Preet and the CAFE hosts were lucky to be joined by some excellent authors in 2020, many of whom published new books. Here are a few of the CAFE team’s favorites from the year, including one or two old standbys that you may recognize. 

Preet Bharara: Doing Justice: A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law 

If you haven’t already, pick up Preet’s book about justice, the rule of law, and leadership lessons from his time running one of the largest and most influential US Attorney’s offices in the country. And check out his in-depth 2019 conversation with Bianna Golodryga, now a senior global affairs analyst at CNN, about the book. Stay Tuned for more exciting news in the coming weeks about getting Doing Justice in your ears. 

Rachel Maddow (with Michael Yarvitz): Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-Up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House

Maddow and producer Michael Yarvitz first released Bag Man as a riveting seven-part podcast in 2018. As it turns out, their look back at the criminal investigation into former Vice President Spiro Agnew was so popular — and timely — that they’ve now turned it into a book of the same name. Don’t miss Maddow’s appearance on Stay Tuned, out today.

Isabel Wilkerson: Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Wilkerson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns, has delivered one of the most vital books of the year. She joined Preet on Stay Tuned in August to discuss the unique violence of American racism and how hierarchies form across societies.

Michael Sandel: The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good? 

Sandel, a world-renowned philosopher who taught Preet in college, is out with a thought-provoking meditation on the problems with meritocracy. He joined Preet in September on Stay Tuned to discuss how our collective understanding of success has led to rising inequality and populist backlash — and why we should rethink using the word “smart.” 

Eddie Glaude Jr.: Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own

Glaude, the Chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University, is one of the nation’s foremost thinkers on democracy and race. He’s out with a new book about James Baldwin, the literary icon that Glaude says he’s been “walking with for over 30 years.” Check out Preet’s July conversation with Glaude on Stay Tuned

Heather Cox Richardson: How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America

Richardson, a professor of history at Boston College and author of the popular daily newsletter Letters from an American, is out with a provocative work about how the Old South not only survived the Civil War, but also expanded and thrived in its aftermath. She joined Preet in June on Stay Tuned for a discussion about this historical moment and the dangers of false political imagery.

George Packer: Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century

Packer, a staff writer at The Atlantic, has written an excellent book about the life and career of diplomat Richard Holbrooke. Packer has been a guest of Stay Tuned multiple times, most recently in May to discuss his piece arguing that the government’s botched response to the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed America to be a “failed state.”

David Chang: Eat a Peach: A Memoir 

Chang, chef and founder of the Momofuku restaurant empire, is out with a remarkably candid book about his journey to the top of the food industry and his struggles with mental health. Chang joined Preet in September on Stay Tuned to discuss his life and career, COVID-19’s impact on the restaurant business, and the ingredients that make a good chef. 

Bill Browder: Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice

Browder, a longtime friend of the show, most recently joined Preet in early December for a live taping of Stay Tuned (which will be published on Tuesday, December 29, in the CAFE Insider feed). In 2018, Browder joined Preet to go in-depth on his book, his efforts to expose Vladimir Putin’s corruption, and his advocacy for what became the Magnitsky Act. 

John Brennan: Undaunted: Might Fight Against America’s Enemies, At Home and Abroad 

Brennan, the former Director of the CIA under President Obama, has written an honest and direct account of his nearly 40 years in the American intelligence community. In November, shortly after Joe Biden was declared President-elect, Brennan joined Ken Wainstein for a special episode of United Security

Ward Just: Twenty-One: Selected Stories 

When Preet was joined by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham on Stay Tuned in October, Meacham called Ward Just “the best Washington novelist, novelist of power, since Henry Adams.” Our team immediately ordered the book, and you should too.