Book List

2021's Best, Most Urgent Books of Current Affairs

  • NONFICTION

    CHILDREN UNDER FIRE

    MARCH 30, 2021

NONFICTION

CHILDREN UNDER FIRE

by John Woodrow Cox

An indispensable contribution to the debate about gun violence. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    EMPIRE OF PAIN

    APRIL 13, 2021

NONFICTION

EMPIRE OF PAIN

by Patrick Radden Keefe

A definitive, damning, urgent tale of overweening avarice at tremendous cost to society. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    SQUIRREL HILL

    OCT. 5, 2021

NONFICTION

SQUIRREL HILL

by Mark Oppenheimer

A stunning book that offers an eloquent portrait of an antisemitic attack and its effect on a neighborhood. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    WILDLAND

    SEPT. 14, 2021

HISTORY

WILDLAND

by Evan Osnos

An elegant survey of the causes and effects of polarization in America. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    LAST BEST HOPE

    JUNE 15, 2021

CURRENT EVENTS & SOCIAL ISSUES

LAST BEST HOPE

by George Packer

A thought-provoking study in civics, history, and the decline and fall of self-government. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    BECOMING ABOLITIONISTS

    OCT. 5, 2021

NONFICTION

BECOMING ABOLITIONISTS

by Derecka Purnell

An informed, provocative, astute consideration of salvific alternatives to contemporary policing and imprisonment. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • NONFICTION

    LOOKING FOR THE GOOD WAR

    NOV. 30, 2021

  • NONFICTION

    THE PLAGUE YEAR

    JUNE 8, 2021

NONFICTION

THE PLAGUE YEAR

by Lawrence Wright

Maddening and sobering—as comprehensive an account of the first year of the pandemic as we’ve yet seen. 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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