1. Rome, by Greg Woolf. A nice one-volume summary of the latest in Rome scholarship. Not being a historian, I much appreciate these kind of nickel summaries, with lots of “further reading” sections in case something strikes my fancy. Sometimes we don’t have time to read 5-volume histories of a single president.
2. The New New Deal, by Michael Grunwald. If I were the Obama campaign I would be buying this book and shipping them out en masse to anywhere I could think of. It’s quite the gripping story, actually, and shows absent anything else that the Recovery Act was a gigantic accomplishment.
3. Nixonland, by Rick Pearlstein. Good pop political history of the rise of conservatism as we know it today.
4. Wall Street, by Doug Henwood. The best book I’ve ever read on the Great Parasite, and how it really works. Self-consciously radical, and gets quite technical at times, but worth the effort. Available for free at the link!
5. Red Plenty, by Francis Spufford. Just started this one, but the first chapter alone is strange and awesome enough to make it worth a glance.
Any good ones I’m missing?