As the UK navigates its way out of coronavirus lockdown, with many of us still shielding, life as we know it has been changed forever in the wake of the deadly pandemic. But with the help of history and how it has shaped the way we live, it’s easy to look back and review the lessons learned.
To inspire all you book-loving Brits, Mandy Kirkby, Non-Fiction Publisher at The Folio Society, who, for over 70 years, has been publishing beautifully illustrated editions of the world’s greatest fiction books as well as thoroughly picture-researched non-fiction books, has compiled a list of must-read non-fiction titles. The definitive list looks back at where we’ve been and also adds some guidance and wisdom for operating in the new world we find ourselves living in now.
The Diversity of Life by Edward O. Wilson
British wildlife has thrived with empty roads and the temporary halting of the destruction of the countryside. The environment worldwide benefited from lockdown, and nature came into its own. Edward O. Wilson’s important and classic book The Diversity of Life will remind you why we mustn’t forget what a difference it made when we stopped damaging the planet.
Selected Poems of William Wordsworth by William Wordsworth
Have you ever wandered lonely as a cloud and stopped to admire a host of golden daffodils? If you want to hold on to your newfound appreciation of the natural world for just a while longer, then Wordsworth is your man.
Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do
The pandemic has reshaped our understanding of work and has shown us all too clearly why we should appreciate the supermarket cashier and delivery driver. Learn what American cashiers and drivers felt about their work in the 1970s in Studs Terkel’s timeless and fascinating chronicle. And the more it changes…
The Greatest Benefit To Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present
The late Roy Porter‘s monumental medical tome continues to astound readers to this day with his delightful romp through (sometimes gory) medical history. A great read for those who don’t truly dread seeing the sawbones but have some reverence for the advances of this profession. We are all aware of the debt we owe – and will continue to owe – to the medical profession. It’s a centuries’ old story of sacrifice and dedication, and Porter tells it magnificently.
The Gastronomical Me by M.F.K. Fisher
If you’re still dreaming of a foreign holiday and its highlight – the visit to a luscious and enticing food market – then Mary Fisher’s sparkling account of her lifelong love affair with the food of France should sustain you until the dream finally becomes a reality.
The Mask of Command by John Keegan
What makes a great leader in a crisis and in its aftermath? John Keegan’s masterly study of four military commanders provides illuminating insights into the nature of leadership.
South Polar Times
Another time, another place, far far away. South Polar Times is a complete collection of the magazines of Captain Scott’s Discovery and Terra Nova Antarctic expeditions. Written and illustrated by the crew, including the heroic survivor of the Antarctic, Ernest Shackleton, the volume is utterly transporting.
The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
Anne Frank spent more than two years hidden in an Amsterdam attic during the German occupation, before she was murdered by the Nazis in a concentration camp. ‘I don’t think about all the misery but about the beauty that remains.’ Her diaries remain a poignant lesson about the inhumanity of the worst crime ever committed in human history – the Holocaust.
Essays by Michel de Montaigne
How would the great thinker and essayist have coped with the pandemic? He’d weathered many outbreaks of the plague in 16th-century France and would have offered us advice on ‘how to live when life itself comes under attack’. And on the easing of lockdown, he’d be sorry it was all over: ‘The wise person will flee the crowd, endure it if necessary, but given the choice, choose solitude.’ Michel de Montaigne reminds us that humans have always been vulnerable to microorganisms.
Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years
Take a step back and put it all in perspective. This groundbreaking book by Jared Diamond asks Why has human history unfolded so differently across the world? and looks at the great global upheavals from prehistory to the present day. We’ve been here before…
Find out more about the great titles available on www.foliosociety.com.