15 Best Books of 2015



Though I did not blog, I read a lot. This list is in no particular order. Most of it is non-fiction.

    1. The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. On the origins of Al-Qaeda and the lack of co-ordination among investigating agencies that led to 9/11. Riveting read.
    2. The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century. Steve Coll becomes a fly on the wall in the bin-Laden family tracing their relationships among themselves, the kings of Saudi Arabia. He also goes into the convenient relationship between the Saudis and Americans.
    3. Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East. During WWI, a bunch of young guys from Germany, USA and Romania were roaming around the Middle East with varying motives. Their goal was to spy for their country and leverage the war. The book reads like fiction.
    4. The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East. Understanding WWI and the fall of the Ottoman Empire is critical not just in understanding the formation of the Middle East, it is also important in understanding certain events that happened in India.  This book gives the required background.
    5. Rearming HinduismAbhinav’s review has all the details.
    6. Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors A good book to learn the fundamentals of human origins and evolution.
    7. Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief You will learn a lot about L. Ron Hubbard, the religion he founded and the tactics that they use to keep people within the flock.
    8. The Martian I am the person who spoils a movie by saying the book was better. Even if you have seen the movie, read the book.
    9. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth Read my detailed review.
    10. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College TownA look a the culture of rape in a small town in America and how it gets handled.
    11. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind Prof. Harari taught this course on Coursera and it was brilliant. The book captures his ideas (see sample) very and this is probably one of my favorite books of last year.
    12. The Baklava Club: A Novel (Investigator Yashim Book 5) Fiction.  I loved the first book in the series and read all of them. Though the third and fourth books were not of the quality of 1 and 2, this one is an excellent read.
    13. The Tears of Dark Water Fiction. The book starts with the hijacking of an American boat off the Somali coast. But it is not just a thriller.Towards the middle, the book turns around and gives a much detailed look into the lives of Somalis.
    14. Khilafat Smaranakal or Memories of Khilafat (Malayalam). Brahmadattan Nambuthiri was a local Congress president during the Mappila Lahala of 1921. He was arrested for his speeches, shuttled among various jails and tortured.  Finally, when he was released, he was excommunicated. The book gives a first-hand account of what happened in Malabar during those times. Maddy also mentions him in this post.
    15. In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin 1933, William Dodd was the American ambassador to Germany and he and his daughter Martha saw the rise of the empire. Martha gets involved with the Gestapo and Soviet spies. Fascinating read.

6 thoughts on “15 Best Books of 2015

  1. Astonishing stuff, sir! Especially because there’s no overlap whatsoever between your best-of list and mine. Good suggestions here, will take a look.

  2. It is surprising that there is no mention about any of books of Shri Rajiv Malhotra who is changing history of Hinduism by re-introducing Purva Paksh.

  3. I have read Re arming Hinduism -An excellent book.
    Where can I buy a copy of the Khilafat Smaranakal from.
    I am reading Rajiv Malhotra’s The Battle for Sanskrit which is also an excellent book

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