This season’s current events books serve up hot takes on the environmental crisis, the finance industry’s effects on average people, socialism, race, immigration, and, of course, Donald Trump.
Audience of One: Donald Trump, Television, and the Fracturing of America
James Poniewozik. Liveright, Sept., $27.95, ISBN 978-1-63149-442-0
PW’s review called this cultural history, which juxtaposes Trump’s rise with television’s evolution from a three-network monopoly to a series of echo chambers, “trenchant” and “brilliantly witty.”
A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century
Jason DeParle. Viking, Aug. 20, $28, ISBN 978-0-670-78592-6
New York Times senior writer DeParle examines global migration through the unusual multigenerational tale of a Filipino family spread across continents by the quest for economic betterment.
How to Fight Anti-Semitism
Bari Weiss. Crown, Sept. 3, $18, ISBN 978-0-593-13605-8
The New York Times opinion columnist argues that anti-Semitism is seeing a mainstream resurgence on both the left and the right, and lays out ideas about how to combat it.
Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America
Christopher Leonard. Simon & Schuster, Aug. 6, $35, ISBN 978-1-4767-7538-8
Journalist Leonard unearths the history of the ultrapowerful Koch Industries, whose libertarian CEO is a major Republican donor, in a work that PW’s review called “superb.”
On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal
Naomi Klein. Simon & Schuster, Sept. 17, $27, ISBN 978-1-982129-91-0
This collection of environmental writing from the Canadian activist and author of The Shock Doctrine urges readers to take radical actions to alleviate the climate crisis.
The Problem with Everything: My Journey Through the New Culture Wars
Meghan Daum. Gallery, Oct. 22, $27, ISBN 978-1-982129-33-0
Essayist Daum dives into current cultural and political issues, including discrimination, inequality, feminism, and Trump. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
Stakes Is High: Life After the American Dream
Mychal Denzel Smith. Bold Type, Jan. 21, $26, ISBN 978-1-56858-873-5
The author of Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching, about the black millennial experience, returns with essays about how America can live up to its promise of liberty, justice, and equality.
Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American Dream
Nicholas Lemann. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, Sept. 10, $28, ISBN 978-0-374-27788-8
Lemann recounts the changing organization of American society, politics, and business by profiling FDR “brain trust” member Adolf Berle, Harvard Business School professor Michael Jensen, and LinkedIn cofounder and venture capitalist Reid Hoffman. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
We’re All Socialists Now: How the Left Can Dream Big and Win Again
Nathan J. Robinson. All Points, Dec. 10, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-250-20086-0
The founding editor-in-chief of Current Affairs makes the leap to a Big Five imprint with this primer on present-day democratic socialism for skeptics.
The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us
Paul Tough. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Sept. 10, $28, ISBN 978-0-544-94448-0
Education journalist Tough questions the American belief that college is the great economic equalizer in a study that PW’s review called “well-written,” “persuasive,” and “fascinating.” 100,000-copy announced first printing.
The Firsts: The Women Who Shook Capitol Hill by Jennifer Steinhauer (Jan. 21, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-61620-999-5) follows newly elected House of Representatives members including Sharice Davids, Deb Haaland, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib as they arrive in Washington, D.C., and begin working after their historic electoral wins.
Information Wars: How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation and What We Can Do About It by Richard Stengel (Oct. 8, $28, ISBN 978-0-8021-4798-1) recounts Stengel’s experiences as undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, during which he observed firsthand the rise of social-media-based forms of information war, and theorizes how they can be countered.
Bedlam: An Intimate Journey into America’s Mental Health Crisis by Kenneth Paul Rosenberg (Oct. 1, $26, ISBN 978-0-525-54131-8). Psychiatrist and documentary filmmaker Rosenberg examines the 20th-century history of American mental health treatment, the current epidemic of homelessness and jail time among people with mental illness, and the story of his sister, Merle, who had schizophrenia. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
Are Men Animals? How Modern Masculinity Sells Men Short by Matthew Gutmann (Nov. 5, $28, ISBN 978-1-5416-9958-8). Anthropologist Gutman sets out to prove that stereotypically masculine aggressive and predatory behaviors are socially conditioned and permitted, not destined by biology, by looking at American college campuses, Chinese marriage markets, and Mexican women-only subway cars.
Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors by Edward Niedermeyer (Aug. 20, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-948836-12-8). Journalist and auto industry analyst Niedermeyer looks under the hood of the much-hyped car company and finds dysfunction at odds with the public veneration of Tesla and its founder, Elon Musk.
Healing America’s Heart: Community Response in a Time of Fentanyl by Sam Quinones (Jan. 28, $28, ISBN 978-1-63557-435-7) follows up the author’s Dreamland with an exploration of addictions to fentanyl, a highly potent and addictive painkiller, and how schools, colleges, hospitals, churches, and towns are trying to fight the epidemic. 150,000-copy announced first printing.
The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care and How to Fix It by Marty Makary (Sept. 10, $28, ISBN 978-1-63557-411-1). Surgeon and bestselling author Makary (Unaccountable) denounces the financial structure of the American health care industry, urging medicine to return to its mission-driven goals. 200,000-copy announced first printing.
Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right by Anne Nelson (Oct. 29, $28, ISBN 978-1-63557-319-0) investigates the Council for National Policy, which was founded in 1981 by 50 anti–welfare state Republican operatives, businesspeople, prominent fundamentalist Christians, and lobbyists, and has more recently worked with the Koch brothers. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
The Case for Nationalism by Rich Lowry (Nov. 5, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-283964-0). The editor of the National Review gives a history of nationalism—drawing on the examples of ancient Israel, England, and revolution-era America—and advocates for nationalism in the U.S.
The Case Against Socialism by Rand Paul (Oct. 15, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-295486-2). The libertarian U.S. senator from Kentucky argues that socialism threatens American liberty and that its dangers have been hidden by leftists.
Red State Blues: How the Conservative Revolution Stalled in the States by Matt Grossman (Oct. 4, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-108-47691-1) argues that conservative state governments have mostly failed to reverse liberal gains or significantly advance conservative policy agendas in recent decades.
The Last Mile: How to Get Health Care to the Places That Need It Most by Prabhjot Singh and Raj Panjabi (Oct. 15, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-231-18598-1) depicts innovations in health care access that can bring medicine to the world’s remote, rural places, including supplementing medical centers with a “microgrid” of care given in homes and clinics using portable equipment.
Nothing Succeeds Like Failure: The Sad History of American Business Schools by Steven Conn (Oct. 15, $32.95, ISBN 978-1-5017-4207-1) calls out business schools, asserting they’ve failed to deliver on their promises of innovation and social benefit.
Space Between: Explorations of Love, Sex, and Fluidity by Nico Tortorella (Sept. 17, $28, ISBN 978-0-525-57673-0). Nonbinary actor and The Love Bomb podcaster Tortorella dishes up a combination memoir, manifesto, and treatise on sexuality and gender identity.
See Jane Win: The Inspiring Story of the Women Changing American Politics by Caitlin Moscatello (Aug. 27, $28, ISBN 978-1-5247-4292-8) documents the successful 2018 campaigns of Virginia congressional representative Abigail Spanberger, New York state representative Catalina Cruz, Florida state House of Representatives member Anna Eskamani, and Tennessee state House representative London Lamar, among others.
How Money Became Dangerous: The Inside Story of Our Turbulent Relationship with Modern Finance by Christopher Varelas (Nov. 5, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-268475-2) traces the financial industry’s evolution from easy-to-grasp simplicity to shadowy complexity beginning in the 1980s, surveying the people, events, and deals that led to the current state of finance.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast by Jonathan Safran Foer (Sept. 17, $24, ISBN 978-0-374-28000-0). The novelist highlights the effects of humans’ meat eating on climate change, arguing that individual citizens can moderate the environmental crisis by changing their diets. 150,000-copy announced first printing.
The Finance Curse by Nicholas Shaxson (Nov. 5, $27, ISBN 978-0-8021-2847-8). Financial journalist Shaxson argues that finance is hurting society by inappropriately influencing policymaking and draining the best and brightest from other industries.
Conversations in Black: On Power, Politics, and Leadership by Ed Gordon (Jan. 7, $25, ISBN 978-0-316-53286-0) collects essays about the state of black America in the Trump era, based on TV journalist Gordon’s interviews with such luminaries as Joy Ann Reid, Bryan Stevenson, and Maxine Waters. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
Team of Five: The Presidents Club in the Age of Trump by Kate Andersen Brower (Nov. 19, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-266897-4) draws on interviews with relatives, friends, and aides of the living former presidents to discuss their relationships with each other and post–White House life in general.
Unbound: How Inequality Constricts Our Economy and What We Can Do About It by Heather Boushey (Oct. 15, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-674-91931-0) argues that increasing inequality is slowing economic growth and competitiveness in the U.S. by preventing talented lower-income people from accessing opportunity, undermining competition among businesses, draining funding for important public goods, and suppressing wages.
Whose Story Is This? Old Conflicts, New Chapters by Rebecca Solnit (Sept. 3, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-64259-018-0). Solnit (Men Explain Things to Me) assesses the current cultural landscape, concluding that as marginalized people’s narratives become more prominent, white people and men are stubbornly sticking to old narratives that center themselves.
Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor by Steven Greenhouse (Aug. 6, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-101-87443-1) describes how labor unions have helped and empowered workers, especially those from marginalized groups, with examples drawn from across the country and over the course of the 20th century.
The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier by Ian Urbina (Aug. 20, $30, ISBN 978-0-451-49294-4) depicts the criminal underground active in unpoliced international waters, including pirates, smugglers, mercenaries, human traffickers, wreck thieves, and poachers, as well as conservationists and abortion providers, and more. 60,000-copy announced first printing.
The Economists’ Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society by Binyamin Appelbaum (Sept. 3, $30, ISBN 978-0-316-51232-9) recounts the post-WWII rise to political power of professional economists, who pushed tax cuts, less government spending, and deregulation, leading to globalization, but not the widespread prosperity they promised.
Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell (Sept. 10, $30, ISBN 978-0-316-47852-6). Spurred by the death in police custody of African-American woman Sandra Bland, New Yorker contributor Gladwell tackles the thorny question of how people can balance trust and safety in their dealings with strangers.
Teaching When the World Is on Fire, edited by Lisa Delpit (Sept. 17, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-62097-431-5). MacArthur grant recipient Delpit (Other People’s Children) collects educational luminaries’ advice for K–12 teachers on how to tackle current events and touchy topics, such as immigration, sexual assault, and the Black Lives Matter movement, in classroom settings. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
New York Univ.
Uncounted: The Crisis of Voter Suppression in America by Gilda R. Daniels (Jan. 28, $30, ISBN 978-1-4798-6235-1) argues that suppression of marginalized people’s votes comes in waves, adapting and evolving to encompass new barriers to access, such as voter ID requirements and unsubstantiated claims about rigged elections.
Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber by Mike Isaac (Sept. 3, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-393-65224-6) draws on interviews with Uber employees and unpublished documents to narrate Uber’s origins, its conflicts with taxi unions and drivers, damaging revelations about its internal culture, and the 2017 ouster of its CEO, Travis Kalanick.
When Should Law Forgive? by Martha Minow (Sept. 24, $27.95,
ISBN 978-0-393-08176-3) considers troubling comparisons—between, for example, U.S. responses to juvenile offenses and the treatment of child soldiers elsewhere in the world, or between forgiveness of corporate debt and the strict treatment of student loans—and advocates for expanding lawful forgiveness to better society.
Skin Deep: Journeys in the Divisive Science of Race by Gavin Evans (Aug. 13, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-78607-622-9) provides arguments to refute pseudoscientific racist arguments, for example that adaptation to cold climates made European people more advanced than others.
The 99 Percent Economy: How Democratic Socialism Can Overcome the Crises of Capitalism by Paul S. Adler (Oct. 1, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-19-093188-9) advocates for social ownership and democratic management of companies and the national economy, in order to combat social unraveling, environmental damage, and the disempowerment of workers.
Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion—And the Future of Clothes by Dana Thomas (Sept. 3, $28, ISBN 978-0-7352-2401-8) traces the rise of fast fashion and advocates for the fashion industry to follow the examples of small companies to prioritize sustainability along with aesthetics.
The Meritocracy Trap: How America’s Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite by Daniel Markovits (Sept. 10, $30, ISBN 978-0-7352-2199-4) argues that purportedly meritocratic systems are actually entrenching rigid class divides, compounding advantage for the already privileged.
My Time Among the Whites: Notes from an Unfinished Education by Jennine Capo Crucet (Sept. 3, trade paper, $17, ISBN 978-1-250-29943-7). These essays from Crucet (Make Your Home Among Strangers) recount her realization that her Cuban-American family was excluded from the so-called American dream and describe the ways marginalized people thrive despite that exclusion.
Nobody’s Victim: Fighting Psychos, Stalkers, Pervs, and Trolls by Carrie Goldberg, with Jeannine Amber (Aug. 13, $27,
ISBN 978-0-525-53377-1). Goldberg, whose law firm focuses on victims’ rights, shares tales of how she has won in court against those who have harassed, assaulted, intimidated, and stalked her clients—and of the abuse she herself suffered.
Indebted: How Families Make College Work at Any Cost by Caitlin Zaloom (Sept. 3, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-691-16431-1) explores the extreme financial risks and debts middle-class families take on to give their children the chance for advancement.
They Said This Day Would Never Come: Chasing the Dream on Obama’s Improbable Campaign by Chris Liddell-Westefeld (Nov. 12, $28, ISBN 978-1-5417-3061-8) is an oral history of Obama’s first presidential campaign, based on interviews with 200 staffers, campaign workers, and the former president.
The Guest House for Young Widows: The Women of ISIS by Azadeh Moaveni (Sept. 10, $28, ISBN 978-0-399-17975-4) follows four women—from Germany, England, and Tunisia—who traveled to the Middle East to join ISIS, considering whether they are not only perpetrators but victims.
The War for America’s Soul: Donald Trump, the Left’s Assault on America, and How We Take Back Our Country by Sebastian Gorka (Oct. 8, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-62157-940-3). Former Trump administration staffer Gorka decries the spread of socialism in the U.S.
Rowman & Littlefield
Slaves Among Us: The Hidden World of Human Trafficking by Monique Villa (Oct. 4, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-5381-2728-5) highlights the plight of human trafficking victims by telling the stories of three survivors and calls readers to combat contemporary slavery.
Made in Sweden: How the Swedes Are Not Nearly So Egalitarian, Tolerant, Hospitable or Cozy as They Would Like to (Have You) Think by Elisabeth Åsbrink (Oct. 1, $16, ISBN 978-1-947534-84-1) unpacks 25 Swedish cultural artifacts, puncturing the overly idealistic view of Sweden—where a neo-Nazi political party has recently risen to prominence—as a paradise of egalitarianism.
More from Less: The Surprising Story of How We Learned to Prosper Using Fewer Resources—And What Happens Next by Andrew McAfee (Oct. 8, $28, ISBN 978-1-982103-57-6) argues that, despite the still-looming problems of overfishing and global warming, technological innovation has resulted in a decline in the amount of natural resources companies use and perhaps augurs a future of balance with nature.
Burn It Down: Women Writing About Anger, edited by Lilly Dancyger (Oct. 8, $27, ISBN 978-1-58005-893-3), compiles essays from a diverse group of writers about anger, on such topics as anger toward an illness, anger as a connection to a parent, and anger as something not to be expressed.
The Fruit of All My Grief: Lives in the Shadows of the American Dream by J. Malcolm Garcia (Sept. 10, trade paper, $21.95, ISBN 978-1-60980-953-9) tells the stories of people disadvantaged by corporate and government malfeasance—business owners affected by the BP oil spill, a man imprisoned for smuggling life-saving drugs, and an Iraqi interpreter promised asylum but left without support, among others.
Simon & Schuster
How to Start a Revolution: Young People and the Future of American Politics by Lauren Duca (Sept. 24, $27, ISBN 978-1-5011-8163-4). The Teen Vogue columnist, who brought the magazine into the Trump-era political vanguard, profiles young organizers (David Hogg, Amanda Litman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) and recounts her own experiences in this guide to making social change.
The Green New Deal: Why the Fossil Fuel Civilization Will Collapse by 2028 and the Bold Economic Plan to Save Life on Earth by Jeremy Rifkin (Sept. 10, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-250-25320-0). The Third Industrial Revolution author presents an analysis of how climate change will alter the global economy, arguing that governments that pursue green energy technologies will ensure their countries’ financial futures.
When They Come for You: How Police and Government Are Trampling Our Liberties—And How to Take Them Back by David Kirby (Oct. 29, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-250-06436-3) examines violations of Americans’ constitutional rights to free speech, privacy, due process, and equal protection under the law by police, judges, lawmakers, and other powerful entities.
Invisible People: Stories of Lives at the Margins by Alex Tizon, edited by Sam Howe Verhovek (Nov. 22, $25, ISBN 978-1-4399-1830-2), collects profiles written by the late journalist, whose reputation increased with the posthumous publication of his essay “My Family’s Slave,” with introductions by editors and other admirers.
Univ. of California
Opting Back in: What Really Happens When Mothers Go Back to Work by Pamela Stone and Meg Lovejoy (Oct. 15, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-520-29080-8) follows up Stone’s Opting Out, revisiting its subjects—high-powered women who left their jobs to raise children—10 years later, as many of them return to work, but end up underemployed or shunted into the nonprofit sector.
Why Liberalism Works: How True Liberal Values Produce a Freer, More Equal, Prosperous World for All by Deirdre Nansen McCloskey (Oct. 15, $28, ISBN 978-0-300-23508-1) argues that poverty and tyranny are the most significant challenges facing humankind and that Enlighten-ment-style liberalism is best positioned to address them.
This article has been updated with new bibliographic information.