Top Ten Non-Fiction Books To Make You Think

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Fiction can feed the soul and stir the heart; the best non-fiction can also do this, whilst being rooted firmly (sometimes painfully) in reality. If you're looking to change the world - or at least change the way you think - you won't go far wrong with these fantastic non-fiction books. Why not tell us about your favourites?

Inferno: The Devastation of Hamburg, 1943 by Keith Lowe


Much more than a military history, this is an accessible, clear-sighted and riveting account of the devastation of Hamburg by the Allied Forces in 1943. The sensitive unravelling of the ethical issues mark it many more than several cuts above the rest. Full review...

Palestinian Walks: Notes from a Vanishing Landscape by Raja Shehadeh


Sad, thoughtful and beautiful, this is a heartwrenching look at the vanishing Palestinian landscape and a damning indictment of both the Israeli settler policy and the PLO leadership. Sometimes, it's difficult not to despair. Full review...

What is Your Dangerous Idea? by John Brockman


Containing 108 short essays by the world's leading thinkers, this anthology of responses from online forum The Edge is the most stimulating book you'll read this year. Highly recommended. Full review...

The Language Instinct: The New Science of Language and Mind by Steven Pinker


This book concerns language in general rather than any specific languages and it describes mechanics of language as well as making an extremely convincing, well presented and often entertaining argument in favour of the innate character of spoken language acquisition and development. Can work as a good introduction to evolutionary psychology in general, too. Recommended for anybody interested in the mind science or language in general but do not expect advice on usage. Full review...

The New Rulers Of The World by John Pilger


A powerful indictment of the current world order by a seasoned and highly-respected campaigner. Less sensational in style than Michael Moore and more accessible than Noam Chomsky, Pilger provides an angry but precise critique of Western hegemony. Recommended reading for those on all sides of the debate. Full review...

Bad Science by Ben Goldacre


A hilarious, useful and essential look at the appalling misuses of science throughout society. Part exposé and part educational tool, Bad Science is as highly recommended as they come for anyone with even half a brain. Full review...

Aid and Other Dirty Business: How Good Intentions Have Failed the World's Poor by Giles Bolton


A lucid and cogent unravelling of Africa's problems together with a revealing commentary on the way globalisation also affects people in the West. If you're looking for a detailed primer on the difficulties and how you can best approach confronting them, you couldn't do better. Full review...

A Time for Machetes: The Rwandan Genocide - The Killers Speak by Jean Hatzfeld


A terrifying look at the Rwandan genocide from the perspective of the killers, this book follows on remorselessly from Hatzfeld's previous book from the perspective of the victims. Much as you might shrink from this second volume, the truth is that you'll only even come somewhere towards approaching the truth by reading both. Oral testimony coupled with authorial integrity make this a powerful book. Full review...

Frontline by David Loyn


Wonderful stuff, written with great affection and conviction. You couldn't make these stories up. Frontline is a gripping, flowing read, full of Boy's Own adventure stories. It's also a powerful defence of independent journalism. You can't help feeling that TV news is the poorer for Frontline's demise. Full review...

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell


Homage To Catalonia is perhaps the seminal work in English about the Spanish Civil War. Written in Orwell's admirably spare yet wonderfully evocative prose, it's a searingly honest book, almost a rite of passage. It talks of the realities of the trenches and of the politics and of the feelings. Bookbag truly can't rate it highly enough. Sincerity and honesty spring from its pages and rack its brains as it might, Bookbag can't think of a single bad thing to say about it. Full review...

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