5 Most Popular Posts: December 2020
- January 4, 2021
We here at the Independent love every piece we run. There are no winners or losers. But all kidding aside, here are December’s winners.
- Ellen Kwatnoski’s review of News of the World: A Novel by Paulette Jiles (William Morrow). “The narrative is peppered with dry humor and infused with equal measures of morality and common sense. Over time, the captain and Johanna come to rely on and trust one another. At a crucial moment, the girl proves to be a fearless warrior. She’s also a chicken thief, resists wearing shoes, and will never fully regain a native speaker’s command of English. No matter. The bond that forms between the captain and his charge is deep and deeply affecting.”
- “The Best Book I Read in 2020 Was…” “Amid a year with little to celebrate, these novels and nonfiction works were much-needed bright spots!”
- “5 Outstanding New Books about the American Revolution” by Eugene A. Procknow. “Given the approaching 250th anniversary of America’s founding, the pace of Revolutionary War scholarship and book publishing is quickening. During 2020, over 135 new books on the rebellion came on the market. The lives of the Founders represent almost a third of them.”
- Jennifer Bort Yacovissi’s review of Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman (Little, Brown and Company). “It’s hard to imagine a more appropriate time for Rutger Bregman’s Humankind: A Hopeful History to be released, here in the middle of what seems like an inflection point in American history, the long-overdue reckoning with this nation’s endemic and systemic racism. As we watch or participate in the protests across the country — indeed, around the globe — and consider both the violence that precipitated them and the sometimes brutal government-sanctioned reaction to them, Bregman’s thesis may seem hard to swallow: that humankind is made up of humans who are inherently kind.”
- William Rice’s review of Manipulating the Masses: Woodrow Wilson and the Birth of American Propaganda by John Maxwell Hamilton (LSU Press). “It didn’t start with Russian bots on Facebook or Donald Trump’s rampaging Twitter feed. Governments and politicians have been trying to shape public opinion ever since the opinions of common people began to matter. But it wasn’t until World War I — when the concern for mass appeal was married to modern communications and a new understanding of what moves people — that official propaganda really took off. So argues John Maxwell Hamilton in his well-researched, evenhanded Manipulating the Masses: Woodrow Wilson and the Birth of American Propaganda.”