With suggestive humor and a bit of orneriness, Cooke clears up crazy misconceptions about some of the world’s more mysterious and underappreciated species. Throughout, she dissects these past theories for signs of human superiority, a binary physical understanding, and a little too much of the woodsy musk from a beaver's “gonads.” What’s left: Hyenas are avid feminists, Eels keep their coitus quiet, and Sloths are pretty much the ultimate survivalists. You can devour this all at once or savor each chapter as an individual essay, but you will be amazed by the truth (and bestiary sketches) either way.
A compelling, unflinching portrait of Spain in the early 20th century, this autobiographical trilogy is at once a charming coming-of-age saga and a chilling study of the rise of a fascist state. Not convinced? Admittedly, it's long...but this prose is as rich and as satisfying as an Andalusian feast.
Want to convince your relatives that universal healthcare, free high quality education, and a robust social safety net are a good thing without them thinking you're a pinko commie? Hand them this.
New York Times illustrator Nora Krug uses comics, collage, narrative and found documents to explore her ambivalent feelings of nostalgia and guilt for her German family's wartime past. A fascinating historical detective story!
This is a book that stays with you long after the enormous length of time time that you’ll spend reading it. Not content to merely rival the classics of Russian literature with an epic account of the idealism and ultimate tragedy of the Bolshevik Revolution, Slezkine bores deeply into the Bolsheviks' attempts to create a new socialist society by attacking bourgeois art, fashion, and fitted kitchens.
One of the best non-fiction books of the year. In alternating chapters that focus on past and present, Bauer elegantly lays out the brutal history of for-profit prisons in America, and writes about his experience both as a former prisoner and working as a guard in the private prison industry. This is an essential read for anyone interested in criminal justice or law enforcement.
I waited to read S.P.Q.R. because I did not want to read yet another history of Rome. Not for the first time, I find myself in error. Mary Beard interrogates our marbled vision of Rome, re-examines the historical record, and writes with wit that warms my Classicist heart.
If you have any interest in the fight against totalitarian theocracy, then you must read A Road Unforeseen. I found it to be a thorough, well organized primer on Kurdistan, ISIS, and the self governing region known as Rojava. Meredith Tax is a phenomenal researcher, and makes this deeply complicated topic very readable. Still not convinced? THIS IS ABOUT WOMEN FIGHTING AN INSANE DEATH CULT.
The Russian Revolution is one of the defining events of modern history, and sci-fi author China Miéville has turned its tumultuous, hopeful, and ultimately tragic build-up into a thrilling and fascinating page-turner.