Bob Woodward first came to prominence as a reporter for The Washington Post, when he and colleague Carl Bernstein reported on the scandal that became known as Watergate. Writing about the American political scene has remained his beat—a biography of John Belushi notwithstanding—and of the 19 books he's written about US politics, 13 of them have been best sellers. That includes his latest, Rage, which revisits a topic he covered in 2018's Fear: the inside story of the Trump administration.
What does a man whose reporting once kept a nation transfixed month after month read and enjoy? Below, Bob Woodward's report on his favorite books of 2020.
A Life by Elia Kazan
Kazan’s 1988 autobiography is a masterpiece of honest, jaw-dropping introspection with a touch of self-loathing. It’s probably the best analysis of personal and group creativity ever written. Wise and funny. This is the book I’m currently reading and I only allow myself 50 pages a day of this 825-page lesson in life.
Union: A Democrat, a Republican, and a Search for Common Ground by Jordan Blashek and Christopher Haugh
Union is a deeply personal journey through the heart of a divided nation. The authors identify an instinct to endure and improve that’s shared by the left, the right, and the ever-narrowing center. They detail Americans’ abilities to find growth, hope, and fundamental strength in their own lives.
Trump on Trial: The Investigation, Impeachment, Acquittal and Aftermath by Kevin Sullivan and Mary Jordan
The Washington Post’s team effort on Trump’s impeachment is deep, relevant, and a beautiful example of balance and fair-mindedness.
Atkinson is the best historian writing now, and perhaps ever. This first volume of the Revolution Trilogy is the essence of scholarship and pure writing—original and inspiring to anyone interested in language.
The Order by Daniel Silva
The new master of spy novels, Silva’s 20th in the Gabriel Allon series is brilliant, original, and thought-provoking. I understand he has 41 sequels drafted and stashed away to be released after he gives up writing to join the senior golf tour. We are blessed.
Photo credit: Lisa Berg
History? Check. Political analysis? Check. Memoir? Check. A thriller, of which he wrote "brilliant, original, and thought-provoking"? Intriguing. See Bob Woodward's five favorite reads of 2020.