Over the past few years, I’ve participated in a challenge to read the books that won or were nominated for ALA book awards. Think of it as the book nerd’s version of seeing all of the movies that were nominated for the Oscars. Some of the best books I’ve read through this challenge have been the books nominated for best non-fiction.
First Flight Around the World by Tim Grove looks at the race to be the first to circumnavigate the globe by air. It was the 1920s and the US, Great Britain, France, Portugal, Italy and Argentina were all trying to claim those bragging rights.
In an effort to claim those rights, the US Army sent out four planes and eight young men. This books looks at the things they accomplished and the challenges they faced. I find it really interesting that much of the book is based on a journal kept by one of the crew members (that’s what’s called a primary source, right?).
I haven’t read the book yet, but it sounds fascinating and there are some wonderful photos and maps to accompany the text. And it may be interesting to pair this with one of 2014’s nominees, Courage Has No Color which is the story of America’s first Black paratroopers (which I also have in audio).
So, for those of you who prefer reality reading, I have three new nonfiction selections for you. All three of these books were nominated for Best Nonfiction by YALSA.
James L. Swanson’s “The President Has Been Shot!” is an account of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He starts with an overview of Kennedy’s life and his political impact. In the second half of the book, Swanson gives a detailed account of November 21st through the 25th. The book is packed with photos, diagrams, and resources for anyone who wants to learn more. And this isn’t Swanson’s first foray into presidential assassinations. He also wrote Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer about the search for John Wilkes Booth (which is also available in the library).
Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II looks at the treatment of Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Author Martin Sandler looks at what life was like for the families sent to relocation camps. He includes a lot of pictures and other artifacts including poems written by people in the camps.
Finally, there’s the Nonfiction Award winner, The Nazi Hunters by Neal Bascomb. This is the story of the hunt for Adolf Eichmann. I haven’t read it yet, but it looks like there’s a lot about spy craft, team work, and survival.