The best books on the January 6th Capitol attack

Who am I?

I was born in Washington, D.C., in a hospital not far from the U.S. Capitol. I remember being awestruck walking through its halls on tours as a kid. As a journalist, I covered some hearings and interviewed Congress representatives and staff there. The attack on January 6, 2021, was more than a breach of a landmark, historic building representing the top legislative body in the country; it was an assault on the fabric of democracy itself. A tragic crime occurred there that left several people dead and many injured, both physically and emotionally. We must hold everyone involved, especially those at the top who planned this invasion, accountable for what occurred that day.


I wrote...

Operation Chaos: The Capitol Attack and the Campaign to Erode Democracy

By Kevin James Shay,

Book cover of Operation Chaos: The Capitol Attack and the Campaign to Erode Democracy

What is my book about?

In early 2020, Team Trump executed Operation Chaos, a little-known dirty trick ploy to disrupt Democratic Party primaries.

After the election was called for Joe Biden, Trump and allies put pressure on Vice President Mike Pence to overturn election results through Operation Pence Card, where Pence would send results back to states when he oversaw the ratification in Congress on January 6, 2021. Operation Occupy the Capitol, where Proud Boys, militias, party activists, top Trump advisers, and even Trump himself conspired to stop the legal process in Congress by taking over the building while Trump lawyers attempted to force state legislators to change election results. Trump and his operatives liked to use military-style, code names for their dirty campaigns. But no matter what they called it, the result was chaos.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy

Kevin James Shay Why did I love this book?

U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin was not only inside the Capitol on January 6 when it was stormed, he had just tragically buried his 25-year-old son the previous day. His book, a cathartic exercise for himself and a shocked nation, drills down to the heart of what happened, showing in graphic detail how violent and terrifying that day was from an insider’s perspective. 

As a former constitutional law professor at American University who later became a Trump impeachment manager and member of the U.S. House Select Committee investigating the attack, Raskin eloquently explains the underlying events and issues that led to the violent breach. He argues forcefully why the former president himself must be held accountable before the country can begin a crucial, difficult healing process.

By Jamie Raskin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Unthinkable as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER.

In this searing memoir, Congressman Jamie Raskin tells the story of the forty-five days at the start of 2021 that permanently changed his life-and his family's-as he confronted the painful loss of his son to suicide, lived through the violent insurrection in our nation's Capitol, and led the impeachment effort to hold President Trump accountable for inciting the political violence.

On December 31, 2020, Tommy Raskin, the only son of Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin, tragically took his own life after a long struggle with depression. Seven days later on January 6, Congressman Raskin returned…


Book cover of Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show

Kevin James Shay Why did I love this book?

There are numerous books out about Donald Trump’s final year as president. This one by veteran ABC News Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl provides the most detailed insider account of what led up to the Capitol attack and what exactly occurred that day. Karl gets key administration officials and even Trump himself to talk on the record about what happened from their perspective. There aren’t many interviews from unnamed sources, which leads to a more accountable and authoritative work.

By Jonathan Karl,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Betrayal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

***THE INSTANT New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and IndieBound BESTSELLER***

An NPR Book of the Day

Picking up where the New York Times bestselling Front Row at the Trump Show left off, this is the explosive look at the aftermath of the election—and the events that followed Donald Trump’s leaving the White House all the way to January 6—from ABC News' chief Washington correspondent.

Nobody is in a better position to tell the story of the shocking final chapter of the Trump show than Jonathan Karl. As the reporter who has known Donald Trump longer than any…


Book cover of Peril

Kevin James Shay Why did I love this book?

There is probably no journalist in Washington more revered and connected than Bob Woodward. From his Watergate fame five decades earlier, the Washington Post legendary reporter and editor has continued his eye-opening, impressive work. Peril is his final book in a trilogy on the Trump administration. He and fellow Post journalist Robert Costa interviewed more than 200 administrative players who provide this account with the deep-sourced material that Woodward fans have come to expect. 

While numerous interviews are off the record and the focus of the book is more on officials than foot soldiers who carried out the attack, the result is a revealing tome that does not disappoint.

By Bob Woodward, Robert Costa,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Peril as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER
THE NEW YORK TIMES NO 1 BESTSELLER
The storming of the Capitol on 6 January 2021 revealed the transition from President Trump to President Biden to be one of the most dangerous periods in American history, with the result of the election called into question by the sitting president.

But, as internationally bestselling author Bob Woodward and acclaimed reporter Robert Costa reveal for the first time, it was far more than just a domestic political crisis. At the highest level of the US military, secret action was taken to prevent Trump from possibly starting…


Book cover of I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump's Catastrophic Final Year

Kevin James Shay Why did I love this book?

This book by two Washington Post Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters contains even more behind-the-scenes looks than most at what happened during Donald Trump’s last year in the White House. Leonnig, a national investigative reporter, and Rucker, senior Washington correspondent, details nuggets such as South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham telling Trump a couple of days before January 6 that Pence couldn’t change the result and pointing out how Al Gore hadn’t tried doing that when he actually won the popular vote - but lost the Electoral College - in 2000. Trump replied that Gore wasn’t smart enough to pull such a move.

The authors journeyed to Mar-a-Lago a few months after the Capitol attack for a surreal interview with the former president. That alone is worth the read.

By Carol Leonnig, Philip Rucker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Alone Can Fix It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The instant #1 New York Times bestseller | A Washington Post Notable Book | One of NPR's Best Books of 2021

The definitive behind-the-scenes story of Trump's final year in office, by Phil Rucker and Carol Leonnig, the Pulitzer-Prize winning reporters and authors of A Very Stable Genius.

“Chilling.” – Anderson Cooper
“Jaw-dropping.” – John Berman
“Shocking.” – John Heilemann
“Explosive.” – Hallie Jackson
“Blockbuster new reporting.” – Nicolle Wallace 
“Bracing new revelations.” – Brian Williams
“Bombshell reporting.” – David Muir

The true story of what took place in Donald Trump’s White House during a disastrous 2020 has never before…


Book cover of Proof of Corruption

Kevin James Shay Why did I love this book?

Though this book was released a few months before the Capitol attack, it provides important details on key trends and events that many missed leading up to January 6. Seth Abramson, a former criminal defense attorney and journalism professor, shows how Trump not only tried to entice foreign leaders of Ukraine to discredit Joe Biden, but conspired with officials in China, Russia, Hungary, and other nations to help him win re-election. Abramson has continued to write ground-breaking articles on his Substack blog, Proof, such as how Trump allegedly worked with planners of Operation Occupy the Capitol to use the occupation to lobby state legislators to change election results.

By Seth Abramson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Proof of Corruption as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

USA TODAY BESTSELLER "A searing indictment." --NPR"Careful and exhaustive....a strong case." --Kirkus Reviews This stunning third entry in Seth Abramson's epic, New York Times bestselling Proof series reveals the harrowing scope of Trump bribery schemes involving COVID-19, the 2020 presidential election, and collusion with foreign officials in China, Ukraine, Turkey, Israel, Venezuela, Hungary, and Russia. Proof of Corruption traces in exacting detail the clandestine schemes of Trump and his cadre of agents and advisers from 2015 onward, with a special emphasis on Michael Cohen, Donald Trump Jr., Sean Hannity, Bill Barr, Roger Stone, Rudy Giuliani, Erik Prince, Michael Flynn, Lev…


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The Child Riddler

By Angela Greenman,

Book cover of The Child Riddler

Angela Greenman Author Of The Child Riddler

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Communications expert International traveler Human relations champion Focused

Angela's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Zoe Lorel, an elite operative in an international spy agency, is sent to abduct a nine-year-old girl. The girl is the only one who knows the riddle that holds the code to unleash the most lethal weapon on earth—the first ever “invisibility” nano weapon, a cloaking spider bot. But when enemies reveal the invisibility weapon’s existence to underground arms dealers, every government and terrorist organization in the world wants to find that little girl.

Zoe races to save not only the child she has grown to care about but also herself. Her agency-prescribed pills—the ones that transform her into the icy killer she must become to survive—are beginning to threaten her engagement to the one person who brings her happiness.

The Child Riddler

By Angela Greenman,

What is this book about?

Despite the angry scars she carries from her childhood training, Zoe Lorel has reached a good place in her life. She has her dream job as an elite operative in an international spy agency and she’s found her one true love. Her world is mostly perfect—until she is sent to abduct a nine-year-old girl.

The girl is the only one who knows the riddle that holds the code to unleash the most lethal weapon on earth—the first ever “invisibility” nanoweapon, a cloaking spider bot. But Zoe’s agency isn’t the only one after the child. And when enemies reveal the invisibility…


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