Best non-fiction books of 2023

In the order I read them, more or less, rather than in the order of preference.  And behind the link usually you will find my earlier review, or occasionally an Amazon link:

Erika Fatland, High: A Journey Across the Himalaya Through Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Nepal, and China.

Adam Kuper, The Museum of Other People: From Colonial Acquisitions to Cosmopolitan Exhibitions.

Paul Johnson, Follow the Money: How Much Does Britain Cost?

Murray Pittock, Scotland: A Global History.

Reviel Netz, A New History of Greek Mathematics.

Melissa S. Kearney, The Two-Parent Privilege.

David Edmonds, Derek Parfit: A Philosopher and His Mission to Save Morality.

Peter Lee, Carey Goldberg, and Isaac Kohane, The AI Revolution in Medicine: GPT-4 and Beyond.

Matt Zwolinski and John Tomasi, The Individualists: Radicals, Reactionaries, and the Struggle for the Soul of Libertarianism.

Sebastian Edwards, The Chile Project: The Story of the Chicago Boys and the Downfall of Neoliberalism.

Martyn Rady, The Central Kingdoms: A New History of Central Europe.

Norman Lebrecht, Why Beethoven: A Phenomenon in One Hundred Pieces.

Ian Mortimer, Medieval Horizons: Why the Middle Ages Matter.

Jacob Mikanowski, Goodbye Eastern Europe: An Intimate History of a Divided Land.

Sophia Giovannitti, Working Girl: On Selling Art and Selling Sex.

Christopher Clark, Revolutionary Spring: Fighting for a New World 1848-1849.

Fearghal Cochrane, Belfast: The Story of a City and its People.

Jennifer Burns, Milton Friedman: The Last Conservative.

Mikhail Zygar, War and Punishment: Putin, Zelensky, and the Path to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine.

Jeremy Jennings, Travels with Tocqueville: Beyond America.

Fuchsia Dunlop, Invitation to a Banquet: The Story of Chinese Food.

David Brooks, How to Know Others: The Art of Seeing Others and Being Deeply Seen.

Jonny Steinberg, Winnie and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage.

Richard Cockett, Vienna: How the City of Ideas Created the Modern World.

Cat Bohannon, Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution.

Larry Rohter, Into the Amazon: The Life of Cândido Rondon, Trailblazing Explorer, Scientist, Statesman, and Conservationist.

Frank Trentmann, Out of the Darkness: The Germans 1942-2022.

Tyler Cowen, GOAT: Who is the Greatest Economist of all Time and Why Does it Matter?

It is hard to pick out 2 or 3 favorites this year, as they are all excellent.  I am partial to David Edmonds on Parfit, but a lot of you already know you should be reading that.  Perhaps my nudge is most valuable for Jonny Steinberg, Winny and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage?  So that is my pick for the year!

As usual, I will issue an addendum at the end of the year, because I will be reading a lot between now and then.  I haven’t even received my 1344-pp. Jonathan Israel biography of Spinoza yet.  Here is my earlier list on the year’s fiction.  And apologies for any of your books I have forgotten to list, there are always some such cases.



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