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Politics and social issues

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  • Cover Handicap
    Cover Handicap

    Anaïs Van Ertvelde was born with a short right forearm. A matter of course for her, she thought, but other people seemed to question it. At a certain point she discovered that there was much more behind that disability, in both personal and social terms.

  • Cover De man met de panamahoed
    Cover De man met de panamahoed

    Harry Kessler was an intellectual dandy, and politics and art were the focus of his life. He defended the arts from every form of political interference. As an arts patron, lover of males, publisher, thinker and writer, he pledged himself to no one and refused to live according to other people’s expectations.

  • De ongelijkheidsmachine
    De ongelijkheidsmachine
    The Inequality Machine
    Paul Goossens mercilessly tears to shreds the history of inequality

    How can it be that the wealth of a handful of people exceeds that of half the world’s population, and why is this obscene concentration of riches not ridiculed out of existence? Questions that matter. Critical research into the mainstays of inequality is essential, even in the light of the greatest challenge of our time, climate change.

  • Des te erger voor de feiten
    Des te erger voor de feiten
    So Much the Worse for the Facts
    Sharp as a knife.
    De Morgen

    German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel once summed up his philosophical project with the words ‘So much the worse for the facts’. It was an audacious argument in favour of theory and against the journalistic concerns of the day. In his book of that name, Anton Jäger, an up-and-coming philosophy talent, collects five years’ worth of essays that take an approach based on political philosophy.

  • Cover Discontent
    Cover Discontent
    Paul Verhaeghe’s point of view is indispensable in today’s societal debate.
    De Standaard

    A feeling of discontent is part of our humanity. Despite prosperity on all fronts, the unrest in our society is increasing. In this book, Paul Verhaeghe shows that every era has its own sense of discontent, with its typical problems – such as burn-outs, imposter syndrome and fear of being excluded. 

  • The Encyclopeadia of the Fall
    The Encyclopeadia of the Fall
    The Encyclopaedias of the Fall
    What kind of book is ‘The Encyclopaedia of the Fall’? A case apart, certainly.
    De Tijd

    No one can escape gravity. Planet earth is governed by laws which drag us down, ultimately into the grave. Desires meet with an equally inauspicious end. In the Bible, hunger for knowledge leads to the Fall, while Icarus’s urge to fly plunges him into the sea. In this brimful book, farce and tragedy alternate at great speed.

  • Shifts
    Erudite, adventurous, and lucid reflections on climate, democracy, identity, and more.
    De Morgen

    If there is one line that’s been reverberating in Stefan Hertmans’ mind for years, it’s a well-known quote from Victor Klemperer, which was written with a steady hand in his famous journals during the Nazi period, amid terror and uncertainty: ‘The contemporary witness knows nothing.’

  • Hospitality
    Peter Venmans continually succeeds in taking his readers with him in a way that is appealing and accessible.
    De Volkskrant

    Every day we are somebody’s guest or host. We travel abroad, visit friends, or welcome new staff to our organisation. Hospitality is omnipresent. At the same time, some say we are experiencing the end of hospitality. As a result of mass tourism, the rise of the hospitality industry, and the Covid-19 pandemic, the spontaneous cordiality of times past is said to have been replaced by commercial considerations, pragmatism, and prescribed codes of conduct.

  • Cooler Heads for a Warming Planet
    Cooler Heads for a Warming Planet

    In this provocative and wide-ranging book, philosopher of science Maarten Boudry explains how we can solve our current climate crisis, just as we warded off earlier potential environmental disasters.

  • De huisvriend
    De huisvriend
    Friend of the Family
    Debruyne has written one of the most interesting autobiographical novels of the year.

    Heleen Debruyne was inspired to write ‘Friend of the Family’ after reading her grandparents’ letters and diaries. While pregnant with her first child, she immersed herself in an unsavoury family story that had been glossed over. She discovered how and why her father was deliberately entrusted to a friend of the family called Albert, Bertie to his friends, a rich homosexual. Debruyne intersperses the story with essayistic passages in which she contemplates motherly love and shifting beliefs about sexuality, love and intimacy. 

  • The Things We Knew in 1972
    Winner of de Boon 2023
    The Things We Knew in 1972
    Winner of de Boon 2023

    In 'The Things We Knew in 1972' Geert Buelens addresses the dangerous condition of our planet, a topical, alarming and complex subject, and he succeeds magnificently in making it totally accessible for a broad audience. While the reader remains aware of the seriousness of the subject throughout, the book is as captivating and informative as it is miraculously  entertaining.

  • Cover of Machiavelli’s Audacity
    Cover of Machiavelli’s Audacity
    Machiavelli’s Daring. Philosophy for Free People
    The Machiavelli Beeckman presents is a surprising and confrontational teacher.
    De Standaard

    Beeckman discusses Machiavelli’s original insights that are applicable today. In a challenging book, Beeckman leads the reader to the heart of Machiavelli’s thinking and shows that his works are a rich treasure trove of wise, sharp and clearly formulated insights.

  • Cover of The Book of Daniel
    Cover of The Book of Daniel
    The Book of Daniel
    A book you can’t put down and that sends shivers down your spine.
    De Morgen

    Found among the rubble of a burnt-down old farm is the lifeless body of its owner, 84-year-old farmer Daniel. Farmer Daniel is the uncle of writer and journalist Chris De Stoop. In his familiar sober style, Chris De Stoop registers all the different aspect of this case and ends up creating a devastating literary drama.

  • Cover 'Keep Your Distance, Touch Me'
    Cover 'Keep Your Distance, Touch Me'
    Keep Your Distance, Touch Me
    A well-written and soundly reasoned essay

    The problems caused by the corona and climate crises are forcing us all to adapt to a society which has changed beyond all recognition. But they can also be used as an opportunity to make different choices. Where would we like to take our economy? How should we relate to one another and to the environment? And what is the effect of this ‘new normal’ on our sense of wellbeing?

  • Cover of Nobody is Going to Sleep Here Tonight
    Cover of Nobody is Going to Sleep Here Tonight
    Nobody is Going to Sleep Here Tonight
    Holes beneath the waterline the discourse about the superiority of Western norms and values.

    Rachida Aziz dips her pen in vitriol in the best tradition of literary polemic to give the established order a good dressing down. Every day she is confronted with how it feels not to belong. Aziz fights the constraints of society and writes about what she describes as her own process of decolonisation.

  • Japan

    When we hear ‘Japan’, we tend to think of geishas, samurai and sumo wrestlers populating a country wedded to ancient customs and traditions. Japan expert Luk Van Haute paints a picture of Japanese society as far more diverse than some would have us believe.

  • Waarom de wereld niet naar de kinoppen gaat
    Waarom de wereld niet naar de kinoppen gaat
    Why the World Isn’t Going to the Dogs
    Refreshing in a time of polarisation.
    Cutting Edge

    Having concluded that we’ve never lived so long, so prosperously and so peacefully, philosopher of science Maarten Boudry takes on those he calls doom-mongers and cultural pessimists. The world has never been in a better shape than today, and Maarten Boudry is convinced that the best is yet to come, if only we put our minds to it.

  • Racisme
    Racism. On wounds and resilience
    Naima once again brings about a kind of Copernican revolution in the anti-racism story.
    Hand in Hand

    The public debate about racism and discrimination usually concentrates on shocking injustices, rather than the day-to-day racism that results in what Naima Charkaoui calls micro-injuries, caused by profound and painful experiences that are hard to put into words. What’s more, the culprits are often central to the debate and to the follow-up, while the victim is left out in the cold. This book is a plea for more attention to be paid to the victims of racism.


  • Dames voor Darwin
    Dames voor Darwin
    Women for Darwin
    A radical re-examination of sacred feminist cows

    Many psychological differences between the sexes are not solely the product of upbringing and the cultural environment. Instead they are in part a predictable consequence of millions of years of evolution by natural and sexual selection. This well-written book draws upon the most recent scientific developments as support for its plea to us to rethink our concept of feminism.

  • Cover 'De kunst van het ongelukkig zijn'
    Cover 'De kunst van het ongelukkig zijn'
    The Art of Being Unhappy
    Convincing and inspiring
    Psychologie Magazine

    Today’s society is all about more, better, further – about an obsessive individual pursuit of happiness and a stringing together of Instagram-worthy experiences. Dirk De Wachter appeals for more honest dealings with life’s ups and downs, for more real contact and sincere solidarity. This book invites us to think about what happiness can really mean.

  • Brutopia
    Those who have read 'Brutopia' will be seeing this metropolis through different eyes
    Cutting Edge

    Since Donald Trump dismissed Brussels as a ‘hellhole’, the city has become world famous. Brussels has its fans, but it is also the most hated city in Belgium and the European Union. In this fascinating and very readable urban biography Pascal Verbeken debunks the widespread clichés and prejudices about contemporary Brussels by looking at its history with all its dreams and failures.

  • Cover 'Aantekeningen bij een moord'
    Cover 'Aantekeningen bij een moord'
    Notes on a Murder
    A rare combination of beauty and engagement
    David Van Reybrouck

    Peter Vermeersch is called up for jury service in a case of robbery with murder. He feels bombarded by questions of all kinds – not just matters of guilt or innocence, but questions that transcend this specific case. What do you do to someone when you punish them? Does it help? How does it feel to be the relative of a murder victim? Does a criminal trial help families to process the pain and anger?

  • Cover When the water breaks
    Cover When the water breaks
    When the Water Breaks
    Empathy is the raw material all his books are made of

    This is the true story of a fisherman and his daughter, who fled their home country Vietnam some time ago. Hung crossed the ocean in his small fishing vessel to start a new life in a village behind a high sea wall. Quyen opened a successful restaurant, but is now struggling with an identity crisis.

  • Cover The Age of Charlie Chaplin
    Cover The Age of Charlie Chaplin
    The Age of Charlie Chaplin
    The alternation between zooming in to focus on the films and panning out to the world stage works well.
    De Standaard

    Matthijs de Ridder gives a sparkling account of an artist who was able to embody all the important themes of the 20th century. Using new sources, he casts a fresh glance over the life and work of Chaplin. At the same time, ‘The Age of Charlie Chaplin’ is a phenomenal cultural history of a turbulent period that defines our worldview to this very day.

  • Jihad van liefde
    Jihad van liefde
    A Jihad for Love
    A passionate plea against hate, thirst for revenge and the urge for destruction
    De Volkskrant

    El Bachiri transforms the pain he suffered into a message of love and humanity, in which he appeals to western Muslims for a more humanist approach to Islam. ‘A Jihad for Love’ is the answer to the hatred of those who wish to divide us, of those who propagate violence and terrorism. 

  • Cover Berlin. Life in a Divided City
    Cover Berlin. Life in a Divided City
    Berlin. Life in a Divided City
    With his talent for well-balanced, focused writing, De Moor now occupies an unrivalled position within Dutch-language literature.

    How did the Nazis poison the bustling life of the city? Which communist absurdities were the residents of East Berlin confronted with in the GDR? How did the city transform after ‘die Wende’?

    In ‘Berlin. Life in a Divided City’, Piet de Moor goes in search of the soul of the mythical metropolis, a city that suffered like no other during the violent history of the 20th century. The result is an informative and kaleidoscopic book that is truly worth reading.

  • Cover - Abadingi
    Cover - Abadingi
    His most personal and at the same time most universal book
    De Standaard

    'Abadaringi’ is a sketchbook and an intriguing documentary about the genocide in Rwanda. Janssen draws the landscapes and settings he encounters, and creates portraits of the people he speaks to. He also tells his own story, in handwritten notes. A phenomenal piece of journalism.

  • Cover The Demons of Leonard Cohen
    Cover The Demons of Leonard Cohen
    The Demons of Leonard Cohen
    Francis Mus displays an expertise not seen before by Cohen’s Canadian critics.
    Brian Trehearne

    Authority on Cohen Francis Mus portrays the real Cohen and his recurring demons. He searched for and found ‘Cohen pieces’ that never have been written about. This book offers a unique view into Leonard Cohen’s soul.

  • Cover The Johad Caravan
    Cover The Johad Caravan
    The Jihad Caravan
    It brings the reader closer to the origins and the reality of armed jihad than most of the analyses.
    MO* Magazine

    Together AlDe’emeh and Stockmans travel to Zarqa in Jordan, the cradle of international jihad and  AlDe’emeh’s birthplace in a refugee camp. They returned with surreal stories that make this book unforgettable.

  • Cover Authority
    Cover Authority
    His argument for a collective authority is inspired and well-founded, but also provocative and utopian.

    Verhaeghe seeks and finds a new interpretation in groups, which lend authority to an individual or an institution, whether they be parents’ associations, groups of active citizens or shareholders’ meetings.

  • Cover This Is My Farm
    Cover This Is My Farm
    This Is My Farm
    A disconcerting, important, humble book
    David Van Reybrouck

    The Hedwige Polder, the most famous stretch of reclaimed land in the Belgian lowlands, is to be flooded again no matter what. It has become symbolic of old farmland forced to make way for new nature reserves.

  • Cover Love: An Impossible Longing?
    Illustrated in colour
    Cover Love: An Impossible Longing?
    Illustrated in colour
    Love: An Impossible Longing?
    We live in the illusion we can buy anything. Also love.
    Dirk De Wachter

    'Love: An Impossible Longing?' is a plea to take love as it comes and behave naturally. Only then, by not forcing something, love can appear gloriously.

  • Cover Grand Central Belge
    Cover Grand Central Belge
    Grand Central Belge
    Verbeken brings back to life the era of the great expectations
    De Volkskrant

    Pascal Verbeken registers the small and the large signs of the times. He listens to a multicoloured collection of Belgians and their unique, sometimes tragic stories. ‘Grand Central Belge’ is a requiem for a divided country that does not succeed in chasing its old demons away.

  • Cover Beyond Democracy
    Cover Beyond Democracy
    Beyond Democracy
    Lucid, captivating, no breaking news but breaking insights

    In 'Beyond Democracy' Luc Huyse analyses in a clearly structured exposé society to the core. Modern society has no segment left in which the market and market logic have not taken over.

  • Cover The Limits of the Market
    Cover The Limits of the Market
    The Limits of the Market
    Nobody has taught me as much about the euro crisis as Paul De Grauwe.
    Paul Krugman

    Do the financial crisis and the growing inequality create a new balance of power between the free market and the government? Are we witnessing a turnover of capitalism and does the government take over again?

  • Cover The Power of Paradise
    Cover The Power of Paradise
    The Power of Paradise
    Provocative and elegant, visionary and stylish. This European dares to tell the hard truths.
    Chief Geopolitical Analyst for Stratfor

    We, as Europeans, feel as if the future passes right by us. The crisis rages over our continent like a storm and dismantles all our certainties. Are the fundaments of Europe crumbling? And do we actually understand what is going on?

  • Cover - Doel
    Cover - Doel

    The polder village of Doel, situated in the shadow of a nuclear reactor near the port of Antwerp, has been a pawn in the power games of successive politicians since the 1960s. Jeroen Janssen became fascinated by those who stayed behind and by their stories. ‘Doel’ is an impressive account of a personal journey of discovery in a village whose fate has long been uncertain.

  • Cover A Paradise Blown Out of the Storm
    Cover A Paradise Blown Out of the Storm
    A Paradise Blown Out of the Storm
    Decreus’ critical discussion of dominant market thinking in our depoliticized society is clever and provocative.
    Politiek en Samenleving

    Decreus sets out to subject the current political establishment to fierce criticism. He unmasks representative democracy as in truth an aristocracy and points to the incompatibility of the democratic ideal with the premises of neoliberal policies and market thinking.

  • Cover Against Elections
    Cover Against Elections
    Against Elections
    Van Reybrouck manages to convince the reader that drawing lots would be an effective way to breathe new life into our enfeebled democracy.
    Henriette Roland-Holst Prize jury

    Van Reybrouck argues with crystal clarity that drawing lots would be an effective way to revitalize our enfeebled democracy and ensure that citizens participate once more in the social structures that shape them and their lives.

  • Cover Identity
    Cover Identity
    His argument is lucid, eloquent and compelling, and easy to follow, even for laypersons.
    Athenaeum Bookstore

    Based on his clinical experience as a psychotherapist, Verhaeghe shows how our changing society works through into the psychological problems that afflict individuals today.

  • Cover Borderline Times
    Cover Borderline Times
    Borderline Times
    An eye-opener for everyone who thinks he/she is normal and that only others suffer psychologically.
    Yves Desmet

    In 'Borderline Times' Dirk De Wachter describes how the nine symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are present in all of us. His diagnosis upon observing our society is: ‘borderline’.

  • Cover Love in a Time of Loneliness
    Cover Love in a Time of Loneliness
    Love in a Time of Loneliness
    The book is both entertaining and intellectually challenging.
    Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies

    Verhaeghe looks into the differences between male and female sexual fantasies and recasts the Freudian anti­thesis, Eros and Thanatos, as a contrast between two different forms of sexual pleasure.

  • Cover Darwin in the Supermarket
    Cover Darwin in the Supermarket
    Darwin in the Supermarket
    Fluid and clear, the author’s approach is didactic yet never pedantic.
    De Standaard

    The author continually speaks to his readers and integrates their responses into his text by concurring with or contradicting them. This rhetorical strategy makes what he writes all the more convincing.

  • Cover Peace Be With You, Sister
    Cover Peace Be With You, Sister
    Peace Be With You, Sister
    A book and a study of a kind of which there are all too few
    De Standaard

    ‘Peace Be With You, Sister’ is the story of Muriel Degauque, a Belgian who became the first and only Western woman to carry out a suicide attack. She drove her white Mercedes from Brussels to Baghdad in order to blow herself up in the name of Allah.

  • Cover The End of Psychotherapy
    Cover The End of Psychotherapy
    The End of Psychotherapy
    Heartfelt, provocative and controversial
    HP/De Tijd

    Are we experiencing the dying throes of psychotherapy? Is Freud finished for good? Following a line of reasoning as subtle as it is logically necessary, Paul Verhaeghe shows how psychotherapy and the psychiatric profession have lost ground due to the combined effect of pseudo-scientific psychology and the corruptive influence of the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Cover The History of the World of Tomorrow
    Cover The History of the World of Tomorrow
    The History of the World of Tomorrow
    The clear prose offers a broad readership a reassuring perspective on a confusing time.
    De Standaard

    These turbulent times represent an enormous challenge to all of us, the world over. New questions that lack clear answers are making many people feel insecure. But fear is a poor counsellor.

  • Cover The Plague
    Cover The Plague
    The Plague
    A talented writer, original and funny, who is definitely one to watch
    Le Monde

    While working on his thesis, David Van Reybrouck came across the accusation that the Belgian writer and Nobel Prize winner Maurice Maeterlinck had plagiarised from the work of the South African author Eugène Marais. ‘The Plague’ sweeps the reader along in a thrilling literary adventure, which leaves its image on the mind’s eye long after the last page has been turned.