100 books like Live from Number Ten

By Michael Cockerell,

Here are 100 books that Live from Number Ten fans have personally recommended if you like Live from Number Ten. 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 Guilty Men

Simon Adams Author Of Eyewitness Titanic

From my list on major events that changed the 20th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I only ever enjoyed one subject at school, and that was history. I read history books for pleasure, and then studied the subject at university, along with politics. As an adult, I worked in publishing and then began to write history books for myself, books to be read by both children and adults. History has remained my passion all my life, and the five books I have chosen here are just some of the many fine history books that deal with the major events of the recent 20th century. I hope you enjoy my selection.

Simon's book list on major events that changed the 20th century

Simon Adams Why did Simon love this book?

In May 1940, as Britain fought for its survival against Nazi Germany, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned to be replaced by the determined and forceful Winston Churchill. Chamberlain had been the face of appeasement, negotiating peace with the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in the hope of buying him off. Many felt that he had brought Britain to the brink of disaster. Two months later three journalistsMichael Foot, Peter Howard, Frank Owen—writing anonymously as Cato, published this scathing attack on Chamberlain and the other appeasers, naming and shaming the guilty men responsible for betraying their country.

By Cato,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Guilty Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In his preface to the 1998 reissue, Michael Foot wrote, 'Guilty Men was conceived by three London journalists who had formed the habit of meeting on the roof of the Evening Standard offices in Shoe Lane, Fleet Street, just after the the afternoon paper had been put to bed and, maybe, just before the Two Brewers opened across the road.'

The book's genesis and publication could hardly have been swifter. Its writing took four days from the 1st to the 4th June 1940: it was published on the 5th July. It is an angry book, indeed, a devastatingly effective polemic.…


Book cover of Hugh Dalton: A Life

Richard Toye Author Of Winston Churchill: A Life in the News

From my list on sidelights on British politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Richard Toye is a Professor of Modern History at the University of Exeter. He has published 19 non-fiction books on historical topics and was the co-presenter of the 2018 Channel 4 documentary Churchill's Secret Affair. In 2007 he won the Times Higher Education Young Academic of the Year Award for his book Lloyd George and Churchill: Rivals for Greatness

Richard's book list on sidelights on British politics

Richard Toye Why did Richard love this book?

This is a remarkable book which took an overlooked figure and showed how he was central to the story of Labour politics for across several decades. Dalton was most famous as the Chancellor who resigned after accidentally leaking details of his Budget in 1947, but he was also an important thinker who helped keep his party on a moderate track during its crisis period in the 1930s. As the editor of Dalton’s diaries Pimlott was well placed to tell the tale, which reveals Dalton as an unhappy and even tragic figure. It’s a mark of the book’s success that nobody has written a biography of Dalton since.

By Ben Pimlott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A biography of Hugh Dalton, who is a figure in Labour Party history.


Book cover of Daring to Hope: The Diaries and Letters of Violet Bonham Carter, 1946-1969

Richard Toye Author Of Winston Churchill: A Life in the News

From my list on sidelights on British politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Richard Toye is a Professor of Modern History at the University of Exeter. He has published 19 non-fiction books on historical topics and was the co-presenter of the 2018 Channel 4 documentary Churchill's Secret Affair. In 2007 he won the Times Higher Education Young Academic of the Year Award for his book Lloyd George and Churchill: Rivals for Greatness

Richard's book list on sidelights on British politics

Richard Toye Why did Richard love this book?

This is the third and final volume of the set, and it’s hard to choose between them. Bonham Carter was the daughter of Prime Minister H.H. Asquith, but also a significant public figure in her own right. She never became an MP, in spite of her efforts, but did eventually join the House of Lords. The book is worth reading both for its acute observations of major political events and for the light it casts on Bonham Carter’s determined personality.

By Violet Bonham Carter, Mark Pottle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Daring to Hope as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Lady Violet Bonham Carter, daughter of the Liberal prime minister H. H. Asquith, and herself a leading Liberal, was described by Winston Churchill in 1951 as 'one of the very best speakers, male or female'. She was also a writer of distinction, Clement Attlee praising her 1965 biography of Churchill: 'Amazing that her first book, at 78, should be so good.' Its intended sequel was never written, but here, is the raw material for a worthy successor. 'Winston has many faults but he is the one great forest tree that still stands' she wrote in 1950. 'When I am with…


Book cover of Memoir of a Fascist Childhood: A Boy in Mosley's Britain

Richard Toye Author Of Winston Churchill: A Life in the News

From my list on sidelights on British politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

Richard Toye is a Professor of Modern History at the University of Exeter. He has published 19 non-fiction books on historical topics and was the co-presenter of the 2018 Channel 4 documentary Churchill's Secret Affair. In 2007 he won the Times Higher Education Young Academic of the Year Award for his book Lloyd George and Churchill: Rivals for Greatness

Richard's book list on sidelights on British politics

Richard Toye Why did Richard love this book?

This is a through-the-looking-glass journey into the darker side of British politics. Grundy’s parents were violently anti-Semitic and obsessed with Oswald Mosley, and he himself became active in Mosley’s post-war Union Movement, before turning away from Fascism. It is surreal, scary, and hilarious by turns. It also gives important insights into the origins of today’s Far Right politics.

By Trevor Grundy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Memoir of a Fascist Childhood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For Grundy and his family Oswald Mosley was God, anti-Semitism a creed. His father was a fascist brawler, his mother obsessed with Mosley and Grundy himself dreamed Mosley was his father and grew up to be the youngest member of the Fascist Union Movement to speak at Trafalgar Square. But, after her death, Grundy learnt that his mother was Jewish.


Book cover of The Shadow of the Mine: Coal and the End of Industrial Britain

Stefan Berger Author Of History and Identity: How Historical Theory Shapes Historical Practice

From my list on why identity issues are so hot in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been working on questions of identity and history for more than thirty years. It's a very personal topic for me, as I come from a working-class background – something that I was acutely aware of throughout my school and university education, where people of my background were comparatively rare. History in my view has the power to construct essentialist identities that exclude and are potentially deadly. But history also has the power to critically question this essentialism and contribute to a more tolerant, open-minded, and self-reflective society. Hence, as a historian, I've been trying to support and strengthen an engaged and enlightened historiography that bolsters a range of progressive identifications without leading to essentialist constructions of collective identities.

Stefan's book list on why identity issues are so hot in history

Stefan Berger Why did Stefan love this book?

Powerful class identities were formed over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in a range of industrial countries. In the motherland of the industrial revolution, in Britain, those constructions of class were particularly strong among particular occupations. Miners were often seen as the vanguard of class-conscious proletarians the closely-knit mining communities in different parts of the UK seemed to many observers to represent an alternative solidaristic society in the making. This book traces the ruthless destruction of these mining communities in Britain by the neoliberal governments of Margaret Thatcher and is in many respects a tribute to these communities and their values.

By Huw Beynon, Ray Hudson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

No one personified the age of industry more than the miners. The Shadow of the Mine tells the story of King Coal in its heyday - and what happened to mining communities after the last pits closed. Coal was central to the British economy, powering its factories and railways. It carried political weight, too. In the eighties the miners risked everything in a year-long strike against Thatcher's shutdowns. Defeat foretold the death of their industry. Tens of thousands were cast onto the labour market with a minimum amount of advice and support. Yet British politics all of a sudden revolves…


Book cover of Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography: From Grantham to the Falklands

Judith Lissauer Cromwell Author Of Florence Nightingale, Feminist

From my list on biographies of women who made a difference.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been captivated by stories about powerful women. After a corporate career as one of the first female executives in the international world of Wall Street, while raising two children as a single working parent, I returned to academia. I am a magna cum laude graduate of Smith College, hold a doctorate in modern European history, with academic distinction, from New York University. I wanted to ascertain whether the mostly male writers of history were correct in attributing the success of exceptional women to the bedroom. Meticulous research yielded a different narrative, one I delight in sharing.

Judith's book list on biographies of women who made a difference

Judith Lissauer Cromwell Why did Judith love this book?

Impressively researched, elegantly written, and sprinkled with dry humor, Moore’s account is an even-handed portrait of a remarkable woman who turned her sex and her humble background from handicaps into assets, and used her outstanding political skills to become a driving force in twentieth-century British history.  The author addresses his polarizing subject’s inconsistencies, and her bizarre yet conventional personality, to present a multidimensional picture of Britain’s first female prime minister.

By Charles Moore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Not For Turning is the first volume of Charles Moore's authorized biography of Margaret Thatcher, the longest serving Prime Minister of the twentieth century and one of the most influential political figures of the postwar era.

Charles Moore's biography of Margaret Thatcher, published after her death on 8 April 2013, immediately supersedes all earlier books written about her. At the moment when she becomes a historical figure, this book also makes her into a three dimensional one for the first time. It gives unparalleled insight into her early life and formation, especially through her extensive correspondence with her sister, which…


Book cover of Weeping Britannia: Portrait of a Nation in Tears

Susie Steinbach Author Of Understanding the Victorians: Politics, Culture and Society in Nineteenth-Century Britain

From my list on will make you love Victorian Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a historian. But I’ve never been interested in Parliamentary debates, or important politicians. I’m much more interested in things like gender and entertainment. I always say that a lot more people have sex than become prime minister, so it makes more sense to study marriage than high politics! I like to learn about ordinary people, living their lives and loving their families, working and surviving, and trying to have a little fun along the way. I also love history of more fun and glamorous things—celebrities and scandals and spectacles and causes célèbres, hit plays, and best-selling novels. I have history degrees from Harvard and Yale and I’ve been publishing on nineteenth-century British history since 2000.

Susie's book list on will make you love Victorian Britain

Susie Steinbach Why did Susie love this book?

I was looking for books on the history of emotions and this is one of the best!

Dixon demonstrates that the infamous British “stiff upper lip” is a lot more recent and a lot less timeless than most people think. I learned that until the late 1800s men could cry—in public no less—without anyone thinking less of them! Food for thought.

By Thomas Dixon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

There is a persistent myth about the British: that we are a nation of stoics, with stiff upper lips, repressed emotions, and inactive lachrymal glands. Weeping Britannia - the first history of crying in Britain - comprehensively debunks this myth.

Far from being a persistent element in the 'national character', the notion of the British stiff upper lip was in fact the product of a relatively brief and militaristic period of our past, from about 1870 to 1945. In earlier times we were a nation of proficient, sometimes virtuosic moral weepers. To illustrate this perhaps surprising fact, Thomas Dixon charts…


Book cover of Mysterious Britain: Ancient Secrets of the United Kingdom and Ireland

Nick Inman Author Of A Guide to Mystical France: Secrets, Mysteries, Sacred Sites

From my list on seeing what isn’t there (or is it?).

Why am I passionate about this?

A while ago I lived with the extraordinary spiritual Findhorn community in Scotland and that experience opened my eyes to the mysteries that we are and that surround us. Subsequently, I became a professional travel guide writer and as I visited churches and megaliths, it gradually occurred to me that the ancients may have recorded information useful to us if only we could work out how to interpret it. Twenty years ago I settled in France, a country densely packed with extraordinary places. Here, I have been able to deepen my understanding of the universal, greater reality of which we are part.  

Nick's book list on seeing what isn’t there (or is it?)

Nick Inman Why did Nick love this book?

One of the inspirations for Mystical France was this classic published in the 1970s, a guide to the earth mysteries and traditions of the British Isles by two photographers fascinated by standing stones, UFOs, and ley lines. It’s a matter-of-fact assembly of all the strange things they could find. The images are in black and white but this only adds to the aura of the places described. The text mainly consists of extended captions making it easy to pick up and flick through without having to commit to reading hefty chapters. As in the best-illustrated books, the words explain the pictures and the pictures explain the words with nothing superfluous.

By Janet Bord, Colin Bord,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Creased spine and page edges tanned, corner of cover creased. Shipped from the U.K. All orders received before 3pm sent that weekday.


Book cover of Mud, Blood and Poppycock: Britain and the Great War

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles Author Of Goodbye, Piccadilly

From my list on most readable books on World War 1.

Why am I passionate about this?

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles is the author of the internationally acclaimed Morland Dynasty books. Five volumes of this comprehensive historical series focus on WW1, covering the military campaigns and the politics behind them. With the approach of the WW1 centennials, she was asked to write about the period again, this time from the point of view of the people who stayed at home. The result was the six-volume series, War At Home, which views the war from a more personal perspective, through the eyes of the fictional Hunter family, their servants, and friends.

Cynthia's book list on most readable books on World War 1

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles Why did Cynthia love this book?

The shout line on the jacket is “This will overturn everything you thought you knew about…The First World War”, and it certainly delivers. No other conflict has been so misrepresented, and for most people, their idea of it comes straight from Blackadder Goes Forth. But men did not spend months at a time in the trenches; a whole generation did not die; the generals were not cowardly, incompetent fools.

When I first began to write about WW1 for my Morland Dynasty series, I knew as little as anyone, and what I thought I knew was all wrong! By the time I was researching for War At Home, I knew a lot more, but Corrigan opens my eyes to many more subjects. Informative, well-researched, but above all wonderfully readable, this book should be required reading for anyone who is interested in what really happened, not just the made-for-tv version.

By Gordon Corrigan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mud, Blood and Poppycock as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The true story of how Britain won the First World War.

The popular view of the First World War remains that of BLACKADDER: incompetent generals sending brave soldiers to their deaths. Alan Clark quoted a German general's remark that the British soldiers were 'lions led by donkeys'. But he made it up.

Indeed, many established 'facts' about 1914-18 turn out to be myths woven in the 1960s by young historians on the make. Gordon Corrigan's brilliant, witty history reveals how out of touch we have become with the soldiers of 1914-18. They simply would not recognize the way their generation…


Book cover of The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution and the Fate of the Empire

Jack N. Rakove Author Of Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution

From my list on the Revolutionary War and why the British lost it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became a historian of the American Revolution back in the early 1970s and have been working on that subject ever since. Most of my writings pivot on national politics, the origins of the Constitution, and James Madison. But explaining why the Revolution occurred and why it took the course it did remain subjects that still fascinate me.

Jack's book list on the Revolutionary War and why the British lost it

Jack N. Rakove Why did Jack love this book?

The vast majority of books on the Revolutionary War are written by Americans, and they predictably focus on the conflict from the Patriot side. But throughout the war, the strategic initiative rested with Britain, not the United States. Through a series of brilliant biographical chapters, O’Shaughnessy traces the history of the war and the evolution of British strategy, and its ultimate failure, from the imperial side.

By Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Men Who Lost America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The loss of America was a stunning and unexpected defeat for the powerful British Empire. Common wisdom has held that incompetent military commanders and political leaders in Britain must have been to blame, but were they? This intriguing book makes a different argument. Weaving together the personal stories of ten prominent men who directed the British dimension of the war, historian Andrew O'Shaughnessy dispels the incompetence myth and uncovers the real reasons that rebellious colonials were able to achieve their surprising victory. In interlinked biographical chapters, the author follows the course of the war from the perspectives of King George…


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