With a week to go until the polling stations open, we’ve put together a selection of books to guide you through every stage of the UK general election, from the origins of Britain as we know it today, to behind the scenes at Downing Street in 2015. 

The History

Parliament Volume 1Parliament Volume 2Parliament: Volume I (Ancestral Voices) and II (The Reform), Chris Bryant.

Covering the origins of Parliament as we know it in the thirteenth century to the term of Margaret Thatcher and the turbulence of the past two hundred years, MP Chris Bryant’s epic biography is the place to start in discovering how we arrived at the parliamentary system we know today.

Victoria Penguin MonarchsVictoria: Queen, Matriarch, Empress, Jane Ridley. 

Queen Victoria inherited the throne at 18 and went on to become the longest-reigning female monarch in history, in a time of intense industrial, cultural, political, scientific and military change within the United Kingdom and imperial expansion outside of it. Jane Ridley’s new biography, part of the Penguin Monarchs series, offers a fresh insight into the monarch who helped shaped the UK as we know it over her sixty-four year reign.

Marc Morris- King JohnKing John: Treachery, Tyranny and the Road to the Magna Carta, Marc Morris.

Best known to most as Robin Hood’s tyrannical nemesis, the reign of King John and the conception of the 800 year old Magna Carta are essential for an understanding of the principles underpinning modern day Parliament. Marc Morris’ new biography of Henry II’s youngest son explores the man behind the reputation, and asks, was John truly a monster?

The Leaders

Winners for blogWinners: and how they succeed, Alastair Campbell.

Former Communications Director for the Labour Party and journalist, Alastair Campbell, has seen plenty of people rise and fall from power. In Winners, Campbell outlines the principles that elevate the great to the exceptional, and what makes a true leader. Alastair shared a few of these characteristics, exclusively for Think Smarter.

Thatcher Volume 1Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, Volume One: Not For Turning, Charles Moore. 

The lady is not for turning? Or is she? 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 attempts to answer this, and more.  Based on unrestricted access to all Lady Thatcher’s papers, unpublished interviews with her and all her major colleagues, this is the indispensable, fully rounded portrait of a towering figure of our times.

Nick RobinsonLive from Downing Street– Nick Robinson.

With almost two decades experience as a Political Journalist, the BBC’s Nick Robinson knows better than most the perils of political reporting. In Live from Downing Street, Robinson takes us on an absorbing journey through the history of this power struggle, from the charismatic key players from radio and television – including the Dimblebys, Frost and Paxman, – and those who fought back – Churchill, Wilson, Thatcher and Blair.

The Commentators

I never promised you a rose gardenI Never Promised You a Rose Garden, John Crace. 

Five years after the creation of the first UK Coalition government since the Second World War, this up-to-the-minute portrait of Westminster and the forthcoming General Election exposes the realities of the Coalition through the eyes of Guardian political sketchwriter, John Crace.

Who Governs BritainWho Governs Britain?, Anthony King.

In Who Governs Britain?, King offers the first assessment in many years of Britain’s governing arrangements as a whole, including insight into it’s radical transformation over the past few decades. We think it’s a must read ahead of the 2015 general election.

The Establishment Owen JonesThe Establishment, and how they get away with it, Owen Jones. 

In The Establishment Owen Jones offers a critique of the British Establishment and a passionate plea for democracy. Watch Owen’s advice for first time voters for Penguin Platform.

In It TogetherIn It Together: The Inside Story of the Coalition Government, Matthew d’Ancona.

In It Together is the revelatory inside story of Britain’s coalition government, featuring exclusive, unprecedented access to all the major senior figures, from David Cameron, George Osborne, Boris Johnson and Nick Clegg. An award winning journalist, d’Ancona tells the truth behind key relationships, the U-turns, the shifts in policies, the dramatic fights and arguments and the warring within the party.

The Voters

Get it Together: Why we Deserve Better Politics9780091959012, Zoe Williams. 

In Get it Together, Zoe Williams presents a rousing call to arms for us all to play our part in creating a more equal society. Zoe examines the cause of the apathy that resulted in almost 16 million voters declining to turn up to the polling station in 2010, exclusively for Think Smarter.

SuffragetteSally Heathcote: Suffragette, Mary Talbot, Kate Charlesworth, Bryan Talbot. 

In the 2010 General Election, less than a century after women were given the vote, nine million women declined the right. Sally Heathcote: Suffragette is the gripping inside story of the campaign for votes for women. A tale of loyalty, love and courage, set against a vividly realised backdrop of Edwardian Britain, it follows the fortunes of a maid-of-all-work swept up in the feminist militancy of the era, and the struggle women went through to secure the vote.

Create your own manifesto through literature with My Independent Bookshop. Follow them on Twitter @MyIndieBookshop and let them know you’re voting books. #VoteBooks 

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