by Staff -- Publishers Weekly, 12/6/2004
PW’s Best Books of 2004 were chosen by the following PW editors: Fiction: Natasha Wimmer, Emily Chenoweth, Jeff Zaleski; Comics: Calvin Reid, Lynn Andriani, Heidi Macdonald, Douglas Wolk; Mystery: Peter Cannon, Jeff Zaleski; SF/Fantasy/Horror: Peter Cannon; Mass Market: Brianna Yamashita; Nonfiction: Sarah Gold, Lynn Andriani, Michael Scharf, Emily Chenoweth, Marcela Valdes, Brianna Yamashita, Jeff Zaleski; Illustrated: Michael Scharf; Lifestyles: Lynn Andriani; Poetry: Michael Scharf; Religion: Jana Reiss.
The New Ethics: A Guided Tour of the Twenty-First Century Moral Landscape
Examples drawn from recent headlines aboundeverything from Martha Stewart to physician-assisted suicidealong with lesser known lawsuits and anecdotes from Allen’s past, in this smart survey of want v. should.
The man who found four billion hidden dollars on Enron’s balance sheets examines the current administration’s books with clarity, force and a sense of mission
The Holocaust and an artist’s genesis recounted with spare and elegant simplicitysure to be a classic.
D.C.’s famous China Doll club throught the eyes two of sport’s most sought-after storytellers.
Toni Bentley (Regan)
A former dancer’s rhapsodic account of transcendence through unbounded passion.
A stirring march of progress is bookended here by murders (Till; MLK); the accompany CDs, narrated by Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, offer everything from protest songs to the recollections of sit-in participants.
A superb mastery of the sources in what will be the standard work on the Holocaust’s emergence.
A consummate biography commensurate with the achievements and complex character of its subject.
A deep immersion in Southern history, women’s history and African-American history illuminates the long life (1825-1913) of the woman known as “Moses.”
A trove of available documents, and then some, related to the scandal.
The most informative, congenial and accessible general look at cosmology in years.
After a career of principled coyness, the growth of Dylan’s artistic conscience.
A magisterial account in which the aloof legend is humanized.
A general who held himself accountable, magnificently, to a citizenry.
A learned and intensely personal chronicle of Fletcher’s career as an Egyptologist and her most groundbreaking discovery.
Gill’s knowledge of the era is profound, her judgment sound, her narrative voice cozya reader’s delight.
A moving, perceptive memoir recounting an eight-month-long South American tour that Granado, then a 29-year-old doctor, and Ernesto “Che” Guevara, took in 1952.
The most vivid and complete portrait of the Bard to date.
An unparalleled presentation of higher mathematics and physics in clear, felicitous prose.
Hard-hitting reporting on an array of human rights, government accountability and media responsibility issuesbracing.
Thoroughly entertainingthe equivalent of a master class on one of the toughest jobs in journalism.
A haunting eyewitness account of the fall of the Shah of Iran and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism.
Groundbreaking, wonderfully researched and consistently provocative, a splendid social history.
From the horrors committed at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to the inner sanctums of America’s intelligence, military, political and diplomatic worlds.
A lucid, insightful chronicle of Robbins’s career by the Village Voice dance critic and author of Time and the Dancing Image.
The evocatively detailed story of a man who literally died for gastronomy.
A riveting example of history writing at its best.
A feel-good sports story on a 1960s icon abundant with insight and social commentary.
A gritty yet unexpectedly tender (and hip) tale of pledging a fraternityin search of respect and admiration.
An expertly argued, alarming and surprisingly entertaining look at the current copyright wars from the Stanford law professor.
A stirring account of Mack’s companion’s struggle with breast cancerin cartoons.
Out of the studio and onto the page (and CD)a gorgeous, expert gestamtkunstwerk (or total art work).
Pulitzer-winner Moats grippingly chronicles the fight in Vermont for the first state law allowing gay civil unions.
The contradictory and confounding elements of modern working life confronted.
Without trivializing any of the events or diminishing the people involved, a national disaster as Shakespearean drama.
The harrowing story of northern Sudan-born Nazer’s 1994 capture and placement into slavery; a profound meditation on the human ability to survive virtually any circumstances.
Nixon’s secretary of commerce has been right before, and sees disaster looming.
A brilliant portrait of the famous Saint Domingue-born naturalist, traveler and artist by the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian
Fear’s Janus-faced potential as catalyst for economic progress and the raison d'être of repressive regimes.
American painting from colonial obscurity to its stunning mid20th-century coming-of-age.
Rule validates her standing as one of the preeminent chroniclers of modern serial murder.
Bitter and sweet, tart and rich, still talking prettyand his funniest yet.
The Sisyphean efforts and difficult lives of Americans who work for substandard wages.
An engrossing, panoramic history of the developmenet of the American media from a Pulitzer winner.
The ingenious sendup of American politics by the indefatigable new Democratic hero.
A fascinating work of social and urban natural history centered on the humble brown rat.
An edifying, moving memoir by a children’s book writer that shows how kids flourish when their imaginations are nurtured and they are challenged to find inner discipline and to write what they see as truth.
Chechnya’s recent horrors, frankly recounted by a former minister of nationalities to Boris Yeltsin.
On assignment in Zimbabwe, a foreign correspondent and his wife save the life of an AIDS-afflicted baby and adopt her.
An engaging, brisk and at times emotional inside account of Greenpeace’s early years.
Clear and forceful arguments strictly in terms of civil rights from Freedom to Marry director Wolfson.