Best Nonfiction Books of 2013


HISTORY
Released: June 4, 2013

"Kevin Phillips' 2012 tour de force, 1775, delivered a massive argument for that year as the key to American independence. A traditionalist, Ellis sticks to 1776 and writes an insightful history of its critical, if often painful, events."
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Ellis (First Family: Abigail and John Adams, 2010, etc.) writes book after book on the American Revolutionary period. Practice makes perfect. Read full book review >
TOMS RIVER by Dan Fagin
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: March 19, 2013

"A gripping environmental thriller."
An award-winning science journalist exposes how corporate interests and corrupt politicians almost turned a quiet, suburban New Jersey beach community into a toxic wasteland. Read full book review >

CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Sept. 10, 2013

"With apparent effortlessness, Fink tells the Memorial story with cogency and atmosphere."
Pulitzer Prize-winning medical journalist/investigator Fink (War Hospital, 2003) submits a sophisticated, detailed recounting of what happened at Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. Read full book review >
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE by David Finkel
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 1, 2013

"A real war story with a jarring but critical message for the American people."
Washington Post writer Finkel delivers one of the most morally responsible works of journalism to emerge from the post-9/11 era. Read full book review >
THE SEARCHERS by Glenn Frankel
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Feb. 19, 2013

"A thoroughly researched, clearly written account of an obsessive search through the tangled borderland of fact and fiction, legend and myth."
A gracefully presented narrative of the 1956 John Ford film The Searchers, which was based on a 1954 novel that was based on an actual Comanche kidnapping of a white girl in 1836. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 13, 2013

"Although his subject was Iraq, Peter Van Buren covered the same ground in his hilarious We Meant Well (2011). Gezari eschews humor but delivers a gripping report on another of America's painful, surprisingly difficult efforts to win hearts and minds."
Having discovered (again) that superior firepower does poorly against guerrillas, America's military adopted its current counterinsurgency doctrine, an object of almost universal praise. Not all was deserved, writes journalist Gezari (Narrative Nonfiction and War Reporting/Univ. of Michigan) in this insightful but disturbing account of the Human Terrain System, a program designed to bring social science to the battlefield. Read full book review >
TO AMERICA WITH LOVE by A.A. Gill
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 9, 2013

"A stirring, funny, thought-provoking appreciation of the place, the idea, the experiment, the United States of America."
An ardent mash note to the vast, vital nation that confounds and beguiles its European cousins in equal measure. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 5, 2013

"It's no small achievement to have something new to say on Teddy Roosevelt's presidency, but Goodwin succeeds admirably. A notable, psychologically charged study in leadership."
Swiftly moving account of a friendship that turned sour, broke a political party in two and involved an insistent, omnipresent press corps. Cantor and Boehner? No: Teddy and Taft. Read full book review >