The WQ’s Top 10 Books
It’s the season of best-of lists. In our case, we enjoyed the chance to look back on a year of excellent reading. Below are 10 nonfiction books reviewed in our pages that particularly captured our—and their reviewers’—attention. You won’t find a blockbuster in the lot, but some of the finest scholarship, best narrative history, and most provocative thinking published over the past year.
1688: The First Modern Revolution. By Steve Pincus. Yale Univ. Press. 647 pp. $40
A bold new interpretation of how Britain’s Glorious Revolution ushered in the modern political era.
FLIGHT FROM MONTICELLO: Thomas Jefferson at War. By Michael Kranish. Oxford Univ. Press. 388 pp. $27.95
A colorful account of Thomas Jefferson’s often-criticized flight from the British in 1781.
FROM ETERNITY TO HERE: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time. By Sean Carroll. Dutton. 438 pp. $26.95.
A noted cosmologist’s affable and enthusiastic inquiry into the origins of the universe.
GRANT WOOD: A Life. By R. Tripp Evans. Knopf. 402 pp. $37.50.
A persuasive biography of America’s “artist in overalls,” who struggled to reconcile his public image with his closeted homosexuality.
THE GUN. By C. J. Chivers. Simon & Schuster. 481 pp. $28.
A fascinating history by a New York Times war correspondent of how the AK-47 automatic rifle altered modern warfare.
JANE’S FAME: How Jane Austen Conquered the World. By Claire Harman. Henry Holt. 277 pp. $26
A lively account of the English novelist’s staying power and of the industry that has sprung up around her work.
MADE IN AMERICA: A Social History of American Culture and Character. By Claude S. Fischer. Univ. of Chicago Press. 511 pp. $35
A sociologist’s take on American history that argues for the existence of a distinctive national character.
NOTHING TO ENVY: Ordinary Lives in North Korea. By Barbara Demick. Spiegel & Grau. 314 pp $24
A heart-breaking window into one of the world’s most isolated and repressive countries.
THE OTHER MUSLIMS: Moderate and Secular. Edited by Zeyno Baran. Palgrave Macmillan. 211 pp. $30
An intriguing collection of essays that gives voice to moderate Muslims as they contemplate the future of Islam in the West.
THE ROUTES OF MAN: How Roads Are Changing the World, and the Way We Live Today. By Ted Conover. Knopf. 333 pp. $26.95
A wide-ranging adventure over the world’s roads that chronicles how they shape our lives.
Photo via lizzie_anne on flickr
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