The Greatest Nigerian, Russian, Unknown "Nonfiction" Books Since 1980

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. Ake: The Years Of Childhood by Wole Soyinka

    "Ake: The Years of Childhood" is a memoir that chronicles the early years of a Nigerian boy growing up in the town of Ake. Set in the 1940s, the book vividly captures the author's experiences, from his close-knit family life to his encounters with colonialism and the struggle for independence. Through his insightful and lyrical prose, the author takes readers on a nostalgic journey filled with rich cultural traditions, humorous anecdotes, and poignant reflections on the complexities of childhood.

    The 2188th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Writer on Her Work by Janet Sternburg

    "The Writer on Her Work" is a collection of essays by various female authors who discuss their experiences, challenges, and perspectives on writing. The book explores the complexities of being a woman in the literary world, shedding light on topics such as gender bias, the struggle for recognition, and the balance between personal life and professional aspirations. It provides a unique insight into the creative process, revealing how these women navigate their craft amidst societal expectations and personal obstacles.

    The 2263rd Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. E=Mc2 by David Bodanis

    The book provides a layperson-friendly explanation of the world's most famous equation, delving into the history, science, and people behind its development. It explores the biographies of the scientists who contributed to our understanding of energy and mass, including the equation's originator, and the practical and philosophical implications of the equation's assertion that energy and mass are interchangeable. The narrative also discusses the equation's role in the development of atomic energy and its impact on modern physics, offering an accessible journey through the annals of scientific thought and the revolutionizing discoveries that shape our understanding of the universe.

    The 3664th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. An Imagined World by June Goodfield

    "An Imagined World" is a poignant exploration of the human condition, set against the backdrop of World War II. The narrative delves into the life of a young woman who, amidst the chaos and destruction of the war, finds herself in a remote English village. There, she grapples with the complexities of love, loss, and the search for personal identity. As she interacts with the villagers and refugees who have also sought sanctuary, the protagonist confronts the harsh realities of the world outside while navigating the intricate web of human relationships and the enduring hope for a better future. The book is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of imagination as a source of comfort and escape in times of turmoil.

    The 4358th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. The Unwomanly Face Of War by Svetlana Alexievich

    "The Unwomanly Face Of War" is a powerful and poignant collection of interviews with Soviet women who fought in World War II. Through their testimonies, the author sheds light on the often overlooked and untold stories of these brave women who served as snipers, pilots, nurses, and soldiers on the front lines. The book explores their experiences, sacrifices, and the lasting impact of war on their lives, providing a unique and intimate perspective on the realities of war from a female point of view.

    The 4439th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Male Daughters, Female Husbands by Ifi Amadiume

    "Male Daughters, Female Husbands" is an anthropological exploration of gender roles and power dynamics within the Igbo society of Nigeria. The book challenges traditional Western notions of gender and sexuality, focusing on the concept of "female husbands" - women who assume the roles and responsibilities typically associated with men. Through extensive research and personal narratives, the author examines the historical and cultural context of these gender roles, shedding light on the complex intersections of gender, power, and identity in Igbo society.

    The 5090th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. The Samaritan Treasure by Marianne Luban

    "The Samaritan Treasure" is an intriguing historical novel that delves into the ancient world, weaving a tale of mystery and adventure around the biblical account of the Good Samaritan. The narrative follows an archaeologist who stumbles upon a clue to the legendary treasure of the Samaritans, leading to a thrilling quest that spans continents and centuries. As the protagonist deciphers ancient texts and navigates dangerous liaisons, the story explores themes of faith, cultural heritage, and the enduring allure of hidden riches. The novel is a blend of meticulous historical research and imaginative storytelling, offering readers a captivating journey through time and the human spirit's quest for discovery.

    The 5106th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. Desert Flower by Waris Dirie, Cathleen Miller

    "Desert Flower" is a powerful autobiography that tells the story of a girl born into a nomadic tribe in the Somali desert. The girl, subjected to the brutal tradition of female genital mutilation at a young age, escapes an arranged marriage at 13 and ends up in London, where she works various jobs before being discovered as a model. Her rise to fame in the fashion industry is juxtaposed with her personal journey to raise awareness about the harmful cultural practice she endured and advocate for its eradication.

    The 5135th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. The Man Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman

    "The Man Who Loved Only Numbers" is a captivating biography that delves into the life of a brilliant mathematician. From his early years as a child prodigy to his groundbreaking contributions in number theory, the book explores the eccentricities and obsessions that consumed his life. With a unique blend of mathematical concepts and personal anecdotes, the biography paints a vivid portrait of a man who was truly devoted to the world of numbers.

    The 5305th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. Sun Dancing by Geoffrey Moorhouse

    "Sun Dancing" presents a vivid tapestry of medieval Irish monasticism, combining historical facts with imaginative storytelling. The book delves into the austere and spiritually intense lives of monks on Skellig Michael, a remote island off the Irish coast, during the early centuries of Christianity in Ireland. Through a blend of narrative and analysis, the text explores the harsh realities of monastic life, the cultural and religious contributions of these communities, and the broader context of Irish and European history during this period. The author weaves together the daily routines, spiritual practices, and legendary tales of these monks, providing a window into a world where faith and endurance converge amidst the isolation of the Atlantic Ocean.

    The 5383rd Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. Why Not Me? by Wendy L. Bovard

    "Why Not Me?" is a poignant memoir that delves into the author's personal journey through adversity and resilience. It explores the challenges faced when life takes unexpected turns, such as dealing with illness, loss, and the search for self-identity. The narrative is a testament to the human spirit's capacity to overcome obstacles and find meaning in the face of hardship. With honesty and vulnerability, the author shares her experiences, offering insights and inspiration to others who may be navigating their own paths through difficult times, ultimately asking the universal question of why some are chosen to endure certain trials and how they can emerge stronger.

    The 5405th Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. Defenders Of The Truth by Ullica Segerstrale

    This book provides a comprehensive examination of the sociobiology debate, a contentious discussion that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s regarding the application of evolutionary theory to human behavior. It delves into the intellectual clash between prominent scientists and scholars, exploring the ideological, academic, and political tensions that fueled the debate. The narrative not only charts the historical development and key arguments of both sides but also scrutinizes the broader implications of this debate for the scientific community and society at large. Through detailed analysis and interviews, the work sheds light on the complexities of scientific discourse, the role of science in society, and the intricate interplay between scientific inquiry and ethical considerations.

    The 5491st Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. The Arch Of Knowledge by David Oldroyd

    "The Arch of Knowledge" is an intellectual exploration of the development of scientific knowledge, tracing its evolution from ancient times through the modern era. The book examines the philosophical, cultural, and practical influences on science, discussing how historical events and notable figures have shaped scientific thought. It delves into the relationship between science and technology, the impact of societal needs on scientific progress, and the ethical considerations that have emerged alongside scientific discoveries. The narrative also highlights the ongoing challenges and debates within the scientific community, emphasizing the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of scientific inquiry.

    The 5494th Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. Beyond The Mask, Race, Gender And Identity by Amina Mama

    In this thought-provoking book, the author delves into the complex intersections of race, gender, and identity. Through a combination of personal narratives, historical analysis, and social theory, Mama explores how these constructs shape and influence our lives. She challenges conventional ideas and offers a critical examination of power dynamics, highlighting the ways in which race and gender intersect to create unique experiences and oppressions. With a focus on African women's experiences, Mama calls for a reimagining of identity that goes beyond simplistic categorizations, and instead embraces the complexity and fluidity of human existence.

    The 5842nd Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. Citizen And Subject by Mahmood Mamdani

    "Citizen and Subject" explores the complex relationship between citizenship and identity in postcolonial Africa. The author critically examines the concept of citizenship as a tool for exclusion and domination, particularly in the context of colonial and postcolonial states. Through a comprehensive analysis of case studies from Uganda and South Africa, Mamdani delves into the historical processes that have shaped the formation of citizenship and subjecthood, shedding light on the enduring legacies of colonialism and the challenges faced by marginalized groups in attaining full citizenship rights.

    The 5914th Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. Realism And Truth by Michael Devitt

    In "Realism and Truth," the author presents a detailed defense of scientific realism by arguing that the world described by science is largely independent of our thoughts or linguistic practices. The book critically examines the anti-realist position, which suggests that our knowledge, scientific theories, or truths are in some way dependent on human minds or cultural constructs. Through rigorous argumentation, the author supports the idea that truths, particularly scientific truths, are objective and that the role of language is to describe and reflect these truths rather than to construct them. The work challenges various forms of skepticism and idealism, reinforcing the notion that our perceptions and scientific findings correspond to a real, external world.

    The 6073rd Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. Kiswahili, Past, Present And Future Horizons by Rocha Chimera

    "Kiswahili, Past, Present And Future Horizons" explores the rich history, current state, and potential future of the Kiswahili language. The book delves into the origins and development of Kiswahili, highlighting its significance as a lingua franca in East Africa. It examines the language's role in literature, education, and communication, while also addressing the challenges and opportunities it faces in a rapidly changing global landscape. Through insightful analysis and compelling examples, the author presents a comprehensive overview of Kiswahili's past achievements and its promising prospects for continued growth and influence.

    The 6211th Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    The book explores the importance of feminism in today's society and argues that gender equality is not just a women's issue, but a concern for everyone. Drawing from personal experiences and anecdotes, the author highlights the various ways in which gender inequality manifests itself and offers insightful perspectives on how we can work towards a more inclusive and equitable world for all.

    The 6406th Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. The Political Thought Of Karl Popper by Jeremy Shearmur

    This book offers a detailed examination of Karl Popper's political philosophy, exploring his views on liberalism, democracy, and the open society. It delves into Popper's critique of totalitarianism and historicism, his defense of the open society against its enemies, and his thoughts on the role of critical rationalism in fostering an environment of tolerance and intellectual openness. The author analyzes Popper's influence on contemporary political thought and assesses the practical implications of his ideas for current political debates, providing a comprehensive overview of Popper's contributions to the understanding of modern democratic theory.

    The 6447th Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. My Half Century by Anna Akhmatova

    "My Half Century" is a reflective anthology that encapsulates the personal and professional life of a prominent Russian poetess through her own writings and letters, as well as critical essays about her work. The collection spans the tumultuous periods of Russian history from the early 20th century through the Stalinist era, providing a window into the poet's profound resilience and adaptation in the face of personal and political upheaval. Her poetry, marked by its emotional depth and lyrical beauty, explores themes of love, grief, and the endurance of the human spirit, while also subtly critiquing the oppressive political climate of her time. This compilation not only celebrates her literary genius but also her role as a witness to a critical period in Russian history.

    The 7120th Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. All Fall Down by Gary Sick

    "All Fall Down" explores the complex and tumultuous relationship between the United States and Iran, focusing particularly on the events leading up to and following the 1979 Iranian Revolution. The book delves into the historical, political, and social factors that contributed to the fall of the Shah, the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini, and the subsequent severing of diplomatic ties between the two nations. Through a detailed narrative, it examines the misunderstandings, missteps, and conflicts that characterized the U.S.-Iran relationship, shedding light on the broader implications for Middle Eastern politics and U.S. foreign policy.

    The 7781st Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. Velazquez by Jonathan Brown

    This book provides a comprehensive analysis of Diego Velázquez, one of the foremost figures of the Spanish Golden Age of painting. The author delves into Velázquez's life, exploring his rise from a young Sevillian artist to becoming the leading painter at the court of King Philip IV, and ultimately his influence on the development of Western art. Through detailed examination of his major works, the book highlights Velázquez's mastery of technique, his innovative use of light and shadow, and his ability to convey complex human emotions, which positioned him as a pivotal artist who transformed the genre of portraiture and had a lasting impact on European art.

    The 7833rd Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. The Thirty Years’ War by Andrew Kopkind

    "The Thirty Years’ War" provides an in-depth analysis of one of Europe's most prolonged and devastating conflicts, spanning from 1618 to 1648. The book delves into the complex interplay of religious, political, and social factors that fueled the war, primarily fought within the Holy Roman Empire. It examines the roles of key figures and the impact of the war on the civilian population, highlighting the immense human suffering and the significant political changes it precipitated, which reshaped the European landscape. The narrative also explores the diplomatic maneuvers and treaties, culminating in the Peace of Westphalia, which significantly influenced the concept of state sovereignty and the modern international system.

    The 7889th Greatest Book of All Time
  24. 24. The Truth About Chernobyl by Grigory Medvedev

    "The Truth About Chernobyl" is a detailed account of the catastrophic 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, written by Grigory Medvedev, a chief engineer at the plant during the 1970s. Drawing from his own experiences and extensive research, Medvedev exposes the series of events leading up to the explosion, the aftermath, and the cover-up by Soviet officials. The book provides an insider’s perspective on the failures in design, management, and operation of the reactor, and criticizes the lack of safety culture in the Soviet nuclear industry. Medvedev’s narrative not only highlights the technical aspects of the disaster but also delves into the human stories of those who lived through the tragedy, offering a poignant look at one of the worst nuclear accidents in history.

    The 8204th Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. The Diary Of A Gulag Prison Guard 1935 6 by Ivan Chistyakov

    "The Diary Of A Gulag Prison Guard 1935-6" is a chilling and harrowing memoir that provides a firsthand account of the atrocities and cruelty witnessed by Ivan Chistyakov during his time as a guard in a Soviet Gulag prison. Through his detailed entries, Chistyakov reveals the dehumanizing conditions, brutal punishments, and constant fear that both prisoners and guards endured within the oppressive Soviet regime. This haunting narrative serves as a stark reminder of the dark realities of the Gulag system and the lasting impact it had on the lives of countless individuals.

    The 8380th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


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.