3 last-minute Christmas present ideas (hint: they’re books)

by Stephen Tall on December 23, 2014

Over at LibDemVoice, I’ve put forward three suggestions for last-minute pressie ideas for the politico geek (whether that’s you or someone you know)…

Liberalism: The Life of an Idea – Edmund Fawcett
There are lots of books around about liberalism as an idea: this one focuses on liberalism as reality, and how it’s decisively shaped the past 200 years of American and European history. In the wrong hands, this could be scholarly but dry, important yet dull. As it is, Fawcett’s touch is both light and incisive (eg, ‘At times the liberal state tamed the market. At others, the liberal market tamed the liberal state.’). Highly recommended.

Audible audiobooks – There are plenty of books I’d love to read, but know I won’t ever find/make the time to do so. This year I treated myself to an annual subscription to Audible: 12 audiobooks for £69.99 (that’s less than £6 a book). As a result, I’ve finally ‘read’ the latest instalment of Robert Caro’s amazingly good biography of LBJ, The Passage of Power; Roy Jenkins’ Churchill; and am mid-way through Margaret Macmillan’s The War That Ended Peace. And I still have another 9 books to download and enjoy on my daily commute.

Sex, Lies and the Ballot Box: 50 things you need to know about British elections – Philip Cowley, Robert Ford (Eds)
How do you make political geekery and electoral psephology into a page-turner? Well, identify 51 intriguing questions and ask top academics to answer them in pithy 4-page bite-size chunks. If you want to know why people lie about voting, when racism stopped being normal, and whether attractive candidates get more votes then this is most definitely the book for you.