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One of the best and most enduring things about literature is the light it can offer us when times feel darkest. From the lessons of history to family stories, books can be our talismans. As we find ourselves caught yet again in a cycle of illiberal reaction to democracy, we are demanding more from our reading: inspiration, solace, fire.
I relied on a lot of my favorite books to write my own, The Last Palace; the eight I’ve listed here were among my best guides through the past 100 years. These books were not only my key to interpreting the past—they also show how to fight for our future.
Featured Image: Shutterstock; Author Photo: Paul Morigi