While I'm recommending seasonal gifts, it occurs to me that you just might want a comrehensive history of political philosophy. Why not, then, try this 1,000-page number from Alan Ryan - On Politics? I haven't read it, but I'm taking the word of Oliver Kamm (£), who has. The book runs, he says, from Herodotus to humanitarian intervention, so 1,000 pages doesn't sound too long for a volume 'invaluable to students seeking a reliable guide to political philosophy', and also ideal for the 'intelligent general reader'. Oliver writes:
Ryan is clear-sighted about the limits as well as the importance of politics. He argues that, whereas socialism is a practical and possibly a logical impossibility, a welfare state and collective responsibility for citizens' welfare are inescapable.
On Politics is an outstanding and original work. It illustrates the continuity of thinking about politics, which is (as Ryan summarises Aristotle's insight) about "the bringing together of a diversity of people with a diversity of interests". The most vital political principle of all is that those interests do diverge; submerging them in the name of an imagined social unity is the road to serfdom.
I'll be interested to see the reasons for thinking that socialism might be a logical impossibility. On the other hand, I don't need to be persuaded concerning diversity of interests or the perils of trying to submerge them.