5 Nonfiction Books We’re Excited to Read in 2017

A new year means new books, and 2017 is shaping up to be a great year for readers.

If you’re into current affairs, true crime, science, or history, we think you’ll love these soon-to-be-released books.

  • The cover of the book American Sanctuary

    American Sanctuary

    Mutiny, Martyrdom, and National Identity in the Age of Revolution

    As we’ve seen with fugitive Edward Snowden, the process of criminal extradition can turn into a diplomatic nightmare, especially when the two nations at the negotiation table already have a difficult relationship. Such was the case in 1799 when Britain demanded that the newly independent American Republic hand over Jonathan Robbins, a sailor accused of participating in the bloodiest mutiny ever suffered by the Royal Navy. With a presidential election just around the corner, a nation barely two decades old was forced to find its sea legs quickly. Robbins’s case was settled centuries ago, but the questions it raised about political asylum and extradition never went away.

    Coming: Feb. 21, 2017

  • The cover of the book The Brain Defense

    The Brain Defense

    Murder in Manhattan and the Dawn of Neuroscience in America's Courtrooms

    Is there a such thing as free will, or are we slaves to our minds? In 1991, a retired New York ad executive strangled his wife with his bare hands and tossed her body outside their apartment window. The murder seemed inexplicable and out of character for a man with a clean criminal record and no history of violence, so why did he do it? A subsequent brain scan revealed the presence of a cyst the size of an orange on his frontal lobe, the area of the brain responsible for controlling impulses, among other things. The defense argued that the accused should not be held responsible for his actions. Did the jury buy it? Kevin Davis’s The Brain Defense uses this precedent-setting trial as a launching point for an in-depth look at the use of neuroscience in the courtroom.

    Coming: Feb. 28, 2017

  • The cover of the book The Stranger in the Woods

    The Stranger in the Woods

    The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

    Who hasn’t thought at one time or another about dropping everything and walking away from the demands of modern life? In the late eighties, Christopher Knight did just that. Like a modern day Thoreau, Knight strolled into the New England woods in search of solitude and a life apart. Living in a tent and eating whatever he could steal, Knight’s unseen presence terrified the residents of a local community for almost three decades. Eventually, what the brutal Massachusetts winters couldn’t do, local law enforcement did: force Christopher Knight to rejoin a society he barely knew. Written by Michael Finkel (True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa), The Stranger in the Woods is an enthralling mystery and incredible story of survival.

    Coming: Mar. 7, 2017

  • The cover of the book Irresistible


    The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked

    According to one recent study, the average American looks at his or her smartphone 46 times per day. We aren’t just checking for missed calls, either: we’re updating Facebook, Tweeting, and sharing photos on Instagram. What makes digital technology so addictive, and how can we keep it from taking over our lives? In Irresistible, Adam Alter unveils the marketers and tech wizards whose business is to hook us on their products, and how we can better manage our own digital compulsions.

    Coming: Mar. 7, 2017

  • The cover of the book Richard Nixon

    Richard Nixon

    The Life

    We’re still a few weeks out from President-elect Donald J. Trump’s inauguration, and already he’s drawn some unpleasant comparisons to Richard Nixon. What does that mean, really? Nixon’s crimes are perhaps unforgivable, but there was certainly more to his administration than Watergate and his divisive Southern Strategy. He opened diplomatic relations with China, created the Environmental Protection Agency, and presided over the desegregation of America’s public schools. Perhaps the time has come for a critical reevaluation: not an apologia, but a cool-headed look at the entirety of his career in pubic service — both good and bad. Will John A. Farrell’s Richard Nixon: The Life be the book to do that? We’re interested in finding out.

    Coming: Mar. 28, 2017