Books and Writing

5 Great Non-Fiction Books (#2)

My newfound love for nonfiction has not abated in recent months. I’m still devouring a bit of everything, although there is a slight bias toward books about human rights and global affairs, since that is what I studied and am most passionate about.

The Better Angels of Our Nature by: Steven Pinker

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Blurb: “The ceaseless news about war, crime, and terrorism makes it seem as if the world is getting bloodier. But in this gripping work, New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker shows that violence has in fact declined over long stretches of history. How has this happened? Pinker examines the inner demons that incline us toward violence and the better angels that pull us away, and shows how changes in ideas and practices have allowed our better angels to prevail. Along the way he explores many myths about violence and presents a new defense of modernity and enlightenment. This witty book continues Pinker’s exploration of human nature, blending psychology and history to provide a remarkable picture of our gradual conquest of violence.”

Stiff by: Mary Roach

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Blurb: “Stiff is an oddly compelling, often hilarious exploration of the strange lives of our bodies postmortem. For thousands of years, cadavers – some willingly, some unwittingly – have been involved in science’s boldest strides and weirdest undertakings. In this fascinating account, Mary Roach visits the good deeds of cadavers over the centuries and tells the engrossing story of our bodies when we are no longer with them.”

Columbine by: Dave Cullen

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Blurb: “What really happened April 20, 1999? The horror left an indelible stamp on the American psyche, but most of what we “know” is wrong. It wasn’t about jocks, Goths, or the Trench Coat Mafia. Dave Cullen was one of the first reporters on the scene, and spent ten years on this book – widely recognized as the definitive account. With a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen, he draws on mountains of evidence, insight from the world’s leading forensic psychologists, and the killers’ own words and drawings – several reproduced in a new appendix. Cullen paints raw portraits of two polar opposite killers. They contrast starkly with the flashes of resilience and redemption among the survivors.”

Lies My Teacher Told Me by: James Loewen

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Blurb: “Americans have lost touch with their history, and in Lies My Teacher Told Me Professor James Loewen shows why. After surveying eighteen leading high school American history texts, he has concluded that not one does a decent job of making history interesting or memorable. Marred by an embarrassing combination of blind nationalism, mindless optimism, sheer misinformation, and outright lies, these books omit almost all the ambiguity, passion, conflict, and drama from our past.”

Enemy Combatant by: Moazzam Begg

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Blurb: “When Enemy Combatant was first published in the United States in hardcover in 2006 it garnered sensational reviews, and its author was featured in the New York Timesthe Los Angeles Times, on National Public Radio, and on ABC News. A second generation British Muslim, Begg had been held by the U.S. military for more than three years before being released without charge in January of 2005. His memoir is the first published account by a Guantanamo detainee of life inside the infamous prison.”

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