The link is here, but I’m posting the list in full over the break so I can refer to it after they’ve hidden it behind their paywall. Don’t tell anyone.
A short, incisive and elegant book by a Harvard specialist in Islamic political thought, which analyses the dilemma posed by the huge popular support, among many Muslims, for explicitly Islamic forms of government.
The region’s key events provide ample material for this subtle re-examination: the fall of the shah, the three wars in the Persian Gulf, jihad in Afghanistan, Jimmy Carter’s half-success at peacemaking at Camp David in 1978 and Bill Clinton’s failure there two decades later.
A rich, compelling and convincing account of recent British political history by a man who has experienced it as a member of parliament, a journalist and a distinguished academic historian.
With the patience of auditors and the passion of polemicists, two academics, one a Nobel prize-winning economist and the other a public-finance expert at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, take an unflinching look at the hidden cost of invading Iraq.
A comprehensive and compelling examination of how a handful of officials, working in extreme secrecy, even from their colleagues, prosecuted the war on terror, undermining America’s civil liberties.
How the Bush administration came to adopt the tactics that became the hallmark of its struggle against al-Qaeda and its ilk.
An analysis of how Manmohan Singh, first as finance minister and now as prime minister, sought to fight India’s poverty with sweeping reforms aimed at promoting rapid economic growth.
The most intimate account yet published of Robert Mugabe’s transformation from liberation hero to reviled despot.
The first big book on the credit crunch saw the crisis coming three years ago. Freak-out-onomics for I-told-you-sos.
Convincingly overturns the usual analyses of the nature of China’s economy, and brilliantly predicts, a year ahead of other commentators, its steep decline.
Ignore the in-your-face cover. This is a fluent and intelligent account of the credit crisis: why it happened and how to survive it. Winner of the 2008 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs business book of the year award.
A counterintuitive view of technology and globalisation that will delight those who believe that American innovation is insulated from economic ups and downs.
Neither too lofty nor dumbed down, this is a fascinating study of how society is shaped by hidden pay-offs and punishments.
A management guru explains why the net generation, who grew up playing video games and spending time on the internet, are not all messed up, as many people suspect, but have actually been improved by the experience.
Hal Sirkin and two colleagues explore how rich-country multinationals face increasingly effective competition from new emerging-market corporate champions, which compete not just on lower costs but also on greater ingenuity and efficiency.
Goldman Sachs has long set the gold standard in finance, even though the current crisis nearly brought it down. With unprecedented access to insiders, Charles Ellis provides the best account yet of the rise of this investment bank and what makes it tick.
A short, simple book arguing that we are now back in a world of clashing national ambitions and interests; not so different from the 19th century.
Globalisation often gets a bad press, so it is interesting to read this hymn to commercial exchange that shows how, largely for better, sometimes for worse, our world has been defined by trade.
A concise and wise presentation of the history and scope of freedom of thought in the United States, with conclusions that are well worth pondering.
A dazzling cornucopia exploring the impact of discovery upon such great Romantic writers as Mary Shelley, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron and John Keats.
Andrew Roberts lays claim to the title of Britain’s finest contemporary military historian with this important analysis of grand strategy during the second world war, which, among other delights, vindicates that much maligned British way of doing things: the committee.
Detailed profiles of 11 Chinese, mostly present day, which together provide a not very pretty snapshot of China’s political development. One of the best descriptions of what life has been like for many Chinese citizens during the past 15 years.
The extraordinary growth in China’s population, economic productivity and military grasp has not been matched, to anything like the same extent, by developments in the way the country is governed. Jonathan Fenby has written a much-needed new history that points to a coming crisis.
A startling indictment of the Italian state’s conduct during the first world war, which shows how Italy’s nationalist dream of expansion would turn into the Fascist nightmare.
An affecting history of life in the crowded slums of 19th-century London which traces, with great restraint, the links between poor housing, poverty and criminality.
How the clash of civilisations between Christianity and Islam came to be fought out during the Ottoman sieges of Rhodes and Malta and the battle of Lepanto, with some fairly familiar faults on both sides already becoming visible more than 500 years ago.
How and why American soldiers have learnt to shoot straight.
Americans supported Richard Nixon because of his anger and resentment, not despite it. Rick Perlstein offers compelling evidence for a simple but convincing thesis about Nixon’s appeal.
An elegant and insightful study of the Trinidad-born Nobel laureate who made his name as a novelist and chronicler of India and the Islamic world. A singular example of how good authorised biographies can, and should, be.
It is almost impossible to write something fresh about William Shakespeare. Yet Jonathan Bate has succeeded, with a sparkling and arresting portrait of the Bard and his world as discovered in his writings.
A portrait of a friendship that is also a sweeping cultural and political history of the lead-in to the American civil war and its aftermath.
Manages to be both magical and utterly credible in describing an artist who put fiddlers on the roof and made lovers fly through the air.
A frank and illuminating look at a generally neglected, but very important, aspect of human life.
This is a panoramic view of modern mathematics. It is tough going in some places, but much of it is surprisingly accessible. A must for budding number-crunchers.
A fine lesson in how to skewer the enemies of reason and the peddlers of cant and half-truths.
In retelling the story of how, in the 1830s, the New York Sun tried to persuade its readers there was life on the moon, Matthew Goodman vividly brings to life a town on the brink of becoming a world-class city.
How behavioural economics affects everything—from what we eat in restaurants to our investments and pension choices.
A vivid account of how the road to controlling population growth in the 20th century was paved with good intentions and unpleasant policies that did not work.
A rich portrait of the urban poor, drawn not from statistics but from vivid tales of some of the 30,000 residents of Robert Taylor Homes, America’s biggest public housing scheme, on Chicago’s South Side.
A many-layered account, focusing on the interwar years, of the European immigrants, particularly those from Germany and Russia, who helped create American culture.
The story of the medium through which most art lovers have experienced modern art: the big group show. A must for anyone interested in art, politics and taste in the 20th century.
A globe-trotting survey of the world’s lingua franca, which includes such nuggets as the word “chagrin”, derived from the Turkish for roughened leather, or scaly sharkskin, and “lens”, which comes from the Latin for “lentil”, or “window” meaning “eye of wind” in old Norse.
Displaying a playful exuberance wonderfully at odds with the dry, jargon-strewn tradition of academic criticism, this deft, slender volume analyses how novelists pull rabbits out of hats.
A way of life as much as music, the passionate blues singing of Mississippi’s steamy cotton fields ultimately gave rise to rock ’n’ roll. Ted Gioia expertly traces its colourful history and heroes.
A beautifully written, poignant and, at times, very funny memoir by a man who describes himself at different points in his life as idle, supercilious, incompetent and emotionally retarded.
Set in India in 1838, this rich and panoramic adventure tells the intricate stories of a cast of hundreds in lustrous and mesmerising prose. The first of a promised trilogy from a master of fiction.
Two teenagers get caught up with a dangerous surfer, his wife and the waves in this Australian coming-of-age novel that perfectly balances youthful romanticism and disillusion.
The wry bartenders, brusque cops and gritty rhythmic dialogue of Manhattan’s Lower East Side turn this fast-paced murder-mystery into a whodunnit with literary heft.
An elderly female inhabitant of a mental hospital and her psychiatrist tell their stories through their journals. A moving and memorable novel about conflicting versions of Ireland’s past.
Fishing, journalism and the death throes of the Swedish social system are the unpromising ingredients of this thought-provoking and evocative autobiographical memoir.
A Western-educated son of an ayatollah portrays the intricacies of Iranian society in this illuminating, critical and affectionate memoir of his homeland.
This superbly written and sad memoir tells the story of a lawyer’s fight against Israel’s seizure of Palestinian land and how he seeks solace by walking in the wild countryside of the West Bank.
A raw and moving story about a chaotic family and a lost childhood. Beautifully crafted and brave, this book is surprisingly full of forgiveness and humour.