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Philippe Legrain's Top Book Recommendations

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

In this sweeping philosophical work, Amartya Sen proposes that the murderous violence that has riven our society is driven as much by confusion as by inescapable hatred. Challenging the reductionist division of people by race, religion, and class, Sen presents an inspiring vision of a world that can be made to move toward peace as firmly as it has spiraled in recent years toward brutality and war. less
Recommended by Zainab Salbi, Philippe Legrain, and 2 others.

Zainab SalbiI grew up in Iraq as a Muslim woman amidst war. Right now, we are living in a world in which that part of the world is in turmoil and almost seems to be operating in the dark ages. Obviously, Sen is known for his economic work. I think this is a brilliant piece of work where he moves away from that. (Source)

Philippe LegrainThis book is an antidote to the nationalist backlash and the temptation, which we thought we had buried, to put people into nationalist boxes and say that nations are homogeneous and national identity is what uniquely defines us and sets us apart from others. Amartya Sen argues that that is an easy and extremely dangerous trap to fall into. Actually, we all have multiple overlapping identities —... (Source)

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The In/Out Question

In this FULLY-UPDATED "referendum" edition of The IN/OUT Question, journalist and entrepreneur Hugo Dixon explains why: -We are better off in the EU

-We can help lead the EU if we remain

-We will suffer economically if we quit

-We will also expose ourselves to danger

-What's more, Scotland may break away

The EU is far from perfect. But we should fix it, not nix it.

Hugo Dixon is Chairman of InFacts, a journalistic enterprise making the fact-based case for Britain to stay in the EU. He founded Breakingviews, the...
Recommended by Philippe Legrain, and 1 others.

Philippe LegrainThis book is good because Hugo Dixon is making a case for Britain to stay in the European Union from a liberal conservative perspective — and in Britain Euroscepticism, or even anti-EU feeling, is mostly on the right. That’s really, really important because David Cameron has pledged to hold a referendum on Europe in 2016. A book such as this is essential reading for anyone casting a vote. Most of... (Source)

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Unhappy Union

How Europe Can Resolve the Crisis It has Created

The euro was supposed to create an unbreakable bond between the nations and people of Europe. But when the debt crisis struck, the flaws of the half-built currency brought the European Union close to breaking point after decades of post-war integration.

Deep fault-lines have opened up between European institutions and the nation-states—and often between the rulers and the ruled—raising profound questions about Europe's democratic deficit. Belief in European institutions and national governments alike is waning, while radicals on both the left and the right are gaining power...
Recommended by Philippe Legrain, and 1 others.

Philippe LegrainHaving had two historical culture books, this is fast forward to today’s economic and political crisis. As befits Economist journalists, it’s a very perceptive, crunchy, and, mercifully, short book. If you omit the notes and appendices, you can actually, in 180 pages, get an overview and perceptive analysis of what’s gone wrong and how to put it right. Their conclusions overlap quite a lot with... (Source)

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From the First World War to the waning days of the Cold War, a poignant exploration on what it means to be European at the end of the twentieth-century. Geert Mak crisscrosses Europe from Verdun to Berlin, Saint Petersburg to Srebrenica in search of evidence and witnesses of the last hundred years of Europe. Using his skills as an acclaimed journalist, Mak locates the smaller, personal stories within the epic arc of history-talking to a former ticket-taker at the gates of the Birkenau concentration camp or noting the neat rows of tiny shoes in the abandoned nursery school in the shadow of... more
Recommended by Philippe Legrain, and 1 others.

Philippe LegrainThis is a fantastic book. It’s by a Dutch journalist and writer who spent a whole year — 1999 — travelling around Europe. He weaves together the history of Europe with modern cultural observations. It’s fascinating, both in terms of how Europe’s history remains alive today, but also how much has changed. So he starts off in Amsterdam, which is his native city, and then goes off to Paris, which is... (Source)

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A History

From the Ice Age to the Cold War, from Reykjavik to the Volga, from Minos to Margaret Thatcher, Norman Davies here tells the entire story of Europe in a single volume. It is the most ambitious history of the continent ever undertaken. less
Recommended by Philippe Legrain, and 1 others.

Philippe LegrainFor me, this book was an eye-opener. We’re normally told the history of Europe from a nationalist perspective or from the perspective of the various kings or monarchs. It’s all an inevitable progression to the countries we have now. This tells a completely different history. It’s about a rich tapestry of peoples and regions and different forces which are much more messy and certainly don’t... (Source)

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