Best Social Science Books 2019

Deep dives into contemporary issues of mass incarceration, gun violence, systemic injustice. The best social science books published in 2019.

See all of our 2019 Best Books lists.

Combining personal narratives with legal and political history, Bazelon writes a necessary overview of America’s criminal justice system and the unchecked power of prosecutors.
Cullen, Dave. Parkland: Birth of a Movement. Harper. ISBN 9780062882943.
In this engaging read, Cullen tells the stories of the students who attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and launched March for Our Lives. A human portrayal of the ongoing toll of school shootings and the demand for change.
DeParle puts a human touch on international migration by profiling three generations of a Manila family, as his subjects work in hospitals, hotels, and cruise ships, in search of stable wages. An unforgettable story of sacrifice and separation.
Farrow, Ronan. Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators. Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316486637.
In this hard-hitting exposé, Farrow sheds light on systems of power and abuse, and how both have shaped our current media and political landscape where people on the margins are often ignored or silenced.
Keefe, Patrick Radden. Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland. Doubleday. ISBN 9780385521314.
Keefe turns a dark subject into a riveting page-turner, blending threads of espionage, murder mystery, and political history as he tells the story of the conflict known as the Troubles.
Kendi, Ibram X. How To Be an Antiracist. One World. ISBN 9780525509288.
National Book Award winner Kendi uses his own journey as a focal point for self-examination, exploring not only the history of racism and racist ideas past and present, but also how we can challenge ourselves to develop a more equitable society.
Leonard writes an extensive, far-reaching history of the privately-owned Koch Industries, including how the company has influenced environmental and public policy, often through deceitful and dishonest practices.
This powerful work movingly relays how the kidnapping of 276 girls from Chibok, Nigeria, in 2014 continues to impact families who have yet to be reunited.
Snyder, Rachel Louise. No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us. Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781635570977.
With this searing investigation into domestic violence in America, Snyder uses personal recollections in order to show how families cope when they lose someone to intimate partner violence, and the lasting effects on children.
Blending history, reporting, and memoir, Ojibwe historian Treuer creates a sweeping account of Native North America, before and after Wounded Knee, showing how tribes persevered despite oppression and persecution.
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