Book List

Best American History of 2021

  • NONFICTION

    THE SHATTERING

    OCT. 26, 2021

HISTORY

THE SHATTERING

by Kevin Boyle

A brilliantly achieved history of some unusually fraught years of American history. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    THE GROUND BREAKING

    MAY 18, 2021

NONFICTION

THE GROUND BREAKING

by Scott Ellsworth

An essential historical record surrounding heinous events that have yet to be answered with racial justice. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    COVERED WITH NIGHT

    APRIL 27, 2021

HISTORY

COVERED WITH NIGHT

by Nicole Eustace

A fine contribution to the literature of Colonial America, where peace was far harder to achieve than war. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    THE BOMBER MAFIA

    APRIL 27, 2021

  • NONFICTION

    THE 1619 PROJECT

    NOV. 16, 2021

HISTORY

THE 1619 PROJECT

edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones & Caitlin Roper & Elena Silverman & Jake Silverstein

A much-needed book that stakes a solid place in a battlefield of ideas over America’s past and present. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    LIBERTY IS SWEET

    OCT. 19, 2021

NONFICTION

LIBERTY IS SWEET

by Woody Holton

A rich, multifaceted work showing how the U.S. has always been a multiracial nation. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    A WORSE PLACE THAN HELL

    FEB. 9, 2021

NONFICTION

A WORSE PLACE THAN HELL

by John Matteson

Ambitious, nuanced, and thoroughly rewarding Civil War history. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    ALL THAT SHE CARRIED

    JUNE 8, 2021

NONFICTION

ALL THAT SHE CARRIED

by Tiya Miles

A strikingly vivid account of the impact of connection on this family and others. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    DISRUPTION

    DEC. 1, 2021

NONFICTION

DISRUPTION

by Aki J. Peritz

An outstanding contribution to the literature of terrorism and counterterrorism. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    ECONOMY HALL

    FEB. 25, 2021

NONFICTION

ECONOMY HALL

by Fatima Shaik

A lively, readable story that nicely complicates the view of racial and ethnic relations in the South of old. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    POWER AND LIBERTY

    SEPT. 1, 2021

NONFICTION

POWER AND LIBERTY

by Gordon S. Wood

A fresh, lucid distillation of Wood’s vast learning about the origins of American government. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >

More Book Lists

The Magazine: Kirkus Reviews

We continue our coverage of 2021's best books with our favorite children's and YA titles of the year plus our regular Dec. 1 issue. 

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  • The Kirkus Star

    One of the most coveted designations in the book industry, the Kirkus Star marks books of exceptional merit.

  • The Kirkus Prize

    The Kirkus Prize is among the richest literary awards in America, awarding $50,000 in three categories annually.

    See the 2020 winners.

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