Making Our Way Home
The Great Migration—a movement of millions of Black Americans from the largely rural South to the urban areas of the Northeast, Midwest and western United States—was a seminal moment in modern US history. This extraordinary illustrated guide charts that migration and its transformative impact on both Black identity and the cultural history of the US.
Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson
We’ve been told for decades that the Earth is barreling toward a sustainability tipping point. Seemingly exponential population growth could soon outpace the planet’s resources. With Empty Planet, award-winning journalist John Ibbitson and social researcher Darrell Bricker make a compelling argument in the opposite direction—we are actually staring down the barrel of a steep population decline. And while myriad benefits may come with this decline, the enormous disruption that will accompany it could be equally as destabilizing as over-population.
The Splendid and the Vile
In his latest, bestselling author Erik Larson delves into the chaotic first year of Winston Churchill’s first tenure as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. On Churchill’s first day, Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland had fallen, the Dunkirk Evacuation was mere weeks away, and the UK was about to endure the devastation of the Blitz—Hitler’s relentless, year-long bombing campaign of Great Britain. This is the story of how one of modern history’s most storied figures held a nation together.
Rad American History A-Z
The latest from the team behind Rad Women is an illustrated collection charting the significant political and cultural moments that have shaped American history. From A to Z, each letter represents a watershed moment in progressive American history—from the spy work of Harriet Tubman to oft-overlooked Native occupations and the Occupy Movement. Rad American History is a vibrant and powerful view into American history.
Nadia Bolz-Weber, founding pastor of the House of All Sinners and Saints congregation in Denver best known for her powerful memoir Pastrix, turns her insightful eye toward ideas of sex and the shame that so often accompanies it in our society. Leaning into alternative readings of scripture, Bolz-Weber cuts through societal toxicity and antiquated ideas on sexuality and gender to present an inclusive, gender- and body-positive examination of sex and sexuality.
The definitive biography of the legendary starlet now features new chapters including a look at the reopened investigation into the mysterious and tragic drowning that took her life. Previously published as Natasha, this bestselling, painstakingly researched account charts the remarkable life and death of Natalie Wood, a complex and ultimately tragic figure set against the backdrop of one of the defining periods of film history.
Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz
Bag Man serves as an expansion of Rachel Maddow’s Peabody Award-nominated podcast of the same name. It is a deep dive into the other, oft-overlooked scandal of the Nixon White House: Vice President Spiro Agnew’s years-long extortion and bribery scheme. The investigation, spearheaded by a trio of young federal prosecutors, would lead to Agnew’s eventual resignation and likely would have gone down as the biggest scandal in presidential history were it not for Nixon’s own over-achieving criminality.
The Women with Silver Wings
Katherine Sharp Landdeck
The Women with Silver Wings tells the extraordinary story of the first female aviators in US Air Force History: the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). The 1,100 women who made it through the rigorous program were not authorized for combat but nonetheless proved a skilled asset to the larger war effort as they trained male pilots and ferried bombers and pursuits. Unfortunately, the group was disbanded without recognition after the war and largely lost to history until now.
Rana el Kaliouby and Carol Colman
Rana el Kaliouby grew up in Egypt and Kuwait with a demanding traditionalist father. Fortunately for el Kaliouby, her mother was a pioneer in her own right and one of the first female computer programmers in the Middle East. Beginning from her mother’s example, el Kaliouby has broken ground as one of the most visionary minds in the field of artificial intelligence. From her childhood in the Middle East to her PhD at Cambridge and her pioneering work in A.I., Girl Decoded is her story.
A Very Stable Genius
Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig
This latest insider look at the Trump presidency comes from two Pulitzer Prize-winners, Carol Leonnig of the Washington Post and White House Bureau Chief Philip Rucker. Building from their unmatched pool of sources and relying on myriad new interviews with senior members of the Trump administration, Rucker and Leonnig present the definitive account of the tumultuous and chaotic presidency of Donald Trump.
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas Illustrated
This iconic 1933 “autobiography” was written by Gertrude Stein in the voice of her life partner, Alice B. Toklas. It is an irreverent, oft-hilarious, provocative account of the duo’s extraordinary life among Paris’s flourishing expat community, one that included the likes Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, and Pablo Picasso. This latest edition is lifted by the whimsical and vivid illustrations of Maira Kalman.
Until the End of Time
In his latest book, renowned physicist Brian Greene takes readers on an exploration of time and humanity’s quest to understand it. From our understanding of the beginning of the universe to science’s best conclusions on the very end of time, Greene provides a clear account of how we came to be, our position in the universe, and where we may be headed.
The Velvet Rope Economy
Nelson D. Schwartz
The ever-widening gap between America’s wealthiest and, well, everyone else is a well-documented and dire aspect of American life. Here, New York Times business reporter Nelson D. Schwartz takes a look into the dividing line that separates the nation’s wealthy elite from its middle and working classes. It’s what Schwartz describes as virtual velvet rope, and its existence impacts the lives of everyday citizens in ways that are proving catastrophic if left unchecked.
Child of Light
Madison Smartt Bell
Robert Stone stands as one of the preeminent novelists of postwar American literature. As the author of Dog Soldiers and A Flag of Sunrise, Stone proved an extraordinary talent and powerful critic of American influence. This biography by Madison Smartt Bell—himself an acclaimed novelist and also a close confidant of Stone—is the definitive accounting of Robert Stone’s storied life and career.
Hidden Valley Road
Hidden Valley Road is a powerful family saga centering around a family with 12 children, six of whom were diagnosed with schizophrenia. Following World War II, Don and Mimi Givens had built a standard midcentury American life. They were a hardworking, upwardly mobile family until a devastating sequence of emotional breakdowns began to rip through their family. Their story—and samples of their DNA—would prove invaluable to quest to understand and hopefully cure schizophrenia.
Cathy Park Hong
Part memoir and part cultural criticism, Minor Feelings is an audacious and emotionally searing examination of the Asian American experience. Building from what she calls “minor feelings”—not small feelings, but dissonant ones—Hong creates a portrait of disparate cultural identities and the impact those clashing identities can have on virtually all facets of one’s life. It is a remarkably candid, oft-humorous, and devastatingly insightful read.
This Is Chance!
In 1964, on Good Friday, the nascent Alaskan community of Anchorage was rocked by the most powerful earthquake in American history. It was an extraordinary 9.2 on the Richter Scale—the ground literally lurched and rolled, streets broke open, and buildings crumbled. Amid the chaos that followed, a part-time radio journalist named Genie Chance began to broadcast to the survivors. Her work proved a lifeline that would eventually pull the devastated community back together.
Drawing from her award-winning research into entrepreneurial intuition and implicit decision-making, Laura Huang, an associate professor at the Harvard Business School, has cracked the code and discovered a way to turn weaknesses into strengths and gain the edge necessary to turn any situation to your favor. With Edge, Huang guides readers to discover who they are, and how to use that knowledge to their advantage to build a powerful and successful life.
Kate Winkler Dawson
During his 40-year career, Edward Oscar Heinrich would crack more than 2,000 cases, ushering in what we think of as modern forensic science and earning the moniker “American Sherlock Holmes.” This fascinating book takes an in-depth look at Heinrich’s career and what drove him to pioneer the science that would become the backbone of criminal investigations in the decades that followed.
Daniel J Levitin
Humans have been seeking ways to avert the ravages of time for basically as long as there have been humans. With Successful Aging, neuroscientists and cognitive psychologist Daniel J. Levitin looks at the science behind aging to debunk a number of myths and provide a roadmap for how we can find ways to age successfully.
The Genius of Women
When thinking of genius-level intellects, the conversation almost invariably centers around men: Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Leonardo da Vinci, etc. Yet there are no shortage of brilliant women pushing the boundaries of knowledge and making pioneering advancements across any number of fields. With Genius of Women, journalist Janice Kaplan mixes memoir, narrative, and inspiration into an exploration of the extraordinary women who have quietly shaped our intellectual history.
With his unprecedented access to Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, renowned tech journalist Steven Levy has crafted the definitive history of one of the country’s most powerful companies. There was no way Mark Zuckerberg could have predicted the runaway success of his social media platform, nor it’s broad and far-reaching influence. Here, Levy pulls from hundreds of interviews to present a kaleidoscopic narrative of a company that has had arguably the largest influence on American culture over the last decade.
You Never Forget Your First
You Never Forget Your First is an unvarnished look at this nation’s first president that also happens to be mercifully free of the generations of whitewashing that accompany the legend of George Washington. From his earliest days raised by a single mother to his complicated military career and presidency, he did not want his final days spent confronting what may have been the largest sin of his life—his legacy as a slave-owner. Alexis Coe paints the portrait of a complicated and imminently fallible man.
In 2017, Susan Fowler published the blog post that kicked open the doors on the culture of sexual harassment and retaliation that permeated much of Silicon Valley. Her experiences as an entry-level engineer at Uber set off a firestorm that would eventually lead to the ousting of Uber’s CEO and multiple other employees. It also began an ongoing movement to change the culture in one of America’s most celebrated entrepreneurial incubators.
Between Two Fires
Joshua Yaffa, Moscow correspondent for The New Yorker, leverages his experiences in Putin’s Russia to bring a definitive view into modern Russia and struggles under the rule of Vladimir Putin. Survival in Russia is in many ways dependent on one’s cynicism, cunning, and willingness to cooperate with an insidiously oppressive government. Those who can walk that path find success, but at great cost. Those who cannot are often left broken and demoralized. Yaffa’s portrait of Russia is one both intimate and probing.
The XX Brain
Lisa Mosconi PhD
Until recently, medical research has largely treated men and women as essentially the same, ignoring the reality that women are far more likely to suffer anxiety, depression, stroke, and a host of other issues. Women are also more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s, even when their longer lifespan is accounted for. With this groundbreaking book, Dr. Lisa Mosconi turns the focus to the female brain with a plan to help women attain optimal, lifelong brain health.
In the Waves
In February of 1864, the Confederate Army launched the world’s first successful submarine attack on a Union ship. The submarine, the HL Hunley, then disappeared without a trace. When the Hunley was discovered, it created more questions than answers. There was no indication of what caused the sub to fail, and its crew were still seated at their stations, seemingly frozen in time. Rachel Lance is a biomedical engineer and blast-injury specialist specializing in military diving projects; In the Waves chronicles her three-year obsession with precisely what happened to the Hunley and its crew.
The Violence Inside Us
Chris Murphy had just been elected to serve as the US Senator from Connecticut when tragedy struck his home state. The December 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown stands as one of the most devastating mass shootings in US history. As a result, Murphy became a leading voice in the fight against the epidemic of gun-related violence in America. With The Violence Inside Us, Murphy explores this country’s tangled gun culture. It is a cogent and exhaustively researched argument for a better, safer America.
Cara Natterson, a pediatrician and bestselling author, researches teenage boys and puberty with her latest book. Puberty is a particularly difficult time in a young adult’s life—from the increased hormones to the desire for privacy and confusing emotional upheavals. It can be a minefield for parents to navigate, and unfortunately, modern culture does not often mix well with this particular time in a boy’s life. Here, Dr. Natterson presents a practical roadmap to helping your son navigate all the potential pitfalls, from the impulsivity to controlling screen-time to sexuality and understanding consent.
Whether you’re looking for the next great memoir, a fascinating historical account, or simply a bit of inspiration to start the year off right, 2020 is shaping up to be a banner year for fans of nonfiction. With a host of titles tackling subjects such as unknown female pilots of World War II, the other major Nixon-era scandal, and reevaluations of sex, Facebook, and women’s health, there’s something coming down the pike for every reader. Let’s have a look at the best new nonfiction. And for even more nonfiction books that are great for gift-giving, check out our list of the Best Nonfiction Books to Give as Gifts.
Featured Image: Kevon Nicholas