Don’t Miss a Thing

Get our latest essays, archival selections, reading lists, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.

Search Website
Reading List December 27, 2017

The Best of 2017

Our top 25 most-loved stories from the year of Trump.

2017 was the year Trump assumed the office of president of the United States. It was also a year that inspired great writing—as journalists, critics, and scholars tried to make sense of a turbulent and challenging time. Here’s a look at our top 25 most-loved stories.


The President’s House Is Empty
by Bonnie Honig

The democratic experiment involves living cheek by jowl with others. But as Trump shows, the neoliberal corrective absolves us of this necessity and responsibility.

• • •

An Open Letter from Guam to America
by Victoria-Lola M. Leon Guerrero

On becoming the collateral damage of American warmongering.

• • •

Coates and West in Jackson
by Robin D. G. Kelley

America loves pitting black intellectuals against each other, but today’s activists need both Coates and West.

• • •

#Milosexual and the Aesthetics of Fascism
by Daniel Penny

Fascism’s aesthetics are its ideology, and nothing is merely about “the lulz.

• • •

He Said, He Said: The Feminization of James Comey
by Bonnie Honig

Conservatives routinely deny that gender is fluid. Yet they feminized Comey in order to bring him down.

• • •

Rescuing Economics from Neoliberalism
by Dani Rodrik

As we heap scorn on neoliberalism, we risk throwing out its most useful ideas.

• • •

Why Are Economists Giving Piketty the Cold Shoulder?
by Marshall Steinbaum

Capital in the Twenty-First Century raised important questions about inequality that the Ivory Tower would rather ignore.

• • •

Two Paths for the Personal Essay
by Merve Emre

The personal essay is not dead, but has it traded politics for style?

• • •

What Did Cedric Robinson Mean by Racial Capitalism
by Robin D. G. Kelley

Today’s insurgent black movements against state violence and mass incarceration are indebted to the work of Cedric Robinson.

• • •

The Mythical Whiteness of Trump Country
by Elizabeth Catte

J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy has been held up as a guidebook for understanding the 2016 election, but his logic is rooted in a dangerous myth about Appalachia.

• • •

The Dream Hoarders: How America’s Top 20 Percent Perpetuates Inequality
by Richard V. Reeves

The real class divide is between the upper middle class and the rest of America.

• • •

Make Margaret Atwood Fiction Again
Margaret Atwood in conversation with Junot Díaz

On The Handmaid’s Tale, dystopias, and Drake in the age of Trump.

• • •

Know Thy Futurist
by Cathy O’Neil

Too many visions of the future can be found in Silicon Valley. Which one is worth fighting for?

• • •

Habermas and the Fate of Democracy
by William E. Scheuerman

Habermas is an intensely political thinker whose ideas are eerily applicable to contemporary global politics.

• • •

Kochonomics: The Racist Roots of Public Choice Theory
by Bethany Moreton

Democracy in Chains, a National Book Award finalist, traces how the anti-democratic projects of the Jim Crow South evolved into an economic theory championed today.

• • •

Polanyi, the Failed Prophet of Moral Economics
by Jeremy Adelman

Polanyi gave us a vital counterpoint to the hegemony of political economics. But how far can he take us?

• • •

Will Feminism’s Past Mistakes Haunt #MeToo?
by Judith Levine

#MeToo must go beyond the demand for punishment.

• • •

The Goddess of Loss
by Ulka Anjaria

On Indian literature in English after Arundhati Roy.

• • •

Saving Orwell
by Peter Ross

From invading Afghanistan to dismantling the Confederacy, George Orwell has been pressed into the service of all sorts of causes. But the real Orwell remains unknown.

• • •

Against Second-Rate Democracy in Kenya
by Aziz Rana

Citizens of African nations are expected to accede to a lower political standard than real democracy. Not only does this perpetuate the old colonial imagination, it is also fundamentally wrong.

• • •

Ash Wednesday
by Samuel R. Delany

“I think of myself as somebody who is interested in the differences, the differences between straight society and gay, the differences between male and female.”

• • •

No Eulogy for the Living
by Miguel Syjuco

There is a vital difference between popular opinion and democracy. Authoritarianism has always benefited by confusing the two.

• • •

All in the Family Debt
by Melinda Cooper

How neoliberals and conservatives came together to undo the welfare state.

• • •

The Instagrammable Charm of the Bourgeoisie
by Daniel Penny

The modes of perception and living that we attribute to Instagram are rooted in a much older aesthetic of the picturesque.

• • •

How Immigrants Became Criminals
by Alan A. Aja and Alejandra Marchevsky

Immigrants are not committing more crimes than in the past. Rather the definition of “criminal” has broadened significantly.

Our weekly themed Reading Lists compile the best of Boston Review’s archive. Previews are delivered to members every Sunday. Become a member to receive them ahead of the crowd.

Boston Review is nonprofit and reader funded.

Contributions from readers enable us to provide a public space, free and open, for the discussion of ideas. Join this effort – become a supporting reader today.

Sign Up for Our
Newsletter

Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.

Most Recent

Protests in China are shining a light not only on the country’s draconian population management but restrictions on workers everywhere.

Eli Friedman

Support us with a donation this giving season. 

Joshua Cohen Deborah Chasman

Robin D. G. Kelley on the midterm elections.

Robin D. G. Kelley Deborah Chasman