"A Moral History of the Twentieth Century". The enormity of this book and the relevance of the questions it asks almost makes it a duty as a member of society to have read it. It transcends questions about whether it was good (which it was), in that it is absolutely necessary. Perhaps many of us don't like to read about uncomfortable things, and this book is full of them, but sometimes we have to momentarily put aside our immediate desires and play our part as a member of society in the human story.
Having been a bomber in World War Two, Howard Zinn is well placed to give a unique perspective on issues of pacifism, violence, dissent and just war in his short interview-based book Terrorism and War. Zinn in this book reminded me somewhat of Chomsky (who deeply admires and has been heavily influenced by Zinn) with his obviously broad knowledge and recall of statistics, quotes and other evidence. I found this book very inspiring and thought-provoking, and especially like Zinn's original take on the morality of WW2.
Heroes is one of the most inspiring and challenging books I have ever read. John Pilger is an example of what true journalism is about, he hasn't spent his entire life sitting around waiting for the next PR event or corporate press release to come through, he has seen the killing fields of Cambodia, the slave gangs of Burma, the horror of the USA's attack on Vietnam, and he writes about it with a passion and insight that only having been deeply moved can produce. That said he is not one for hyperbole, and this gives his writing a clarity of purpose that is rare in reporting these days.