Fall brings histories of war declarations and peace negotiations, government cover-ups and journalistic exposés, leftist revolutions and conservative takeovers, earth-shattering tragedies and monumental leaps forward.

Top 10

The Daughters of Yalta: The Churchills, Roosevelts, and Harrimans: A Story of Love and War

Catherine Grace Katz. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Sept. 29 ($28, ISBN 978-0-358-11785-8)

Katz reveals what the daughters of Churchill, FDR, and Averell Harriman, U.S. ambassador to the U.S.S.R., were up to as their fathers tangled with Stalin at the 1945 Yalta Conference.

First Principles: What America’s Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country

Thomas E. Ricks. Harper, Nov. 10 ($29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-299745-6)

The founding fathers’ vision for American democracy was largely influenced by their knowledge of the classics, according to this intellectual history from the two-time Pulitzer winner.

Gambling with Armageddon: Nuclear Roulette from Hiroshima to the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1945–1962

Martin J. Sherwin. Knopf, Sept. 22 ($35, ISBN 978-0-307-26688-0)

Sherwin’s chronicle of the Cuban missile crisis also examines the clash’s origins and ramifications.

The Good American: The Epic Life of Bob Gersony, the U.S. Government’s Greatest Humanitarian

Robert D. Kaplan. Random House, Oct. 6 ($30, ISBN 978-0-525-51230-1)

State Department consultant Bob Gersony, who conducted fact-finding missions in Bosnia, Gaza, Iraq, North Korea, and Sudan, gets the star treatment in this biography.

The Great Secret: The Classified World War II Disaster That Launched the War on Cancer

Jennet Conant. Norton, Sept. 8 ($27.95, ISBN 978-1-324-00250-5)

Conant documents the medical advances that resulted from the 1943 sinking of a U.S. cargo ship carrying chemical weapons.

The Last Million: Europe’s Displaced Persons from World War to Cold War

David Nasaw. Penguin Press, Sept. 15 ($35, ISBN 978-1-59420-673-3)

Nasaw details the refugee crisis that followed WWII, when millions of Holocaust survivors, political prisoners, and POWs were trapped in Germany.

The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War—A Tragedy in Three Acts

Scott Anderson. Doubleday, Sept. 1 ($30, ISBN 978-0-385-54045-2)

U.S. foreign policy failures are scrutinized in this portrait of four spies at the start of the Cold War.

Reaganland: America’s Right Turn 1976–1980

Rick Perlstein. Simon & Schuster, Aug. 18 ($37.50, ISBN 978-1-4767-9305-4)

In the conclusion to his quartet on American conservatism, Perlstein examines Ronald Reagan’s comeback from losing the 1976 Republican presidential nomination to win the White House.

Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All

Martha S. Jones. Basic, Sept. 8 ($32, ISBN 978-1-5416-1861-9)

This historical survey highlights the impact of African American women on the 19th Amendment, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and other milestones in the fight for equal rights.

The Virginia Dynasty: Four Presidents and the Creation of the American Nation

Lynne Cheney. Viking, Sept. 29 ($36, ISBN 978-1-101-98004-0)

Cheney returns with a group portrait of the first four Virginians to serve as U.S. president.



Thebes: The Forgotten City of Ancient Greece by Paul Cartledge (Sept. 22, $30, ISBN 978-1-4683-1606-3). Classicist Cartledge recounts the rise and fall of the ancient city-state of Thebes and establishes its central place in the politics and culture of ancient Greece.


Paper Bullets: Two Artists Who Risked Their Lives to Defy the Nazis
by Jeffrey H. Jackson (Nov. 10, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-61620-916-2) unearths the story of a French lesbian couple who waged a campaign to demoralize Nazi troops on the occupied island of Jersey during WWII.


The Short Life and Curious Death of Free Speech in America by Ellis Cose (Sept. 15, $23.99, ISBN 978-0-06-299971-9) probes the history of First Amendment court cases and the co-option of free speech protections by private companies and special interest groups at the expense of ordinary individuals.

Atlantic Monthly

Chicago’s Great Fire: The Destruction and Resurrection of an Iconic American City by Carl Smith (Oct. 6, $28, ISBN 978-0-8021-4810-0) chronicles Chicago’s rapid growth after the Civil War, near-total destruction during the 1871 fire, and swift recovery from the catastrophe.


Ruin and Renewal: Civilizing Europe After World War II by Paul Betts (Nov. 17, $35, ISBN 978-1-5416-7246-8). The Oxford University historian documents efforts to salvage the culture and identity of Europe after the continent fell from the heights of civilization to the depths of depravity during WWII.

A Traitor to His Species: Henry Bergh and the Birth of the Animal Rights Movement by Ernest Freeberg (Sept. 22, $30, ISBN 978-0-465-09386-1) revisits the campaign to win new laws protecting dogs, trolley horses, and other animals living alongside humans in the industrial cities of the Gilded Age.


Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy by Stephen Wertheim (Oct. 27, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-674-24866-3) scrutinizes the shift among U.S. foreign policy officials from believing that no country should dominate global affairs to advocating for America to lead the post–WWII world.


The Last Sovereigns: Sitting Bull and the Resistance of the Free Lakotas by Robert M. Utley (Oct. 1, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-4962-2022-6) chronicles Sioux chief Sitting Bull’s life from 1877 to 1881, when he led his people into Canada to escape retribution for defeating General Custer at Little Bighorn.


The African Lookbook: A Visual History of 100 Years of African Womanhood by Catherine E. McKinley (Jan. 19, $30, ISBN 978-1-62040-353-2) draws from McKinley’s personal collection of historical and contemporary photographs to examine how African women have been represented visually from the colonial era to today.

Bold Type

The Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery, and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil War by Jonathan Daniel Wells (Oct. 20, $28, ISBN 978-1-56858-752-3) exposes the network of bankers and law enforcement officials who sanctioned and profited from the kidnapping of black people into slavery in antebellum New York City.


She Votes: How U.S. Women Won Suffrage, and What Happened Next by Bridget Quinn (Aug. 11, $35, ISBN 978-1-4521-7316-0). According to PW’s review, this “vibrant and witty chronicle of women’s rights in America...has something for neophytes and experts alike.”


Agent Sonya: Moscow’s Most Daring Wartime Spy by Ben Macintyre (Sept. 15, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-13630-0) recounts the WWII espionage career of Soviet intelligence agent Ursula Burton, who gathered atomic secrets and ran a network of spies from her cottage in the Cotswolds.


Metropolis: A History of the City, Humankind’s Greatest Invention by Ben Wilson (Nov. 10, $32.50, ISBN 978-0-385-54346-0) surveys 26 cities and 7,000 years of world history—from Uruk in 5000 BCE to 21st-century Shanghai—in this account of how urban living has spurred the advancement of human culture.

The Zealot and the Emancipator: John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, and the Struggle for American Freedom by H.W. Brands (Oct. 6, $30, ISBN 978-0-385-54400-9) examines the impact of revolutionary abolitionist John Brown’s execution on the antislavery debate and Abraham Lincoln’s path to civil war.


We Gather Together by Denise Kiernan (Nov. 10, $25, ISBN 978-0-593-18325-0) details the story of Thanksgiving and 19th-century writer and magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale’s efforts to make it a national holiday.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture by Sudhir Hazareesingh (Sept. 1, $30, ISBN 978-0-374-11266-0) explores the ironies and contradictions of the Haitian revolutionary’s life, including his ownership of slaves and taking of a white mistress, as well as his impact on the postcolonial world.

Dark Archives: A Librarian’s Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin by Megan Rosenbloom (Oct. 20, $26, ISBN 978-0-374-13470-9). Medical librarian Rosenbloom shines a light on the origins of books bound in human skin and the people who collect and study them.

Magic: A History: From Alchemy to Witchcraft, from the Ice Age to the Present by Chris Gosden (Oct. 13, $30, ISBN 978-0-374-20012-1). This “sophisticated and wide-ranging study of the role of magic in human history... offers many intriguing glimpses of early human societies,” according to PW’s review.


The Iron Sea: How the Allies Hunted and Destroyed Hitler’s Warships by Simon Read (Nov. 3, $30, ISBN 978-0-306-92171-1). Military historian Read draws on war diaries and combat reports to chronicle the efforts of Allied sailors and pilots to sink the Bismarck and other Nazi warships.


Land: The Ownership of Everywhere by Simon Winchester (Jan. 19, $29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-293833-6). After exploring the world’s two biggest oceans in Atlantic (2010) and Pacific (2015), Winchester turns to the history of how humans have acquired, developed, fought over, and shared the solid surface of the planet.

Saving Freedom: Truman, the Cold War, and the Fight for Western Civilization by Joe Scarborough (Nov. 17, $29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-295049-9). MSNBC talk show host Scarborough analyzes the origins of the “Truman doctrine” and its impact on domestic politics and world affairs.

Harvard Univ.

Prisoners of the Empire: Inside Japanese POW Camps by Sarah Kovner (Sept. 15, $35, ISBN 978-0-674-73761-7). Columbia University scholar Kovner investigates the causes behind the harsh conditions and high rates of death at POW camps in the Pacific theater of WWII.


Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation by Peter Cozzens (Sept. 15, $35, ISBN 978-1-5247-3325-4). This dual biography of Shawnee leader Tecumseh and his younger brother, Tenskwatawa, chronicles their complementary efforts to build a pan-Indian confederation in early-19th-century America.

America and Iran: A History, 1720 to the Present by John Ghazvinian (Oct. 6, $38.95, ISBN 978-0-307-27181-5). Iranian-born historian Ghazvinian tracks the history of U.S.–Iran relations from Thomas Jefferson’s admiration for the 18th–century Persian Empire to the mutual antagonisms of today.

Hitler: Downfall: 1939–1945 by Volker Ullrich, trans. by Jefferson Chase (Sept. 1, $40, ISBN 978-1-101-87400-4). In the conclusion to his two-volume biography of the Nazi leader, German historian Ullrich focuses on the character traits that led Hitler to overrule his subordinates and invade the Soviet Union.

Library of America

Plymouth Colony: Narratives of English Settlement and Native Resistance from the Mayflower to King Philip’s War, edited by Lisa Brooks and Kelly Wisecup (Nov. 3, $45, ISBN 978-1-59853-673-7). The publication of these letters, memoirs, and speeches by the Plymouth colonists marks the 400th anniversary of the landing of the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock.


The Domestic Revolution: How the Introduction of Coal into Victorian Homes Changed Everything by Ruth Goodman (Oct. 20, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-63149-763-6) contends that the invention of the cast-iron stove and its innovative uses by Victorian women were catalysts for the Industrial Revolution.

Melville House

Midnight’s Borders: A People’s History of Modern India by Suchitra Vijayan (Jan. 26, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-61219-858-3). Foreign policy analyst and lawyer Vijayan spent seven years traveling India’s 9,000-mile land border to report on the violent legacies of the colonial era and the 1947 partition of British India into two separate countries.


A Demon-Haunted Land: Witches, Wonder Doctors, and the Ghosts of the Past in Post-WWII Germany by Monica Black (Oct. 6, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-250-22567-2) explores how guilt over the Holocaust led bizarre phenomena in post-WWII Germany, including incurable illnesses, Virgin Mary sightings, and witchcraft accusations.


Operation Vengeance: The Astonishing Aerial Ambush That Changed World War II by Dan Hampton (Aug. 11, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-293809-1). According to PW’s review, “colorful details, no-nonsense prose... and meticulous research make this an essential retelling” of the mission to kill Japanese admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.

Thomas Nelson

Beyond Valor: A World War II Story of Extraordinary Heroism, Sacrificial Love, and a Race Against Time by Jon Erwin and William Doyle (Aug. 18, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-4002-1683-3). Filmmaker Erwin recounts the life-saving actions that earned his grandfather the Medal of Honor in WWII.

New Press

Blood on the River: A Chronicle of Mutiny and Freedom on the Wild Coast by Marjoleine Kars (Aug. 11, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-62097-459-9) documents the 1763–1764 slave revolt in the Dutch colony of Berbice in present-day Guyana. PW’s review called it a “vivid and accessible chronicle... [that] unearths a meaningful chapter in the history of slavery.”


A World Beneath the Sands: The Golden Age of Egyptology by Toby Wilkinson (Oct. 20, $30, ISBN 978-1-324-00689-3) profiles the adventurers and archaeologists who scoured Egypt in the century between the deciphering of hieroglyphics in 1822 and the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.

ONE World

War in the Shadows: Resistance, Deception and Betrayal in Occupied France by Patrick Marnham (Oct. 27, $30, ISBN 978-1-78607-809-4). Journalist Marnham unearths his former French tutor’s career as a WWII resistance fighter and the links between the breaking of her network and the arrest and torture of resistance leader Jean Moulin.

Oxford Univ.

The Hitler Conspiracies: The Protocols—The Stab in the Back—The Reichstag Fire—Rudolf Hess—The Escape from the Bunker by Richard J. Evans (Oct. 1, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-19-008305-2). In light of the dangers posed by today’s fake news, Evans revisits the conspiracy theories that fueled Hitler’s rise and persist after his death.


The Tsarina’s Lost Treasure: Catherine the Great, a Golden Age Masterpiece, and a Legendary Shipwreck by Gerald Easter and Mara Vorhees (Sept. 1, $29.95, ISBN 978-1-64313-556-4) recounts the 1771 sinking of a merchant ship carrying Dutch artist Gerrit Dou’s painting The Nursery to Russian empress Catherine the Great, and the discovery of the wreck 200 years later.

Princeton Univ.

Conservatism: The Fight for a Tradition by Edmund Fawcett (Oct. 20, $35, ISBN 978-0-691-17410-5). Journalist Fawcett follows Liberalism (2014) with a history of political conservatism in Britain, France, Germany, and the U.S. from the 19th century to today.


Hitler and Stalin: The Tyrants and the Second World War by Laurence Rees (Nov. 3, $35, ISBN 978-1-61039-964-7) draws on accounts by people who worked for Hitler and Stalin to portray the viciousness and brutality of their regimes, and to investigate how they maintained their grip on power.

War of Shadows: Code Breakers, Spies, and the Secret Struggle to Drive the Nazis from the Middle East by Gershom Gorenberg (Jan. 19, $34, ISBN 978-1-61039-627-1). Journalist Gorenberg explores how the breaking of top-secret American and Nazi codes influenced the battle for North Africa in WWII.

Random House

Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History by Kurt Andersen (Aug. 11, $28, ISBN 978-1-984801-34-0) studies how the social and economic reforms of the New Deal, the civil rights era, and the Great Society were rolled back from the 1970s to today.

War: How Conflict Shaped Us by Margaret MacMillan (Sept. 22, $30, ISBN 978-1-984856-13-5). University of Toronto historian MacMillan probes how war has determined human history and given rise to political, social, and technological innovations from the classical world to the modern era.


Unsinkable: Five Men and the Indomitable Run of the USS Plunkett by James Sullivan (Dec. 8, $28, ISBN 978-1-982147-63-1) follows five men aboard the destroyer USS Plunkett as they sailed from Casablanca to Anzio, Italy—where they endured one of the most savage aerial attacks on a Navy ship in WWII—and then on to Omaha Beach for D-Day.

Simon & Schuster

Deepest South of All: True Stories from Natchez, Mississippi by Richard Grant (Sept. 1, $26, ISBN 978-1-5011-7782-8) probes the legacy of slavery on Natchez, Miss. “Readers will be enthralled by Grant’s lively prose and the colorful contradictions of this unique and haunted place,” per PW’s starred review.

Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-Up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World Lesley M.M. Blume (Aug. 4, $27, ISBN 978-1-982128-51-7) chronicles the U.S. government’s campaign to diminish the dangers of radioactive fallout from the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and journalist John Hersey’s efforts to report the truth.

St. Martin’s

The Fighting Bunch: The Battle of Athens and How World War II Veterans Won the Only Successful Armed Rebellion Since the Revolution by Chris DeRose (Nov. 3, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-250-26619-4) recounts how a group of WWII veterans overthrew a corrupt state senator and his police accomplices in McMinn County, Tenn.,
in 1946.

Inventing Equality: Reconstructing the Constitution in the Aftermath of the Civil War by Michael Bellesiles (Oct. 20, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-250-09191-8) examines the people and the politics behind the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution during and after the Civil War.

Univ. of California

Lost in a Gallup: Polling Failure in U.S. Presidential Elections by W. Joseph Campbell (Aug. 25, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-520-30096-5) scrutinizes the history of U.S. election polls, and why eminent political journalists including Jimmy Breslin, Christopher Hitchens, and Edward R. Murrow treated them skeptically.


City at the Edge of Forever: Los Angeles Reimagined by Peter Lunenfeld (Aug. 11, $28, ISBN 978-0-525-56193-4). Per the starred PW review, this “immersive” and “highly original” cultural history “draws surprising links between the artistic, political, and economic milieus of
Los Angeles.”

The Conquistadores: The Untold History of Spanish Discovery and Empire by Fernando Cervantes (Nov. 24, $35, ISBN 978-1-101-98126-9) reexamines the Spanish conquest of the New World and the motivations that drove explorers including Hernán Cortés and Francisco Pizarro, as well as their critics.

Yale Univ.

Goering’s Man in Paris: The Story of a Nazi Art Plunderer and His World by Jonathan Petropoulos (Jan. 26, $35, ISBN 978-0-300-25192-0) details German art dealer Bruno Lohse’s theft of more than 22,000 artworks during WWII, and the postwar trade in looted masterpieces.

Return to the main feature.

The summary of the book We Gather Together has been updated for clarity.