NONFICTION

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The Curies' newly discovered element of 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 popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War. Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" are the luckiest alive — until they begin to fall mysteriously ill. But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women's cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America's early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights that will echo for centuries to come.


In the spring of 1884 Ulysses S. Grant heeded the advice of Mark Twain and agreed to write his memoirs. Little did Grant or Twain realize that this decision would profoundly alter not only both their lives but the course of American literature. Over the next fifteen months, as the two men became close friends and intimate collaborators, Grant raced against the spread of cancer to compose a triumphant account of his life and times—while Twain struggled to complete and publish Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In this deeply moving and meticulously researched book, veteran writer Mark Perry reconstructs the heady months when Grant and Twain inspired and cajoled each other to create two American masterpieces. With a cast of fascinating characters, including General William T. Sherman, William Dean Howells, William Henry Vanderbilt, and Abraham Lincoln, Perry’s narrative takes in the whole sweep of a glittering, unscrupulous age.


Upon it's first publication twenty years ago, And The Band Played on was quickly recognized as a masterpiece of investigative reporting. An international bestseller, a nominee for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and made into a critically acclaimed movie, Shilts' expose revealed why AIDS was allowed to spread unchecked during the early '80s while the most trusted institutions ignored or denied the threat. One of the few true modern classics, it changed and framed how AIDS was discussed in the following years. Now republished in a special 20th Anniversary edition, And the Band Played On remains one of the essential books of our time.


How does a mother cope when she is forced to walk away from her three children and never see them again? That is what happened to JB's mother, Myrtle. Eventually, rescued from her despair by tall, dark and handsome George Rowley who fell in love her, Myrtle started a new life and had seven more children. She buried the grief of losing her first children deep within and kept her pain secret. JB and her siblings were unaware of the existence of Myrtle's first three children until after she died. Desperate to know how such a thing could happen to a devoted and caring mother, JB went on a journey to find out. What she discovered was a heartbreaking story of loss. It was a long time before JB was able to work out that her mother kept her early life and her first family secret out of misplaced guilt and shame. To redress that, JB decided to tell the whole world her mother's secret. 'Whisper My Secret' is a proud declaration that Myrtle did nothing deserving of guilt or shame.


After the American Civil War, Major Wirz was tried by a military tribunal, found guilty of "war crimes" and hanged. Forty years later, in 1908, Page wrote this memoir to tell dispel the slanders told about Wirz. Page explains how the prison Wirz was in charge of was designed to hold, at most, 10,000 prisoners. The population quickly swelled to 30,000 prisoners, overwhelming the South's ability to feed, clothe and house the Andersonville prisoners. Over 13,000 POWs died out of 45,000 prisoners due to disease and diet, and Page claims that Wirz was made a scapegoat to appease the wrath of the families of those who had died. "Anyone researching Andersonville should read this very well written book to learn the whole truth about what happened." — Saber and Scroll

"Anyone researching Andersonville should read this very well written book to learn the whole truth about what happened."
    ~ Saber and Scroll

At the height of WWI, history’s most lethal influenza virus erupted in an army camp in Kansas, moved east with American troops, then exploded, killing as many as 100 million people worldwide. It killed more people in twenty-four months than AIDS killed in twenty-four years, more in a year than the Black Death killed in a century. But this was not the Middle Ages, and 1918 marked the first collision of science and epidemic disease. Magisterial in its breadth of perspective and depth of research and now revised to reflect the growing danger of the avian flu, The Great Influenza is ultimately a tale of triumph amid tragedy, which provides us with a precise and sobering model as we confront the epidemics looming on our own horizon. John M. Barry has written a new afterword for this edition that brings us up to speed on the terrible threat of the avian flu and suggest ways in which we might head off another flu pandemic.


Here is the remarkable, untold story of how five major Hollywood directors—John Ford, George Stevens, John Huston, William Wyler, and Frank Capra—changed World War II, and how, in turn, the war changed them. In a move unheard of at the time, the U.S. government farmed out its war propaganda effort to Hollywood, allowing these directors the freedom to film in combat zones as never before. They were on the scene at almost every major moment of America’s war, shaping the public’s collective consciousness of what we’ve now come to call the good fight. The product of five years of scrupulous archival research, Five Came Back provides a revelatory new understanding of Hollywood’s role in the war through the life and work of these five men who chose to go, and who came back.


In her phenomenally popular essays and long-running Tumblr blog, Roxane Gay has written with intimacy and sensitivity about food and body, using her own emotional and psychological struggles as a means of exploring our shared anxieties over pleasure, consumption, appearance, and health. As a woman who describes her own body as “wildly undisciplined,” Roxane understands the tension between desire and denial, between self-comfort and self-care. In Hunger, she explores her past—including the devastating act of violence that acted as a turning point in her young life—and brings readers along on her journey to understand and ultimately save herself. With the bracing candor, vulnerability, and power that have made her one of the most admired writers of her generation, Roxane explores what it means to learn to take care of yourself: how to feed your hungers for delicious and satisfying food, a smaller and safer body, and a body that can love and be loved—in a time when the bigger you are, the smaller your world becomes.


Virginia Hall left her comfortable Baltimore roots in 1931 to follow a dream of becoming a Foreign Service Officer.
After watching Hitler roll over Poland and France, she enlisted to work for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), a secret espionage and sabotage organization. She was soon deployed to occupied France. Hall managed to locate drop zones for money and weapons, helped escaped POWs and downed Allied airmen flee to England, and secured safe houses for agents. Soon, wanted posters appeared throughout France, offering a reward for her capture. By winter of 1942, Hall had to flee France on foot through the frozen Pyrénées Mountains into Spain. Upon her return to England, she was sent back to France. While there, she was responsible for killing 150 German soldiers and capturing 500 others. Sabotaging communications and transportation links and directing resistance activities, her work helped change the course of the war. This is the true story of Virginia Hall.


Flags of Our Fathers
By James Bradley, Ron Powers

In February 1945, American Marines plunged into the surf at Iwo Jima—and into history. Through a hail of machine-gun and mortar fire that left the beaches strewn with comrades, they battled to the island's highest peak. And after climbing through a landscape of hell itself, they raised a flag.
Now the son of one of the flagraisers has written a powerful account of six very different young men who came together in a moment that will live forever. Following these men's paths to Iwo Jima, James Bradley has written a classic story of the heroic battle for the Pacific's most crucial island. But perhaps the most interesting part of the story is what happened after the victory. The men in the photo—three were killed during the battle—were proclaimed heroes and flown home, to become reluctant symbols. For two of them, the adulation was shattering. Only James Bradley's father truly survived, displaying no copy of the famous photograph in his home, telling his son only: "The real heroes of Iwo Jima were the guys who didn't come back."


Obeying Evil presents the shocking true story of Ronald Gene Simmons. Over the course of a week in 1987, he murdered 14 members of his own family, a former co-worker, and a stranger. In 1979, Simmons retired as an Air Force Master Sergeant following 20 years of service. The instability that followed his military days exacerbated his desire for control over his family. Simmons used intimidation, humiliation, and violence to assert dominance over all but one of his family members. He allowed a softer side to surface for his favorite daughter, Shelia, whom he forced into an incestuous relationship and eventually fathered her child. Simmons surprisingly supported his family's desire for a big Christmas celebration. The stage was set for a heartwarming reunion but he had laid a very different set of plans.


In December 1937, the Japanese army swept into the ancient city of Nanking. Within weeks, more than 300,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers were systematically raped, tortured, and murdered-a death toll exceeding that of the atomic blasts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. Using extensive interviews with survivors and newly discovered documents, Iris Chang has written the definitive history of this horrifying episode.


Irrepressible memories. Vacant eyes. A child being dangled from a third story window. A boy tied to a chair. Children sleeping in layers of clothing to fight off the bitter cold. An infant dying from starvation. Some things your mind will never allow you to forget. In 2003, Kay Bratt’s life changed dramatically. A wife and mother of two girls in South Carolina, Bratt relocated her family to rural China to support her husband as he took on a new management position for his American employer. Seeking a way to fill her days and overcome the isolation she experienced upon arriving in a foreign country, Bratt began volunteering at the local orphanage. Within months, her simple desire to make use of her time transformed into a heroic crusade to improve the living conditions and minimize the unnecessary deaths of Chinese orphans.


The mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder chronicles how saying YES for one year changed her life―and how it can change yours, too. With three hit shows on television and three children at home, the uber-talented Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say NO when an unexpected invitation arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No. And there was the side-benefit of saying No for an introvert like Shonda: nothing new to fear. Then Shonda’s sister laid down a challenge: just for one year, try to say YES to the unexpected invitations that come your way. Shonda reluctantly agreed―and the result was nothing short of transformative. In Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes chronicles the powerful impact saying yes had on every aspect of her life―and how we can all change our lives with one little word. Yes.


Almost 900 5-star reviews. Richard Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thrived on outrageous adventures. Here he recounts in his inimitable voice his experience trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Greek; cracking the uncrackable safes guarding the most deeply held nuclear secrets; accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums; painting a naked female toreador. In short, here is Feynman's life in all its eccentric—a combustible mixture of high intelligence, unlimited curiosity, and raging chutzpah.


Asexuality: A Brief Introduction
By Asexuality Archive

Sometimes called “A Fourth Orientation”, asexuality is a sexual orientation characterized by a persistent lack of sexual attraction toward any gender. This book explores love, sex, and life, from the asexual point of view. This book is for anyone, regardless of orientation. Whether you’re asexual, think you might be, know someone who is, or just want to learn more about what asexuality is (and isn’t), there’s something inside for you. This is one of the first books exclusively dedicated to the subject of asexuality as a sexual orientation. Written by an asexual, it discusses the topic from the inside.


Has the infamous zodiac killer been identified?