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Best Non-Fiction that reads like fiction

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Laura PourMeADrink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 06:41 PM
Original message
Best Non-Fiction that reads like fiction
Manhunt: The Twelve-day Chase for Lincoln's Killer By James L. Swanson

Extraordinary book. A can't put it downer. The author is so good you find yourself actually, amazingly, rooting for Booth.

I learned that the whole event was chronicled to the hilt. There we so many diaries and first hand accounts. Because this you could create the dialog.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 06:56 PM
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1. I think John McCain did it. n/t
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Pab Sungenis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 07:10 PM
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2. Yes! Well recommended.
I remember hearing an interview with the author before I picked it up. He deliberately wrote it as if it was a thriller novel to make it readable for those who "don't like nonfiction."
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 07:59 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I've been wanting to read this also. How bout" Thunderstruck" by Larson. nt
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-10 07:58 PM
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3. Blanche Wisen Cook's Eleanor Roosevelt Vol. I. Vol. 2, doesn't. nt
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-22-10 10:26 AM
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5. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
DebJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-24-10 11:17 PM
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6. Yep that was a great book.
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-10 02:39 PM
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7. Everything by Larson.
Isaac's Storm is exceptionally good.
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mitchum Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-31-10 05:35 PM
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8. It's a pretty obvious answer...In Cold Blood
I also enjoyed Manhunt
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sea_dream Donating Member (46 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-01-10 09:44 PM
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9. Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder
It might just change your life.
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Z_I_Peevey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-14-10 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I have found that all Tracy Kidder's books are as engaging
as any good novel. 'House' was particularly good.

In the true crime genre, Ann Rule's 'The Stranger Beside Me' reads like a fast-moving thriller. Kept me up all night a few years ago.
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Hamlette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-04-10 02:47 PM
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13. Kidder's Soul of a New Machine is his absolute best. (IMHO) and The Hot Zone
(which is not by kidder but rather about ebola. On the first edition cover of Hot Zone was a quote something like "The first chapter is the scariest thing I have read in my life and each chapter there after was even more terrifying." Stephen King.
Lots of true crime books are pretty riveting but I try to stay away from them. Got my fill when I was a public defender and read the all (including all the books about Bundy since I went to law school with him.)
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hippywife Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-21-11 10:29 PM
Response to Reply #9
29. That sounds incredible.
Just read the synopsis on Amazon. Thanx! :hi:
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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-16-10 02:14 PM
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11. Random Family - Adrain Nicole Leblanc
From a review at amazon:

Politicians rail about welfare queens, crack babies and deadbeat dads, but what do they know about the real struggle it takes to survive being poor? Journalist LeBlanc spent some 10 years researching and interviewing one extended family-mother Lourdes, daughter Jessica, daughter-in-law Coco and all their boyfriends, children and in-laws-from the Bronx to Troy, N.Y., in and out of public housing, emergency rooms, prisons and courtrooms. LeBlanc's close listening produced this extraordinary book, a rare look at the world from the subjects' point of view. Readers learn that prison is just an extension of the neighborhood, a place most men enter and a rare few leave. They learn the realities of welfare: the myriad of misdemeanors that trigger reduction or termination of benefits, only compounding a desperate situation. They see teenaged drug dealers with incredible organizational and financial skills, 13-year-old girls having babies to keep their boyfriends interested, older women reminiscing about the "heavenly time" they spent in a public hospital's psychiatric ward and incarcerated men who find life's first peace and quiet in solitary confinement. More than anything, LeBlanc shows how demanding poverty is. Her prose is plain and unsentimental, blessedly jargon-free, and includidng street talk only when one of her subjects wants to "conversate." This fine work deserves attention from policy makers and general readers alike.


In my opinion, an excellent book.
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amyrose2712 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-17-10 05:31 PM
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12. Just finished that last night. An interesting read.
I see what you meant by almost wanting to root for him, if it wasn't for his awful personality.
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stray cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-27-10 08:10 PM
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14. Isaacs storm Eric larson
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Sabriel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-11-11 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #14
35. Yes! Horror told in a matter-of-fact way. Chilling. n/t
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Sabriel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-11-11 07:10 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea
It's two stories: the sinking of ship full of Gold Rush gold and the modern-day search to find and salvage it.

Fascinating and gripping.
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Manifestor_of_Light Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 06:27 PM
Response to Original message
15. True crime.
I think true crime is far more interesting than fiction.

I'll recommend FATAL VISION by Joe McGinniss;

BLOOD AND MONEY by Tommy Thompson (Houston murder case)

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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-13-10 10:36 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. IN COLD BLOOD I would add to that list. nt
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Sequoia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-21-10 04:21 PM
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17. I have to agree with you there. Excellent book.
I liked how the author wrote about the weather and moon too. Both of which have a bearing on outcomes sometimes.
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-28-10 11:39 AM
Response to Original message
18. Here's another one I just thought of.
Men and Women of the Corporation by Rosabeth Moss Kantor. It was assigned as a text in a sociology of work course I took around 1979 and unlike most texts it was so fascinating I found myself reading it for pleasure, not just because I had to finish it for class.
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charlie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-29-10 02:26 AM
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19. Into Thin Air
Jon Krakauer's firsthand account of the insanity of summiting Everest in a commercial suburban-tourist adventure, which killed 5 guides and clients in a single night. There were also 3 other deaths from an Indian Border Police expedition.

It's a compelling, horrific story and Krakauer is an uncommonly good writer. Each time I've read it, it was in a single go.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_Mount_Everest_disaste...
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eablair3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-02-11 11:56 AM
Response to Reply #19
21. Agree on Into Thin Air
Yes, Into Thin Air was really good. It was interesting to thereafter see the IMAX movie on Everest.

I read another by Krakauer that had to do with the Mormons and the FLDS, but I can't recall the exact title offhand. Not as much of a page turner as Into Thin Air, but still really good, as well.
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LuckyLib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-20-11 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Krakauer's book on Mormonism is titled "Under the Banner of Heaven". He's a good writer.
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medeak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-10-11 03:22 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. One of my very fave books n/t
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The Roux Comes First Donating Member (182 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-31-11 12:02 AM
Response to Original message
20. Fun to Encounter Other Readers of Manhunt
I tumbled to Manhunt in connection with reviews and commentary on Hellhound on His Trail, account of MLK assassination that I have yet to read. Having never heard of it before, and finding library copy pretty distressed, I had come to assume that Manhunt was almost a forgotten book. To the point where I felt compelled to give it a mention in responding to post on fictional what-if-Booth-had-lived number in the Fiction forum here a couple days back.

Not sure I ever quite got to the point of rooting for Booth, but great job by author of making the flight real and wrenching. Geography lessons and excuse to pull out maps was gravy.
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Rabblevox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-23-11 09:26 PM
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23. AGENT ZIGZAG by Ken Macintyre
Based on recently declassified documents, the true story of Britain's most amazing double agent in WWll. The guy's early life before the war would make an incredible movie,(he was a professional con man and safe-cracker who partied with the London elite) and then it just keeps getting better.

And Macintyre can WRITE! Easily the most fun, can't-put-it-down Non-Fiction I've read in years.
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Sequoia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-10-11 06:21 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. I just happen to be at the library and it's here. Thanks.
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Sequoia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-10-11 06:25 PM
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26. Fatal Voyage: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis (Kurzman)
A Killing Wind: Inside Union Carbide and the Bhopal Catastrophe by same author.

Both very excellent books. (So is his book about the SF Earthquake).
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TheCentepedeShoes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 05:00 PM
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27. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
I loaned my copy the the SIL and when she brought it back she said she couldn't get into into it because she didn't really like fiction
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BookSavoury Donating Member (14 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-11 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #27
45. Also City of Falling Angels, by the same author
He's such a great read.
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MountainLaurel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-20-11 10:20 PM
Response to Original message
28. Sin in the Second City
About the most famed house of ill repute in Chicago during its heyday. The author (Karen Abbott) has a new book about Gypsy Rose Lee.
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northoftheborder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-11 08:59 PM
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30. Eat, Pray, Love is a memoir that is fascinating!
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MrCoffee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-29-11 03:57 PM
Response to Original message
31. The Golden Spruce by John Valliant
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
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abluelady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-01-11 12:38 PM
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32. Just Finishing "Unbroken"
by Laura Hillenbrand. Don't usually read war stories, but this one I would recommend to every and anyone. Couldn't put it down.
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kag Donating Member (548 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-03-11 02:34 PM
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33. Lee Miller's book on Roanoke Island...
She writes it like a whodunit. One of my all time favorite books. Hmm, think I'll go read it again.
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sea_dream Donating Member (46 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-07-11 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #33
37. Sounds great...
I'm vacationing near there next week and now I'm on a wild hunt to find the book by Miller.
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PotatoChip Donating Member (481 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-09-11 10:59 AM
Response to Original message
34. I've gotten some great ideas for upcoming reading material
from this thread as well as others in this forum. My thanks to everyone who has contributed their opinions and recommendations. I'm so glad I found this place. :thumbsup:
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tombstone blues Donating Member (8 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-11-11 10:26 AM
Response to Original message
38. That is a truly good question...
I will be perusing the posts before thinking of one myself!
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hamerfan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-19-11 05:59 PM
Response to Original message
39. Snowblind
Edited on Tue Jul-19-11 06:01 PM by hamerfan
By Robert Sabbag. A great read! It is worth finding and reading.

http://www.amazon.com/Snowblind-Brief-Career-Cocaine-Tr...

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up is down Donating Member (14 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-18-11 01:40 PM
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40. I am reading a book right now called "Spirit Walker." Very wild.
All about the future by an athropologist who had these out-of-body experiences.
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YankeyMCC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-19-11 10:23 AM
Response to Original message
41. Last Days of the Incas and Mayflower
Edited on Fri Aug-19-11 10:28 AM by YankeyMCC
"Last Days of the Incas" by Kim Macquarrie - it really grabs you like a novel about the royal Inca family and the parallel Spanish family history of the invaders and the Inca inside politics and the Spanish inside politics.

"Mayflower" by Nathaniel Philbrick - much more than just about the Mayflower, like the Inca book it takes you through the colonial and native communities daily lives, politics and important families and figures up through King Philips War.

John Adams and 1776 are pretty good too. I mean they're very good books but they also pretty good in the way they read like fiction.
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Richardo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-01-11 11:17 AM
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42. '1776' by David McCulloch
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Poiuyt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-04-11 10:20 PM
Response to Original message
43. Here's a list of lists of nonfiction that reads like fiction
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m1049 Donating Member (15 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-13-11 09:08 PM
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44. one more
I liked "The Amber Room" by Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark.
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DearHeart Donating Member (34 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-11 06:50 PM
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46. We Band of Angels by Elizabeth M. Norman
A book about nurses trapped on Bataan during WWII. Don't know that it read like fiction, but was incredibly interesting and engrossing! Loved it!
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