In The Empire of Necessity, historian Greg Grandin tells the story of a slave revolt at sea. The 1805 event inspired Herman Melville's Benito Cereno, and Grandin's account of the human horror is a work of power and precision.
Summer is a trying time for introverts, what with the barbecues and the graduations and the picnics by the pool. If you'd always choose a good book over a good party, critic Maureen Corrigan has a list for you.
In the Oct. 18 issue of The New Yorker, historian Sean Wilentz argues that the rhetoric expressed by both Glenn Beck and the Tea Party is nothing new -- and is rooted in an extremist ideology that has been around since the Cold War.
Many of the picks from Fresh Air's book critic look back at tough times from earlier eras, or lives upended by disaster. The best books of the year include a work of nonfiction that reveals the hidden fantasy land of a founder of American industry, and a novel that doesn't apologize for the bad behavior of its characters. Plus, a bonus mystery pick.