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  1. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

    by J.D. Vance
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for more than forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck. The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” … (Goodreads)

  2. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

    by Daniel James Brown
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    This novel is about the University of Washington eight-oared crew that represented the United States in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, and narrowly beat out Italy and Germany to win the gold medal. The main character is Joe Rantz . There are two backstories. One illustrates how all nine members of the Washington team came from lower-middle-class families and had to struggle to earn their way through school during the depths of the Depression . Along with the chronicle of their victories and defeats in domestic competition, the reader learns the importance of synchronization of the eight rowers as they … (Wikipedia)

  3. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

    by Atul Gawande
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    In ,Being Mortal,, author Atul Gawande tackles the hardest challenge of his profession: how medicine can not only improve life but also the process of its ending Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming birth, injury, and infectious disease from harrowing to manageable. But in the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit. Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs. Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot. Doctors, committed … (Goodreads)

  4. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

    by Isabel Wilkerson
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    Readership: Eclectic

    In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American … (Goodreads)

  5. Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

    by Jon Krakauer
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    A Story of Violent Faith A multilayered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, savage violence, polygamy, and unyielding faith. This is vintage Krakauer, an utterly compelling work of nonfiction that illuminates an otherwise confounding realm of human behavior. Jon Krakauer’s literary reputation rests on insightful chronicles of lives conducted at the outer limits. In Under The Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, he shifts his focus from extremes of physical adventure to extremes of religious belief within our own borders. At the core of his book is an appalling double murder committed by two Mormon Fundamentalist brothers, Ron and … (Goodreads)

  6. The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women

    by Kate Moore
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    A New York Times , USA Today , Wall Street Journal , and Amazon Charts Bestseller! For fans of Hidden Figures, comes the incredible true story of the women heroes who were exposed to radium in factories across the U.S. in the early 20th century, and their brave and groundbreaking battle to strengthen workers' rights, even as the fatal poison claimed their own lives... In the dark years of the First World War, radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the … (Barnes & Noble)

  7. Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History

    by S.C. Gwynne
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    Readership: Eclectic

    In the tradition of ,Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, ,a stunningly vivid historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West, centering on Quanah, the greatest Comanche chief of them all. S. C. Gwynne’s ,Empire of the Summer Moon,, ,spans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second entails one of the most remarkable narratives ever to come out of the Old West: the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her … (Goodreads)

  8. Between the World and Me

    by Ta-Nehisi Coates
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    “This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.” In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and … (Goodreads)

  9. Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

    by Erik Larson
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    #1 New York Times Bestseller,,,,From the bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the ,Lusitania, On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s … (Barnes & Noble)

  10. The Wright Brothers

    by David McCullough
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    Readership: Eclectic

    Librarian's note: An alternate cover edition can be found ,here, Two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize David McCullough tells the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly: Wilbur and Orville Wright. On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe what had happened: the age of flight had begun, with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot. Who were these men and how was it that they achieved what they did? David … (Goodreads)

  11. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

    by Bryan Stevenson
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    In 1989, idealistic young Harvard law graduate Bryan Stevenson travels to Alabama hoping to help fight for poor people who cannot afford proper legal representation. Teaming with Eva Ansley, he founds the Equal Justice Initiative , then travels to a prison to meet its death row inmates. He meets Walter "Johnny D." McMillian , an African-American man who was convicted of the 1986 murder of Ronda Morrison, a white woman. Stevenson looks over the evidence in the case and discovers it hinges entirely on the testimony of convicted felon Ralph Myers, who provided highly self-contradictory testimony in exchange for a … (Wikipedia)

  12. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

    by John Carreyrou
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of a multibillion-dollar startup, by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end in the face of pressure and threats from the CEO and her lawyers. In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup "unicorn" promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising … (Goodreads)

  13. Lab Girl

    by Hope Jahren
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    Readership: Eclectic

    Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more. ,,Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the … (Goodreads)

  14. Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History

    by Erik Larson
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    Readership: Eclectic

    September 8, 1900, began innocently in the seaside town of Galveston, Texas. Even Isaac Cline, resident meteorologist for the U.S. Weather Bureau failed to grasp the true meaning of the strange deep-sea swells and peculiar winds that greeted the city that morning. Mere hours later, Galveston found itself submerged in a monster hurricane that completely destroyed the town and killed over six thousand people in what remains the greatest natural disaster in American history--and Isaac Cline found himself the victim of a devastating personal tragedy. Using Cline's own telegrams, letters, and reports, the testimony of scores of survivors, and our … (Goodreads)

  15. Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

    by Candice Millard
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    Readership: Eclectic

    James A. Garfield was one of the most extraordinary men ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, and a renowned and admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he engaged in a fierce battle with the corrupt political establishment. But four months after his inauguration, a deranged office seeker tracked Garfield down and shot him in the back. But the shot didn’t kill Garfield. The drama of what hap­pened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in tur­moil. The unhinged assassin’s half-delivered strike shattered the fragile … (Goodreads)

  16. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

    by Doris Kearns Goodwin
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    Winner of the Lincoln Prize Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln's political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president. On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry. Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably … (Goodreads)

  17. The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon

    by David Grann
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    Readership: Eclectic

    A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon. After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve "the greatest exploration mystery of the 20th century": What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett & his quest for the Lost City of Z? In 1925, Fawcett ventured … (Goodreads)

  18. White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America

    by Nancy Isenberg
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    Readership: Very niche

    In her groundbreaking history of the class system in America, extending from colonial times to the present, Nancy Isenberg takes on our comforting myths about equality, uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing––if occasionally entertaining––"poor white trash." The wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement. They were alternately known as “waste people,” “offals,” “rubbish,” “lazy lubbers,” and “crackers.” By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called “clay eaters” and “sandhillers,” known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds. Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular … (Goodreads)

  19. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

    by John Berendt
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    Readership: Fairly popular

    A sublime and seductive reading experience. This portrait of a beguiling Southern city was a best-seller (though a flop as a movie). ~ Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty, early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt's narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt interweaves a first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists … (Goodreads)

  20. Alexander Hamilton

    by Ron Chernow
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    Readership: Somewhat known

    An alternate cover edition can be found ,here., Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow presents a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired, scandalized, and shaped the newborn nation. In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. According to historian Joseph Ellis, ,Alexander Hamilton, is “a robust full-length portrait, in my view the best ever written, of the most brilliant, charismatic and dangerous founder of them all.” Few figures in American history have been … (Goodreads)