1. Elizabeth A. Fenn, Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82, quite a good book.
2. Louis Galambos with Jane Eliot Sewell, Networks of Innovation: Vaccine Development at Merck, Sharp and Dohme, and Mulford, 1895-1995. Imagine a book with both Vannevar Bush and Maurice Hilleman as leading and indeed intersecting characters. How is this for a sentence?: “Hilleman had spent his boyhood on a farm on which the German-American tradition was to “work like hell and live by the tenets of Martin Luther.””
3. John Duffy, The Sanitarians: A History of American Public Health. A little boring, and not conceptual enough, but is anything on this topic entirely boring at the current moment in time? Nonetheless this is a very useful overview and survey of public health issues in American history, and so I do not hesitate to recommend it.
4. Robert P. Saldin and Steven M. Teles, Never Trump: The Revolt of the Conservative Elites. Remarkably fair-minded and substantive, here is my blurb: “”Who are the Never Trumpers, what do they want, and what are their stories? Robert P. Saldin and Steven Teles have produced the go-to work on a movement that will likely prove of enduring influence in American politics.” Here is a relevant Atlantic article by Saldin and Teles. Recommended.
5. Anne Enright, Actress: A Novel. A subtle Irish story of a woman telling the tale of her now-departed famous, charismatic mother and her career in the theater. Unpeels like an onion as you read it, and reveals successively deeper layers of the story, it would make my “favorite fiction of the year” list pretty much any year. But please note it has not have the “upfront attention-grabbing style” that many of us have been trained to enjoy.