Best Non-fiction of 2018

These biographies and true-life stories are among the favorites of reviewers and readers in 2018. Included on many “best books” lists, they are available to borrow from the Lititz Public Library.

The Library BookThe Library Book by Susan Orlean
An investigation of the 1986 Los Angeles Public Library fire that destroyed or damaged more than a million books leads to a mesmerizing story of libraries through history.

Fatal Discord: Erasmus, Luther and the Fight for the Western Mind by Michael Massing
Transformative Renaissance intellectual Erasmus sought to reform the Catholic Church from within, eventually becoming a bitter rival to Martin Luther.

Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist by Eli Saslow
Steeped in the culture of white supremacy as a youth, the author confronted the ugliness of his beliefs when he entered a liberal Florida college.

The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by Ben Macintyre
During the early 1970s, the KGB’s top man in London was secretly working for MI6, exposing Russian spies and helping foil countless intelligence plots.

Presidents of War : The Epic Story, from 1807 to Modern TimesPresidents of War by Michael Beschloss
From James Madison and the War of 1812 to recent times, the author offers a fresh look at American leaders who took our nation into conflict.

The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú
When an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, a former Border Patrol agent seeks to understand the extent of violence on both sides of the line.

Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America by Eliza Griswold
After striking a deal with a Texas-based energy company, mysterious sicknesses began to afflict the community’s children and a Pennsylvania woman joins with neighbors to investigate what is in the water and air.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark : One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State KillerI’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
A true crime journalist, determined to find the violent psychopath she called the Golden State Killer, offers a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind.

American Eden: David Hosack, Botany and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic by Victoria Johnson
A brilliant surgeon and botanist assembled a spectacular and diverse plant collection and conducted some of the first pharmaceutical research in America.

Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History by Keith O’Brien
Five remarkable women fought for the chance to race against men during multi-day airplane racing events held between the two world wars.

The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created by Jane Leavy
Aided by a crucial partnership with his business manager, Ruth drafted the blueprint for modern athletic stardom.

Directorate S : The C. I. A. and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and PakistanDirectorate S: The C.I.A. and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Steve Coll
Even as the US was trying to quell extremists in Afghanistan, a secretive wing of the Pakistani intelligence agency was covertly training, arming and seeking to legitimize the Taliban in order to enlarge Pakistan’s sphere of influence.

American Dialogue: The Founders and Us by Joseph J. Ellis
The author uses the perspectives of the present to shed light on the views of four Founding Fathers, including Jefferson and the issue of racism, Adams and the shadow of economic inequality, Washington and American imperialism and Madison and the doctrine of original intent.

The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War by Joanne B. Freeman
Physical violence on the floor of the US Congress was rife in the decades before the Civil War, with sessions punctuated by deadly threats, canings, flipped desks and all-out slugfests.


February 15, 2019