Best Non-Fiction History books
A book fiend's appetite for the written word can take a number of forms. Some readers are carnivores, preferring to stick to the hefty meat of non-fiction tomes; others are herbivores and exclusively graze about the sunny meadows of fiction. And some of us are gluttonous, greedy omnivores, devouring every book within view and washing it all down with a liberal dose of Cabernet Sauvignon.
I've always felt a bit sorry for the devout herbivore readers -- well-written non-fiction can be every bit as emotional, unexpected, and absorbing as the best novels. If you're a literary vegetarian, perhaps you've just not found a non-fiction dish to suit you. I guarantee you'll find a tempting tidbit or two in this list of the 20 best non-fiction books for people who think they hate to read non-fiction.
20 best non-fiction books for people who think they hate to read non-fiction
1. Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science - Atul Gawande
If I hadn't already sworn off using tired old reviewerspeak words like "riveting" and "tour de force" to describe books () I'd be tempted to use both about Complications. And, in this case, both would be completely accurate: Complications is an astonishingly good book. Originally published as a series of personal essays in the New Yorker, Complications explores the paradoxes, insecurities, and failures of the physician's world. Not only are the issues that Dr. Gawande ponders fascinating -- the haphazard nature of medical training, how and why doctors make mistakes, whether or not a full moon really makes people act strangely -- his writing is perfection. The first chapter of the book, "Education of a Knife, " is one of the best things I've ever read. If you only read one book off of this list, I highly recommend it be this one.
2. The Blooding: The True Story of the Narborough Village Murders - Joseph Wambaugh
The Blooding is part mystery, part true crime reconstruction, part hero story. The book focuses on the investigation that resulted in the first capture and conviction of a serial rapist and murderer through the use of DNA testing. Now that we are all so inured to the use of forensics in criminal investigations (as well as watching it done every night on CSI and Forensic Files), it's difficult for us to imagine a murderer being caught without DNA evidence. The story is a sad one, but the dogged efforts of the policemen investigating the case and their commitment to using what was, at the time, considered a highly questionable method, is quite inspiring.
3. Mistress Anne - Carolly Erickson
Carolly Erickson specializes in writing biographies of famous royal women of the past -- Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, the Empress Josephine, Catherine the Great, and Anne Boleyn, the focus of Mistress Anne. If you're a fan of lush historical novels and romances you will find any of Ms. Erickson's books fascinating. Don't be freaked out thinking they must be as dry as a history textbook: they are full of period details, excerpts from personal letters and diaries, and of course, plenty about the favorite pasttime of royals everywhere -- sexual exploits. .
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
Book (Mariner Books)
You might also like:
Best-sellers over time in different categories2003-05-30 11:54:59 by notanothertop10list
Can anyone tell me where I can find information on best-selling non-fiction books by category (eg, history, psychology, art - more refined categories are even better).
I'm not looking for this week's best sellers but something that looks at best-sellers over time ... preferably at least 5 years.
Logistics of Managing a Book Club?2002-10-10 08:11:52 by LA_Dude
I've volunteered to run a book club for this political organization in the city that I am a part of. The reading list is mostly non-fiction - history, politics, international and national affairs, serious stuff.
Since I've never done this before, can anyone give me some ideas? For example:
- should everyone read the same book and discuss it, or should we select a theme or topic and read different books and share our findings?
- what's the best way to decide on a topic or book? Should I suggest a few and have people vote?
- Is meeting once a month the standard?
- Any recommendations on good places in the city to meet and have a focused discussion? Coffee houses or bars that have space and are quiet enough to have a conversation?
This is for a group of about...
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption
Book (Random House)
Irish Moon (Moon Magick Series)
eBooks (Tholden Press)
Salt: A World History
Book (Penguin Books)
The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II
Book (NAL Trade)