The Greatest "Historical fiction, Political" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 313 '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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Historical fiction

Historical fiction is a genre of literature that combines fictional stories with real historical events, settings, and characters. These books often take place in a specific time period and are based on research and factual information, but also include imaginative elements to create a compelling narrative. Historical fiction allows readers to experience the past in a unique and engaging way, while also providing insight into the social, cultural, and political issues of the time.

Political

The "Political" category of books encompasses works that explore the theory, practice, and history of government and politics. These books may cover topics such as political ideologies, political systems, political institutions, political movements, and political leaders. They may also examine the relationship between politics and other areas of society, such as economics, culture, and international relations. Political books can be both informative and thought-provoking, offering readers insights into the complexities of the political world and the challenges of governing in a democratic society.

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  1. 1. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

    This novel explores the life of Okonkwo, a respected warrior in the Umuofia clan of the Igbo tribe in Nigeria during the late 1800s. Okonkwo's world is disrupted by the arrival of European missionaries and the subsequent clash of cultures. The story examines the effects of colonialism on African societies, the clash between tradition and change, and the struggle between individual and society. Despite his efforts to resist the changes, Okonkwo's life, like his society, falls apart.

    The 50th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Tin Drum by Günter Grass

    The novel tells the story of Oskar Matzerath, a boy who decides on his third birthday that he will stop growing and remain a three-year-old forever. Oskar is gifted with a tin drum by his mother, which he uses to express his emotions and thoughts. Living in Danzig during the rise of Nazi Germany, Oskar's refusal to grow is a form of protest against the adult world. The book is a blend of magical realism and historical fiction, providing a unique perspective on the horrors of World War II and the post-war era in Germany.

    The 113th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren

    "All the King's Men" is a political drama that revolves around the rise and fall of a Southern governor, loosely based on Louisiana's Huey Long. The story is narrated by a journalist who becomes the governor's right-hand man, offering an inside perspective on the political machinations, corruption, and personal tragedies that accompany the governor's climb to power. The novel explores themes of power, corruption, and the moral consequences of political ambition.

    The 158th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

    This novel exposes the harsh conditions and exploited lives of immigrants in the United States in Chicago and similar industrialized cities. The protagonist, a young Lithuanian immigrant, works in the meatpacking industry and experiences the extreme poverty, poor working conditions, and lack of social services. The narrative explores the corruption of the American meatpacking industry in the early 20th century and the hardships faced by the working class, leading to significant public outcry that contributed to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act.

    The 169th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. Nostromo by Joseph Conrad

    Set in the fictional South American country of Costaguana, the novel explores the turbulent political and social changes of the era through the eyes of Nostromo, a respected and resourceful Italian expatriate. Nostromo's loyalty and heroism are tested when he is tasked with hiding a cache of silver from a revolutionary government. As the political landscape shifts, he finds himself caught in a web of moral dilemmas and life-altering decisions. The novel is a profound examination of power, corruption, and the human condition.

    The 173rd Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. U.S.A. Trilogy by John Dos Passos

    The U.S.A. Trilogy is a series of three novels that chronicle the lives of various characters in the first half of the 20th century in the United States. The narrative intertwines the stories of twelve characters as they navigate the societal changes and upheavals of the era, including World War I, the Great Depression, and the rise of Hollywood. The author uses a unique narrative technique that combines traditional prose, newspaper-style headlines, biographies, and stream-of-consciousness writing to paint a vivid picture of American life during this period.

    The 177th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

    Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, this classic novel explores themes of class struggle, sacrifice, and resurrection. The narrative follows the lives of several characters, including a dissipated English lawyer, a man who is a long-term prisoner in the Bastille, and a woman who becomes embroiled in the political turmoil of the time. The story is a riveting tale of love and sacrifice, with the infamous guillotine looming in the background, symbolizing the violence and unrest of the era.

    The 220th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. Man's Fate by Andre Malraux

    Set in 1920s Shanghai during a time of political upheaval, the novel explores the existential themes of life, death, and the human condition through the experiences of a group of revolutionaries. The narrative follows their struggles and sacrifices for their cause, the Communist revolution, and their inevitable confrontation with their own mortality and the harsh realities of life. The book delves into the complexities of political ideologies, human relationships and the constant struggle between hope and despair.

    The 265th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

    "The Secret Agent" is a dark political satire set in London in the late 19th century, revolving around a secret agent who is also a shopkeeper, his anarchist friends, and his family. The story unfolds as the agent is coerced by his foreign employers to orchestrate a bombing in a bid to provoke a political response, but the plan goes disastrously wrong, leading to tragic consequences and a deep exploration of themes such as anarchism, espionage, terrorism, and betrayal.

    The 415th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. A Bend in the River by V. S. Naipaul

    "A Bend in the River" is a novel that follows an Indian man, Salim, who moves from the East Coast of Africa to the heart of the continent to open a store in a small, remote town at a bend in the river. The book explores the changes that occur in the town as it evolves from a sleepy outpost to a bustling city. It also delves into Salim's personal struggles and the challenges he faces in adapting to a rapidly changing society, all set against the backdrop of post-colonial Africa.

    The 443rd Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford

    The novel chronicles the life of Christopher Tietjens, an officer in the British Army during World War I, and his complex relationships with two women: his adulterous wife Sylvia and a young suffragette named Valentine. The story is set against the backdrop of a changing society and the devastation of war, exploring themes of duty, honor, and the struggle between traditional values and modernism.

    The 493rd Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir

    "The Mandarins" is a novel that explores the personal and political lives of a group of intellectuals in post-World War II France. The narrative delves into their struggles with ethical dilemmas, political ideologies, and personal relationships in a rapidly changing world. The book is known for its exploration of existentialism and feminism, providing a vivid portrayal of the human condition and the complexities of freedom.

    The 498th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. The Quiet American by Graham Greene

    Set during the French colonial war in Vietnam, this novel follows a British journalist and a young American idealist who become friends and find themselves in a love triangle with a Vietnamese woman. As the war escalates, the journalist becomes disillusioned with the American's naïve political views and the destructive impact of foreign intervention. The story is a critique of American involvement in Vietnam, exploring themes of love, friendship, and moral ambiguity.

    The 530th Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. The Book of the City of Ladies by Christine De Pizan

    "The Book of the City of Ladies" is a classical work in which the author, through allegorical characters, builds an imaginary city for women to illustrate their significant contributions to society. The book is a defense of women, arguing against the popular notion of the time that women were inferior to men. It showcases the author's deep knowledge of the past, referencing numerous notable women from history and mythology, emphasizing their virtues, intelligence, and moral fiber.

    The 635th Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. The Case of Comrade Tulayev by Victor Serge

    "The Case of Comrade Tulayev" is a political novel set in the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union. The story begins with the murder of a high-ranking Soviet official, Comrade Tulayev, which sets off a series of events leading to the arrest and execution of innocent people. It provides an in-depth exploration of the paranoia, fear, and injustice that characterized Stalin's regime, showing the human cost of political purges and the absurdity of the bureaucratic system.

    The 764th Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore

    This novel is a political and philosophical exploration set in early 20th century India during the country's struggle for independence. It revolves around three main characters: a nobleman, his wife, and his friend, a fervent nationalist. The story unfolds as the wife, initially confined to the inner quarters of their home, begins to question her societal boundaries and the idea of nationalism after meeting her husband's friend. The narrative delves into the complexities of love, freedom, and the concept of home and world, set against the backdrop of the Swadeshi movement, a part of the Indian independence movement against British rule.

    The 900th Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. Memed, My Hawk by Yashar Kemal

    "Memed, My Hawk" is a novel set in the harsh and lawless rural Turkey of the 1920s. It follows the story of a young boy, Memed, who becomes an outlaw and a local hero after standing up to the corrupt authorities and feudal landlords who oppress his village. The novel explores themes of love, revenge, and social justice, and is a powerful indictment of the social and economic conditions of rural Turkey in the early 20th century.

    The 930th Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. The Book of Daniel by E. L. Doctorow

    "The Book of Daniel" is a semi-fictional novel that explores the lives of the Isaacson family, specifically focusing on the children, Daniel and Susan, after their parents, accused of being Communists, are executed. The narrative is a combination of historical fiction and a political commentary, providing a deep exploration of the Red Scare in the United States during the Cold War era. The novel is a critical examination of social, political, and familial dynamics in a time of national fear and paranoia.

    The 1002nd Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. The War of the End of the World by Mario Vargas Llosa

    The book is a historical novel that recounts the War of Canudos, a conflict in late 19th-century Brazil over religious fanaticism, political instability, and social inequality. The story is centered around an apocalyptic movement led by a charismatic, messianic figure who convinces the poor and downtrodden to rise up against the Brazilian government, leading to a brutal and bloody conflict. The book explores themes of faith, power, poverty, and the destructive potential of fervent belief.

    The 1015th Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

    "The Sympathizer" is a gripping spy novel set during the Vietnam War. The protagonist is a half-French, half-Vietnamese army captain who is a communist double agent. After the Fall of Saigon, he moves to America with other South Vietnamese refugees and struggles to reconcile his dual loyalties as he continues to spy on his fellow countrymen in exile. The novel explores themes of identity, war, and politics, while providing a unique perspective on the Vietnam War and its aftermath.

    The 1131st Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

    This novel presents an alternate history where aviator-hero and rabid isolationist Charles Lindbergh is elected President in 1940, leading the United States towards fascism and anti-Semitism. The story is narrated through the perspective of a working-class Jewish family in Newark, New Jersey, experiencing the political shift and its terrifying consequences. The narrative explores themes of prejudice, fear, patriotism, and family bonds under the shadow of a fascist regime.

    The 1159th Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    "Cancer Ward" is a poignant novel set in a Soviet cancer hospital in the mid-1950s. It follows the lives and struggles of patients and doctors, exploring their personal histories, relationships, and the political environment of the time. The hospital serves as a metaphor for the oppressive Soviet state, with cancer symbolizing the malignant growth of totalitarianism. The book also explores themes of mortality, the human spirit, and the will to survive.

    The 1237th Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. Conversation in the Cathedral by Mario Vargas Llosa

    Set in mid-20th century Peru, "Conversation in the Cathedral" is a complex narrative that explores the corruption, decay, and turmoil of the society under the dictatorial rule of Manuel A. Odria. The story mainly revolves around two characters - a wealthy newspaper owner's son and his family's former chauffeur. Their chance meeting leads to a lengthy conversation that unravels the intricate web of political and personal corruption, disillusionment, and lost dreams in their lives and in their country. The novel is a profound examination of the power dynamics, societal decay, and the human condition in a politically oppressive environment.

    The 1356th Greatest Book of All Time
  24. 24. Burger's Daughter by Nadine Gordimer

    "Burger's Daughter" is a novel centered around Rosa Burger, a white woman in South Africa during the apartheid era. The narrative delves into Rosa's life and struggle to find her identity, while also dealing with the legacy of her parents who were anti-apartheid activists. This story provides a deep look into the political and social climate of South Africa during a time of racial segregation and oppression.

    The 1358th Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

    "A Brief History of Seven Killings" is a multi-voiced novel that explores the attempted assassination of a world-famous reggae singer and its aftermath. The narrative spans decades, starting from the turbulent 1970s in Jamaica through the crack wars in 1980s New York to the changing world of the 1990s. The story is told from the perspectives of various characters, including gangsters, journalists, and CIA agents, providing a complex and gritty insight into the violent underbelly of Jamaican politics and the far-reaching influence of the drug trade.

    The 1359th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

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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.

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