Must-Read Non-Fiction

This is a recommended reading list of non-fiction books and other pieces of factual writing on topics such as history and philosophy.

GenreTitleAuthorRead?
ArtThe Shock of the NewRobert Hughesx
ArtThe Story of ArtErnst Gombrichx
ArtWays of SeeingJohn Bergerx
BiographyEminent VictoriansLytton Stracheyx
BiographyGoodbye to All ThatRobert Gravesx
BiographyLives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and ArchitectsGiorgio Vasarix
BiographyThe Autobiography of Alice B ToklasGertrude Steinx
BiographyThe Diaries of Samuel PepysSamuel Pepysx
BiographyThe Life of Samuel JohnsonJames Boswellx
CultureMythologiesRoland Barthesx
CultureNotes on CampSusan Sontagx
CultureOrientalismEdward Saidx
CultureThe Hero With A Thousand FacesJoseph Campbellx
CultureWritings from Japan: An AnthologyLafcadio Hearnx
EnvironmentSilent SpringRachel Carsonx
EnvironmentThe Revenge of GaiaJames Lovelockx
HistoryBury My Heart at Wounded KneeDee Brownx
HistoryEichmann in JerusalemHannah Arendtx
HistoryHard Times: an Oral History of the Great DepressionStuds Terkelx
HistoryHistory of the Russian RevolutionLeon Trotskyx
HistoryPostwarTony Judtx
HistoryShah of ShahsRyszard Kapus'cin'skix
HistoryThe Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914-1991Eric Hobsbawmx
HistoryThe HistoriesHerodotusx
HistoryThe History of EnglandThomas Babington Macaulayx
HistoryThe History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman EmpireEdward Gibbonx
HistoryThe Making of the English Working ClassEP Thompsonx
HistoryThe Second World WarJohn Keeganx
HistoryWe Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our FamilesPhilip Gourevitchx
JournalismDispatchesMichael Herrx
JournalismThe Electric Kool-Aid Acid TestTom Wolfex
JournalismThe Journalist and the MurdererJanet Malcolmx
LiteratureAn Image of AfricaChinua Achebex
LiteratureHow To Read A BookMortimer J. Adler and Charles Lincoln Van Dorenx
LiteratureThe Lives of the PoetsSamuel Johnsonx
LiteratureThe Uses of EnchantmentBruno Bettelheimx
MathematicsGodel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden BraidDouglas Hofstadterx
MemoirBad BloodLorna Sagex
MemoirConfessionsJean-Jacques Rousseaux
MemoirDe ProfundisOscar Wildex
MemoirHomage to CataloniaGeorge Orwellx
MemoirNarrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American SlaveFrederick Douglassx
MemoirPersonal MemoirsUlysses S. Grantx
MemoirSpeak, MemoryVladimir Nabokovx
MemoirThe Diary of a Young GirlAnne Frankx
MemoirThe Man DiedWole Soyinkax
MemoirThe Periodic TablePrimo Levix
MemoirThe Seven Pillars of WisdomTE Lawrencex
MemoirThe Story of My Experiments with TruthMahatma Gandhix
MindAs A Man ThinkethJames Allenx
MindHow to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought RevealedRay Kurzweilx
MindThe Art Of MemoryFrances A Yatesx
MindThe Interpretation of DreamsSigmund Freudx
MusicThe Romantic GenerationCharles Rosenx
PhilosophyCritique of Pure ReasonImmanuel Kantx
PhilosophyDe OratoreCicerox
PhilosophyDialogues Concerning Natural ReligionDavid Humex
PhilosophyEssaysMichel de Montaignex
PhilosophyMeditationsMarcus Aureliusx
PhilosophyMeditations on First PhilosophyRené Descartesx
PhilosophyOn LibertyJohn Stuart Millx
PhilosophyPhenomenology of MindGWF Hegelx
PhilosophyThe Anatomy of MelancholyRobert Burtonx
PhilosophyThe Story of PhilosophyWill Durantx
PhilosophyThe Structure of Scientific RevolutionsThomas Kuhnx
PhilosophyThe SymposiumPlatox
PhilosophyThus Spake ZarathustraFriedrich Nietzschex
PhilosophyWaldenHD Thoreaux
PoliticsA Vindication of the Rights of WomanMary Wollstonecraftx
PoliticsHere Comes EverybodyClay Shirkyx
PoliticsLeviathanThomas Hobbesx
PoliticsManufacturing ConsentNoam Chomsky and Edward Hermanx
PoliticsThe Art of WarSun Tzux
PoliticsThe Communist ManifestoKarl Marx and Friedrich Engelsx
PoliticsThe Female EunuchGermaine Greerx
PoliticsThe Medium is the MassageMarshall McLuhanx
PoliticsThe PrinceNiccolò Machiavellix
PoliticsThe Rights of ManThomas Painex
PoliticsThe Second SexSimone de Beauvoirx
PoliticsThe Souls of Black FolkWEB DuBoisx
PoliticsThe Wretched of the EarthFranz Fanonx
ReligionThe God DelusionRichard Dawkins
ReligionThe Golden BoughJames George Frazerx
ReligionThe Varieties of Religious ExperienceWilliam Jamesx
ScienceA Brief History of TimeStephen Hawkingx
ScienceA Short History of Nearly EverythingBill Bryson
ScienceOn the Origin of SpeciesCharles Darwinx
ScienceThe Character of Physical LawRichard Feynmannx
ScienceThe Double HelixJames Watsonx
ScienceThe Selfish GeneRichard Dawkinsx
SocietyA Room of One's OwnVirginia Woolfx
SocietyDiscipline and PunishMichel Foucaultx
SocietyEconomy and SocietyMax Weberx
SocietyIn Cold BloodTruman Capotex
SocietyLet Us Now Praise Famous MenJames Agee and Walker Evansx
SocietyLetters Concerning the English NationVoltairex
SocietyNews of a KidnappingGabriel García Márquezx
SocietyPraise of FollyErasmusx
SocietySlouching Towards BethlehemJoan Didionx
SocietySuicideÉmile Durkheimx
SocietyThe Book of the City of LadiesChristine de Pisanx
SocietyThe Feminine MystiqueBetty Friedanx
SocietyThe Gulag ArchipelagoAleksandr Solzhenitsynx
SocietyThe RepublicPlato
SocietyThe Wealth of NationsAdam Smithx
TravelA Time of GiftsPatrick Leigh Fermorx
TravelBlack Lamb and Grey FalconRebecca Westx
TravelChina Along the Yellow RiverCao Jinqingx
TravelDanubeClaudio Magrisx
TravelInnocents AbroadMark Twainx
TravelLetters to a Young NovelistMario Vargas Llosax
TravelPassage to JuneauJonathan Rabanx
TravelThe Rings of SaturnWG Sebaldx
TravelThe Travels of Ibn BattutaIbn Battutax
TravelVeniceJan Morrisx

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