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Best Books About United Kingdom

From historical deep dives to contemporary views, these are the ultimate reads about the United Kingdom, ranked by their presence across prominent bookish platforms.

Recommendations from 10 articles, Barack Obama, Chloe Grace Moretz, Maria Shriver and 16 others.
14 books on the list
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A History of Britain book cover
A History of Britain
At the Edge of the World? 3500 B.C. - 1603 A.D.
Simon Schama - 2000-01-01
Goodreads Rating
A History of Britain covers over 1,500 years of history, from the Roman invasion to Queen Elizabeth I's reign. Simon Schama, a popular and celebrated historian, brings this history to life with vivid detail and compelling stories. From the Middle Ages to the Tudors, Schama explores interconnected themes of power and nation-building, making this a superbly readable and illuminating account of Britain's extraordinary history.
Pride and Prejudice book cover
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen - 2000-10-10 (first published in 1813)
Goodreads Rating
This beloved classic novel follows the dynamic protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet, as she learns the impact of hasty judgments and the importance of genuine goodness. Set in Regency-era Great Britain, the story satirizes societal expectations and the pressure to marry for financial gain. With witty humor and memorable characters, Pride and Prejudice has become one of the most popular and widely adapted novels in English literature.
Mrs. Dalloway book cover
Mrs. Dalloway
Virginia Woolf - 2002-10-28 (first published in 1925)
Goodreads Rating
An entrancing story of a day in two lives united by circumstance. Clarissa Dalloway prepares for a party, while Septimus Warren Smith suffers from shell-shock and is on the brink of madness. Virginia Woolf's masterful novel employs interior monologue to perfect a convergence of past, present, and future in one momentous day in June 1923. A must-read literary classic.
Recommended by
Corey Robin
White Teeth book cover
White Teeth
A Novel
Zadie Smith - 2001-06-12 (first published in 2000)
Goodreads Rating
Set against London's diverse racial and cultural backdrop, this invigorating novel follows two unlikely friends, Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal, and their families as they become agents of England’s irrevocable transformation. With wit and humor, the story explores the intricacies of second marriages, late-in-life arranged marriages, and the challenges faced by their children as they navigate their identities in a multicultural world. Embark on a journey that barrels toward the future while delving into the past as it revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life.
Black and British book cover
Black and British
A Forgotten History
David Olusoga - 2016-11-03
Goodreads Rating
Explore the untold history of Black Britain in this groundbreaking book. From Roman Britain to contemporary society, discover the fascinating stories of Black Britons who fought in wars, built the industrial boom, and shaped the nation's cultural and economic history. Uncover taboo topics and scandals that have been hidden in plain sight through expert research and interviews. This essential read confronts the intertwined relationship between Black and white Britons throughout history, revealing a complex and often overlooked past.
Recommended by
Richard Coles
Inglorious Empire book cover
Inglorious Empire
What the British Did to India
Shashi Tharoor - 2016-11-15
Goodreads Rating
Discover the true story of British rule in India through Inglorious Empire. Author Shashi Tharoor takes on the myth of enlightened despotism and exposes how British imperialism was built upon the plunder of India. From institutionalized racism to the destruction of India's textile industry, every "gift" from the railways to the rule of law was designed solely for Britain's benefit. Tharoor's bold reassessment reveals the devastating effects of British colonialism on India and its people.
Recommended by
William Dalrymple
The Remains of the Day book cover
The Remains of the Day
Kazuo Ishiguro - 2005-01-01 (first published in 1989)
Goodreads Rating
Discover the world of postwar England through the eyes of a dedicated butler as he reflects on his life of service to a "great gentleman." Follow Stevens on a country drive as he grapples with doubts about his employer's true character and his own faith in their relationship. This profoundly compelling portrait of the perfect English butler is a must-read for anyone interested in the fading, insular world of aristocratic England.
Britain BC book cover
Britain BC
Life in Britain and Ireland Before the Romans
Francis Pryor - 2006-10-01 (first published in 2003)
Goodreads Rating
Uncover the sophisticated ancient life of Britain and Ireland before the Romans in this radical re-examination by Francis Pryor. Utilizing new evidence from aerial photography, coastal erosion, and advanced scientific techniques, Britain BC offers a fascinating introduction to the debates surrounding our British past. Pryor's earthy enthusiasm bounds along, making for a splendid and convincing account of the ancient Britons' way of life.
Revolutionary Spring book cover
Revolutionary Spring
Europe Aflame and the Fight for a New World, 1848-1849
Christopher Clark - 2023-06-13
Goodreads Rating
Revolutionary Spring is an epic history of the 1848 revolutions in Europe, brimming with charismatic figures who propelled the continent into conflict. Cambridge historian Christopher Clark explores this transformative period, where political movements tested and transformed society's ideas around democracy, capitalism, social rights, and equality. Through meticulous research and captivating storytelling, Clark reveals the profound and lasting impacts of these revolutions, and how they continue to resonate in today's world. This thought-provoking book offers chilling parallels to the present moment and will captivate readers with its engaging narrative.
Britain and the Sea by G. O'Hara
Pauperland by Jeremy Seabrook
Charles Dickens Collection by Charles Dickens, Mil Nicholson, Bob Neufeld, Audio Classics
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë