Booked Up: the 20 Best Books of 2019

Best Nonfiction

Prisoners of Politics: Breaking the Cycle of Mass Incarceration
Rachel Elise Barkow
(Belknap Press)

Dirty Jokes and Bawdy Songs: the Uncensored Life of Gershon Legman
Susan Davis
(University of Illinois)

Our History is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance
Nick Estes

Music: a Subversive History
Ted Gioia
(Basic Books)

The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America
Greg Grandin

Midnight in Chernobyl: the Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster
Adam Higginbotham
(Simon and Schuster)

Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music
Gerald Horne
(Monthly Review Press)

And Forgive Them Their Debts: Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption From Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year
Michael Hudson

This Land: How Cowboys, Capitalism, and Corruption are Ruining the American West
Christopher Ketcham

Red Round Globe Hot Burning: a Tale at the Crossroads of Commons and Closure, of Love and Terror, of Race and Class, and of Kate and Ned Despard
Peter Linebaugh
(University of California)

The Rise of Wolf 8: Witnessing the Triumph of Yellowstone’s Underdog
Rick McIntyre

Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership
Keeanga-Yamatta Taylor
(University of North Carolina)


Black Leopard, Red Wolf
Marlon James

American Spy
Lauren Wilkinson
(Random House)

Deep River
Karl Marlantes
(Atlantic Monthly)

Disappearing Earth
Julia Phillips

Heaven, My Home
Attica Locke
(Profile Books)

Best Poetry

Aimee Nezhukumatathil
(Copper Canyon)

A Sand Book
Arianna Reines
(Tin House)

Daniel Wolff
(Finishing Line Press)

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book is An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents (with Alexander Cockburn). He can be reached at: or on Twitter @JeffreyStClair3