The Guardian

Desperate for nuance, no wonder we are turning to the nonfiction shelves | Stephanie Merritt

Serious explorations of ideas are meeting a need for expertise in turbulent times
The shortlisted Baillie Gifford prize authors: top row; Hannah Fry, Ben Macintyre and Thomas Page McBee, bottom row, Serhii Plokhy, Carl Zimmer and Stephen R Platt Composite: BBC, Getty, Michael Sharkey, Michael Lionstar

When public discourse denigrates expertise, when politicians and Twitter trolls alike have learned to dismiss every criticism or uncomfortable truth as “fake” and media outlets compete for clickbait headlines, it’s not surprising to find a corresponding hunger for a deeper, more thoughtful form of engagement with ideas and for that – thankfully – there’s still no better medium than a book.

On Wednesday, the Baillie Gifford prize will be presented, Britain’s most prestigious award for nonfiction writing. Whichever of the takes home the £30,000 prize and the resulting boost to sales, it’s an

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