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Danny Dorling's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Danny Dorling recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Danny Dorling's favorite book recommendations of all time.


The Northern Clemency

In 1974, the Sellers family is transplanted from London to Sheffield in northern England. On the day they move in, the Glover household across the street is in upheaval: convinced that his wife is having an affair, Malcolm Glover has suddenly disappeared. The reverberations of this rupture will echo through the years to come as the connection between the families deepens. But it will be the particular crises of ten-year-old Tim Glover—set off by two seemingly inconsequential but ultimately indelible acts of cruelty—that will erupt, full-blown, two decades later in a shocking conclusion. more
Recommended by Danny Dorling, and 1 others.

Danny DorlingAgain, this is a bit indulgent because it’s set in Crosspool which is the suburb I live in. It’s very much about what this part of suburban Sheffield was like in the 1980s, and all the secrets behind people’s front doors. It’s a bit uncanny to read when it’s that close to home, and it also rings quite true. This is the affluent side of Sheffield, so in The Northern Clemency it’s the part of... (Source)

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Each of these 44 letters tells a story drawn from ordinary lives, but tells it in order to reveal an extraordinariness that we might otherwise overlook. Arresting, revealing, disconcerting, these snapshots of life by the most brilliant analyst of our liquid modern world will appeal to a wide readership. less
Recommended by Danny Dorling, and 1 others.

Danny DorlingBauman churns out more than a book a year at the moment, and he’s very emeritus, he’s been retired for some time. I’m a fan of his books in general, though sometimes he does go on a bit. This one is nice. It’s 44 letters about a wide range of issues, so you can pick and choose. The reason I picked it is that he makes a comment early on about the nature of the current crash and economic recession... (Source)

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On Roads

A Hidden History

In this history of roads and what they have meant to the people who have driven them, one of Britain's favourite cultural historians reveals how a relatively simple road system turned into a maze-like pattern of roundabouts, flyovers, and spaghetti junctions. Using a unique blend of travel writing, anthropology, history and social observation, he explores how Britain's roads have their roots in unexpected places, from Napoleon's role in the numbering system to the surprising origin of sat-nav. Full of quirky nuggets of history, such as the day trips organised to see the construction of the M1... more
Recommended by Danny Dorling, and 1 others.

Danny DorlingJoe Moran is absolutely brilliant. He can take a subject that seems like the most boring subject (he wrote a book about queuing before, Queuing for Beginners) and make it fascinating. You’ve got to know Britain, otherwise it’s a bit meaningless, but if I had to recommend just one of these books, I’d say please read Joe Moran’s On Roads. The other reason for picking Joe’s book is slightly... (Source)

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My Shit Life So Far

Ever since being brought up by The Beatles, Frankie Boyle has been a tremendous liar. Join him on his adventures with his chum Clangy The Brass Boy and laugh as he doesn’t accidentally kill a student nurse when a party gets out of hand.

I don't think anyone can have written an autobiography without at some point thinking "Why would anyone want to know this shit?" I've always read them thinking "I don't want to know where Steve Tyler grew up, just tell me how many groupies he f**ked!"'

So begins Frankie's outrageous, laugh-out loud, cynical rant on life as he...
Recommended by Danny Dorling, and 1 others.

Danny DorlingIt’s a rude title but it does serve as a warning for what’s in the book. I put it in because there are a whole series of books by comics coming out now. These books are really insightful about life in Britain, and particularly the downsides of life, what’s unfair and unequal. They can get away with it, and they do it well, partly because they’re funny. If you’re telling lots of jokes, it’s easier... (Source)

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World-wide, over a billion adults are overweight and 300 million are officially 'obese', more than 3,000 people die every day on the world's roads and global warming and war threaten our survival as a species. The Energy Glut tells the story of energy and how our abuse of fossil fuel energy links all of these public issues as manifestations of the same fundamental planetary malaise. 

This exciting new book argues that the pulse of fossil fuel energy released from the ground after the discovery of oil not only started the process of catastrophic climate change, but also propelled...
Recommended by Danny Dorling, and 1 others.

Danny DorlingYes, it’s about the politics of obesity and fatness, but it also links that to our reliance on oil. There’s a lovely graph at the beginning of the book, which shows a really high correlation between how much petrol or gasoline people use in affluent countries per head and obesity. Essentially, the more petrol we use, the fatter we become – which is depressing. Although there’s a positive side to... (Source)

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The Spirit Level

Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better

A groundbreaking work on the root cause of our ills, which is changing the way politicians think. Why do we mistrust people more in the UK than in Japan? Why do Americans have higher rates of teenage pregnancy than the French? What makes the Swedish thinner than the Greeks? The answer: inequality. This groundbreaking book, based on years of research, provides hard evidence to show how almost everything—-from life expectancy to depression levels, violence to illiteracy-—is affected not by how wealthy a society is, but how equal it is. Urgent, provocative and genuinely uplifting, The Spirit... more
Recommended by Danny Dorling, and 1 others.

Danny DorlingWhat I liked especially about The Spirit Level is the way it builds a case that inequality is phenomenally dysfunctional. (Source)

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How can starving people also be obese?
Why does everything have soy in it?
How do petrochemicals and biofuels control the price of food?

It's a perverse fact of modern life: There are more starving people in the world than ever before (800 million) while there are also more people overweight (1 billion).

To find out how we got to this point and what we can do about it, Raj Patel launched a comprehensive investigation into the global food network. It took him from the colossal supermarkets of California to India's wrecked paddy–fields and Africa's bankrupt...
Recommended by Barry Estabrook, Danny Dorling, and 2 others.

Barry EstabrookPatel is a very smart man, a scholar in the true sense of the word. He takes this huge global picture. The book goes everywhere from India to Brazil to southern Africa looking at how the global impact of industrialised food has led to this scandalous situation where there are a billion people who get too many calories a day and a billion people who do not get enough. Again, it often has a lot to... (Source)

Danny DorlingWe have this scandalous situation where there are a billion people who get too many calories a day and a billion people who do not get enough. (Source)

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In the past 25 years, the distribution of income and wealth in Britain and the US has grown enormously unequal, far more so than in other advanced countries. The book, which is aimed at both an academic and a general audience, examines how this happened, starting with the economic shocks of the 1970s and the neo-liberal policies first applied under Thatcher and Reagan. In essence, growing inequality and economic instability is seen as driven by a US-style model of free-market capitalism that is increasingly deregulated and dominated by the financial sector.

Using a wealth of...
Recommended by Danny Dorling, and 1 others.

Danny DorlingSuper Rich is trying to illustrate how strange life is in such an unequal society. (Source)

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In the bestselling Affluenza, world-renowned psychologist Oliver James introduced us to a modern-day virus sweeping through the English-speaking world. He met those suffering from it and demonstrated how their obsessive, envious tendencies made them twice as prone to depression, anxiety and addictions than people in other developed nations.

Now The Selfish Capitalist provides more detailed substantiation for the claims made in Affluenza. It looks deeper into the origins of the virus and outlines the political, economic and social climate in which it has grown....
Recommended by Danny Dorling, and 1 others.

Danny DorlingAccording to the WHO, one in four Americans is mentally ill; one in ten people in Scotland is taking Prozac or a similar anti-depressant. (Source)

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Since the 1940s Americans and Britons have come to enjoy an era of rising material abundance. Yet this has been accompanied by a range of social and personal disorders, including family breakdown, addiction, mental instability, crime, obesity, inequality, economic insecurity, and declining trust.

Avner Offer argues that well-being has lagged behind affluence in these societies, because they present an environment in which consistent choices are difficult to achieve over different time ranges and in which the capacity for personal and social commitment is undermined by the flow of...
Recommended by Oliver James, Danny Dorling, and 2 others.

Oliver JamesHe provides specific details of Thatcherism and Reaganomics in America smashed the family to pieces. What I was talking about earlier, the disinvestment in the domestic household economy, he provides all the evidence. Insecure working conditions combined with increased levels of education in women makes everybody compete ever harder and creates a much greater conflict for women about whether to... (Source)

Danny DorlingIt looks at the question of why there is this ‘addiction’ to material goods—what they make people feel about their social status. (Source)

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