The Greatest British "Nonfiction" Books Since 2010

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books in literature. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 210 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed literary works. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details about the selection process can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake

    "Entangled Life" explores the fascinating world of fungi and their intricate relationships with other organisms. From the underground networks that connect trees and plants to the role of fungi in shaping ecosystems, the book delves into the hidden realms of mycelium and its impact on our planet. With captivating storytelling and scientific insights, the author reveals the astonishing diversity and resilience of fungi, challenging our understanding of life itself.

  2. 2. Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias In A World Designed For Men by Caroline Criado Perez​​

    This book sheds light on the pervasive gender data gap that exists in our society, revealing how the world we live in is largely designed for men. Through extensive research and compelling examples, the author exposes the ways in which women are systematically excluded and overlooked in various aspects of life, from healthcare and transportation to the workplace and public policy. By highlighting the consequences of this data bias, the book calls for a more inclusive and equitable approach to designing and collecting data, ultimately advocating for a world that recognizes and addresses the needs and experiences of all genders.

  3. 3. The Secret Lives Of Colour by Kassia St. Clair

    This book delves into the rich history and cultural significance of colors, exploring their origins, science, and social implications. It offers a vibrant journey through a rainbow of hues, from the rarest pigments to the most ubiquitous shades, revealing fascinating stories behind each color. The narrative uncovers how colors have been produced and used in art, fashion, politics, and warfare, shaping human civilization in profound ways. Through anecdotes and meticulous research, the book presents an eye-opening perspective on the palette of our world, illustrating how deeply colors influence our experiences and our very understanding of the world around us.

  4. 4. Midnight In Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham

    "Midnight In Chernobyl" is a non-fiction book that tells the story of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The book provides a detailed account of the events leading up to the explosion, the immediate aftermath, and the long-term effects of the disaster. It also explores the political and social context of Soviet Ukraine at the time, and the impact that the disaster had on the country and the world. The book draws on interviews with survivors, officials, and experts, as well as archival documents and scientific research, to provide a comprehensive and compelling narrative of one of the worst nuclear accidents in history.

  5. 5. Becoming Unbecoming by Una

    This graphic novel is a poignant exploration of gender violence, identity, and the journey of healing. It intertwines the author's personal narrative of growing up in the 1970s in Northern England with the historical backdrop of the Yorkshire Ripper, a notorious serial killer targeting women. As the author grapples with her own experiences of sexual abuse and societal pressures, the book delves into themes of misogyny, shame, and the societal tendency to blame victims rather than perpetrators. Through powerful illustrations and candid prose, it offers a deeply personal account of the struggle to overcome trauma and the cultural silence surrounding sexual violence.

  6. 6. Adventures In The Anthropocene: A Journey To The Heart Of The Planet We Made by Gaia Vince

    "Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made" takes readers on a captivating exploration of the Earth's current epoch, the Anthropocene, where human activities have become the dominant force shaping the planet. Through vivid storytelling and immersive experiences, the author delves into various corners of the world, from the depths of the Amazon rainforest to the bustling streets of Mumbai, to uncover the profound impact of human actions on the environment. With a blend of scientific research, personal narratives, and thought-provoking insights, this book offers a compelling and urgent call to action to address the challenges of our rapidly changing planet.

  7. 7. Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life Of The Teenage Brain by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

    "Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life Of The Teenage Brain" explores the fascinating world of adolescent brain development, shedding light on the unique cognitive and emotional processes that shape teenage behavior. Drawing from cutting-edge research and personal anecdotes, the book delves into the complexities of adolescence, offering valuable insights into the impact of social media, risk-taking behavior, and mental health on teenagers. It ultimately emphasizes the importance of understanding and supporting teenagers during this critical period of brain development.

  8. 8. Stuff Matters: The Strange Stories Of The Marvellous Materials That Shape Our Man Made World by Mark Miodownik

    In this captivating book, the author explores the fascinating world of materials that surround us, revealing their hidden stories and remarkable properties. From the glass in our windows to the concrete in our buildings, Miodownik takes readers on a journey through the history, science, and cultural significance of everyday materials. With a blend of personal anecdotes, scientific explanations, and historical context, he showcases the marvels of materials and their impact on our lives, ultimately highlighting the beauty and complexity of the man-made world we inhabit.

  9. 9. The Wavewatcher's Companion by Gavin Pretor-Pinney

    "The Wavewatcher's Companion" by Gavin Pretor-Pinney is a captivating exploration of waves in all their forms, from the crashing waves of the ocean to the invisible waves of sound and light. With a mix of scientific knowledge and poetic prose, the author takes readers on a journey through the fascinating world of waves, revealing their beauty, power, and influence on our everyday lives. From the physics behind wave formation to the cultural significance of waves in art and literature, this book offers a unique and thought-provoking perspective on the wonders of the natural world.

  10. 10. Explaining Humans by Camilla Pang

    "Explaining Humans" is an insightful and thought-provoking book that explores the complexities of human behavior and neurodiversity. Written by Camilla Pang, a neurodivergent scientist, the book offers a unique perspective on understanding the world through the lens of autism and ADHD. With a blend of personal anecdotes, scientific research, and philosophical reflections, Pang delves into topics such as emotions, social interactions, and the pursuit of knowledge, providing readers with a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.

  11. 11. H Is For Hawk by Helen MacDonald

    "H Is For Hawk" is a memoir by Helen MacDonald about her experiences training a goshawk named Mabel after the sudden death of her father. MacDonald reflects on her grief and the challenges of training a wild bird while also delving into the history of falconry and the life of T.H. White, the author of "The Once and Future King" who also trained a goshawk. The book explores themes of loss, nature, and the complexities of human-animal relationships.

  12. 12. The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went To War In 1914 by Christopher Clark

    "The Sleepwalkers" by Christopher Clark is a comprehensive account of the events leading up to World War I. The book argues that the war was not caused by any one nation or individual, but rather a combination of factors including nationalism, alliances, and miscommunication. Clark explores the complex political landscape of Europe in the early 20th century and the actions of key players such as Kaiser Wilhelm II and Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The book provides a detailed analysis of the events leading up to the war and challenges traditional narratives of blame and responsibility.

  13. 13. Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life by Hermione Lee

    "Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life" by Hermione Lee is a biography of the English novelist and poet Penelope Fitzgerald. The book covers Fitzgerald's life from her childhood to her death, including her career as a teacher, her time working for the BBC, and her success as a writer. Lee delves into Fitzgerald's personal life, including her marriages and the struggles she faced as a single mother. The biography also explores Fitzgerald's writing process and the themes that run through her novels, including the importance of memory and the complexities of human relationships.

  14. 14. Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens

    "Arguably: Essays" is a collection of essays written by Christopher Hitchens, covering topics ranging from politics, literature, and religion to popular culture, sports, and travel. Hitchens was known for his sharp wit, critical thinking, and fearless approach to controversial issues, and this book showcases his best writing over the years. The essays are thought-provoking, insightful, and often humorous, making for an engaging read that challenges readers to think deeply about the world around them.

  15. 15. At The Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, And Apricot Cocktails by Sarah Bakewell

    "At The Existentialist Café" is a non-fiction book that explores the lives and ideas of a group of philosophers known as the existentialists. The book takes readers on a journey through the cafes of Paris in the 1930s and 40s, where philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty would gather to discuss their ideas about freedom, being, and the meaning of life. Bakewell weaves together their personal stories, philosophical theories, and the historical context in which they lived, to create a compelling and accessible introduction to existentialism.

  16. 16. A World On Fire:Britain’s Crucial Role In The American Civil War by Amanda Kolpin, Amanda Peterson, Susan S. Wittman

    "A World on Fire" is a comprehensive account of Britain's involvement in the American Civil War. The book explores the political, economic, and social factors that influenced Britain's decision to remain neutral, despite strong sympathies for the Confederacy. It also delves into the impact of the war on British society, including the role of British citizens in the conflict and the effects of the Union blockade on British trade. The authors provide a detailed and engaging narrative of this often-overlooked aspect of Civil War history.

  17. 17. Spqr by Mary Beard

    This book is a sweeping historical narrative that delves into the heart of ancient Rome, exploring its rise from an insignificant village in central Italy to a world-dominating superpower that lasted for centuries. The author, a renowned classicist, examines not just the famous emperors and battles, but also the lives of the everyday people, the political and social structures, and the complexities of Roman culture. Through a blend of historical analysis, anecdotal evidence, and a fresh perspective, the book challenges preconceived notions about Roman history and provides a nuanced understanding of how this vast empire's legacy continues to influence the modern world.

  18. 18. Pandora's Jar by Natalie Haynes

    "Pandora's Jar" delves into the world of Greek mythology from a fresh perspective, focusing on the often-misrepresented stories of women within these ancient tales. The book reexamines the narratives of figures such as Medusa, Helen of Troy, and the titular Pandora, challenging the traditional views that have frequently cast them as villains or victims. Through a combination of scholarly analysis and engaging storytelling, the author brings to light the complexities of these female characters, exploring their roles and significance in a way that resonates with contemporary discussions on gender and power. The book serves as both a reclamation of these mythological women's stories and a critique of how their legacies have been shaped by centuries of retelling.

  19. 19. Rogue Heroes by Ben Macintyre

    This book provides a gripping historical account of the formation and exploits of the Special Air Service (SAS), an elite British military unit created during World War II. It chronicles the daring and unconventional tactics of its founder and the brave men who joined its ranks, as they undertook perilous missions behind enemy lines in North Africa and Europe. Drawing on personal diaries, letters, and interviews, the narrative vividly brings to life the heroism, camaraderie, and ingenuity of the SAS, while also exploring the moral complexities of their wartime actions and the lasting impact of their contributions to modern special forces operations.

  20. 20. Empireland by Sathnam Sanghera

    The book is a thought-provoking exploration of the British Empire's enduring impact on modern Britain. It delves into the ways in which imperialism has shaped the nation's psyche, politics, economy, and identity, often in ways that are overlooked or forgotten. Through a combination of personal memoir, historical analysis, and contemporary observation, the author challenges readers to confront the legacies of colonialism, including racism and cultural appropriation, and to recognize how the empire's influence permeates various aspects of British life, from its institutions to its global relationships. The work serves as a call to acknowledge and address this complex inheritance in order to better understand present-day Britain.

  21. 21. A Line In The Sand by James Barr

    This book delves into the complex history of the modern Middle East, focusing on the post-World War I era when Britain and France drew arbitrary borders, creating new nations and sowing the seeds for future conflicts. It examines the clandestine struggle between these colonial powers as they vied for dominance in the region, often at the expense of the local populations. The narrative reveals how the duplicitous actions and broken promises of Western powers during this period set the stage for enduring turmoil and established a legacy of distrust and instability that continues to affect the geopolitics of the Middle East to this day.

  22. 22. Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages by Guy Deutscher

    This book explores the link between language and perception, challenging the conventional belief that languages are only tools for describing reality and do not influence the way we perceive the world. The author delves into how different languages can shape the way their speakers understand and interact with their surroundings, arguing that linguistic differences can significantly impact cognition and perception. The book combines linguistic analysis, cultural history, and cognitive science to provide a fascinating examination of how our mother tongue can affect our cognitive processes, including color perception and spatial orientation.

  23. 23. The Anglo Saxons by Marc Morris

    This historical work delves into the rich and complex era of the Anglo-Saxons, spanning from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. It explores the formation of English identity, culture, and language through the intermingling of indigenous Britons with invading Germanic tribes. The narrative illuminates the lives of kings and commoners, the establishment of Christianity, and the enduring legacies of this formative period. Through a blend of archaeological findings, historical documents, and engaging storytelling, the book offers a vivid portrait of a society that laid the foundational stones of modern England.

  24. 24. Why the West Rules - For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future by Ian Morris

    This book is a comprehensive exploration of the historical and cultural patterns that have led to Western dominance in the world. The author uses a broad range of evidence from archaeology, genetics, and linguistics to trace the development of East and West from prehistoric times to the present, arguing that physical geography, rather than culture, religion, or great men, is the primary driving force behind the rise of the West. The book also offers a forecast for the future, predicting a shift in global power from the West to the East.

  25. 25. The War On The West by Douglas Murray

    The book in question critically examines the contemporary discourse surrounding Western civilization, arguing that there is an ongoing cultural and ideological assault against Western values, history, and identity. The author contends that this attack is manifesting in various spheres, including education, politics, and media, and is characterized by a rejection of the West's contributions to the world and an emphasis on its historical wrongs. The narrative suggests that this pervasive negativity threatens the very fabric of Western societies, undermining their achievements and moral confidence, and calls for a reevaluation of the West's legacy in a more balanced and appreciative light.

Download

If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

Download