Society

  • ENGF
    Ben Fogle
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    Book People favourite Ben Fogle reveals what it means to be English in this entertaining series of anecdotes that celebrates the country's signature traits.

    From a cheese-rolling contest in Gloucestershire to queues, coastlines and sporting arenas, this is a brilliant read for anyone who ever wonders what makes the English English. It's full of eccentric peculiarities such as the shipping forecast, jellied eels and Marmite and also celebrates the relentless optimism (especially for better weather) in the face of adversity that is known as 'the Dunkirk spirit'.

    This light-hearted book pays tribute to England's history, culture and ideas and explains exactly what it means to be quintessentially English.
  • ETCW
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    This book looks at how the world has changed since the beginning of the 20th century and how various major events have shaped the way we live. It has sections dedicated to humanity and liberty, culture and society, technology, medicine, science, space and the environment and politics and war.

    From the optimistic excitement at the start of the century when extraordinary scientific breakthroughs and new inventions were promising so much to the tumultuous and violent battles that followed, it's a whirlwind read through modern history.

    Covering culture, humanity, war, science and space among many other elements, this book covers everything from the sinking of the Titanic and the assassination of JFK to the release of the first personal computer. Other events include The Beatles releasing 'Please Please Me', the moon landing and the Chernobyl Disaster.
  • CNTY
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    Six women who have lived the last hundred years of British history reveal how their lives have changed since the suffragettes won the right for women (over 30 and who met certain property qualifications) to vote in 1918.

    Hailing from locations spread across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Helena, Olive, Edna, Joyce, Ann and Phyllis - The Century Girls - explain what they saw, how they were treated, who they loved, what they did and where they are now. They look back at times as housewives and working and describe the surroundings they grew up in.

    This is a personal account of how women gradually began to build independent lives for themselves in post-Great War Britain and what their day-to-day lives were like and how they changed throughout the following decades.
  • TMGT
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    The Times has a history of receiving incredible letters and this book presents over 300 items of correspondence from the past century from politicians, literary figures and and celebrities.

    The letter section is a forum for debate, a playground for opinion-formers and a noticeboard for eccentrics. Over the years, the Times' letters section has provided a window on the nation's feelings about the events of the time and also covered more trivial events including how to make the perfect porridge.

    Well-informed, well-intentioned, witty, quirky and bizarre, among those you can read letters by are Margaret Thatcher, Benito Mussolini, Graham Greene and John Le Carre.
  • LBBI
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    Daniel Smith's The Little Book of Big Ideas provides accessible overviews of important human ideas including religion, science, philosophy, economics and art.

    From geometry and genetics to anarchism, art and architecture, this is a concise account of the most important principles of Western thought.

    This book explains where these ideologies have sprung from and how they have impacted civilisation in so many different ways.
  • AWLH
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    Only 111 of the 903 Blue Plaques that honour Londoners belong to women. This, despite thousands of truly remarkable women making significant and lasting impacts on every aspect of modern life...

    From politics and social reform to arts, medicine, science, technology and sport, this book celebrates those women whose achievements have largely went unnoticed and explains how their actions, ideas and inventions helped make the world a richer place to live in.

    Some of these women went about their lives and worked quietly with courage, conviction, skill and compassion, while others were fearless trailblazers who shattered the status quo of a 'man's world'.
  • MPSH
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    This visual exploration of the time in which William Shakespeare lived is filled with jaw-dropping facts and observations. It considers what The Bard was like as a man and covers the cultural changes that took place during his lifetime - 1564-1616.

    From the time of the Tudors to Elizabeth I's reign and the first of the Stuart kings, this book reflects the political changes that were reflected in his works and explains how he worked through maps and illustrations to look at how powerful people viewed their positions in the world.

    Author Jeremy Black also explores the locations of Shakespeare's plays and examines the reasons why he chose to set them in these locations.
  • NMDL
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    Dare Not Linger is a fascinating, thought-provoking and poignant biography of Nelson Mandela's time as president of South Africa. It draws on Mandela's writings during this time and has been completed by Mandla Langa and features a prologue from Mandela's widow, Graca Machel.

    In 1994, Mandela became the first president of democratic South Africa and in his five years in office, he managed to transform a nation that had been divided by centuries of colonialism and apartheid into a fully functioning democracy where everyone was considered equal.

    Mandela kept many detailed notes during his time in charge and this fascinating book reveals how he and his team changed SA for the better. It shows all of the challenges he had to overcome in his quest to achieve his dream of a liberated South Africa.
  • NONP
    (1)
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    Matt Haig, the author of the bestselling self-help book Reasons to Stay Alive and fiction titles How to Stop Time and The Radleys, looks at ways in which we can stay sane when the world is making us mad in Notes on a Nervous Planet.

    Rates of stress and anxiety are rising in people all over the world and the pace of living is not helping. The advent of social media and the fact we're always connected also encourages people to worry about everything from work to body mass index and politics almost constantly.

    In this powerful and essential book, Matt - who has experienced anxiety and panic attacks for many years - reveals a number of ways in which we can all stay happy and human in our increasingly technological world.
  • HTBH
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    This fascinating book from New Scientist provides a number of answers to one of the questions that everyone ponders from time to time - what is that makes us human? Is it our sense of morality or imagination? Or the fact that we talk? How about the facts we cook and wear shoes? Or perhaps we're all not quite as human as we think...

    From evolution to email, this book offers a tour around the human body and brain. It reveals how languages change the way our brains are wired; the evolutionary theory that tells us about the people we're attracted to; and why gossiping is the human equivalent of a gorilla picking fleas off its mate.

    Providing answers to all the tricky questions about life and death, this is a book for anyone who wonders what it means to be human.
  • VRYB
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    From the horrors of the daily commute to the messages hidden in your email exchanges (who knew dropping the 'kind' from 'kind regards' could be so effective?), this humour book covers some of the traits that define the British nation.

    It looks at the awkward moments, cultural peculiarities and odd fixations all Brits have and celebrates everything from the most bizarre British pub names to the history of tea. It even promises to answer the always contentious issue of whether you should put the milk in first...

    So funny and so relatable, the third volume in the bestselling series that inspired the Channel 4 TV series of the same name is one that every Briton needs to devour.
  • Black and British: A Forgotten History - Hardback - 9781447299738 - David Olusoga
    BHOB
    (1)
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    Inspired by a landmark BBC Two programme, David Olusoga's Black and British: An Untold Story is a vital re-examination of the extraordinarily long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa.

    Drawing on new genetic and genealogical research, original records, expert testimony and contemporary interviews, this book provides an unflinching history of black and white Britons and how they have been intimately entwined for centuries.

    From Roman Britain to Shakespeare's Othello and how black people were regarded during the medieval times, this book confronts taboos and reveals some previously unknown scandals.
  • VLNW
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    Historian and travel writer Tom Fort, the bestselling author of The A303: Highway to the Sun, travelled the length and breadth on Britain (by bicycle!) to discover the essence of village life and in this personal and whimsical travelogue he shares his findings.

    The first model for communal living, villages still reside in many places despite the advent of technology and modernity. He explains how the chocolate box image of villages may be true in some cases, but how there are still some 'real' English villages remaining - if you can find them...

    Littered with both historical analysis and personal memories, Tom's journeys take in over 6,000 years of communal existence and he also fondly remembers growing up in the village in rural Oxfordshire where he still lives today.
  • THCN
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    Starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith, Netflix's The Crown is one of the streaming services most critically acclaimed and popular (not to mention, most expensive!) Originals and this companion hardback follows the journey of Britain's longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

    Written by royal biographer Robert Lacey, this book looks back at the Queen's reign, explaining how, after the sudden death of her father, she had to learn her duties very quickly. She was already a wife and mother when she had her coronation and there were also wider issues throughout Britain as the country tried to lift itself after the end of the war.

    Elizabeth also had various personal issues to deal with: her mother doubted her marriage; her husband resented the sacrifice of his career and family name; and her sister had an affair that threatened to destroy the close bond between the church and the crown. Despite all this, she always made sure she came out on top. Fully researched, this is an intimate and informative account of Elizabeth II ? both as a private person and as a public figure.
  • AXLUK
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    Yubal Noah Harari's Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow looks at the concepts and ideas that will shaped the 21st century - including AI. It asks where we go from today's digital world and how we can stop ourselves from destroying this fragile planet.
  • ANDDK
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    Yuval Noah Harari's A Brief History of Mankind will take you all the way through human history and explain how we came to live in the world we do today. From being insignificant apes to the discovery of fire, the beginnings of farming and how money and science make the world go round, it's a truly extraordinary tale and all told in witty and accessible prose.

    This incredible non-fiction book has sold over a million copies and can count individuals as diverse as Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Jarvis Cocker among its fans. It's a book you'll definitely remember reading for the first time.
  • BFPGA
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    WINNER OF THE 2017 BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 'Electrifying' Margaret Atwood 'A big, page-turning, thought-provoking thriller' Guardian All over the world women are discovering they have the power. With a flick of the fingers they can inflict terrible pain - even death. Suddenly, every man on the planet finds they've lost control. The Day of the Girls has arrived - but where will it end? 'The Hunger Games crossed with The Handmaid's Tale' Cosmopolitan 'Superb. Insightful, thrilling, funny. Well-crafted, compelling, serious-minded' Daily Telegraph 'Fascinating, ingenious, rattles with a furious pace. Deserves to be read by every woman (and, for that matter, every man)' The Times 'Irresistible. Holds a mirror up to the here and now' Mail on Sunday 'Chilling, thrilling, a blast' Financial Times 'A shocking, thrill-a-minute story' Observer
  • AOIVH
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    Get ready to experience the Rules effect.

    It's your life. How good could it be?
  • AYEBZ
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    'A breeze of a read, makes you see our male-manufactured world a little differently' Matt Haig 'GRAYSON PERRY FOR KING AND QUEEN OF ENGLAND. Imagine how BRILLIANT our country would look if he was' Caitlin Moran Grayson Perry has been thinking about masculinity - what it is, how it operates, why little boys are thought to be made of slugs and snails - since he was a boy. Now, in this funny and necessary book, he turns round to look at men with a clear eye and ask, what sort of men would make the world a better place, for everyone? What would happen if we rethought the old, macho, outdated version of manhood, and embraced a different idea of what makes a man? Apart from giving up the coronary-inducing stress of always being 'right' and the vast new wardrobe options, the real benefit might be that a newly fitted masculinity will allow men to have better relationships - and that's happiness, right? Grayson Perry admits he's not immune from the stereotypes himself - as the psychoanalysts say, 'if you spot it, you've got it' - and his thoughts on everything from power to physical appearance, from emotions to a brand new Manifesto for Men, are shot through with honesty, tenderness and the belief that, for everyone to benefit, upgrading masculinity has to be something men decide to do themselves. They have nothing to lose but their hang-ups.
  • AZMUW
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    How does it feel to be constantly regarded as a potential threat, strip-searched at every airport? Or be told that, as an actress, the part you're most fitted to play is 'wife of a terrorist'? How does it feel to have words from your native language misused, misappropriated and used aggressively towards you? How does it feel to hear a child of colour say in a classroom that stories can only be about white people? How does it feel to go 'home' to India when your home is really London? What is it like to feel you always have to be an ambassador for your race? How does it feel to always tick 'Other'? Bringing together 21 exciting black, Asian and minority ethnic voices emerging in Britain today, the Good Immigrant explores why immigrants come to the UK, why they stay and what it means to be 'other' in a country that doesn't seem to want you, doesn't truly accept you - however many generations you've been here - but still needs you for its diversity monitoring forms. Inspired by discussion around why society appears to deem people of colour as bad immigrants - job stealers, benefit scroungers, undeserving refugees - until, by winning Olympic races or baking good cakes, or being conscientious doctors, they cross over and become good immigrants, editor Nikesh Shukla has compiled a collection of essays that are poignant, challenging, angry, humorous, heartbreaking, polemic, weary and - most importantly - real.
  • AXKJZ
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    Selected as a Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Economist, Independent, Observer and Mail on Sunday. THE NEW YORK TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER SHORTLISTED FOR THE WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE 2017. "Dramatic and precise...[A] thrilling and comprehensive account of what seems certain to be the most radical, controversial and, to borrow from the subtitle, intimate science of our time...He is a natural storyteller...A page-turner...Read this book and steel yourself for what comes next". (Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times). The Gene is the story of one of the most powerful and dangerous ideas in our history, from bestselling, prize-winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee. Spanning the globe and several centuries, The Gene is the story of the quest to decipher the master-code that makes and defines humans, that governs our form and function. This is an epic, moving history of a scientific idea coming to life, by the author of The Emperor of All Maladies. But woven through The Gene, like a red line, is also an intimate history - the story of Mukherjee's own family and its recurring pattern of mental illness, reminding us that genetics is vitally relevant to everyday lives. These concerns reverberate even more urgently today as we learn to "read" and "write" the human genome - unleashing the potential to change the fates and identities of our children. The story of the gene begins in an obscure Augustinian abbey in Moravia in 1856 where a monk stumbles on the idea of a 'unit of heredity'. It intersects with Darwin's theory of evolution, and collides with the horrors of Nazi eugenics in the 1940s. The gene transforms post-war biology. It reorganizes our understanding of sexuality, temperament, choice and free will. This is a story driven by human ingenuity and obsessive minds - from Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel to Francis Crick, James Watson and Rosalind Franklin, and the thousands of scientists still working to understand the code of codes. Majestic in its ambition, and unflinching in its honesty, The Gene gives us a definitive account of the fundamental unit of heredity - and a vision of both humanity's past and future.
  • AYDPA
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    *A SCOTSMAN TRAVEL BOOK OF THE YEAR* Stranded at Schiphol airport, Ben Coates called up a friendly Dutch girl he'd met some months earlier. He stayed for dinner. Actually, he stayed for good. In the first book to consider the hidden heart and history of the Netherlands from a modern perspective, the author explores the length and breadth of his adopted homeland and discovers why one of the world's smallest countries is also so significant and so fascinating. It is a self-made country, the Dutch national character shaped by the ongoing battle to keep the water out from the love of dairy and beer to the attitude to nature and the famous tolerance. Ben Coates investigates what makes the Dutch the Dutch, why the Netherlands is much more than Holland and why the colour orange is so important. Along the way he reveals why they are the world's tallest people and have the best carnival outside Brazil. He learns why Amsterdam's brothels are going out of business, who really killed Anne Frank, and how the Dutch manage to be richer than almost everyone else despite working far less. He also discovers a country which is changing fast, with the Dutch now questioning many of the liberal policies which made their nation famous. A personal portrait of a fascinating people, a sideways history and an entertaining travelogue, Why the Dutch are Different is the story of an Englishman who went Dutch. And loved it.
  • AYPIQ
    Owen Jones
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    In modern Britain, the working class has become an object of fear and ridicule. From Little Britain's Vicky Pollard to the demonization of Jade Goody, media and politicians alike dismiss as feckless, criminalized and ignorant a vast, underprivileged swathe of society whose members have become stereotyped by one, hate-filled word: chavs. In this acclaimed investigation, Owen Jones explores how the working class has gone from 'salt of the earth' to 'scum of the earth.' Exposing the ignorance and prejudice at the heart of the chav caricature, he portrays a far more complex reality. The chav stereotype, he argues, is used by governments as a convenient fig leaf to avoid genuine engagement with social and economic problems and to justify widening inequality. When Chavs was first published in 2011 it opened up the discussion of class in Britain. Then, in the public debate after the riots of that summer, Owen Jones's thesis was proved right - the working class were the scapegoats for everything that was wrong with Britain. This new edition includes a new chapter, reflecting on the overwhelming response to the book and the situation in Britain today.
  • AXAVJ
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    THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER. The Sixties ended a year late - on New Year's Eve 1970, when Paul McCartney initiated proceedings to wind up The Beatles. Music would never be the same again. The next day would see the dawning of a new era. 1971 saw the release of more monumental albums than any year before or since and the establishment of a pantheon of stars to dominate the next forty years - Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Marvin Gaye, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Rod Stewart, the solo Beatles and more. January that year fired the gun on an unrepeatable surge of creativity, technological innovation, blissful ignorance, naked ambition and outrageous good fortune. By December rock had exploded into the mainstream. How did it happen? This book tells you how. It's the story of 1971, rock's golden year.