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Stephen Bush's Top Book Recommendations

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



History of a Tragedy

On 26 April 1986 at 1.23am a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Soviet Ukraine exploded. While the authorities scrambled to understand what was occurring, workers, engineers, firefighters and those living in the area were abandoned to their fate. The blast put the world on the brink of nuclear annihilation, contaminating over half of Europe with radioactive fallout.

In Chernobyl, award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy draws on recently opened archives to recreate these events in all their drama, telling the stories of the scientists, workers, soldiers, and...
Recommended by Stephen Bush, Kate Brown, and 2 others.

Stephen BushIt’s just a really thrilling book, as well as being a really interesting history of that time. But the reason why I think it’s also a brilliant political book is fundamentally what Plokhii reveals in his writing, is that the failure of Chernobyl was fundamentally a failure of a political system, as well as a failure of a scientific system. (Source)

Kate BrownHe’s really good here at laying down the background of the disaster itself, the plant’s construction, the days leading up to it, the moments the accident occurred. He talks about the accident itself, the delay in informing the public, the censorship of news, the trial of the nuclear power plant operators who he thinks were treated as scapegoats, and the political outcomes of all this deception. (Source)

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The unmissable inside story of the most dramatic general election campaign in modern history and Theresa May’s battle for a Brexit deal, the greatest challenge for a prime minister since the Second World War.

By the bestselling author of All Out War, shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2017.

This is the unmissable inside story of the most dramatic general election campaign in modern history and Theresa May’s battle for a Brexit deal – the greatest challenge for a prime minister since the Second World War.

Recommended by Stephen Bush, Andrew Hindmoor, and 2 others.

Stephen BushFall Out is a brilliant book. It’s unashamedly a book about a very small elite; based on the machinations of about 40 people. It is a book built on incredible access; but it also reads well. (Source)

Andrew HindmoorIt is a page-turner. It’s quite interesting to see politicians being so deliciously and cleverly rude about each other and to each other. Clearly he’s dealing with massively important affairs of state, but the characters are just so human, the way they’re portrayed. I just find it beautiful to read. It’s a big book—goodness knows how long the audiobook must be—but coming to the end, you can kid... (Source)

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How Democracy Ends

How will democracy end? And what will replace it? A preeminent political scientist examines the past, present, and future of an endangered political philosophy

Since the end of World War II, democracy's sweep across the globe seemed inexorable. Yet today, it seems radically imperiled, even in some of the world's most stable democracies. How bad could things get?

In How Democracy Ends, David Runciman argues that we are trapped in outdated twentieth-century ideas of democratic failure. By fixating on coups and violence, we are focusing on the wrong threats....
Recommended by Stephen Bush, and 1 others.

Stephen BushHe takes as his subject the question that has become incredibly politically timely: With the rise of populist and antidemocratic leaders throughout the world, are we entering the last days of liberal democracy? (Source)

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Do you eat too much sugar? Is violence in the world increasing or decreasing? What proportion of your country are Muslim? What does it cost to raise a child? How much do we need to save for retirement? How much tax do the rich pay? When we estimate the answers to these fundamental questions that directly affect our lives, we tend to be vastly wrong, irrespective of how educated we are. This landmark book—informed by more than 10 exclusive major polling studies by IPSOS across 40 countries—asks why in the age of the internet, where information should be more accessible than ever, we remain so... more
Recommended by Ella Botting, Stephen Bush, and 2 others.

Ella BottingYou’ll be wrong at work. Lots of people don’t like getting things wrong. Both these books [Factfulness & The Perils of Perception] explain the cognitive biases that lead people to being wrong every day. Both of them helped me accept being wrong graciously. (Source)

Stephen BushWhat Duffy does very well is he sets out quite dense numerical and psychological topics in a way that is lucid and accessible for almost anyone. It’s about the things that we misperceive and how that changes how we see the world—our political decisions. (Source)

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Recommended by Duncan Weldon, Stephen Bush, and 2 others.

Duncan Weldon@thhamilton Not at all! It’s a great book. (Source)

Stephen BushI genuinely really loved it. It really changed how I thought about PMQs, which I, to be honest, used to think of as a massive and wholly depressing waste of time. (Source)

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