With 2020 mere days away, I need to finally announce my favorite nonfiction books of 2019. I read some great nonfiction books this year, all but one courtesy of the public library. I’d like to limit my list to just 10, but I just can’t. So here’s 12 books in no particular order of preference I have no problems whatsoever recommending.
- A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown by Julia Scheeres
- If All the Seas Were Ink by Ilana Kurshan
- The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey
- The Global Age: Europe 1950-2017 by Ian Kershaw
- Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance
- Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich
- The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss
- The Library Book by Susan Orlean
- 1924: The Year That Made Hitler by Peter Ross Range
- In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
- Educated by Tara Westover
Sadly, I haven’t been able to review all the books on this list but hopefully I can post the rest in the next few weeks or so. This year, proclaiming an overall winner has been agonizingly difficult. After much consideration I’m going to go with Svetlana Alexievich’s Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets.
Add to this list a slew of honorable mentions like T. J. English’s Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba and Then Lost It to the Revolution, Ken Silverstein’s The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor and Nathan Miller’s New World Coming : The 1920s and the Making of Modern America and the more I think about it, 2019 was a pretty decent year for nonfiction.