Bill Moyers’ Summer Reading List

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Whenever a smart article — or book! — catches Bill Moyers’ eye, we share it with you on The BillBoard. (Follow on Twitter via @MoyersStaff and @BillMoyers to get the #BillBoard.)

Many of the guests who visit Moyers & Company are chosen because of the books they’ve written. We even maintain a Pinterest board featuring books written by former guests.

Here’s a sampling of Bill Moyers’ recent recommendations.

'The Devil's Highway' by Luis Alberto Urrea book jacketThe Devil’s Highway
By Luis Alberto Urrea

“… for understanding the desperation to survive.”
        — Bill Moyers

More about the book | Read an excerpt | Watch Bill’s interview with Urrea

'Every Riven Thing' by Christian Wiman - book jacketEvery Riven Thing
Poems by Christian Wiman

“… for understanding how to look death in the eye.”
        — Bill Moyers

More about the book | Watch Wiman read two poems | Watch Bill’s interview with Wiman

'Karma, Dharma, Pudding & Pie' by Phillip Appleman book jacketKarma, Dharma, Pudding & Pie
Poems by Phillip Appleman

“… for understanding why poems are the best way to get high.”
        — Bill Moyers

More about the book | Watch Bill’s interview with Appleman | Appleman reading poems

The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry; Edited by Rita Dove - book jacketThe Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry
Edited by Rita Dove

“… for understanding America’s broken and hopeful heart.”
        — Bill Moyers

More about the book | Watch Bill and Rita Dove read a poem | Watch Bill’s interview with Dove

'The Righteous Mind' by Jonathan HaidtThe Righteous Mind
By Jonathan Haidt

“… for understanding why your conservative father-in-law thinks you’re out of yours.”
        — Bill Moyers

More about the book | Read an excerpt | Watch Bill’s interview with Haidt

'So Rich, So Poor' by Peter Edelman book jacketSo Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America
By Peter Edelman

“… for understanding what’s happened to people at the bottom.”
        — Bill Moyers

More about the book | Read an excerpt | Watch Bill’s interview with Edelman

'What It is Like to go to War' by Karl Marlantes book jacketWhat It is Like to go to War
By Karl Marlantes

“… for understanding what’s happening to our warriors in combat and at home.”
        — Bill Moyers

More about the book | Read an excerpt

'Winner-Take-All Politics' Book jacketWinner Take All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer — and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class
By Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson

“… for understanding what’s happened to the 99%.”
        — Bill Moyers

More about the book | Read an excerpt | Watch Bill’s interview with Hacker & Pierson

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  • Cozmic Cowgirl

    Where are the books by women authors?

  • Anonymous

    I’m being very effected by “A Language Older Than Words” by Derrick Jensen.

  • Ellen Raff

    I am reading A Singular Woman by Janny Scott, about the life of Barack Obama’s mother. Truly a fascinating woman who managed to live an amazing life despite what must have been enormous adversity to her unconventional choices — and even her early missteps. Very inspiring.

  • Nml232

    If Bill likes it, I know I will.

  • greg brown

    Tolstoy’s What I Believe and The Kingdom of God Is Within You. Momaday’s The Way to Rainy Mountain and Sandel’s What Money Can’t Buy

  • Marilyn Gulledge

    Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen…by a woman, for and about us all.

  • Sylvia

    Nice try, but you can do better! More books by women please!!

  • anne

    Thank you for all you do Mr. Moyers. I have always had so much respect for you. 

  • Jeanscene1

    I read ‘Devil’s Highway’.   Wow!  Powerful book by a powerful writer.  His novel’s are also wonderful.

  • Bill

    Thumbs way up on Devil’s Highway!  It was poignant, informative and superbly written/narrated on the CD version.

  • Anonymous

    Out of the black hole that is the American dialogue comes one shining light, Bill Moyers. A hero for our time, for me anyway, like Eugene McCarthy, Walter Cronkite or Edward R Murrow were to theirs. You could almost be proud to be an American because of guys like these.

  • Bookmaker

     Why does it matter what gender writes an inspiring book?   A good writer is a good writer.

    These are Mr. Moyers PERSONAL recommendations. You can add to the list or you can go look up someone else list that has your PC balance of genders on it.

  • RD

    Traitor to His Class – H.W. Brands

    Anything by Pema Chodron
    Dresden Files – Jim Butcher (not all reading should be serious)

  • 19obert63


    I would love to read Bill Moyer’s review on Caro’s new book on LBJ, The Passage of Power. Caro
    makes it  a point in his book to state that Bill Moyers, who was on LBJ staff, was one of the few to refuse to be interviewed for the book.

    I’m a great admirer of Mr. Moyers, and for him to refuse an interview by a two time Pulitzer Prize winner; well, I guess my impression can best expressed by paraphrasing Bob Dylan-“You know somethings are happening, but you don’t know what it is-Do you Mr._______?

  • DJ3SW

    It would be very helpful if you used the charactor generator to place the name of your guest on the screen more.

  • 19obert63

    Virginia Woolf and Barbara Tuchman are dead! Only kidding, I mean they are really dead,
    I’m just trying to stir things up.  Shakespeare considered women to be far superior to men in emotional intelligence, and what sane man could disagree.