Barrie Olmstead

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Best Biography & Memoir 2019


The Ship of Dreams: The Sinking of the Titanic and the End of the Edwardian Era

An optional purchase, as this is well-trod ground.


One Day: The Extraordinary Story of an Ordinary 24 Hours in America

The results of this fascinating, well-researched narrative are conveyed with immediacy, insight, and humor. A solid choice for all readers.

Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA

Fans of Showtime’s Homeland and espionage novels will devour this highly recommended memoir, as will readers interested in counterterrorism, nonprofileration, and peacemaking. [See Editors’ Fall Picks, “Fall Fireworks,” LJ 8/19.]

Nobody’s Victim: Fighting Psychos, Stalkers, Pervs, and Trolls

Timely, disturbing, and informative; for all collections.


The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz- Age America

Abbot keeps up the momentum and suspense while giving her substantial characters their due. Recommended for fans of historical true crime, such as Mary Cummings’s Saving Sin City; fans of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire will also devour this juicy read.


Sisters and Rebels: A Struggle for the Soul of America

Highly recommended for readers interested in women's history and American intellectual history.

Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America's Heartland

Books on this topic have proliferated in the last few years, and readers seeking to understand what sociologist Arlie Hochschild calls the "Great Paradox" would be better served by her book Strangers in Their Own Land, as well as Carol Anderson's White Rage and Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas??

American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts

Although McGreal treads the same ground as Beth Macy in Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America (a 2018 LJ Best Book), she offers here a brisk, persuasive, and sobering account of an epidemic that is unlikely to abate any time soon.

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