Whilst we wait for Academic Book Week at the end of this month (23–28th April), I thought it would be good to look at some of the books that have featured in the online polls of the previous events. The first event (discussed in my last post) identified the top academic books that changed the world – the winning entry was Charles Darwin’s On the Origins of Species.

The second Academic Book Week, in 2017, aimed to find the academic book that has most influenced modern Britain. The short-listed top twenty books were selected by leading academics and then put to a public vote.


The Twenty Academic Books that Shaped Modern Britain



  1. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, by Judith Butler
  2. A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes, by Stephen Hawking
  3. Orientalism, by Edward W. Said
  4. The Female Eunuch, by Germaine Greer
  5. The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins
  6. Ways of Seeing, by John Berger
  7. Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, by Albert Venn Dicey
  8. Modern Ireland: 1600–1972, by R. F. Foster
  9. Poverty in the United Kingdom: A Survey of Household Resources and Standards of Living, by Peter Townsend
  10. Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo, by Mary Douglas
  11. Revolt on the Right – Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain, by Robert Ford
  12. Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain, by Peter Fryer
  13. The Double Helix: The Discovery of the Structure of DNA, by James D. Watson
  14. The English and Their History, by Robert Tombs
  15. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, by John Maynard Keynes
  16. The Invention of Tradition, by Eric Hobsbawm
  17. The Making of the English Working Class, by E. P. Thompson
  18. The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working-Class Life, by Richard Hoggart
  19. The Road to Serfdom, by Friedrich A. Hayek
  20. The Scottish Nation, 1700–2007: A Modern History, by T. M. Devine


Another amazing list of books – including some more that need to be added to my reading list.

The winner was John Maynard Keynes’ General Theory, followed by The Invention of Tradition and The Making of the English Working Class.



Academic Book Week 2018

You can find out more about Academic Book Week and this year’s events here: https://acbookweek.com/. This third event will be launching the list of the twenty academic books written by women that changed the world and you will be able to vote on this shortlist from 23rd April. I am really looking forward to it.






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The twenty academic books that shaped modern Britain