Major themes this season include the 2020 election, threats to democracy and liberal values, the roots of conspiracy thinking, the environmental cost of America’s eating habits, and the ongoing crusade against racial injustice.

Top 10

Beyond Innocence: The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt

Phoebe Zerwick. Atlantic Monthly, Mar. 1 ($27, ISBN 978-0-8021-5937-3)

Journalist Zerwick chronicles Darryl Hunt’s wrongful conviction in 1985 for rape and murder, his exoneration by DNA evidence after 19 years in prison, and the pressures that led to his suicide in 2016.

Bodies on the Line: At the Front Lines of the Fight to Protect Abortion in America

Lauren Rankin. Counterpoint, Apr. 5 ($26, ISBN 978-1-64009-474-1)

Rankin, who spent six years as an abortion clinic escort in New Jersey, shares her experiences and profiles others who have risked their lives to safeguard women’s access to abortion.

The Fighting Soul: On the Road with Bernie Sanders

Ari Rabin-Havt. Liveright, Apr. 26 ($26.95, ISBN 978-1-63149-879-4)

Rabin-Havt, who served as Bernie Sanders’s deputy campaign manager in 2020, recounts the ups-and-downs of the race and sheds light on his former boss’s political views and personality.

The Inheritors: An Intimate Portrait of South Africa’s Racial Reckoning

Eve Fairbanks. Simon & Schuster, July 12 ($27, ISBN 978-1-4767-2524-6)

This study of modern South Africa follows three people—a Black activist, her daughter, and a white ex-soldier—from the 1970s through the end of apartheid in 1994 to the present day.

Liberalism and Its Discontents

Francis Fukuyama. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, May 10 ($26, ISBN 978-0-374-60671-8)

Fukuyama follows Identity with an examination of how progressives and conservatives have pushed the principles of liberalism to new extremes in recent decades.

Sandy Hook: An American Tragedy and the Battle for Truth

Elizabeth Williamson. Dutton, Mar. 8 ($28, ISBN 978-1-5247-4657-5)

New York Times reporter Williamson details how the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting became fodder for conspiracy theories, and how the families of the victims have fought back.

The Shame Machine: Who Profits in the New Age of Humiliation

Cathy O’Neil. Crown, Mar. 22 ($27, ISBN 978-1-9848-2545-2)

O’Neil follows Weapons of Math Destruction with a look at how rehab clinics, social media platforms, and other components of the “shame industrial complex” profit from casting judgment on the vulnerable.

The Trayvon Generation

Elizabeth Alexander. Grand Central, Apr. 5 ($22, ISBN 978-1-5387-3789-7)

Poet Alexander reflects on the experiences of young Black Americans whose worldviews have been shaped by the killings of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, George Floyd, and others.

A Way Out of No Way: A Memoir of Truth, Transformation, and the New American Story

Raphael Warnock. Penguin Press, June 14 ($28, ISBN 978-0-593-49154-6)

Warnock recalls his journey from a Savannah, Ga., housing project to Congress, where he is the first Black senator from Georgia.

Politics & Current Events Listings

Abrams Press

Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality by Julia Shaw (June 28, $26, ISBN 978-1-4197-4435-8) delves into the development of the Kinsey scale, cases of asylum seekers attempting to defend their bisexuality, and other aspects of bisexual history.


Off the Edge: Flat Earthers, Conspiracy Culture, and Why People Will Believe Anything by Kelly Weill (Feb. 22, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-64375-068-2). According to PW, this “insightful and surprisingly empathetic” look into the recent surge in conspiracy thinking “is an illuminating take on a much scrutinized subject.”


Where the Children Take Us: How One Family Achieved the Unimaginable by Zain Asher (Apr. 26, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-304883-6). CNN anchor Asher recounts her parents’ escape from war-torn Nigeria, the accident that killed her father, and her mother’s strategies—including starting a family book club and searching out role models—for raising four successful children. 125,000-copy announced first printing.

Astra House

The Sex Lives of African Women: Self-Discovery, Freedom, and Healing by Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah (Mar. 1, $28, ISBN 978-1-6626-5081-9) shares stories of African women, including an HIV-positive mother in Zimbabwe and a pansexual Canadian of Malawian heritage, in pursuit of sexual freedom.


Torn Apart: How the Child Welfare System Destroys Black Families—And How Abolition Can Build a Safer World by Dorothy Roberts (Apr. 5, $30, ISBN 978-1-5416-7544-5) contends that the U.S. child welfare system collaborates with law enforcement to unfairly punish Black families and calls for its abolishment.


City of Refugees: The Story of Three Newcomers Who Breathed Life into a Dying American Town by Susan Hartman (May 10, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-8070-2467-6) follows a Somali Bantu girl, an Iraqi translator, and a Bosnian woman over the course of eight years as they seek to remake their lives in Utica, N.Y.


The Pornography Wars: The Past, Present, and Future of America’s Obscene Obsession by Kelsy Burke (July 19, $28, ISBN 978-1-63557-736-5) revisits historical debates over sexually explicit material and explores how the rise of online pornography has changed perceptions of sexuality and relationships. 50,000-copy announced first printing.

Bold Type

Border Hacker: A Tale of Treachery, Trafficking, and Two Friends on the Run by Levi Vonk (Apr. 26, $29, ISBN 978-1-64503-705-7) frames a critique of U.S. immigration policy around the story of Axel Kirschner, an undocumented Guatemalan immigrant and computer hacker trying to make it back into the U.S. to reunite with his family.


Recessional: The Death of Free Speech and the Cost of a Free Lunch by David Mamet (Apr. 5, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-315899-3) is the playwright’s cri de coeur against the homogenization of American culture by progressive activists.


Bad City: Peril and Power in the City of Angels by Paul Pringle (June 7, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-250-82408-0) recounts the story behind a Pulitzer-winning investigation into corruption and sexual abuse at the University of Southern California. 100,000-copy announced first printing.

Coffee House

When Women Kill: Four Crimes Retold by Alia Trabucco Zerán, trans. by Sophie Hughes (Apr. 5, $16.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-56689-633-7) analyzes from a feminist perspective the cases of four Chilean women who violated gender norms by committing homicide.


All the White Friends I Couldn’t Keep: Hope—and Hard Pills to Swallow—About Fighting for Black Lives by Andre Henry (Mar. 22, $26, ISBN 978-0-593-23988-9) reveals the author’s anger at white friends who, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, wanted to debate whether racism still existed and draws lessons from historical examples of successful nonviolent struggles.

Dey Street

Trigger Points: Inside the Mission to Stop Mass Shootings in America by Mark Follman (Apr. 5, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-297353-5) documents how forensic psychologists and police are working to develop threat assessment systems that can prevent mass shootings by identifying behaviors and circumstance that lead up to such attacks.

Feminist Press

Warrior Princesses Strike Back: How Lakota Twins Fight Oppression and Heal Through Connectedness by Sarah Eagle Heart and Emma Eagle Heart-White (June 21, $17.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-55861-293-8) combines memoir, psychology, and history to discuss how the traditions of Indigenous activism can help to heal intergenerational and personal trauma.


You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation by Julissa Arce (Mar. 22, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-250-78701-9) draws on the author’s experiences as a Mexican immigrant to debunk the myth that assimilation leads to acceptance into American culture, and calls for brown and Black people and immigrants to celebrate rather than hide their differences.

Hanover Square

Walking the Bowl: A True Story of Murder and Survival Among the Street Children of Lusaka by Chris Lockhart and Daniel Mulilo Chama (Feb. 1, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-335-42574-4). Starred by PW, this “transcendent study of the street children of Lusaka, Zambia” is a “riveting and deeply reported portrait of life on the margins.” 100,000-copy announced first printing.


Any Given Tuesday: A Political Love Story by Lis Smith (July 12, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-308439-1). The communications director for Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 presidential campaign chronicles her rise from intern to sought-after operative and shares her love for the rough-and-tumble world of American politics. 75,000-copy announced first printing.


Salmon Wars: The Dark Underbelly of America’s Favorite Fish by Catherine Collins and Douglas Frantz (July 12, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-250-80030-5) exposes the environmental threats and health risks posed by the salmon farming industry.


Wastelands: The True Story of Farm Country on Trial by Corban Addison (May 3, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-32082-2) documents a rural American community’s successful legal battle against the polluting practices of large-scale industrial farming. 50,000-copy announced first printing.

Little, Brown

The Chaos Machine: The Inside Story of How Social Media Rewired Our Minds and Our World by Max Fisher (May 17, $29, ISBN 978-0-316-70332-1) investigates how social media companies’ push to maximize engagement has fostered extreme opinions and led to political upheaval in Brazil, Germany, the U.S., and other countries.


The Colony: Faith and Blood in a Promised Land by Sally Denton (June 28, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-63149-807-7) reveals the story behind the massacre of a caravan of fundamentalist Mormon families in northern Mexico in November 2019.

Melville House

Death Row Welcomes You: Visiting Hours in the Shadow of the Execution Chamber by Steven Hale (Mar. 15, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-61219-928-3) profiles prisoners on death row in Tennessee—which recently resumed executions after a 10-year hiatus—and the people who visit them.

New Press

37 Words: Title IX and Fifty Years of Fighting Sex Discrimination by Sherry Boschert (Mar. 8, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-62097-583-1) tracks the history of the legislation that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education, and profiles the activists behind it and those who have fought to keep its protections in place.


Blighted! People, Politics, Corruption, and an American Housing Miracle by Margaret Stagmeier (June 7, $28.95, ISBN 978-1-58838-471-3) analyzes the social ills caused by inadequate housing through the author’s decade-long project to revitalize an aging apartment complex in a gritty Atlanta neighborhood.


8 Billion and Counting: How Sex, Death, and Migration Shape Our World by Jennifer D. Sciubba (Mar. 8, $28.95, ISBN 978-1-324-00270-3) charts the widening population and resource imbalances between developed and poor countries and makes the case that a deeper understanding of demographic trends can help predict future events.

The Helpers: Profiles from the Front Lines of the Pandemic by Kathy Gilsinan (Mar. 1, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-393-86702-2) spotlights eight people who fought the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S., including an ICU nurse in the Bronx, the head of a ventilator company, and a vaccine researcher.

One Signal

Pay Up: The Future of Women and Work (and Why It’s Different Than You Think) by Reshma Saujani (Mar. 1, $27, ISBN 978-1-9821-9157-3) explores how corporate feminism’s focus on workplace equality has left mothers exhausted and overwhelmed, and offers a plan to compensate them for their labor and push employers to change their policies.

One World

The Emergency: A Year of Healing and Heartbreak in a Chicago ER by Thomas Fisher (Mar. 22, $27, ISBN 978-0-593-23067-1) documents the author’s experiences as an ER doctor in his native South Side Chicago during the Covid-19 pandemic and a spike in gun violence.

Other Press

Age of the Strongman: How the Cult of the Leader Threatens Democracy Around the World by Gideon Rachman (Apr. 12, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-63542-280-1) unearths the factors behind the emergence of authoritarian leaders and their cults of personality in Brazil, Hungary, Turkey, the U.S., and other countries.


Love in the Time of Contagion: A Diagnosis by Laura Kipnis (Feb. 8, $26, ISBN 978-0-593-31628-3) probes the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the #MeToo movement on cultural attitudes toward love and sex.


The Meat Paradox: Eating, Empathy, and the Future of Meat by Rob Percival (Mar. 1, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-64313-873-2) examines how environmental, ethical, and emotional concerns are influencing beliefs about the consumption of meat.

Penguin Press

Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy by Henry Kissinger (May 3, $35, ISBN 978-0-593-48944-4). The former U.S. secretary of state surveys the geopolitical strategies and decision-making processes of France’s Charles de Gaulle, Germany’s Konrad Adenauer, England’s Margaret Thatcher, and three other 20th-century world leaders.


Dead in the Water: A True Story of Hijacking, Murder, and a Global Maritime Conspiracy by Matthew Campbell and Kit Chellel (May 3, $27, ISBN 978-0-593-32923-8) lays bare the massive financial fraud behind the 2011 hijacking and destruction of an oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden and the murder of the maritime surveyor sent to investigate it.

Princeton Univ.

Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century by Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman

(Mar. 8, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-691-21141-1) documents how Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, and other authoritarian leaders have monopolized power by manipulating information and simulating democratic practices.


American Resistance: The Inside Story of How the Deep State Saved the Nation by David Rothkopf (June 21, $29, ISBN 978-1-5417-0063-5) details the role that government officials, including ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and national security adviser Fiona Hill, played in defending the Constitution against the Trump administration.

Random House

The Impossible City: A Hong Kong Memoir by Karen Cheung (Feb. 8, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-24143-1) offers an insider’s perspective on the cultural and political traditions of Hong Kong and the city’s transformation since reunification with China in 1997.

Scribe US

Crimes Against Nature: Capitalism and Global Heating by Jeff Sparrow (April 5, $18 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-950354-86-3) surveys world history to argue that environmental destruction has always happened without the consent of ordinary people, and that humanity’s consistent yearning for a more sustainable world can be harnessed in the fight against climate change.


Rethinking Sex: A Provocation by Christine Emba (Mar. 22, $27, ISBN 978-0-593-08756-5) contends that modern-day sexual ethics, which prioritize consent above other moral and emotional considerations, have impaired people’s ability to form authentic connections.

Seven Stories

Most Dangerous, Most Unmerciful: Stories from Afghanistan by J. Malcolm Garcia (July 5, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-64421-203-5) draws on the author’s reporting in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2015 to show the impact on ordinary citizens of the war between Western nations and Islamic fundamentalists.

Simon & Schuster

Freezing Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin’s Wrath by Bill Browder (June 14, $28, ISBN 978-1-9821-5328-1). In the follow-up to Red Notice, Browder details Vladimir Putin’s retaliation campaign against him for exposing financial corruption in Russia, and reveals the sources of Putin’s wealth.


Secrets of the Sprakkar: Iceland’s Extraordinary Women and How They Are Changing the World by Eliza Reid (Feb. 8, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-7282-4216-3). According to PW, this mix of memoir, feminist history, and travelogue from the first lady of Iceland is “a winning portrait of a country at the forefront of the fight for gender equality.” 50,000-copy announced first printing.

Spiegel & Grau

Imaginable: How to See the Future Coming and Feel Ready for Anything—Even Things That Seem Impossible Today by Jane McGonigal (Mar. 22, $30, ISBN 978-1-954118-09-6) presents recent scientific research into how people can train themselves to envision the future, including two simulations McGonigal helped build in 2008 and 2010 that predicted a respiratory pandemic in 2020. 75,000-copy announced first printing.

St. Martin’s

Black Ops: The Life of a CIA Shadow Warrior by Ric Prado (Mar. 1, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-250-27184-6) documents the author’s career in the CIA’s Special Activities Group from the Cold War through the War on Terror.

In Defense of Witches: The Legacy of the Witch Hunts and Why Women Are Still on Trial by Mona Chollet, trans. by Sophie R. Lewis (Mar. 8, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-250-27141-9), examines the witch as a symbol of female autonomy and resistance to misogyny, and tracks the history of witch hunts from the 15th century to the present-day.

Tin House

The Believer: Encounters with the Beginning, the End, and Our Place in the Middle by Sarah Krasnostein (Mar. 1, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-953534-00-2) draws on interviews with a death doula, a neurobiologist/ghost hunter, UFO enthusiasts, and others to explore the mechanisms of belief.

Univ. of California

America, Goddam: Violence, Black Women, and the Struggle for Justice by Treva B. Lindsey (Apr. 5, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-520-38449-1) surveys the combined toll of racism, misogyny, patriarchy, and capitalism on Black women in America and documents their overlooked role as the architects of social justice movements.


Internet for the People: The Fight for Our Digital Future by Ben Tarnoff (June 14, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-83976-202-4). Logic Magazine cofounder Tarnoff details how privatization remade the internet by prioritizing profit above all else, and calls for publicly and cooperatively owned alternatives to Facebook, Google, and the rest of Big Tech.


Flipped: How Georgia Turned Purple and Broke the Monopoly on Republican Power by Greg Bluestein (Mar. 22, $29, ISBN 978-0-593-48915-4) explores how Georgia Democrats elected President Joe Biden and senators John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in 2020, and how Trump’s claims of electoral fraud created a divide among the state’s Republicans.

Yale Univ.

The Weaponisation of Everything: A Field Guide to the New Way of War by Mark Galeotti (Feb. 15, $26, ISBN 978-0-300-25344-3) considers how governments can adapt to a new era of permanent, low-level conflict waged through economic sanctions, foreign influence campaigns, and espionage.

Return to Main Feature

This article has been updated to remove a title from the top 10 list. The book was originally scheduled to be published in spring 2022 but has moved to the fall season.