Figes bookends the Russian Revolution with Tsarist Russia and the demise of the Soviet Union, and sees the Cold War as a continuation of what the Bolsheviks began. Figes courted controversy recently over fake online reviews which made many turn away from his books, but he writes as expansively and accessibly here as in, say, Natasha's Dance.
How To Read Literature by Terry Eagleton (Yale University Press, £10.99)
Eagleton takes classic texts by writers like Dickens and Austen and shows how they work, to get away from a conversation about characters as real people and instead introduce readers to the way these characters are constructed. Rather than for students, it's a gentle guide for the more general reader.
The Alchemists: Inside The Secret World Of Central Bankers by Neil Irwin (Headline, £9.99)
Irwin doesn't just give a fascinating timeline of the financial meltdown that followed the sub-prime mortgage chaos in the US in 2007, he also provides an history of the rise of central banking. The role of banks in US elections also started earlier than we might think.
The House Of Fiction: Leonard, Susan And Elizabeth Jolley by Susan Swingler (Scribe, £12.99)
Perhaps fiction writers are best placed to create fictions out of their own worlds, but as Susan Swingler's moving and captivating memoir shows, the damage wreaked can be huge. When her father, Leonard, left her mother to be with Elizabeth Jolley, one of Australia's foremost writers, it was the least of the family deceptions.