Bestsellers from 2021

for the business/economics reader

for the History buff

for someone that loves a good Memoir/(Auto)biography

for the news junkie

for the Science/Tech nerd

for the bold reader

Best of the Year Roundups

The Disordered Cosmos

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

From a star theoretical physicist, a journey into the world of particle physics and the cosmos -- and a call for a more just practice of science.

Smithsonian Magazine Best Science Book of 2021
A Symmetry Magazine Top 10 Physics Book of 2021
An Entropy Magazine Best Nonfiction Book of 2020-2021  
A Publishers Weekly Best Nonfiction Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2021
A Booklist Top 10 Sci-Tech Book of the Year 
Longlisted for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
 
In The Disordered Cosmos, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein shares her love for physics, from the Standard Model of Particle Physics and what lies beyond it, to the physics of melanin in skin, to the latest theories of dark matter -- all with a new spin informed by history, politics, and the wisdom of Star Trek.
 
One of the leading physicists of her generation, Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is also one of fewer than one hundred Black American women to earn a PhD from a department of physics. Her vision of the cosmos is vibrant, buoyantly non-traditional, and grounded in Black feminist traditions.
 
Prescod-Weinstein urges us to recognize how science, like most fields, is rife with racism, sexism, and other dehumanizing systems. She lays out a bold new approach to science and society that begins with the belief that we all have a fundamental right to know and love the night sky. The Disordered Cosmos dreams into existence a world that allows everyone to experience and understand the wonders of the universe.

Work Won't Love You Back

Sarah Jaffe

A deeply-reported examination of why "doing what you love" is a recipe for exploitation, creating a new tyranny of work in which we cheerily acquiesce to doing jobs that take over our lives.

You're told that if you "do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life." Whether it's working for "exposure" and "experience," or enduring poor treatment in the name of "being part of the family," all employees are pushed to make sacrifices for the privilege of being able to do what we love.

In Work Won't Love You Back, Sarah Jaffe, a preeminent voice on labor, inequality, and social movements, examines this "labor of love" myth—the idea that certain work is not really work, and therefore should be done out of passion instead of pay. Told through the lives and experiences of workers in various industries—from the unpaid intern, to the overworked teacher, to the nonprofit worker and even the professional athlete—Jaffe reveals how all of us have been tricked into buying into a new tyranny of work.

As Jaffe argues, understanding the trap of the labor of love will empower us to work less and demand what our work is worth. And once freed from those binds, we can finally figure out what actually gives us joy, pleasure, and satisfaction.

Eagle Down

Jessica Donati

Wall Street Journal national security reporter takes readers into the lives of frontline U.S. special operations troops fighting to keep the Taliban and Islamic State from overthrowing the U.S.-backed government in the final years of the war in Afghanistan.  

A FINANCIAL TIMES BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR 
 
“Powerful, important, and searing." —General David Petraeus, U.S. Army (ret.), former commander, U.S. Central Command, former CIA director

In 2015, the White House claimed triumphantly that “the longest war in American history” was over. But for some, it was just the beginning of a new war, fought by Special Operations Forces, with limited resources, little governmental oversight, and contradictory orders.
 
With big picture insight and on-the-ground grit, Jessica Donati shares the stories of the impossible choices these soldiers must make. After the fall of a major city to the Taliban that year, Hutch, a battle-worn Green Beret on his fifth combat tour was ordered on a secret mission to recapture it and inadvertently called in an airstrike on a Doctors Without Borders hospital, killing dozens. Caleb stepped on a bomb during a mission in notorious Sangin. Andy was trapped with his team during a raid with a crashed Black Hawk and no air support.
 
Through successive policy directives under the Obama and Trump administrations, America came to rely almost entirely on US Special Forces, and without a long-term plan, failed to stabilize Afghanistan, undermining US interests both at home and abroad.
 
Eagle Down is a riveting account of the heroism, sacrifice, and tragedy experienced by those that fought America’s longest war.

Do Not Disturb

Michela Wrong

A powerful investigation into a grisly political murder and the authoritarian regime behind it: Do Not Disturb upends the narrative that Rwanda sold the world after one of the deadliest genocides of the twentieth century.

We think we know the story of Africa’s Great Lakes region. Following the Rwandan genocide, an idealistic group of young rebels overthrew the brutal regime in Kigali, ushering in an era of peace and stability that made Rwanda the donor darling of the West, winning comparisons with Switzerland and Singapore. But the truth was considerably more sinister. 
 
Vividly sourcing her story with direct testimony from key participants, Wrong uses the story of the murder of Patrick Karegeya, once Rwanda’s head of external intelligence and a quicksilver operator of supple charm, to paint the portrait of a modern African dictatorship created in the chilling likeness of Paul Kagame, the president who sanctioned his former friend’s assassination.

Tunnel 29

Helena Merriman

He escaped from one of the world’s most brutal regimes.Then, he decided to tunnel back in. 
 
In the summer of 1962, a young student named Joachim Rudolph dug a tunnel under the Berlin Wall. Waiting on the other side in East Berlin were dozens of men, women, and children—all willing to risk everything to escape.

From the award-winning creator of the acclaimed BBC Radio 4 podcast, Tunnel 29 is the true story of this most remarkable Cold War rescue mission. Drawing on interviews with the survivors and Stasi files, Helena Merriman brilliantly reveals the stranger-than-fiction story of the ingenious group of student-diggers, the glamorous red-haired messenger, the Stasi spy who threatened the whole enterprise, and the love story that became its surprising epilogue.
 
Tunnel 29 was also the first made-for-TV event of its kind; it was funded by NBC, who wanted to film an escape in real time. Their documentary—which was nearly blocked from airing by the Kennedy administration, which wanted to control the media during the Cold War—revolutionized TV journalism.

Ultimately, Tunnel 29 is a success story about freedom: the valiant citizens risking everything to win it back, and the larger world rooting for them to triumph.

You Don't Belong Here

Elizabeth Becker

The long-buried story of three extraordinary female journalists who permanently shattered the barriers to women covering war.
 
Kate Webb, an Australian iconoclast, Catherine Leroy, a French daredevil photographer, and Frances FitzGerald, a blue-blood American intellectual, arrived in Vietnam with starkly different life experiences but one shared purpose: to report on the most consequential story of the decade. At a time when women were considered unfit to be foreign reporters, Frankie, Catherine, and Kate   challenged the rules imposed on them by the military, ignored the belittlement of their male peers, and ultimately altered the craft of war reportage for generations.
 
In You Don’t Belong Here, Elizabeth Becker uses these women’s work and lives to illuminate the Vietnam War from the 1965 American buildup, the expansion into Cambodia, and the American defeat and its aftermath. Arriving herself in the last years of the war, Becker writes as a historian and a witness of the times.
 
What emerges is an unforgettable story of three journalists forging their place in a land of men, often at great personal sacrifice. Deeply reported and filled with personal letters, interviews, and profound insight, You Don’t Belong Here fills a void in the history of women and of war.

The Road Less Traveled

Philip Zelikow

During a pivotal few months in the middle of the First World War all sides-Germany, Britain, and America-believed the war could be concluded. Peace at the end of 1916 would have saved millions of lives and changed the course of history utterly.
 
Two years into the most terrible conflict the world had ever known, the warring powers faced a crisis. There were no good military options. Money, men, and supplies were running short on all sides. The German chancellor secretly sought President Woodrow Wilson's mediation to end the war, just as British ministers and France's president also concluded that the time was right. The Road Less Traveled describes how tantalizingly close these far-sighted statesmen came to ending the war, saving millions of lives, and avoiding the total war that dimmed hopes for a better world.
 
Theirs was a secret battle that is only now becoming fully understood, a story of civic courage, awful responsibility, and how some leaders rose to the occasion while others shrank from it or chased other ambitions. "Peace is on the floor waiting to be picked up!" pleaded the German ambassador to the United States. This book explains both the strategies and fumbles of people facing a great crossroads of history.
 
The Road Less Traveled reveals one of the last great mysteries of the Great War: that it simply never should have lasted so long or cost so much.