1. John Elliott Cairnes, The Slave Power, from 1862. Cairnes remains greatly underrated as an economist. But The Slave Power is most remarkable for seeing that slavery was a system that pervaded (and corrupted) all aspects of the economy and society of the South. An excellent early integration of economic reasoning and sociology. And to think he wrote this from Galway, not Mississippi.
2. Barbara Bloemink, Florine Stettheimer: A Biography. A revelatory book that proves Stettheimer’s reputation deserves to be upgraded to the top tier of American artists of her time. The color plates are wonderful. I hadn’t known of her inspiration coming from Ballet Russe works. For those who care, definitely recommended, deserves to make the best of the year list.
3. Stanislaw Lem, The Invincible. One of the better Lems, reminds me of a Star Trek episode, with shades of gray goo hypotheses and an East Bloc ending.
I liked Meghan O’Rourke, The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness.
John Davis, Waterloo Sunrise: London from the Sixties to Thatcher is mostly a social history.
There is also Penelope J. Corfield, The Georgians: The Deeds and Misdeeds of 18th-Century Britain.
Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake, Restarting the Future: How to Fix the Intangible Economy elicited this blurb from me: “How does the concept of intangible capital help explain some features of what has gone wrong in our world? How is the concept of intangible capital key to fixing what has gone wrong and improving our world? This is the go-to book for those and other critical questions for boosting economic growth.”