100 books like Human Rights and the End of Empire

By A. W. Brian Simpson,

Here are 100 books that Human Rights and the End of Empire fans have personally recommended if you like Human Rights and the End of Empire. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Conservative Human Rights Revolution: European Identity, Transnational Politics, and the Origins of the European Convention

Nat Rubner Author Of The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights Volume 1: Political, Intellectual & Cultural Origins

From my list on the intelligent person’s guide to human rights.

Why am I passionate about this?

Following my PhD at King’s College, Cambridge I was invited by the School of History at Queen Mary, University of London to serve as an Honorary Research Fellow. This enabled me to focus fully on 15 years of research into previously untapped archives and interviews with more than twenty-five politicians and jurists active in the process of the African human rights charter. By coincidence, thirty-five years or so ago, in an earlier incarnation, I was also responsible for editing the first public debt prospectus for the African Development Bank in Abidjan.

Nat's book list on the intelligent person’s guide to human rights

Nat Rubner Why did Nat love this book?

An outstanding book that reinterprets the origins of the European human rights system.

His compelling analysis is supported, as one would hope, with an impressive range of archival research. It will surprise the modern reader as it stands in stark reproach to the widespread understanding of the European political project and human rights system as constructed on a liberal-minded ethical foundation. A real delight.

By Marco Duranti,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Conservative Human Rights Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The European Court of Human Rights has long held unparalleled sway over questions of human rights violations across continental Europe, Britain, and beyond. Both its supporters and detractors accept the common view that the European human rights system was originally devised as a means of containing communism and fascism after World War II.

In The Conservative Human Rights Revolution, Marco Duranti radically reinterprets the origins of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), arguing that conservatives conceived of the treaty not only as a Cold War measure, but also as a vehicle for pursuing a controversial domestic political agenda on…


Book cover of Bills of Rights and Decolonization: The Emergence of Domestic Human Rights Instruments in Britain's Overseas Territories

Nat Rubner Author Of The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights Volume 1: Political, Intellectual & Cultural Origins

From my list on the intelligent person’s guide to human rights.

Why am I passionate about this?

Following my PhD at King’s College, Cambridge I was invited by the School of History at Queen Mary, University of London to serve as an Honorary Research Fellow. This enabled me to focus fully on 15 years of research into previously untapped archives and interviews with more than twenty-five politicians and jurists active in the process of the African human rights charter. By coincidence, thirty-five years or so ago, in an earlier incarnation, I was also responsible for editing the first public debt prospectus for the African Development Bank in Abidjan.

Nat's book list on the intelligent person’s guide to human rights

Nat Rubner Why did Nat love this book?

This is the first book, following the opening of the archives thirty years after independence, to examine how bills of rights came to be incorporated into the independence constitutions of Britain’s former colonial territories.

It shows why and how, after the unfortunate political experience of an independent Ghana under Nkrumah, the Colonial Office foisted bills of rights on the independence constitutions of its colonial territories. A case of British do as I say and not as I do.

By Charles Parkinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bills of Rights and Decolonization as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bills of Rights and Decolonization analyzes the British Government's radical change in policy during the late 1950s on the use of bills of rights in colonial territories nearing independence. More broadly it explores the political dimensions of securing the protection of human rights at independence and the peaceful transfer of power through constitutional means.

This book fills a major gap in the literature on British and Commonwealth law, history, and politics by documenting how bills of rights became commonplace in Britain's former overseas territories. It provides a detailed empirical account of the origins of the bills of rights in Britain's…


Book cover of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Origins, Drafting, and Intent

Nat Rubner Author Of The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights Volume 1: Political, Intellectual & Cultural Origins

From my list on the intelligent person’s guide to human rights.

Why am I passionate about this?

Following my PhD at King’s College, Cambridge I was invited by the School of History at Queen Mary, University of London to serve as an Honorary Research Fellow. This enabled me to focus fully on 15 years of research into previously untapped archives and interviews with more than twenty-five politicians and jurists active in the process of the African human rights charter. By coincidence, thirty-five years or so ago, in an earlier incarnation, I was also responsible for editing the first public debt prospectus for the African Development Bank in Abidjan.

Nat's book list on the intelligent person’s guide to human rights

Nat Rubner Why did Nat love this book?

The author’s perspective on human rights and the process would not be something I would endorse, but it is, nonetheless, to date, the best book on the details of the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as it wound its way through the United Nations. 

By Johannes Morsink,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Universal Declaration of Human Rights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Book for 1999
Born of a shared revulsion against the horrors of the Holocaust, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has become the single most important statement of international ethics. It was inspired by and reflects the full scope of President Franklin Roosevelt's famous four freedoms: "the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom of worship, the freedom from want, and the freedom from fear." Written by a UN commission led by Eleanor Roosevelt and adopted in 1948, the Declaration has become the moral backbone of more than two hundred human rights…


Book cover of The American Language of Rights

Nat Rubner Author Of The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights Volume 1: Political, Intellectual & Cultural Origins

From my list on the intelligent person’s guide to human rights.

Why am I passionate about this?

Following my PhD at King’s College, Cambridge I was invited by the School of History at Queen Mary, University of London to serve as an Honorary Research Fellow. This enabled me to focus fully on 15 years of research into previously untapped archives and interviews with more than twenty-five politicians and jurists active in the process of the African human rights charter. By coincidence, thirty-five years or so ago, in an earlier incarnation, I was also responsible for editing the first public debt prospectus for the African Development Bank in Abidjan.

Nat's book list on the intelligent person’s guide to human rights

Nat Rubner Why did Nat love this book?

A really interesting book that focuses on three periods in US history to demonstrate that conceptions of rights are determined by time and place.

That conceptions and uses of rights language are responses to specific political questions of the day, questions looking for a political answer, rather than, as human rights advocates are inclined to assume, a manifestation of a continuum of a single human rights tradition stretching back several thousand years.

By Richard A. Primus,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The American Language of Rights as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Richard A. Primus examines three crucial periods in American history (the late eighteenth century, the civil war and the 1950s and 1960s) in order to demonstrate how the conceptions of rights prevailing at each of these times grew out of reactions to contemporary social and political crises. His innovative approach sees rights language as grounded more in opposition to concrete social and political practices, than in the universalistic paradigms presented by many political philosophers. This study demonstrates the potency of the language of rights throughout American history, and looks for the first time at the impact of modern totalitarianism (in…


Book cover of The Story of the Country House: A History of Places and People

James Peill Author Of The English Country House: New Format

From my list on country houses.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have loved visiting country houses ever since I was a child. There is something unique about the combination of art, architecture, and people. Over my lifetime, I have been privileged to visit all sorts of houses and castles. I used to work at Christie’s and during that time I visited many country houses, some of which were completely private. It was a natural progression when I moved to Goodwood and became the curator of the art collection, enjoying the house as part of my daily life. The view from my office looks out through the columns of the portico, across the park, with the sea glinting in the distance. What could be better?  

James' book list on country houses

James Peill Why did James love this book?

The country house is a subject that has always fascinated me, but I’ve often struggled to define it accurately. Clive Aslet, former editor of Country Life magazine does a brilliant job of refining the topic into very readable, succinct, chapters filled with plenty of anecdotes and charming illustrations. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it all over again. 

By Clive Aslet,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Story of the Country House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The fascinating story of the evolution of the country house in Britain, from its Roman precursors to the present

The Story of the Country House is an authoritative and vivid account of the British country house, exploring how they have evolved with the changing political and economic landscape. Clive Aslet reveals the captivating stories behind individual houses, their architects, and occupants, and paints a vivid picture of the wider context in which the country house in Britain flourished and subsequently fell into decline before enjoying a renaissance in the twenty-first century. The genesis, style, and purpose of architectural masterpieces such…


Book cover of Boom Cities: Architect Planners and the Politics of Radical Urban Renewal in 1960s Britain

Rosemary Hill Author Of God's Architect: Pugin and the Building of Romantic Britain

From my list on the way that architecture reflects British history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since childhood I have wanted to know why things look as they do. Every object expresses what was once an idea in someone’s mind. Looking from things to the people who made them and back again, we understand both better. This single question has led me through a lifetime of writing about material culture, architecture, applied art and craft. I have written books about Stonehenge, the Gothic Revival and antiquarianism in the Romantic age. I also hosted a podcast series, for the London Review of Books

Rosemary's book list on the way that architecture reflects British history

Rosemary Hill Why did Rosemary love this book?

The 1960s saw Britain destroy more of its own built environment than all the bombing of the second world war. The car was king, the high rise and the shopping precinct transformed city centres. In many cases this is now seen as a disaster. Otto Saumarez Smith, one of the brightest of the rising generation of architectural writers, tells us how and why it happened, why it stopped and why he has come to love some of it. 

By Otto Saumarez Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Boom Cities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Boom Cities is the first published history of the profound transformations of British city centres in the 1960s.

It has often been said that urban planners did more damage to Britain's cities than even the Luftwaffe had managed, and this study details the rise and fall of modernist urban planning, revealing its origins and the dissolution of the cross-party consensus, before the ideological smearing that has ever since characterized the high-rise towers, dizzying ring roads, and concrete precincts that were left behind.

The rebuilding of British city centres during the 1960s drastically affected the built form of urban Britain, including…


Book cover of The Pillars of the Earth

Jill Wallace Author Of War Serenade

From my list on impossible odds and satisfying endings.

Why am I passionate about this?

My ultimate read is when the action is fast, but the character's discovery of self is slow. Besides, being engrossed in the challenges of others makes my own pale by comparison. The author needs to get me to empathize with the characters - even if their struggles are nothing like my own - and once they’ve done that, I’ll be in for the long haul! Journeying through life’s mire and finding the rainbow with a character you believe - and believe in - makes for the ultimate in vicarious living. And ‘Heck, YES’ to a satisfying ending!

Jill's book list on impossible odds and satisfying endings

Jill Wallace Why did Jill love this book?

OMG. I have recommended this book to more people than any other. It’s truly a historical fiction masterpiece. I read slowly but my eyes flew over these titillating pages as if I was a famished glutton and had to devour them quickly lest they disappear. The intrigue! The avarice! The anarchy!

It is an ambitious literary project that splashes over the colorful canvas set in 12th-century England. If, like me, you love the complexities of the human condition, read this book and prepare for the rapture that is virtuoso storytelling.

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Pillars of the Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times Bestseller

Oprah's Book Club Selection

The "extraordinary . . . monumental masterpiece" (Booklist) that changed the course of Ken Follett's already phenomenal career-and begins where its prequel, The Evening and the Morning, ended.

"Follett risks all and comes out a clear winner," extolled Publishers Weekly on the release of The Pillars of the Earth. A departure for the bestselling thriller writer, the historical epic stunned readers and critics alike with its ambitious scope and gripping humanity. Today, it stands as a testament to Follett's unassailable command of the written word and to his universal appeal.

The…


Book cover of Entertaining Mr. Pepys

Carol M. Cram Author Of The Muse of Fire

From my list on when you’re in the mood for a spot of Shakespeare.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved the theater ever since I first stepped on stage in a high school production of You Can’t Take It With You. I had one line and was hooked! And as for Shakespeare–I fell in love with the Bard when I was 13 and saw Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. My best friend and I spent hours reciting the lines (I still remember whole speeches). So, when I was looking for an artsy subject (I love the arts) for my third novel, I naturally turned to the theater. I have a Master of Arts in Drama from the University of Toronto and when I’m not writing, I run Art In Fiction, a website showcasing 1700+ novels inspired by the arts.

Carol's book list on when you’re in the mood for a spot of Shakespeare

Carol M. Cram Why did Carol love this book?

Entertaining Mr. Pepys explores the world of British theater during a time when women were finally allowed on stage as actresses. I loved it because of how the author explored her main character’s fascination with acting, which reminded me very much of how Grace in my own book is captivated by the stage and willing to go to any lengths to become an actress. I have read several of Swift’s novels and credit them with inspiring me to write my own novels based on women in the arts.

By Deborah Swift,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Entertaining Mr. Pepys as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, Anne O'Brien and Elizabeth Chadwick, Deborah Swift brings a unique period in history to vivid, fascinating life in her acclaimed Pepys trilogy.

'A remarkably beguiling read. It transported me to the glitter and filth of seventeenth century London' Martine Bailey, author of The Almanack

'The fusion of historical facts and fiction is so flawless that it is hard to know where reality ends and fiction begins' Readers' Favorite

London, 1666. Elizabeth 'Bird' Carpenter has a wonderful singing voice, and music is her chief passion. When her father persuades her to marry horse-dealer…


Book cover of In the Presence of the Enemy

Vee Kumari Author Of Dharma: A Rekha Rao Mystery

From my list on families disguised as mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

Being an immigrant from India, a culture that places family values above all else, I am drawn to books that explore family conflicts, secrets, and the triumph of love against all odds. When an author incorporates these themes into a mystery, the book becomes more than a simple formulaic whodunnit story that educates me about the complexities of our lives.

Vee's book list on families disguised as mysteries

Vee Kumari Why did Vee love this book?

Threat of exposure of a scandalous affair takes Lynley and his sidekick Havers from London into the countryside, where they reveal how a hidden past and the mistaken identity of a father by his son, led to murder. I love it for the writing style – George's later books became too big for me – the characters she creates with such clarity and passion, who are put into situations that threaten their lives, reputation, and ideals.

By Elizabeth George,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Presence of the Enemy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the editor of a popular left-wing tabloid, Dennis Luxford has made a career out of scandal. But this time the scoop involves his own daughter. To save the life of his child, Luxford must expose the girl's mother - Eve Bowen, now Under Secretary of State for the Home Office. And Eve refuses to involve the police, convinced that Charlotte's disappearance is just one more shabby tabloid ploy.

Only when events take an unbearable turn is New Scotland Yard brought in, in the guise of Inspector Thomas Lynley and his partner, Barbara Havers. And as their investigations move from…


Book cover of Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague

Ana Veciana-Suarez Author Of Dulcinea

From my list on bringing to life the forgotten Baroque Age.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became fascinated with 16th-century and 17th-century Europe after reading Don Quixote many years ago. Since then, every novel or nonfiction book about that era has felt both ancient and contemporary. I’m always struck by how much our environment has changed—transportation, communication, housing, government—but also how little we as people have changed when it comes to ambition, love, grief, and greed. I doubled down my reading on that time period when I researched my novel, Dulcinea. Many people read in the eras of the Renaissance, World War II, or ancient Greece, so I’m hoping to introduce them to the Baroque Age. 

Ana's book list on bringing to life the forgotten Baroque Age

Ana Veciana-Suarez Why did Ana love this book?

I was introduced to Brooks’ writing by a fellow journalist because I very much wanted to read a novel by a reporter turned fiction writer.

The writing and the plot of the 1666 plague in this book didn’t disappoint. It was like sinking into a time and place so different from my own, but at the same time so familiar because Brooks is what I call a surround-sound writer. She is able to totally immerse you in a foreign world.

By Geraldine Brooks,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Year of Wonders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 'March' and 'People of the Book'.

A young woman's struggle to save her family and her soul during the extraordinary year of 1666, when plague suddenly struck a small Derbyshire village.

In 1666, plague swept through London, driving the King and his court to Oxford, and Samuel Pepys to Greenwich, in an attempt to escape contagion. The north of England remained untouched until, in a small community of leadminers and hill farmers, a bolt of cloth arrived from the capital. The tailor who cut the cloth had no way of knowing that the damp…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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