994) – argues that human intelligence is substantially influenced by both inherited and environmental factors. The book is highly controversial as the authors discussed purported connections between race and intelligence.

Maurice Herzog

Annapurna: First Conquest of an 8000-meter Peak (1951).

Rachel Hewitt

Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey (2010).

Christopher Hitchens

God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (2007) – makes a case against organised religion.

Phillip E. Johnson

Darwin on Trial (1991) – disputes tenets of science and evolution and promotes creationism. It has become a central text of the intelligent design movement.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Gift from the Sea (1955) – is a book for women about how to flourish in life, how to balance life, work, motherhood; about finding space to think and breathe.

Norman Mailer

Of a Fire on the Moon (1971) – is a documentary and reflection on the Apollo 11 moon landing.

John Milton

Areopagitica (1644) – is a treatise condemning censorship.

Michael Moore

Stupid White Men ...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation! (2001) – criticises late 20th century US politics.

Ralph Nader

Unsafe at Any Speed (1965) – is a study that revealed that many American automobiles were unsafe, especially the Chevrolet Corvair.

Vance Packard

The Hidden Persuaders (1957) – explored advertisers' use of consumer motivational research and other psychological techniques, including depth psychology and subliminal tactics, to manipulate expectations and induce desire for products.

Serhii Plokhy

Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy (2018).

Terry Pratchett

A Slip of the Keyboard (2014) – brings together the best of Pratchett’s nonfiction writing on his life, on his work, and on the weirdness of the world.

David Reuben

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972).

Carl Ritter

Geography in Relation to Nature and the History of Mankind – is a 19-volume work written between 1816 and 1859. One of the most extensive works of geographical literature written by a single author.

Asne Seierstad

The Bookseller of Kabul (2002) – follows a family in Afghanistan following the 9/11 attacks.

George Bernard Shaw

The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism (1928).  First Pelican book, published in 1937.

Benjamin Spock

The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care (1946).

James Surowiecki

The Wisdom of Crowds (2004).

Lisa Taddeo

Three Women (2019) – covers the sexual and emotional lives of three women from different backgrounds and regions of the United States.

Saint Teresa of Avila

The Way of Perfection (1566) – is a book of spiritual instruction for her nuns.

Immanuel Velikovsky

Worlds in Collision (1950) – postulates that around the 15th century BC, Venus was ejected from Jupiter as a comet-like object and passed near Earth. The object allegedly changed Earth's orbit and axis, causing innumerable catastrophes that are mentioned in early mythologies and religions from around the world.

Meik Wiking

The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well (2016).

For other nonfiction books see: Biographies / Economics / Philosophy / Scientists