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The five books on “Country Music” director Ken Burns’ nightstand

The director of the new PBS documentary series “Country Music” Ken Burns shares five book recommendations.

The five books on “Country Music” director Ken Burns’ nightstand
[Illustration: Kagan McLeod]

1. The British Are Coming, Rick Atkinson

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The first volume of a trilogy on the real American Revolution. It’s not the kind of fanaticized powdered-wig version we usually get.

2. The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Dubois

Even though it was written over a century ago, it is still one of the most lucid explanations of the period we call Reconstruction.

3. The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead

I am reading it for the second time. It is still so startling, original, and surprising that it just wakes me up.

4. A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles

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It is one of these great epic sweeps of a book, which takes place in a hotel, and nowhere else, in Moscow, over many, many decades. It is a wonderful, wonderful book.

A version of this article appeared in the October 2019 issue of Fast Company magazine.

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