Literary Non-Fiction

A true story told with the beauty ad creativity of fiction.

The Allies: Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and the unlikely alliance that won World War II / Winston Groom  940.53092 GRO

The story of the alliance formed at the end of World War II by Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin to control the war in Europe and the Pacific, in the process shaping the political landscape of the world.

American Dialogue: the founders and us / Joseph J. Ellis  973.3 ELL 

Author, Joseph J. Ellis asks, “What would the Founding Fathers think?” He examines four of our most seminal historical figures through the prism of particular topics, using the perspective of the present to shed light on their views and, in turn, to make clear how their now centuries-old ideas illuminate the disturbing impasse of today’s political conflicts. He discusses Jefferson and the issue of racism, Adams and the specter of economic inequality, Washington and American imperialism, Madison and the doctrine of original intent.

Cleopatra: a life / Stacy Schiff B CLEOPATRA z SCH

Her palace shimmered with onyx, garnet, and gold but was richer still in political and sexual intrigue. Above all else, Cleopatra was a shrewd strategist and an ingenious negotiator. Though her life spanned fewer than forty years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world. She was married twice, each time to a brother. She waged a brutal civil war against the first when both were teenagers. She poisoned the second. Ultimately she dispensed with an ambitious sister as well; incest and assassination were family specialties.

Conan Doyle for the Defense: the true story of a sensational British murder, a quest for justice, and the world’s most famous detective writer / Margalit Fox  364.1523 FOX

A true-crime procedural documents how Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle became involved in the 1908 wrongful conviction case of an immigrant Jewish cardsharp whose innocence was proven by Doyle’s use of reason and the scientific method.

Destiny of the Republic: a tale of madness, medicine, and the murder of a president / Candice Millard 973.84 MIL

A dramatic narrative account of the 20th President’s political career offers insight into his distinguished background as an impoverished wunderkind scholar and Civil War hero, his battles against the corrupt establishment and Alexander Graham Bell’s failed attempt to save him from an assassin’s bullet.

The Devil in the White City: murder, magic, and madness at the fair that changed America / Erik Larson 364.1523 LAR

Based on years of original research and new reporting, two acclaimed authors deliver the riveting and emotionally wrenching full story of the worst sea disaster in United States naval history: the sinking of the USS Indianapolis during World War II–and the fifty-year fight to exonerate the captain after a wrongful court martial.

Empire of Sin: a story of sex, jazz, murder, and the battle for modern New Orleans / Gary Krist 976.335 KRI

A vibrant and immersive account of NewOrleans‘ at a time when commercialized vice, jazz culture, and endemic crime defined the battlegrounds of the Crescent City. The remarkable story of NewOrleans‘ thirty-years’ war against itself, pitting the city’s elite ‘better half’ against its powerful and long-entrenched underworld of vice, perversity, and crime. This early-20th-century battle centers on one man: Tom Anderson, the undisputed czar of the city’s Storyville vice district, who fights desperately to keep his empire intact as it faces onslaughts from all sides. With stories of flamboyant prostitutes, crusading moral reformers, dissolute jazzmen, ruthless Mafiosi, venal politicians, and one extremely violent serial killer, all battling for primacy in a wild and wicked city unlike any other in the world.

The Escape Artists: a band of daredevil pilots and the greatest prison break of the Great War / Neal Bascomb 940.4724 BAS

The story of three downed British airmen who mastermind an elaborate, rollicking escape from a WWI German POW camp.

The First Conspiracy: the secret plot to kill George Washington / Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch 973.41092 MEL

In 1776, an elite group of soldiers were handpicked to serve as George Washington’s bodyguards. Washington trusted them; relied on them. But unbeknownst to Washington, some of them were part of a treasonous plan. In the months leading up to the Revolutionary War, these traitorous soldiers, along with the Governor of New York, William Tryon and Mayor David Mathews, launched a deadly plot against the most important member of the military: George Washington himself. This is the story of the secret plot and how it was revealed.

Forged in Crisis: the power of courageous leadership in turbulent times / Nancy Koehn 303.34 KOE

Presents a portrait of five extraordinary figures–Ernest Shackleton, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Rachel Carson–to illuminate how great leaders are made in times of adversity and the diverse skills they summon in order to prevail.

Heirs of the Founders: The Epic Rivalry of Henry Clay, John Calhoun and Daniel Webster, the Second Generation of American Giants / Brands, H. W.  973.5 BRA

Thrillingly and authoritatively, H. W. Brands narrates the little-known drama of the dangerous early years of our democracy.

Indianapolis: the true story of the worst sea disaster in U.S. naval history and the fifty-year fight to exonerate an innocent man / Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic 940.5426 VIN

Based on years of original research and new reporting, two acclaimed authors deliver the riveting and emotionally wrenching full story of the worst sea disaster in United States naval history: the sinking of the USS Indianapolis during World War II–and the fifty-year fight to exonerate the captain after a wrongful court martial.

In the Hurricane’s Eye: the genius of George Washington and the victory at Yorktown / Nathaniel Philbrick  973.337 PHI 

Details the campaign that ultimately won the Revolutionary War for the Americans, from the Battle of the Chesapeake–fought without a single American ship–to the victory at Yorktown.

The Last Days of Night: a novel / Graham Moore

When electric light innovator Thomas Edison sues his only remaining rival for patent infringement, George Westinghouse hires untested Columbia Law School graduate Paul Ravath for a case fraught with lies, betrayals, and deception.

The Lost Painting / Jonathan Harr 759.5 HAR 

Recounts the search for a long-lost masterpiece by Italian Baroque master Michelangelo Caravaggio, following a young graduate student across hundreds of years and four countries to uncover the mystery of “The Taking of Christ.”

The Pioneers: the heroic story of the settlers who brought the American ideal west / David McCullough 977 MCC

Best-selling author David McCullough tells the story of the settlers who began America’s migration west, overcoming almost-unimaginable hardships to build in the Ohio wilderness a town and a government that incorporated America’s highest ideals.

Presidents of War / Michael Beschloss  355.00973 BES

Charts the controversial leadership, public reputations, and evolving political powers of American wartime presidents from the Warof 1812 through Vietnam, including Lincoln, Wilson, and LBJ.

The Rise of Andrew Jackson: myth, manipulation, and the making of modern politics / David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler 973.56 HEI 

Two award-winning authors and historians team up to present the story of Andrew Jackson’s improbable ascent to the White House at the hands his closest supporters who transformed this difficult and violent man into a paragon of republican virtue.

Say nothing: a true story of murder and memory in Northern Ireland / Patrick Radden Keefe

364.1523 KEE

A stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its devastating repercussions. In December 1972, Jean McConville, a thirty-eight-year-old mother of ten, was dragged from her Belfast home by masked intruders, her children clinging to her legs. They never saw her again. Her abduction was one of the most notorious episodes of the vicious conflict known as The Troubles. Everyone in the neighborhood knew the I.R.A. was responsible. But in a climate of fear and paranoia, no one would speak of it. In 2003, five years after an accord brought an uneasy peace to Northern Ireland, a set of human bones was discovered on a beach. McConville’s children knew it was their mother when they were told a blue safety pin was attached to the dress.

Seabiscuit: an American legend / Laura Hillenbrand  798.4009 HIL

To look at Seabiscuit one would never know that he had the potential to become the most popular racehorse of the 20th century. But, thanks to the efforts of his owner, his dedicated trainer, and his jockeys, Seabiscuit made racing history despite his stunted legs and knobby knees. The team’s road to unimaginable fame and success (even President Roosevelt halted work to listen to the race between Seabiscuit and his foe, War Admiral) is the subject of this wildly popular and hugely compelling bestseller.

These Truths: a history of the United States / Jill Lepore 973 LEP

Lepore traces the intertwined histories of American politics, law, journalism, and technology, from the colonial town meeting to the nineteenth-century party machine, from talk radio to twenty-first-century Internet polls, from Magna Carta to the Patriot Act, from the printing press to Facebook News.

Unbroken: a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption / Laura Hillenbrand  940.5472 HIL

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared — Lt. Louis Zamperini … Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a floundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft and beyond, a trial even greater. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

Victory City: a history of New York and New Yorkers during World War II / John Strausbaugh 974.7104 STR

A cultural history of World War II-era New York explores how the city emerged as a world capital and became the home of famed politicians, gangsters and celebrities.

The White Darkness / David Grann 919.8904 GRA

Traces the South Pole expedition of a decorated British special forces officer, an admirer of Ernest Shackleton’s expedition and descendant of one of Shackleton’s crew, who in 2015 risked his life to walk across Antarctica alone.

Young Washington: how wilderness and war forged America’s founding father / Peter Stark. B WASHINGTON z STA

A portrait of the first American president’s early years shares insights into how his service in the British military and his stationing in the brutal wilderness of the Ohio Valley shaped his nascent leadership and indirectly fed the conflict that led to the French and Indian War.