Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own by Eddie S. Glaude Jr. What it's about: how James Baldwin's writings on the failures of the civil rights movement remain just as relevant today.
Read it for: an impassioned and incisive blend of history, literary analysis, and own voices memoir.
Topics include: mass incarceration; the Black Lives Matter movement; Confederate monument removals; the election of Donald Trump.
Ghost Flames: Life and Death in a Hidden War, Korea 1950-1953 by Charles J. HanleyWhat it is: a sweeping yet intimate history of the Korean War.
What sets it apart: This richly detailed account explores the war's devastation as experienced by 20 different people, including soldiers and military leaders from both sides, refugees, students, religious figures, and journalists.
About the author: Journalist Charles J. Hanley won a Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for his reportage on the No Gun Ri massacre.
Show Them You're Good: A Portrait of Boys in the City of Angels the Year Before College by Jeff HobbsWhat it's about: a year in the life of four college-bound Los Angeles high school seniors.
Starring: Carlos, an undocumented Ivy League hopeful; Tio, an aspiring engineer coping with his father's alcoholism; Sam, who longs to attend a college far away from his strict Chinese mother; and Owen, who's conflicted about his family's privilege and his mother's chronic illness.
Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings by Neil PriceWhat it is: a demythologizing history of the Viking Age (750-1050 CE) written by archaeologist and longtime Viking scholar Neil Price.
Why you might like it: Aided by archaeological discoveries, this nuanced and well-researched account offers vivid recreations of Viking rituals that have often been misrepresented in popular culture.
Don't miss: a gruesome description of a Viking funeral.
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel WilkersonWhat it's about: the "shape-shifting, unspoken, race-based" caste system that has shaped four centuries of American history.
Read it for: a timely and thought-provoking exploration of how rigid social hierarchies dehumanize the people who live within them.
Book buzz: This impassioned latest from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson (The Warmth of Other Suns) was recently named an Oprah's Book Club pick.
U.S. Elections and Voting
One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol AndersonWhat it is: a compelling study of how voter disenfranchisement tactics (such as voter ID laws, roll purges, gerrymandering, and lack of accessibility) are implemented to keep African Americans from the polls.
Reviewers say: "illuminating and clarifying" (Publishers Weekly); "could not be more timely" (Kirkus Reviews).
Try this next: Uncounted: The Crisis of Voter Suppression in America by Gilda R. Daniels.
Mr. President, How Long Must We Wait? Alice Paul, Woodrow Wilson, and the Fight for the... by Tina CassidyWhat it's about: the antagonistic relationship between tireless Quaker suffragette Alice Paul and President Woodrow Wilson in the years before the passage of the 19th Amendment.
Why you might like it: This vivid and dramatic account offers an inspiring portrait of a pioneering yet underappreciated activist.
Don't miss: Wilson's first inauguration being upstaged by a suffragist parade organized by Paul.
Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics by Lawrence O'DonnellWhat it's about: Host of MSNBC's The Last Word Lawrence O'Donnell became fascinated with politics at age 17 during the 1968 general elections. Here he reviews the tumultuous political year and the race that captivated him.
Is it for you? Whether you remember 1968 yourself or know it from history, you'll enjoy the ringside seat O'Donnell offers in Playing with Fire.
Further reading: For general background on the 1960s, pick up Maurice Isserman and Michael Kazin's America Divided.
Deep State: Trump, the FBI, and the Rule of Law by James B. StewartWhat it is: a clear-eyed investigation of the FBI's activities in the days leading up to the 2016 presidential election.
Who it's for: Though Deep State treads familiar ground, readers who found The Mueller Report lacking will want to check out this revealing behind-the-scenes account featuring interviews with key officials.
About the author: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist James B. Stewart is a columnist for the New York Times.
Camelot's End: Kennedy vs. Carter and the Fight That Broke the Democratic Party by Jon WardWhat it is: a captivating account of the 1980 Democratic primary battle between sitting president Jimmy Carter and Senator Ted Kennedy.
Did you know? Incumbent presidents seeking reelection have been challenged from within their own party "only a handful of times."
Why it's significant: Campaign tensions led to divisions within the Democratic party that continue to resonate.
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