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Gift Guide: Politics, Culture and History of 2020

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that 2020 has been tough on everyone. And with the holidays just around the corner, we’re hoping to make the added stress of choosing that perfect gift for a special someone a little bit easier with a series of gift guides.

This guide features our selection of fascinating books on history, politics and current events, ranging from presidential memoirs to investigative journalism.

Gift Guide: Politics, Culture and History of 2020

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

This book doesn’t really need much of an introduction but we’ll try anyway – the 44th President of the United States recounts his journey to and through the White House in this highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs. A guaranteed hit for anyone invested in US politics.

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Gift Guide: Politics, Culture and History of 2020

People Like Us by Hashi Mohamed

An essential investigation into the myth of social mobility, drawing on statistics and anecdotal evidence like power and privilege being concentrated among the 7 per cent of the population who were privately educated. Mohamed, a barrister, has written a powerful polemic.

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Gift Guide: Politics, Culture and History of 2020

Himalaya: A Human History by Ed Douglas

An epic chronicle of the astonishing landscape of the Himalayas, and the many indigenous and local cultures of the area, and perfect for the history buff in your life.

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Gift Guide: Politics, Culture and History of 2020

100 Great Black Britons by Patrick Vernon and Angelina Osborne

A vital book that fills obvious absences and oversights in British history as it has been told, this collection of stories explores the remarkable contributions of 100 Black individuals that have long been overlooked or dismissed.

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Gift Guide: Politics, Culture and History of 2020

Dead Girls by Selva Almada, translated by Annie McDermott

Part memoir, part true crime novel, internationally acclaimed author Selva Almada chronicles the brutal murders of three teenage girls in rural Argentina and her own experiences of the global problem that is gendered violence. Difficult to read but a necessary story to be told, and deftly written and translated.

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Gift Guide: Politics, Culture and History of 2020

Feisty and Fiery and Fierce: Badass Celtic Women to Live Your Life By by Mairi Kidd

Kidd’s anthology gives a voice to women from across Celtic history who are often sidelined in heroic stories, written by men, for men. This collection of tales about 30 Celtic women will uplift, inspire, and occasionally enrage, the person who gets it as a gift this year. Signed copies here.

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Gift Guide: Politics, Culture and History of 2020

This Land: The Story of a Movement by Owen Jones

In this analysis of the Left over the last few years, Jones provides an insider perspective of the highs, lows, successes and failures of left wing politics in the UK. There is, Jones urges, no future for any progressive project that does not face up to and learn from its errors.

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Gift Guide: Politics, Culture and History of 2020

Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation by Colin Grant

Out in paperback this year, Grant’s book draws on archival recordings, interviews and first hand accounts of the men and women from the Windrush Generation, coming to Britain from the West Indies between the late 1940s and early 1960s. A fascinating chronicle and a timely read.

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Gift Guide: Politics, Culture and History of 2020

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

A riveting account by Farrow of his journalistic investigation into one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers. Farrow tells his story like a spy novel, but always with respect to the victims of verbal, emotional and sexual abuse. As he draws closer to the truth, his own safety is under threat as he is put under surveillance in this true story of  violence, espionage and power.

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Gift Guide: Politics, Culture and History of 2020

Past Mistakes: How We Misinterpret History and Why It Matters by David Mountain

In this examination of how we tell our history, Mountain reveals how ongoing revolutions in history and archaeology are shedding light on the truth. Full of adventures, and based on detailed research and interviews, this book will make you reconsider your understanding of history – and of the world today.

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Staff Recommendations