Fall’s politics and current events books wade into the culture wars, with investigations of the opioid crisis, the criminal justice system, white nationalism, identity politics on campus, Black Lives Matter, and the #MeToo movement.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century
Yuval N. Harari. Random/Spiegel & Grau, Sept. 4
Harari, author of the bestsellers Sapiens and Homo Deus, turns his attention from humanity’s past and future to present-day issues like migration and climate change.
American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment
Shane Bauer. Penguin Press, Sept. 18
One of several books this season putting the American criminal justice system on trial, Bauer’s comes with a firsthand angle: he went undercover to work as a private prison guard.
The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure
Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff. Penguin Press, Sept. 4
The authors’ 2015 essay on this topic in the Atlantic made a significant stir, and now they’re back with more to say about the dangers of identity politics and helicopter parenting.
Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America
Beth Macy. Little, Brown, Aug. 7
Several authors are delving into the American opioid epidemic this fall; Macy’s take focuses on the families, first responders, and others directly affected by it.
Good and Mad: How Women’s Anger Is Reshaping America
Rebecca Traister. Simon & Schuster, Oct. 2
The latest from feminist Traister (All the Single Ladies) takes a historical and present-day look at women’s anger as a force for political change.
House of Trump, House of Putin: How Vladimir Putin and the Russian Mafia Helped Put Donald Trump in the White House
Craig Unger. Dutton, Sept. 11
Unger’s book promises new revelations about Trump’s long-standing relationships with Russians, which, he says, began long before his presidential campaign.
Money Rock: A Family’s Story of Cocaine, Race, and Ambition in the New South
Pam Kelley. New Press, Sept. 25
This family saga revolves around Money Rock, a powerful cocaine dealer in 1980s Charlotte, N.C., and, later, his children.
On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope
DeRay Mckesson. Viking, Sept. 4
The first book from the Black Lives Matter activist who came to prominence during the protests in Ferguson, Mo., puts forth a framework for making social change.
Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist
Eli Saslow. Doubleday, Sept. 18
Saslow expands on a story he wrote for the Washington Post in 2016 about the change of heart experienced by Derek Black, a rising star in Southern white nationalist movements.
The Splintering of the American Mind: Identity Politics, Inequality, and Community on Today’s College Campuses
William Egginton. Bloomsbury, Aug. 28
Egginton offers a critique of identity politics on campus—surprisingly, from a leftist perspective.
Politics & Current Events Listings
Mr. Trump’s Wild Ride: The Thrills, Chills, Screams, and Occasional Blackouts of His Extraordinary First Year in Office by Major Garrett (Sept. 18, hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-250-18591-4). A White House correspondent, who has been in that role since the ’90s, gives his perspective on year one of the Trump administration.
The Message: A Word from the Black America You Forgot About by D. Watkins (Sept. 11, hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-1-5011-8782-7) begins with the author’s experiences living in impoverished black communities and broadens to discuss social issues affecting the residents of those neighborhoods and relevant activist movements.
My Mother. Barack Obama. Donald Trump. and the Last Stand of the Angry White Man: An Autobiography of America by Kevin Powell (Sept. 4, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-5011-9880-9). The poet, cultural critic, and activist looks at the current political landscape through the lens of three crucial figures in his life.
Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger by Soraya Chemaly (Sept. 18, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-5011-8955-5) considers why women repress anger, the consequences of that repression, and the liberation available to those who activate that anger to create change.
Punishment Without Crime: How Our Massive Misdemeanor System Traps the Innocent and Makes America More Unequal by Alexandra Natapoff (Dec. 31, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-465-09379-3). A legal scholar lays bare the injustice at the heart of the American justice system by looking at misdemeanors, for which innocent people—particularly the poor and marginalized—are disproportionately and often inappropriately punished.
Invisible Martyrs: Inside the Secret World of Female Islamic Radicals by Farhanna Qazi (Sept. 25, trade paper, $22.95, ISBN 978-1-62656-790-0). The first Muslim woman to work for the National Counterterrorism Center relays the varied stories of women who have chosen to join radical Islamist and terrorist movements.
The Splintering of the American Mind: Identity Politics, Inequality, and Community on Today’s College Campuses by William Egginton (Aug. 28, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-63557-133-2). Egginton, a humanities professor, argues that identity politics has led students in higher education to adopt an individualistic worldview that undermines more profound community building. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
The Bodies in Person: An Account of Civilian Casualties in American Wars by Nick McDonell (Sept. 18, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-7352-1157-5) surveys civilian deaths caused by American military actions since 2003 in Iraq and Afghanistan, drawing on interviews with police chiefs, drone strike teams, intelligence officers, and bystanders.
Trump, the Blue-Collar President by Anthony Scaramucci (Sept. 25, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-5460-7592-9) is an analysis of Trump’s appeal and strategy from his communications director whose tenure lasted 10 days in 2017.
Impeaching the President: Past, Present, and Future by Alan Hirsch (Oct. 16, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-0-87286-762-8) is a history of American presidential impeachment; how it played out for Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton; and how it could play out for Donald Trump.
Unrivaled: Why America Will Remain the World’s Sole Superpower by Michael Beckley (Sept. 15, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-1-5017-2478-7) argues that the U.S. has significant and underappreciated military and economic advantages over China and will not be easily ousted from its dominant role.
Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life by Eric Klinenberg (Sept. 11, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-5247-6116-5). Sociologist Klinenberg argues that public shared spaces like libraries, parks, houses of worship, and childcare centers can help solve social problems, and he investigates illustrative success stories.
Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist by Eli Saslow (Sept. 18, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-385-54286-9) tells the story of the moral conversion of Derek Black, scion of a prominent white supremacist family, when, after a lifetime of home-schooling, he went to college—and met an Orthodox Jew whose invitation to Shabbat dinner changed his life.
House of Trump, House of Putin: How Vladimir Putin and the Russian Mafia Helped Put Donald Trump in the White House by Craig Unger (Sept. 11, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-5247-4350-5) investigates Trump’s relationship with Russia and Putin, beginning early in Trump’s career.
Beautiful Country Burn Again: Democracy, Rebellion, and Revolution by Ben Fountain (Sept. 25, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-268884-2). In essays, Fountain identifies two previous crises in American identity that spurred extreme upheaval—the conflict over slavery, which led to the Civil War, and the Great Depression, the ultimate response to which was the New Deal—and argues that the 2016 election may be a third such crisis. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
The Red and the Blue: The 1990s and the Birth of Political Tribalism by Steve Kornacki (Oct. 2, hardcover, $29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-243898-0) presents a large-scale history of 1990s American politics and its major players—Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Ross Perot, Mario Cuomo, and others—and argues it set the stage for the current political situation. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Can Democracy Work? A Short History of a Radical Idea from Ancient Athens to Our World by James Miller (Sept. 18, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-374-13764-9) is an account of democracy, now frequently considered to be in crisis, from its beginnings in ancient Greece to the encampments of Occupy Wall Street.
Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment by Francis Fukuyama (Sept. 11, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-374-12929-3). The author of The End of History and the Last Man names identity politics as the unifying theme in current political trends, including anti-immigrant sentiment, Islamist radicalism, and both left-wing and white nationalist politics in the U.S., and proposes ways to foster broader connections.
We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet’s Culture Laboratory by Christine Lagorio-Chafkin (Oct. 2, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-316-43537-6) takes readers on a tour of the sprawling, hyperpopular site, tracing its history from its founding in 2005 to becoming the fourth-most-visited website in the U.S., with users whose activities range from solving cold cases to recruiting for right-wing movements.
The Future of Capitalism: A Manifesto by Paul Collier (Dec. 4, hardcover, $29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-274865-2). Economist Collier posits ethical ways to repair deepening societal rifts, which have undermined the foundation of democracy, by fixing capitalism.
The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias by Dolly Chugh (Sept. 4, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-269214-6). The social psychologist explains the sources of unconscious bias and how to counteract it, and gives guidance about how to foment social change.
Feminism’s Forgotten Fight: The Unfinished Struggle for Work and Family by Kirsten Swinth (Nov. 5, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-674-98641-1) revisits American second-wave feminism, reviewing pivotal moments, reintroducing important figures, and countering the conservative argument that second-wave feminism is to blame for the problems women still face.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Prius or Pickup? How the Answers to Four Simple Questions Explain America’s Great Divide by Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler (Oct. 9, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-328-86678-3) argues that it is not ideology but personality traits, demonstrable through consumer choices, that determine a person’s political allegiance and the present stark divide between political groups.
Likewar: The Weaponization of Social Media by P.W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking (Oct. 2, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-328-69574-1). Singer (Wired for War) and Council on Foreign Relations fellow Brooking describe the surprising occurrences (ISIS copies Taylor Swift’s Twitter strategy) and real-world consequences of social media’s integration into diplomacy and international relations. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
The Jungle Grows Back: The Case for American Power by Robert Kagan (Sept. 18, hardcover, $22.95, ISBN 978-0-525-52165-5) suggests that the world’s dangers require America to continue to play the role of enforcer, rather than to withdraw from world conflicts. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas (Aug. 28, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-451-49324-8) skewers the hypocrisies of the neoliberal technocratic elite who see all social problems as amenable to market solutions and seek to do good but not to lessen harm. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America by Beth Macy (Aug. 7, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-316-55124-3) introduces readers to families affected by the opioid epidemic, first responders struggling to lessen it, and the medical culture that enabled it.
The Forgotten: How the People of One Pennsylvania County Elected Donald Trump and Changed America by Ben Bradlee (Oct. 16, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-316-51573-3) paints a portrait of the voters of Luzerne County, Pa., a rural region that swung from Obama to Trump in 2016.
Sinjar: 14 Days to Saving the Yazidis from Islamic State by Susan Shand (Sept. 1, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-4930-3365-2) tells the dramatic story of how Yazidi immigrants to the U.S., working out of a Maryland motel, convinced the Obama administration to save 50,000 Yazidis who had been trapped by ISIS on an Iraqi mountaintop.
A History of America in Ten Strikes by Erik Loomis (Oct. 2, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-62097-161-1) recounts little-discussed moments from American history in which worker strikes reflected or spurred changes in social power relations, in factories and on plantations, and draws lessons for the workers of today.
Money Rock: A Family’s Story of Cocaine, Race, and Ambition in the New South by Pam Kelley (Sept. 25, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-62097-327-1) tells the story of Money Rock, who became a powerful cocaine dealer in 1980s Charlotte, N.C., and his family, illuminating how they are affected by social forces and their relationships with each other.
New York Univ.
No Place on the Corner: The Costs of Aggressive Policing by Jan Haldipur (Nov. 27, trade paper, $25, ISBN 978-1-4798-8800-9) draws on years of field work to depict the experiences of people of color in the South Bronx during the time of the New York Police Department’s aggressive and racially discriminatory “stop-and-frisk” policy.
The Souls of Yellow Folk: Essays by Wesley Yang (Oct. 9, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-393-24174-7) combines essays on white supremacy, memoir, sociology, and reporting, including Yang’s magazine stories on Eddie Huang, Seung-Hi Cho, and the Asian-American experience.
Our Woman in Havana: Reporting Castro’s Cuba by Sarah Rainsford (Oct. 9, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-78607-399-0) recounts Rainsford’s time as the BBC’s Havana correspondent starting in 2011 and depicts the country in the post-Castro moment.
American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment by Shane Bauer (Sept. 18, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-7352-2358-5). Bauer expands on his Mother Jones exposé in which he worked undercover as a private prison guard. He reports his and others’ dehumanizing experiences in the prison where he worked, and traces the history of the prison-for-profit system that leads to overincarceration and mistreatment of inmates.
The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting up a Generation for Failure by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff (Sept. 4, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-7352-2489-6). The authors of the viral 2015 Atlantic piece of the same name, which inveighed against trigger warnings, safe spaces, and other trappings of campus identity politics, have expanded their argument to book length.
The Inner Level: How More Equal Societies Reduce Stress, Restore Sanity and Improve Everyone’s Wellbeing by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (Jan. 22, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-525-56122-4) marshals evidence that increased societal inequality leads to negative outcomes in realms from education to life expectancy to mental health, that more equal societies exist, and that there is a path toward greater equality.
Shout Your Abortion, edited by Amelia Bonow and Emily Nokes (Nov. 1, trade paper, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-62963-573-6), compiles photos, essays, and art created as part of the hashtag-based abortion destigmatization movement responding to Congress’s 2015 attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.
The Cash Ceiling: Why Only the Rich Run for Office—And What We Can Do About It by Nicholas Carnes
(Sept. 11, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-691-18200-1) identifies the barriers keeping the vast majority of Americans from running for office—leading to a government controlled by a tiny, unusually rich fraction of the population—and evaluates potential fixes, including pilot programs to recruit working-class candidates.
American Fix: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts by Chris McGreal (Nov. 13, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-61039-861-9) follows the large-scale regulatory and economic forces that allowed the deadly opioid epidemic to take hold and personal stories of those affected by it.
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them by Jason Stanley (Sept. 11, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-525-51183-0) surveys the last 200 years of international history to identify 10 pillars of politics that fascistic leaders use to foment social divisions and cement their own power.
Random/Spiegel & Grau
21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval N. Harari (Sept. 4, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-525-51217-2). The historian and philosopher advises readers about how to navigate war, migration, terrorism, climate change, nationalism, and other 21st-century challenges.
Rowman & Littlefield
Under Fire: Reporting from the Front Lines of the Trump White House by April Ryan (Sept. 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-5381-1336-3). Veteran political journalist Ryan gives her perspective on the Trump administration and the trolling she has faced for criticizing it in her reporting.
Forget “Having It All”: How America Messed Up Motherhood—And How to Fix It by Amy Westervelt (Nov. 13, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-58005-786-8) analyzes how American culture has treated mothers from the pre-Revolutionary period to the present day—with the wage gap, parental leave issues, and the pressure to “have it all”— and lays out a plan to improve things for mothers and society overall.
Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation by Ken Starr (Sept. 4, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-525-53613-0) recounts Starr’s experience as independent counsel investigating the scandals that led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
Melting Pot or Civil War? A Son of Immigrants Makes the Case Against Open Borders by Reihan Salam (Sept. 25, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-7352-1627-3). The executive editor of National Review argues that the current immigration system benefits the rich at the expense of poor Americans and social mobility, and must be replaced with a system that prioritizes skilled immigrants. 40,000-copy announced first printing.
Resistance Is Futile! How the Trump-Hating Left Lost Its Collective Mind by Ann Coulter (Aug. 21, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-525-54007-6). The conservative political commentator takes aim at liberal responses to Trump. 150,000-copy announced first printing.
The Next Republic: The Rise of a New Radical Majority by D.D. Guttenplan (Sept. 4, hardcover, $23.95, ISBN 978-1-60980-856-3) profiles nine progressive activists working in the U.S. and examines three episodes from American history that serve as useful examples for the resurgence of leftist activity spurred by Trump.
Simon & Schuster
America: The Farewell Tour by Chris Hedges (Aug. 21, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-5011-5267-2). In what our review calls a “forceful and direct critique of late-stage capitalism,” Hedges surveys the current ills of society—drugs, mass incarceration, hate groups—and identifies an antidote: fighting against “corporate tyranny.”
Good and Mad: How Women’s Anger Is Reshaping America by Rebecca Traister (Oct. 2, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-5011-8179-5). Feminist writer Traister (All the Single Ladies) traces the sources, objects, depictions, and effects on American politics of female anger, from the suffragettes to #MeToo.
Beyond These Walls: Rethinking Crime and Punishment in the United States by Tony Platt (Jan. 8, hardcover, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-250-08511-5) unravels how the American criminal justice system evolved into its current state—with the highest rates of incarceration in the world, lethal policing, and grievous problems with racial injustice—and considers how to change it.
Them: Why We Hate Each Other—And How to Heal by Ben Sasse (Oct. 16, hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-250-19368-1). The Republican senator and author examines the impact of tribalism on society in an era when previous forms of community are weakening, and lays out a plan to restrengthen those broader connections.
Where We Go from Here by Bernie Sanders (Nov. 13, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-250-16326-4) discusses Sanders’s work in countering the Trump agenda and his ideas for the progressive movement.
Addicted to Hatred: How Thinking Like a Recovering Addict Can Heal the Country by Glenn Beck (Nov. 13, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-4767-9886-8). Modeled on a 12-step program, the conservative commentator’s latest book calls on America to bridge its ideological gaps.
The Chapo Guide to Revolution: A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts, and Reason by Chapo Trap House (Aug. 21, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-5011-8728-5). The hosts of the leftist podcast Chapo Trap House dish up a satire of the current political landscape for those who feel alienated by it.
Into the Hands of the Soldiers: Freedom and Chaos in Egypt and the Middle East by David D. Kirkpatrick (Aug. 7, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-7352-2062-1) A New York Times Middle East correspondent, who arrived in the region mere months before the Arab Spring began, chronicles recent history in Egypt with a passionate argument against authoritarianism.
On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope by Deray Mckesson (Sept. 4, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-525-56032-6). The Black Lives Matter activist, former school official, and cofounder of Campaign Zero examines oppression and injustice, laying out a framework for making change.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the title of The Inner Level.