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Great Non-Fiction Books - Recommendations

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Great Non-Fiction Books - Recommendations

Old 04-29-01, 11:04 AM
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As someone who only recently has been getting into non-fiction books (from literary/historical fiction), what books would you recommend? Thanks in advance for replies.
Old 04-29-01, 02:54 PM
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I'm not really a non-fiction kinda guy myself, but I'll take this chance to recommend a great collection of essays by David Foster Wallace called A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. I won't even insult the book by trying to give you a description. If you're at all interested, I'd suggest heading over to Amazon and looking at some reviews there. You may also want to think about taking part in the May reading of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. That book is mostly non-fiction.
Old 04-29-01, 06:02 PM
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Thanks for the heads up but I think for the moment I need to concentrate on my real life discussion group reading list lol. I will check out Amazon - the title kinda tells me it's a David Sedaris kind of book - funny recollections/memoirs...
Old 04-29-01, 06:36 PM
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Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
For a New Liberty by Murray Rothbard
The Market For Liberty by Morris and Linda Tannehill

Three of the best pro-freedom books I have ever read.
Old 04-29-01, 06:43 PM
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Pale blue Dot by Carl Sagan
Old 04-29-01, 07:22 PM
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Anything by John McPhee
"The Reawakening" by Primo Levi
"Cadillac Desert" Reiser
"Silent Spring" Rachel Carson
"The End of Nature" Bill McKibben
"Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman" and "What do you care what other people think" by Richard Feynman(funny)
Anything by Douglas Whynott(out of print?, try bibliofind.com)
"The Mole People" Jennifer Toth

Old 04-30-01, 12:36 AM
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The Hot Zone was a pretty good book and pretty scary for non-fiction.
Old 04-30-01, 09:34 AM
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"The Color of Water", don't remember the author. Great book about a family being raised by their jewish mother in a black neighborhood (they had a black father).

"Driving Mr. Albert", a true story about driving across the country with this weird old doctor who performed the autopsy on Einstein and kept the brain, which they drove cross country with.
Old 04-30-01, 10:29 AM
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If you are into music at all (and even if you are not), then check out Stanley Booth's True Adventures of the Rolling Stones. No exagerration: it is one of the best-written books I have ever read. He writes like Faulkner. It took him 15 years to write it.

If you are into memoirs/true crime, then check out James Ellroy's excellent My Dark Places.

Also, for Vietnam try Michael Herr's Dispatches.
Old 04-30-01, 11:05 AM
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Collossus of Moroussi (sp?) by Henry Miller.

A travelogue of his adventures through Greece. Makes for great summer reading.
Old 04-30-01, 04:10 PM
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Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond looks at the reasons why history unfolded the way it did. Highly recommended.
Old 04-30-01, 05:51 PM
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The Red Queen by Matt Ridley examines what has been learned about the process of sexual reproduction and natural selection and, intriguingly, how those forces have shaped us.

Old 04-30-01, 06:53 PM
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"Shot In The Heart" by Mikal Gilmore

Mikal is brother to Gary Gilmore, one of the first men executed when the death penalty was reinstated. He examines the tragic, abusive history of his family, but never attempts to make excuses for the terrible things his brother did. He is simply looking for answers and a bit of peace. Beautifully written, it is my favorite book. I give copies as gifts a few times a year, and everyone has loved it as much as I do. I cannot recommend it highly enough...though I warn you that the whole thing is prettty devastating.

Old 04-30-01, 09:48 PM
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Two nonfiction books that deserve mention:

Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger. The author lived for two years with two high school football teams in the Odessa, Texas, area. A phenomenal and entertaining look into the highs and lows of high school football and its rabid, sometimes overly obsessive fans.

Dispatches by Michael Herr, a chaotic, frightening drift through the jungles of Vietnam. If you want to know what the war was really like, pick up this one.
Old 04-30-01, 10:47 PM
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It really depends on what subjects interest you, given the VAST number of books written on a VAST number of subjects. Being a science person myself, I'd suggest people like Stephen Jay Gould, Niles Eldredge, and Richard Dawkins. Also worth reading is Losing Faith in Faith by Dan Barker http://www.ffrf.org/books/lfif.html
Old 05-01-01, 01:33 AM
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I almost hesitate to call it non-fiction, but Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff is worth a read. (Heck, pick up some of his other works, too.) Wolfe manages to make myth out of history, although, granted, the birth of the US space program is pretty mythic stuff.

England's Dreaming by Jon Savage, an entertaining and interesting look at what spawned British punk.

The Stranger Beside Me by Anne Rule. Almost too coincidental that the well-known true crime writer was friends with a charming fellow named Ted Bundy. Gripping account of his life and crimes, and how Rule slowly came to suspect the truth.

Geez, how could I forget these other true crime classics? Wambaugh's The Onion Field is heartbreaking. The incident is tragic enough, but the terrible waste of the lives of all four men involved is the real tragedy. A painful and harrowing read. Capote's In Cold Blood depicts a horrid crime, what led up to it, and the consequences. This one lets you draw your own conclusions and they aren't easy, black and white ones either.

[Edited by corsairp47 on 05-01-01 at 12:46 AM]

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