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The NYTimes Notable Nonfiction Books of 2019

Congratulations to all of our nonfiction books that made the 100 Notable Books of 2019 list by the editors of The New York Times Book Review! Find our notable fiction books here and their complete list here.

  1. 1
    Antisocial Book Cover Picture
    Antisocial Book Cover Picture

    Antisocial

    by Andrew Marantz

    Antisocial is . . . Marantz’s searching attempt to understand people he describes as truly deplorable without letting his moral compass get wrecked. . . . [Antisocial] is trenchant and intelligent; wry but not glib; humane but never indulgent.” —Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times
    Antisocial Book Cover Picture
    Antisocial Book Cover Picture

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  2. 2
    Becoming Book Cover Picture
    Becoming Book Cover Picture

    Becoming

    by Michelle Obama

    In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms.
    Becoming Book Cover Picture
    Becoming Book Cover Picture

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  3. 3
    The Beneficiary Book Cover Picture
    The Beneficiary Book Cover Picture

    The Beneficiary

    by Janny Scott

    A parable for the new age of inequality: part family history, part detective story, part history of a vanishing class, and a vividly compelling exploration of the degree to which an inheritance—financial, cultural, genetic—conspired in one person’s self-destruction.
    The Beneficiary Book Cover Picture
    The Beneficiary Book Cover Picture

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  4. 4
    Furious Hours Book Cover Picture
    Furious Hours Book Cover Picture

    Furious Hours

    by Casey Cep

    “She explains as well as it is likely ever to be explained why Lee went silent after To Kill a Mockingbird. (The clue’s in Cep’s title.) And it’s here, in her descriptions of another writer’s failure to write, that her book makes a magical little leap, and it goes from being a superbly written true-crime story to the sort of story that even Lee would have been proud to write.” —Michael Lewis, The New York Times Book Review
    Furious Hours Book Cover Picture
    Furious Hours Book Cover Picture

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  5. 5
    Good Talk Book Cover Picture
    Good Talk Book Cover Picture

    Good Talk

    by Mira Jacob

    “Among its many virtues, Mira Jacob’s graphic memoir, Good Talk, helps us think through this term [‘person of color’] with grace and disarming wit. The book lives up to its title, and reading these searching, often hilarious tête-à-têtes is as effortless as eavesdropping on a crosstown bus. . . . The medium is part of the magic. . . . The old comic-book alchemy of words and pictures opens up new possibilities of feeling. . . . The people are black and white—except, of course, they’re not.”—Ed Park, The New York Times Book Review
    Good Talk Book Cover Picture
    Good Talk Book Cover Picture

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  6. 6
    Guest House for Young Widows Book Cover Picture
    Guest House for Young Widows Book Cover Picture

    Guest House for Young Widows

    by Azadeh Moaveni

    “A master class in illustrating the big picture through small stories . . . Azadeh Moaveni has written a powerful, indispensable book on a challenging subject: the inner lives and motivations of women who joined or supported the Islamic State militant group. . . . An illuminating, much-needed corrective to stock narratives, not only about the group that deliberately and deftly terrified officials and publics across the world, but also about the larger ‘war on terror’ and the often ineffective, even counterproductive policies of Western and Middle Eastern governments.”—Anne Barnard, The New York Times Book Review
    Guest House for Young Widows Book Cover Picture
    Guest House for Young Widows Book Cover Picture

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  7. 7
    The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee Book Cover Picture
    The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee Book Cover Picture

    The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee

    by David Treuer

    “An informed, moving and kaleidoscopic portrait of ‘Indian survival, resilience, adaptability, pride and place in modern life.’ Rarely has a single volume in Native American history attempted such comprehensiveness . . . Ultimately, Treuer’s powerful book suggests the need for soul-searching about the meanings of American history and the stories we tell ourselves about this nation’s past.” —New York Times Book Review
    The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee Book Cover Picture
    The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee Book Cover Picture

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  8. 8
    Horizon Book Cover Picture
    Horizon Book Cover Picture

    Horizon

    by Barry Lopez

    “At once reverie and urgent appeal, Horizon is beautiful and brutal—a story of the universal human condition, set in some of the most distinctive places on earth. Lopez [searches] both memory and meticulously recorded field notes, mining accumulated wisdom, seeking glimmers of hope. One of the strongest messages in Horizon is that without learning to embrace diversity, without listening to the tales told by cultures other than our own, we risk obliteration. Lopez’s reverence for exploring every corner of the world is infectious, [and] his knack for making friends in the most unlikely places resonates long after you turn the last page. ‘Are we not bound,’ he asks, ‘to learn how to speak with each other?’” —The New York Times Book Review
    Horizon Book Cover Picture
    Horizon Book Cover Picture

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  9. 9
    How to Be an Antiracist Book Cover Picture
    How to Be an Antiracist Book Cover Picture

    How to Be an Antiracist

    by Ibram X. Kendi

    “What do you do after you have written Stamped From the Beginning, an award-winning history of racist ideas? . . . If you’re Ibram X. Kendi, you craft another stunner of a book. . . . What emerges from these insights is the most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind, a confessional of self-examination that may, in fact, be our best chance to free ourselves from our national nightmare.”—The New York Times
    How to Be an Antiracist Book Cover Picture
    How to Be an Antiracist Book Cover Picture

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  10. 10
    If Book Cover Picture
    If Book Cover Picture

    If

    by Christopher Benfey

    “Benfey eloquently argues not only that Kipling’s engagement with the United States made him the writer he became, but that he lavishly returned the favor. . . Benfey reminds us of our debt to a category-demolishing, globe-striding man who indeed contained multitudes, the author of an immortal ode to equanimity.”— The New York Times Book Review
    If Book Cover Picture
    If Book Cover Picture

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  11. 11
    The Impeachers Book Cover Picture
    The Impeachers Book Cover Picture

    The Impeachers

    by Brenda Wineapple

    “Brenda Wineapple’s ambitious and assured volume The Impeachers rightfully recenters the story along the main axis of moral struggle in American history: whether the nation is indeed a democracy for all its citizens or not.”—Chris Hayes, The New York Times Book Review
    The Impeachers Book Cover Picture
    The Impeachers Book Cover Picture

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  12. 12
    Know My Name Book Cover Picture
    Know My Name Book Cover Picture

    Know My Name

    by Chanel Miller

    Know My Name is an act of reclamation. On every page, Miller unflattens herself, returning from Victim or Emily Doe to Chanel, a beloved daughter and sister…Know My Name marks the debut of a gifted young writer. Miller’s words are purpose. They are maps. And she is a treasure who has prevailed.”─Jennifer Weiner, The New York Times
    Know My Name Book Cover Picture
    Know My Name Book Cover Picture

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  13. 13
    The Lost Art of Scripture Book Cover Picture
    The Lost Art of Scripture Book Cover Picture

    The Lost Art of Scripture

    by Karen Armstrong

    The Lost Art of Scripture Book Cover Picture
    The Lost Art of Scripture Book Cover Picture

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  14. 14
    Margaret Thatcher: Herself Alone Book Cover Picture
    Margaret Thatcher: Herself Alone Book Cover Picture

    Margaret Thatcher: Herself Alone

    by Charles Moore

    “Comprehensive . . . Only this cumulative approach can convey the interplay of Thatcher’s personality and outlook on history and the peculiar way she conducted politics . . . With this masterpiece, Moore has given us Margaret Thatcher. She now belongs to history.”—The New York Times
    Margaret Thatcher: Herself Alone Book Cover Picture
    Margaret Thatcher: Herself Alone Book Cover Picture

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  15. 15
    The Mastermind Book Cover Picture
    The Mastermind Book Cover Picture

    The Mastermind

    by Evan Ratliff

    The incredible true story of the decade-long quest to bring down Paul Le Roux—the creator of a frighteningly powerful Internet-enabled cartel who merged the ruthlessness of a drug lord with the technological savvy of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur.
    The Mastermind Book Cover Picture
    The Mastermind Book Cover Picture

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  16. 16
    Our Man Book Cover Picture
    Our Man Book Cover Picture

    Our Man

    by George Packer

    “No book could achieve the intensity, completeness, and narrative depth of Our Man without the author’s belief that he had been put on this earth to do it. The strength of the book is its focus on Holbrooke’s character, which Packer pursues much as James Boswell pursued the human truth of Samuel Johnson. The point is not to analyze things—why Yugoslavia flew to pieces, or what Johnson did for the English language with his dictionary. The point is to winkle out and bring to light the whole truth of the man: what he was like in all his contradictions.” —Thomas Powers, The New York Review of Books
    Our Man Book Cover Picture
    Our Man Book Cover Picture

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  17. 17
    Say Nothing Book Cover Picture
    Say Nothing Book Cover Picture

    Say Nothing

    by Patrick Radden Keefe

    Say Nothing has lots of the qualities of good fiction. . . Keefe is a terrific storyteller. . .He brings his characters to real life. The book is cleverly structured. We follow people–victim, perpetrator, back to victim–leave them, forget about them, rejoin them decades later. It can be read as a detective story. . .What Keefe captures best, though, is the tragedy, the damage and waste, and the idea of moral injury. . .Say Nothing is an excellent account of the Troubles. —Roddy Doyle, The New York Times Book Review 
    Say Nothing Book Cover Picture
    Say Nothing Book Cover Picture

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  18. 18
    She Said Book Cover Picture
    She Said Book Cover Picture

    She Said

    by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey

    “Kantor and Twohey have crafted their news dispatches into a seamless and suspenseful account of their reportorial journey, a gripping blow-by-blow of how they managed, “working in the blank spaces between the words,” to corroborate allegations that had been chased and abandoned by multiple journalists before them. . . Watching Kantor and Twohey pursue their goal while guarding each other’s back is as exhilarating as watching Megan Rapinoe and Crystal Dunn on the pitch. . . It turns out we did need to hear more about Weinstein — and the “more” that Kantor and Twohey give us draws an important distinction between the trendy ethic of hashtag justice and the disciplined professionalism and institutional heft that actually got the job done.”—Susan Faludi, New York Times Book Review
    She Said Book Cover Picture
    She Said Book Cover Picture

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  19. 19
    Stony the Road Book Cover Picture
    Stony the Road Book Cover Picture

    Stony the Road

    by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

    “Stony the Road presents a bracing alternative to Trump-era white nationalism. . . . In our current politics we recognize African-American history—the spot under our country’s rug where the terrorism and injustices of white supremacy are habitually swept.  Stony the Road lifts the rug. . . . essential . . . a history that very much needs telling and hearing in these times.” —Nell Irvin Painter, New York Times Book Review
    Stony the Road Book Cover Picture
    Stony the Road Book Cover Picture

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  20. 20
    Trick Mirror Book Cover Picture
    Trick Mirror Book Cover Picture

    Trick Mirror

    by Jia Tolentino

    Jia Tolentino is a peerless voice of her generation, tackling the conflicts, contradictions, and sea changes that define us and our time. Now, in this dazzling collection of nine entirely original essays, written with a rare combination of give and sharpness, wit and fearlessness, she delves into the forces that warp our vision, demonstrating an unparalleled stylistic potency and critical dexterity.
    Trick Mirror Book Cover Picture
    Trick Mirror Book Cover Picture

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  21. 21
    The Uninhabitable Earth Book Cover Picture
    The Uninhabitable Earth Book Cover Picture

    The Uninhabitable Earth

    by David Wallace-Wells

    “Potent and evocative. . . . Wallace-Wells has resolved to offer something other than the standard narrative of climate change. . . . He avoids the ‘eerily banal language of climatology’ in favor of lush, rolling prose.” —Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times
    The Uninhabitable Earth Book Cover Picture
    The Uninhabitable Earth Book Cover Picture

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  22. 22
    The Unwinding of the Miracle Book Cover Picture
    The Unwinding of the Miracle Book Cover Picture

    The Unwinding of the Miracle

    by Julie Yip-Williams

    “Eloquent, gutting and at times disarmingly funny . . . Yip-Williams writes with such vibrancy and electricity even as she is dying. . . . This memoir is so many things—a triumphant tale of a blind immigrant, a remarkable philosophical treatise and a call to arms to pay attention to the limited time we have on this earth. But at its core, it’s an exquisitely moving portrait of the daily stuff of life: family secrets and family ties, marriage and its limitlessness and limitations, wild and unbounded parental love and, ultimately, the graceful recognition of what we can’t—and can—control.”—The New York Times Book Review
    The Unwinding of the Miracle Book Cover Picture
    The Unwinding of the Miracle Book Cover Picture

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  23. 23
    The War Before the War Book Cover Picture
    The War Before the War Book Cover Picture

    The War Before the War

    by Andrew Delbanco

    “A valuable book, reflective as well as jarring . . . Delbanco, an eminent and prolific scholar of American literature, is well suited to recounting . . . the most violent and enduring conflict in American history.”—Sean Wilentz, New York Times Book Review
    The War Before the War Book Cover Picture
    The War Before the War Book Cover Picture

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  24. 24
    What You Have Heard Is True Book Cover Picture
    What You Have Heard Is True Book Cover Picture

    What You Have Heard Is True

    by Carolyn Forché

    “One recovered incident, person, landscape, and image at a time, the narrative advances, accruing tremendous authority and emotional power. It amounts to almost a shamanistic transmitting of Forché’s experience into our own…. What Leonel Gómez was really offering when he lured her down to El Salvador was the chance to become Carolyn Forché. Anyone who reads this magnificent memoir will partake of that luminous transformation.” — The New York Times Book Review 
    What You Have Heard Is True Book Cover Picture
    What You Have Heard Is True Book Cover Picture

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  25. 25
    Women's Work Book Cover Picture
    Women's Work Book Cover Picture

    Women’s Work

    by Megan K. Stack

    “Stack is unflinching in her account. . .Her prose is beautiful as she shines a light on the contradictions of her position. . .A sharply observed, evocative reckoning with the ways her struggles intersect and diverge with those of the women she employs.” —Lauren Hilgers, The New York Times Book Review 
    Women's Work Book Cover Picture
    Women's Work Book Cover Picture

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