Thanks for reading Small Potatoes! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work. This is an idiosyncratic list, tilted toward my own interests. The books are in the social sciences and the humanities, written in the last ten or so years (with the exception of the first one on the list), and very well-written and accessible—anyone can read them, no special background needed. (Derek Parfit is one of my favourite scholars, but I don’t include his three-volume set,
The six I have read on this list are all fantastic!
Another you might like is Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century, by Jonathan Glover.
I can't recommend "The Gulag Archipelago" with a clear conscience, because I haven't finished it, but Solzhenitsyn gives a vivid picture of the social nature of "evil", of a people forcing each other into being their worst selves.
Good list. “Ordinary Men” and “Machete Season” are worth reading too.
Speaking of Good and Evil, I am currently reading Ron Rosenbaum's In Defense of Love and have previously read his excellent and profound, Explaining Hitler (to which In Defense of Love is sort of a sequel).
I have mixed feelings about In Defense of Love. I think RR says that he anti-scientism but not anti-science. Without really knowing the literature, it seems some of his disdain for the research he cites seems reasonable. However, I resist the notion that love is necessarily beyond science. I'd love to hear you and Robert Wright discuss this.