4 Read. One stays home in her Black community; the other passes for white in the wider world. Yes. Each of the judges has to draw up a personal shortlist of ten. The 50 Best Nonfiction Books of the Past 25 Years Slate’s books team selects the definitive works of reporting, memoir, and argument of the past quarter-century. Read, We’re now at book number three on the 2020 Wolfson History Prize shortlist. Whether you're a history major in college, or you just want to expand your worldview, here's a list of the best history podcasts for anyone looking to add historical nonfiction to their media diet. A Fistful of Shells: West Africa from the Rise of the Slave Trade to the Age of Revolution There are some journalistic works like that—though some journalists also write really superb, well-researched history. There are a lot of academic books which are very good indeed but are not aimed at the general public. Why don’t we start with The Five by social historian Hallie Rubenhold, which is about the five known victims of Jack the Ripper. 5 He in fact had rather an exciting life, including being a French prisoner of war. It’s also brilliant to get away from the slightly dull stereotype of Chaucer a lot of us have from studying him at school and find out what he was really like. The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans It gives equal weight to the whole range of seagoing civilizations. Read A knowing, loving evocation of people trying to survive with their personalities and traditions intact. It’s staggeringly learned but it’s also very readable. The author looks at these very advanced, powerful, prosperous kingdoms in West Africa—like Oyo or Benin or Dahomey—and argues that until the rise of the slave trade disturbed the economic equilibrium, they traded on equal terms with the Islamic world to the north. You don’t have to be religious to read this book. This literature has assumed that the women he killed were prostitutes. They were powerful empires. The NYTimes Notable Nonfiction Books of 2020. The range is quite astonishing. The others were just rough sleepers, down on their luck; they were alcoholics or ill. She really disproves what the ‘Ripperologist’ literature says about the victims and recovers these women’s lives with a good deal of sympathy. Cricket is the game in India. Please enable Cookies and reload the page. The Best Books to Look Out for in 2020: Non-Fiction Posted on 19th December 2019 by Mark Skinner Whether it is broadening our understanding of the past or helping to craft a delicious, nutritious meal, 2020 promises a plethora of must-read non-fiction. The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper The Best Nonfiction Books of 2020 As the world went into lockdown early in 2020, many of us without frontline jobs and lucky enough not to fall sick with Covid-19 found more time to read than usual. He uses a lot of archival material, and presents a lot of original research, but writes it in a very engaging way. It was the Indian elite, the great maharajahs, who financed and put this tour together, but it was a multi-religious Indian team, and even included two so-called ‘untouchables.’. T he best nonfiction books published in 2019 look to the past in order to better understand the present. It says, I think, two things about the historical profession. Congratulations to Fareed Zakaria on Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World, our pick for the best nonfiction book of the year.See the full list below, or browse all of the best books of 2020 Or try any of these new books that our editors recommend . You may need to download version 2.0 now from the Chrome Web Store. If you're looking for the best history books published this past year, the annual Wolfson History Prize is a great place to start. I thoroughly enjoyed reading them. • He makes the interesting point that there isn’t complete overlap between Judaism and Christianity as religions and the Bible as a book—and that some parts of the Bible are actually quite problematic for Christianity. The book really does establish their equality with other parts of the world. Best Historical Fiction of 2020. by Emma Donoghue. This is a fascinating history of West Africa, isn’t it? Whether you’re looking for a book that will help you love the body you’re in or a riveting memoir about postpartum depression, 2020’s newest offerings have you covered. Five Books participates in the Amazon Associate program and earns money from qualifying purchases. Best books of 2020: Literary non-fiction. He tells the fascinating story of these epic voyages, but also cuts it down to size. by Prashant Kidambi It’s a multi-millon pound business and the great cricketers are national heroes. In fact, these historical nonfiction books are even harder to put down, because all of this stuff really happened. The book looks at the individual players, and how the tour was organized and financed. They couldn’t understand why the Africans kept on resisting them and refused to be defeated. Here are the best nonfiction books of 2020 so far. It’s by Toby Green, who is at King’s College London, and it’s a history of West Africa before its colonisation by Europe—beginning with the Portuguese and going on to the French and the British and the Germans. Chaucer: A European Life Best nonfiction of 2020. First of all, in Britain, we’re very, very strong indeed, probably the best in the world, on writing serious history that is readable and accessible and not just written by academics for other academics. Yes, it does. It depicts a very sophisticated society, doesn’t it? Sir Richard Evans is a British historian known for his work on German and European history. However, two bright spots amid the adversity have been the abundance of fabulous historical fiction titles and the additional time to read them. It will fit the taste of those individuals who love stories about … Then we meet. It’s another example of how broad the scope of historical research and writing in the UK is. Let’s talk about The Boundless Sea by David Abulafia next. Carl Wilkinson selects his must-read titles. Read it on Blinkist Untamed. Featured image: @OlgaM. It’s focused on the first all-Indian cricket tour of Britain in 1911, but it’s not a sports history, it’s really social history. Let’s go to A Fistful of Shells next. He—and we assume it’s a he—partially dissected and eviscerated the women he murdered. Read by John Barton Her first novel, The Lightness, was published by William Morrow/HarperCollins in June 2020. I ask a version of this question every year, but I’ll ask it again for the 2020 shortlist: with so many good history books to choose from, how did you narrow it down to these six? This time I've got macabre science stories, tales of obsession, badass women of World War II, current social and political commentary, multiple trips to Paris and Siberia,… If Hallie Rubenhold’s The Five is a book that concentrates on the minutiae of a small number of people in the East End of London in a specific period of time, David Abulafia’s The Boundless Sea goes to the opposite extreme: it’s a historical study of the human dimension of the oceans throughout the whole of recorded history. It’s called Cricket Country: An Indian Odyssey in the Age of Empire and it’s by Prashant Kidambi, a professor at the University of Leicester. At the moment, Christianity is expanding faster in Africa than anywhere else. The sudden change to a slower gear also left more room to reflect on the state of the world and our place as humans in it. If you are the interviewee and would like to update your choice of books (or even just what you say about them) please email us at editor@fivebooks.com. It’s not just a European topic, because the Christianization of Latin America puts the Bible at the centre of their culture too. You can't have informed opinions about anything without understanding its historical context. Read. Jack the Ripper was a notorious late Victorian murderer who killed a number of women in the East End of London and has somehow inspired a very large literature, known colloquially as ‘Ripperology.’ The identity of the murderer was never discovered. If you're enjoying this interview, please support us by donating a small amount. So, it’s mainly an economic history, or perhaps you can call it a political history with the economy as its centre. The Bible has had a huge influence all over the world and in many different cultures. She comes up with the absolutely convincing conclusion that only one of the women was a prostitute. Read. Cloudflare Ray ID: 613a58b2d85a32bd Untamed: Stop Pleasing, Start Living by Glennon Doyle. Although author Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai’ has written over eight books of fiction, poetry and nonfiction, The Mountains Sing is her debut English language novel. Read It’s a rounded picture of Chaucer the man and, in a very convincing way, it relates the experiences of his life closely to his poetry and what he wrote about. Completing the CAPTCHA proves you are a human and gives you temporary access to the web property. The Bible is one of the most influential books in the whole of human history and he explores it in a broad way. It’s a fascinating work. Your IP: 37.59.48.151 I was in India a year ago and travelling through Delhi and other towns and every spare patch of ground, every park, was full of kids playing cricket. We ask experts to recommend the five best books in their subject and explain their selection in an interview. by Louise Erdrich. If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware. First of all, as I said, it’s for a book that is a serious historical work, based on serious research, but also readable and accessible to the wider public. O, the Oprah Magazine, presents the best books released in 2020—from Elena Ferrante to Raven Leilani, this is the best fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and more. If you’re reading one of the books submitted and you find three quotations of ancient Greek on page two, then you know it’s not for the general reader. by Toby Green By Dan Kois and Laura Miller Note: The selections below are from January through April of 2020. Provocative and compassionate, Bennett’s book traces fascinating threads of American identity and is our hands-down winner for the 2020 Historical Fiction award. It’s sweeping in its coverage across time and space, and he has a magisterial command of the scholarship on the extraordinarily diverse range of regions, periods and events tackled. This site has an archive of more than one thousand interviews, or five thousand book recommendations. If, on the other hand, you’re reading a very racily told, well-written book and you go to the bibliography and the notes and find that it’s based on a handful of secondary, printed works, and not seriously researched, you can narrow it down from that end as well. RELATED: 40 … It’s a long process, but we manage it fairly successfully. At a time of Brexit and cutting ties with Europe, it’s salutary to be reminded that English literature is deeply embedded in the broader European context. • It really does lift the lid on the surprising and engrossing origins of the Indian game, which has now come to play such a dominant part in Indian cultural and sporting life. Each year, the judges pick out outstanding books that are both originally researched and readable. What’s impressive about it is that it’s not Eurocentric. Hallie Rubenhold, the author of The Five, has researched the lives of these five women absolutely brilliantly. This year of course it’s been a virtual meeting, by Zoom. We’re now at the last of the books on the 2020 Wolfson History Prize shortlist, which I’m embarrassed to say I left till the end because it’s about cricket, a subject I don’t know much about. Yes, and cricket has been a vehicle in India for upward social mobility. Here, the best nonfiction books of 2020. 1 And you end up with probably a couple of dozen books that you have to consider really carefully—maybe 30, perhaps more, it depends. Chaucer is regarded as one of the fathers of English literature, but what Marion Turner shows, in this deeply researched and highly readable life, is that he was a European figure. There are quite lot of surprises. But for anyone who routinely gravitates to the nonfiction titles, this is the list for you. 6 The following books are some of the best books in the genre. The Newsweek staff has chosen some of the best of this season's fiction and nonfiction that should keep your mind far away from viruses all the way through Labor Day. Yes, exactly. 2 Whether you’re looking for a work of historical fiction that highlights the resonances between the past and the present, or pure escapism into the past so that you don’t have to think about the present at all, we’ve got a recommendation for you! I’ve been following the prize a number of years now, and this one seems particularly strong on world history. Read Read Thanks so much, Richard. Tell me about it. Wed, Jan 13, 2021. It’s intriguingly subtitled ‘a European life.’. When the British tried to conquer the Ashanti, for example, it took them eight or nine wars to do so. In the book, you’re pulled along by the narrative of their lives, but it also gives a very good sense of the desperate conditions of the poor in Victorian London, doesn’t it? Marion Turner follows him around on his travels as an official—his daytime job. These were economically prosperous and sophisticated states. Jump to navigation Jump to search. If you’re interested in global history, this is probably the best book to pick up and read during lockdown. It’s a very important book. Global history has made great strides in the last 15 years or so, and The Boundless Sea is a very good example of how history on a global scale is being written in Britain at the moment. This is historical nonfiction at its most important and most ... (which I do constantly). This list includes books about the importance of an address, the opioid crisis in Appalachia, a trip to every U.S. National Park, and much more. It sums up a whole range of historical research of a very specialized kind and establishes West Africa as an important part of the world before the brief period of European colonization. You don’t have to know a lot about cricket, or even be an enthusiast, to enjoy this book. Given the importance of the Bible to Western culture, it’s definitely a subject worth knowing more about. 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