Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial ,
By Rabia Chaudry (St. Martin’s)
Lawyer Chaudry expands on her 17-year struggle to win a new trial for Adnan Syed, whose murder conviction and appeals process were heard on the “Serial” podcast.
Beginning with the story of protesters’ break-in at the Oak Ridge, Tenn., government facility where thousands of nuclear bomb cores are stored, Washington Post journalist Dan Zak examines the state of nuclear security and diplomacy.
Hammer’s book tells the story of the librarian who oversaw a plot to smuggle ancient manuscripts out of Timbuktu, Mali, to save them from war.
Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living
By Krista Tippett (Penguin Press)
Tippett, host of the NPR show “On Being,” delves into religion and science and perennial questions with astronomers, neuroscientists, religious leaders, poets and philosophers.
An extensively researched biography that provides the most balanced view to date of this complicated liberal hero who spent most of his life driven by the right-wing orthodoxies of his father.
The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right
By Michael J. Graetz and Linda Greenhouse (Simon & Schuster)
The authors contend that the Warren Burger-led Supreme Court dramatically diminished the scope and impact of the Earl Warren court’s precedents.
Written in sober, smooth, snark-free prose, this history of George W. Bush’s years in office is nonetheless exceedingly damning in its judgment of the president.
The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture
By Glen Weldon (Simon & Schuster)
A look at how Batman has remained so consistently intriguing to so many people over eight decades.
A richly detailed look at the rise of the National Security Agency and its struggle to penetrate Soviet communications in the Cold War.
Mayer takes readers through what she argues are decades-long efforts by Charles and David Koch and other conservative billionaires to undermine American democracy and block progress on solving problems such as climate change and income inequality.
The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America
By Ethan Michaeli (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Michaeli shows how the Chicago Defender and other African American papers shaped discussions about social justice.
First lady Eleanor Roosevelt battles New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia as the two create the country’s first Office of Civilian Defense, the precursor to what we know today as the Department of Homeland Security.
How citizen advocacy groups sometimes produce stunning constitutional changes.
Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises , By Lesley M.M. Blume (Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
A fiendishly readable account of how “The Sun Also Rises” turned Hemingway into a phenomenon.
Exit Right: The People Who Left the Left and Reshaped the American Century
By Daniel Oppenheimer (Simon & Schuster)
The stories of six 20th-century intellectuals, politicians and journalists who underwent jarring transformations.
Farewell Kabul: From Afghanistan to a More Dangerous World
By Christina Lamb (William Collins)
A heartfelt valedictory dispatch from veteran war correspondent Christina Lamb that explores the Western experience in Afghanistan since 2001.
Waldman traces the nation’s commitment to expanding the franchise in the face of efforts by certain majorities to rig the rules to ensure they continue to hold power.
The unusual friendship between Eleanor Roosevelt and young black activist Pauli Murray, who went on to become an influential lawyer and co-founder of the National Organization for Women.
An exploration of the major businesses and families that have manufactured firearms in this country over the past 150 years.
A clear-eyed view of young Churchill as a bumptious self-promoter whose exploits in Africa were as farcical as they were courageous.
Fitzpatrick offers a rich story of quick-witted and resilient women who preceded Hillary Clinton’s quest.
Vance, who grew up in the Rust Belt, uses his life story to explore the loss of optimism among the white working class and explain its affinity for Donald Trump.
A dozen essays devoted to the state of the American environment as reflected in our national parks.
Weiner presents a global odyssey that seeks to discover why geniuses gather in certain places during certain eras and why these hot spots burn out.
This is a fervent rebuke of academic-style early education — testing, flashcards and so on — in favor of a more nuanced approach, centered on the child and based on play.
Donvan and Zucker paint the story of autism in sweeping, cinematic bursts.
Dreisinger takes us on a tour of prisons around the globe to reveal that the American style of punishment is not normal, natural or inevitable.
Ostrovsky portrays the period since 1991, when Russians experienced the longest period of freedom in their 1,000-year history — and then lost it.
Scurr has mined Aubrey’s archival and printed work to fashion a wildly entertaining diary of perhaps the most endearing figure of 17th-century England.
Partlow, The Washington Post’s former bureau chief in Kabul, traces the history of former Afghan president Hamid Karzai and his sprawling family to tell the larger tale of Afghanistan.
Looking for Betty MacDonald: The Egg, the Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and I
By Paula Becker (Univ. of Washington)
A look at the singular American woman who wrote the surprise best-selling memoir “The Egg and I” and the popular Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle children’s series.
The story behind Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Constitution extends the fundamental right to marry to all Americans, including same-sex couples.
In this new collection of Ginsburg’s speeches, opinions and writings, the justice shows herself to be deliberative, gracious and quick to credit others with her own successes.
Patient H.M.: A Story of Memory, Madness, and Family Secrets
By Luke Dittrich (Random House)
Henry Molaison, who underwent a risky brain operation to cure his epileptic seizures and was left without any memory, became one of the most important research subjects in the history of neuroscience.
The merging of public relations and politics gave us presidential spin and, ever since, the electorate has been trying to sort fact from hype.
Brinkley shows how strands of Roosevelt’s life united to shape his aggressive approach to environmental preservation.
Bryson ambles up and down picture-perfect country roads, gazes out from windswept coastal cliffs and drops in on old stone villages.
An unforgettable portrait of characters fascinating and charismatic, odd and odious.
Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything
By Jennifer Keishin Armstrong (Simon & Schuster)
A decidedly sponge-worthy book on the cultural history of “Seinfeld.”
This biography uncovers Jackson’s secret and haunting life and repositions her as a major artist whose fiction so uncannily channeled women’s nightmares and contradictions.
Sing for Your Life: A Story of Race, Music, and Family
By Daniel Bergner (Lee Boudreaux)
This story of Ryan Speedo Green, an African American boy in juvenile detention who grew up to become an opera star, shows the challenges the opera world poses to singers of color.
In this intellectual history of prejudice in America, Kendi hunts for racist ideas and sometimes finds them in unexpected places. Winner of the National Book Award for nonfiction.
In this 15-pound book, Heimann covers the entire history of surfing, from James Cook’s arrival in Hawaii to the present day.
The story of America’s restaurants is one of changing immigration patterns, race relations, gender and family roles, work obligations and leisure habits.
A portrait of Trump up to his time as the GOP’s presidential nominee, by Washington Post writers, reporters, fact checkers and editors.
By Peter Bergen (Crown)
Bergen makes the case that the real threat from the Islamic State will remain “lone wolves” — Americans inspired by the group, rather than those directly financed or trained by it.
By Carol Anderson (Bloomsbury)
This slim but persuasive volume catalogues the centuries-long efforts to derail African American progress, from post-Reconstruction racial terror to contemporary legislative actions that have disproportionately criminalized blacks and suppressed their voting rights.
By Nancy Isenberg (Viking)
Isenberg examines the white rural outcasts who have been vilified and shunned and have inspired mockery, kitsch and unceasing grimaces in the nation’s cultural imagination.
By E.J. Dionne Jr. (Simon & Schuster)
Dionne details the gradual domination of the Republican Party by reactionaries, and he traces their ideological line of descent through William F. Buckley to Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon to today’s extremist presidential candidates.