Sacramento Public Library

Best Nonfiction - 2017

    A Colony in a Nation

    A Colony in a Nation - Chris Hayes

    Writing in plain language for general readers, author Chris Hayes, host of TV’s All In with Chris Hayes, draws on stories of real people in recent news to illuminate race and policing in America. He employs historical, social, and political lenses to overview trends in crime, racial conflict, policing, and gun control since the 1960s, seeking to understand how the ideals of the American Revolution led to racism and police shootings in our times.
    American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land

    American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land - Monica Hesse

    The Washington Post reporter and author of Girl in the Blue Coat documents the trial of a man who was charged with dozens of counts of arson in rural Virginia county, sharing insight into the perpetrator's struggles with addiction, his relationship with his accomplice girlfriend and the impact of the fires on their community.
    An Odyssey: A Father, A Son, and An Epic

    An Odyssey: A Father, A Son, and An Epic - Daniel Mendelsohn

    Presents the story of a father and son's transformative shared journey in reading in the wake of the father's late-in-life enrollment in his son's undergraduate seminar, where the two engaged in debates over how to interpret Homer's classic masterpiece.
    Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood

    Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood - Trevor Noah

    The host of The Daily Show With Trevor Noah traces his wild coming of age during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed, offering insight into the farcical aspects of the political and social systems of today's world.
    Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News

    Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News - Kevin Young

    Traces the history of the hoax as a distinct American phenomenon, exploring the roles of stereotype, suspicion, and racism as factors that have shaped fraudulent activities from the heyday of P.T. Barnum through the "fake news" activities of Donald Trump.
    Calling a Wolf a Wolf

    Calling a Wolf a Wolf - Kaveh Akbar

    Addiction. Recovery. Repeat. Akbar blazes the poetry scene with this introspective, powerful and passionate debut.
    Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom

    Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom - Thomas E. Ricks

    A dual portrait of Winston Churchill and George Orwell focuses on the pivotal years from the mid-1930s through the 1940s, describing how both suffered nearly fatal injuries before their vision and campaigns inspired action to preserve democracy throughout the world.
    Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency

    Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency - Joshua Green

    From the reporter who was there at the very beginning comes the revealing inside story of the partnership between Steve Bannon and Donald Trump—the key to understanding the rise of the alt-right, the fall of Hillary Clinton, and the hidden forces that drove the greatest upset in American political history.
    Don't Call Us Dead: Poems

    Don't Call Us Dead: Poems - Danez Smith

    An awarding-poet presents a collection of works that opens with a heartrending sequence that imagines an afterlife for black men shot by police—a place where suspicion, violence and grief are forgotten and replaced with the safety, love and longevity they deserved here on earth.
    Electric Arches

    Electric Arches - Eve L. Ewing

    Electric Arches is an imaginative exploration of Black girlhood and womanhood through poetry, visual art, and narrative prose.
    Grant

    Grant - Ron Chernow

    Presents a portrait of the Civil War general and eighteenth president, challenging the views of his critics while sharing insights into his prowess as a military leader, the honor with which he conducted his administration, and the rise and fall of his fortunes.
    Henry David Thoreau: A Life

    Henry David Thoreau: A Life - Laura Dassow Walls

    Traces the life of the extraordinary poet, best known for his meditations on nature at Walden Pond, who also spent time with good friend and neighbor Ralph Waldo Emerson and worked as a manual laborer, an inventor and a radical political activist.
    Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body

    Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body - Roxane Gay

    The popular Tumblr blogger and best-selling author of Bad Feminist explores the devastating act of violence that triggered her personal challenges with food and body image, sharing advice for caring for oneself and eating in healthful and satisfying ways.
    Janesville: An American Story

    Janesville: An American Story - Amy Goldstein

    The author spent years immersed in Janesville, Wisconsin, where the nation's oldest operating General Motor's assembly plant shut down in the middle of the Great Recession and follows the town as it attempts to pick itself up.
    Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

    Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI - David Grann

    The best-selling author of The Lost City of Z presents a true account of the early 20th-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.
    Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror

    Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror - Victor Sebestyen

    Draws on diaries, memoirs and private letters written by both the controversial dictator and his friends to explore how Vladimir Lenin's personal life, including key relationships with women, shaped his politics and role in launching the Russian Revolution.
    Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America

    Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America - James Forman, Jr.

    A consequential argument about race, crime and law in today's America by a Yale legal scholar and former public defender examines the urgent debates surrounding the criminal justice system and its activities involving mass incarceration, aggressive police tactics and their impact on at-risk people of color and beleaguered law-enforcement officers.
    Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

    Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century - Jessica Bruder

    An award-winning journalist sets out on the road to explore the new phenomenon of “workampers” who are migrant workers made up of transient older Americans who took to the road after discovering that their social security came up short and their mortgages were underwater.
    Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World

    Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World - Suzy Hansen

    A contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine describes how her post-9-11 move to Istanbul has taught her a great deal about the region’s culture, history and politics, but also how it taught her a great deal about America.
    Prairie Fires: The Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder

    Prairie Fires: The Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder - Caroline Fraser

    A comprehensive historical portrait of Laura Ingalls Wilder draws on unpublished manuscripts, letters, diaries and official records to fill in the gaps in Wilder's official story, sharing lesser-known details about her pioneer experiences while challenging popular misconceptions about how her books were ghostwritten.
    Priestdaddy

    Priestdaddy - Patricia Lockwood

    The author shares her memories of life with a Catholic priest for a father, and how as an adult, she and her non-religious husband were later forced to move back in to her parents' rectory for eight months due to a crisis.
    The Blood of Emmett Till

    The Blood of Emmett Till - Timothy B. Tyson

    Draws on firsthand testimonies and recovered court transcripts to present a scholarly account of the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till and its role in launching the civil rights movement.
    The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America

    The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America - Richard Rothstein

    Argues that laws and policies created by local, state, and federal government deliberately promoted segregation in metropolitan areas during the twentieth century, creating long-lasting consequences.
    The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America

    The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America - Frances FitzGerald

    A dramatic history of the Evangelical movement in America traces the revivals of the 18th and 19th centuries that rendered evangelism a dominant religious force, describing the rise and fall of denominations and how they influenced American agendas ranging from civil rights and gender equality to climate change and immigration reform.
    The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia

    The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia - Masha Gessen

    The award-winning Russian-American journalist and author of the best-selling The Man Without a Face traces how within the space of a generation, Russia has succumbed to a more virulent and resistant strain of autocracy as demonstrated by the experiences of four prototype individuals born at the once-presumed dawn of Russian democracy.
    The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars

    The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars - Dava Sobel

    Shares the story of the scientific contributions of a group of women working at the Harvard College Observatory from the late 1800s through the mid-twentieth century, tracing their collection of star observations captured nightly on glass photographic plates.
    The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds

    The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds - Michael Lewis

    The best-selling author of The Blind Side examines how a Nobel Prize-winning theory by Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky created the field of behavioral economics and has had a lasting influence on evidence-based regulation.
    The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II

    The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II - Svetlana Alexievich

    The Nobel Prize-winning author of Voices from Chernobyl offers a collection of deeply personal stories that share the World War II perspectives of women from the front lines, at home and in occupied territories.
    We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

    We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy - Ta-Nehisi Coates

    A compelling portrait of the historic Barack Obama era, combining new and annotated essays from the National Book Award-winning author of Between the World and Me , includes the articles, "Fear of a Black President" and "The Case for Reparations" as well as two new pieces on the Obama administration and what is coming next.
    What Happened

    What Happened - Hillary Rodham Clinton

    The former secretary of state relates her experiences as the first woman candidate nominated for president by a major party, discussing the sexism, criticism, and double standards she had to confront, and how she coped with a devastating loss.
    When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities

    When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities - Chen Chen

    This award-winning debut interrogates the fragile, inherited ways of approaching love and family from Asian American, immigrant, and queer perspectives.
    Whereas

    Whereas - Layli Long Soldier

    Whereas confronts the coercive language of the United States government in its responses, treaties, and apologies to Native American peoples and tribes, and reflects that language in its officiousness and duplicity back on its perpetrators. Through a virtuosic array of short lyrics, prose poems, longer narrative sequences, resolutions, and disclaimers, Layli Long Soldier has created a brilliantly innovative text to examine histories, landscapes, her own writing, and her predicament inside national affiliations.
    World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech

    World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech - Franklin Foer

    A blistering and personal polemic against today's monolithic tech companies argues that in spite of the conveniences of their products, today's ambitious corporations are triggering consequences in the form of privacy compromises, intellectual property loss and the negative homogenization of social, political and intellectual arenas.
    You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir

    You Don't Have to Say You Love Me: A Memoir - Sherman Alexie

    The National Book Award-winning author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian presents a literary memoir of poems, essays and intimate family photos that reflect his complicated feelings about his disadvantaged childhood on a Native American reservation with his siblings and alcoholic parents.
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