A non-fiction book recommendation: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2sC7Fb2.
This is a very interesting, informative account of a virtually unknown episode in American history, not to mention well written and cogent by bestselling author, David Grann. Although there seems to be a trend recently toward notes based on quotes and other terms and expressions in the text, the research is there that underlies this story.
Book description from Google Books:
“Disturbing and riveting…Grann has proved himself a master of spinning delicious, many-layered mysteries that also happen to be true…It will sear your soul.” –Dave Eggers, New York Times Book Review From New Yorker staff writer David Grann, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Lost City of Z, a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history         In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.       Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances.       In this last remnant of the Wild West–where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed–many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection.  Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.        In Killers of the Flower Moon, David Grann revisits a shocking series of crimes in which dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. Based on years of research and startling new evidence, the book is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, as each step in the investigation reveals a series of sinister secrets and reversals. But more than that, it is a searing indictment of the callousness and prejudice toward American Indians that allowed the murderers to operate with impunity for so long. Killers of the Flower Moon is utterly compelling, but also emotionally devastating.
The book is rated 4.16/5 at goodreads.com, from 13544 ratings. See 2184 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2sCexVG.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sC8dO0.

A non-fiction book recommendation: With Their Bare Hands: General Pershing, the 79th Division, and the battle for Montfaucon by Gene Fax

A critic review (source LA Times) can be read at: http://lat.ms/2wJEKTJ.
In his superb account of the final, violent throes of World War I, military historian Gene Fax tells of an American lieutenant…
Book description from Google Books:
With Their Bare Hands traces the fate of the US 79th Division-men drafted off the streets of Baltimore, Washington, and Philadelphia-from their training camp in Maryland through the final years of World War I, focusing on their most famous engagement: the attack on Montfaucon, the most heavily fortified part of the German Line, during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in 1918. Using the 79th as a window onto the American Army as a whole, Gene Fax examines its mistakes and triumphs, the tactics of the AEF commander-in-chief General John J. Pershing, and how the lessons it learned during the Great War helped it to fight World War II. Fax makes some startling judgments, on the role of future Army Chief-of-Staff, Colonel George C. Marshall; whether the Montfaucon battle-had it followed the plan-could have shortened the war; and if Pershing was justified in ordering his troops to attack right up to the moment of the Armistice. Drawing upon original documents, including orders, field messages, and the letters and memoirs of the soldiers themselves, some of which have never been used before, Fax tells the engrossing story of the 79th Division’s bloody involvement in the final months of World War I.
The book is rated 3.77/5 at goodreads.com, from 22 ratings. See 5 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xqfd5k.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2xqCG6p.

A non-fiction book recommendation: Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) by David Sedaris

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2wG9Uen.
It could be dull, but instead it’s mesmerizing, like watching spinning chickens. Since many of the things he describes happen in his stories, reading Theft by Finding feels like watching a favorite play from behind the scenes, in the company of a friend who can identify what is absurd and heartbreaking and human about every person on stage.
Book description from Google Books:
One of the most anticipated books of 2017: Boston Globe, New York Times Book Review, New York’s “Vulture”, The Week, Bustle, BookRiotDavid Sedaris tells all in a book that is, literally, a lifetime in the makingFor forty years, David Sedaris has kept a diary in which he records everything that captures his attention-overheard comments, salacious gossip, soap opera plot twists, secrets confided by total strangers. These observations are the source code for his finest work, and through them he has honed his cunning, surprising sentences.Now, Sedaris shares his private writings with the world. Theft by Finding, the first of two volumes, is the story of how a drug-abusing dropout with a weakness for the International House of Pancakes and a chronic inability to hold down a real job became one of the funniest people on the planet.Written with a sharp eye and ear for the bizarre, the beautiful, and the uncomfortable, and with a generosity of spirit that even a misanthropic sense of humor can’t fully disguise, Theft By Finding proves that Sedaris is one of our great modern observers. It’s a potent reminder that when you’re as perceptive and curious as Sedaris, there’s no such thing as a boring day.
The book is rated 4.02/5 at goodreads.com, from 6676 ratings. See 1041 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2tnX6f5.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tnFsIo.

A non-fiction book recommendation: The Family Gene: A Mission to Turn My Deadly Inheritance into a Hopeful Future by Joselin Linder

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2wyNg7G.
In her crisply written, deeply informed memoir, “The Family Gene,” Joselin Linder captures the dread and fatigue that accompanies such an odyssey, how it ripples out to engulf multiple branches of a family.
Book description from Google Books:
A riveting medical mystery about a young woman’s quest to uncover the truth about her likely fatal genetic disorder that opens a window onto the exploding field of genomic medicineWhen Joselin Linder was in her twenties her legs suddenly started to swell. After years of misdiagnoses, doctors discovered a deadly blockage in her liver. Struggling to find  an explanation for her unusual condition, Joselin compared the medical chart of her father—who had died from a mysterious disease, ten years prior—with that of an uncle who had died under similarly strange circumstances. Delving further into the past, she discovered that her great-grandmother had displayed symptoms similar to hers before her death. Clearly, this was more than a fluke. Setting out to build a more complete picture of the illness that haunted her family, Joselin approached Dr. Christine Seidman, the head of a group of world-class genetic researchers at Harvard Medical School, for help. Dr. Seidman had been working on her family’s case for twenty years and had finally confirmed that fourteen of Joselin’s relatives carried something called a private mutation—meaning that they were the first known people to experience the baffling symptoms of a brand new genetic mutation. Here, Joselin tells the story of their gene: the lives it claimed and the future of genomic medicine with the potential to save those that remain. Digging into family records and medical history, conducting interviews with relatives and friends, and reflecting on her own experiences with the Harvard doctor, Joselin pieces together the lineage of this deadly gene to write a gripping and unforgettable exploration of family, history, and love. A compelling chronicle of survival and perseverance, The Family Gene is an important story of a young woman reckoning with her father’s death, her own mortality, and her ethical obligations to herself and those closest to her.
The book is rated 4.10/5 at goodreads.com, from 333 ratings. See 69 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2xcYYIL.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2wyj4Ka.

A non-fiction book recommendation: The Rules Do Not Apply: A Memoir by Ariel Levy

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2s10TOM.
Levy is an incredibly talented writer who has built a solid body of work, but “The Rules Do Not Apply” does not have the same energy that her magazine writing is known for.
Book description from Google Books:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A gorgeous memoir about a woman overcoming dramatic loss and finding reinvention “Cheryl Strayed meets a Nora Ephron movie. You’ll laugh, ugly cry, and finish it before the weekend’s over.”–theSkimm Named one of the best books of 2017 so far by Time and Entertainment Weekly When Ariel Levy left for a reporting trip to Mongolia in 2012, she was pregnant, married, financially secure, and successful on her own terms. A month later, none of that was true. Levy picks you up and hurls you through the story of how she built an unconventional life and then watched it fall apart with astonishing speed. Like much of her generation, she was raised to resist traditional rules–about work, about love, and about womanhood. In this “deeply human and deeply moving” (The New York Times Book Review) memoir, Levy chronicles the adventure and heartbreak of being, in her own words, “a woman who is free to do whatever she chooses.” Her story of resilience becomes an unforgettable portrait of the shifting forces in our culture, of what has changed–and of what is eternal. Praise for The Rules Do Not Apply “Levy has the rare gift of seeing herself with fierce, unforgiving clarity. And she deploys prose to match, raw and agile. She plumbs the commotion deep within and takes the measure of her have-it-all generation.”–The Atlantic “[The Rules Do Not Apply] is a short, sharp American memoir in the Mary Karr tradition of life-chronicling. Which is to say that Levy, like Karr, is a natural writer who is also as unsparing and bleakly hilarious as it’s possible to be about oneself. . . . I devoured her story in one sitting.”–Financial Times “It’s an act of courage to hunt for meaning within grief, particularly if the search upends your life and shakes out the contents for all the world to sift through. Ariel Levy embarks on the hunt beautifully in her new memoir.”–Chicago Tribune “I read it in one big messy gulp, because it is beautiful and heartbreaking and unruly and real. You should preorder it immediately so you can fall into her complicated, funny, and finely wrought world as soon as humanly possible.”–Lenny.com “A thoroughly modern memoir, the elements of The Rules Do Not Apply seem plucked not from the script of Girls, which has also been exploring reproductive issues of late, but Transparent–even Portlandia.”–The New York Times “Frank and unflinchingly sincere . . . A gut-wrenching, emotionally charged work of soul-baring writing in the spirit of Joan Didion, Helen Macdonald, and Elizabeth Gilbert, The Rules Do Not Apply is a must-read for women.”–Bustle “Unflinching and intimate, wrenching and revelatory, Ariel Levy’s powerful memoir about love, loss, and finding one’s way shimmers with truth and heart on every page.”–Cheryl Strayed “Every deep feeling a human is capable of will be shaken loose by this profound book. Ariel Levy has taken grief and made art out of it.”–David Sedaris “Ariel Levy is a writer of uncompromising honesty, remarkable clarity, and surprising humor gathered from the wreckage of tragedy. Her account of life doing its darnedest to topple her, and her refusal to be knocked down, will leave you shaken and inspired. I am the better for having read this book.”–Lena Dunham
The book is rated 3.82/5 at goodreads.com, from 8156 ratings. See 1014 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2s0BuFe.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tHdwzm.

A non-fiction book recommendation: Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway’s Secret Adventures, 1935-1961 by Nicholas Reynolds

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2xahwt9.
An engrossing read for Hemingway buffs as well as casual readers, “Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy” adds more fascinating details to a life that remains continually fascinating.
Book description from Google Books:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A “riveting”* international cloak-and-dagger epic, here is the stunning untold story of Ernest Hemingway’s dangerous secret life — including his role as a Soviet agent code-named “Argo” — that fueled his art and his undoing.In 2010, while he was the historian at the esteemed CIA Museum, Nicholas Reynolds, a longtime American intelligence officer, former U.S. Marine colonel, and Oxford-trained historian, began to uncover clues suggesting Nobel Prize-winning novelist Ernest Hemingway was deeply involved in mid-twentieth-century spycraft — a mysterious and shocking relationship that was far more complex, sustained, and fraught with risks than has ever been previously supposed. Now Reynolds’s meticulously researched and captivating narrative, Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy, “looks among the shadows and finds a Hemingway not seen before” (London Review of Books), revealing for the first time the whole story of this hidden side of Hemingway’s life: his troubling recruitment by Soviet spies to work with the NKVD, the forerunner to the KGB, followed in short order by a complex set of secret relationships with American agencies, including the FBI, the Department of State, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a precursor to the CIA.Starting with Hemingway’s sympathy to antifascist forces during the 1930s, Reynolds illuminates Hemingway’s immersion in the life-and-death world of the revolutionary left, from his passionate commitment to the Spanish Republic; his successful pursuit by Soviet NKVD agents, who valued Hemingway’s influence, access, and mobility; his wartime meeting in East Asia with communist leader Chou En-Lai, the future premier of the People’s Republic of China; and finally to his undercover involvement with Cuban rebels in the late 1950s and his sympathy for Fidel Castro. Reynolds equally explores Hemingway’s participation in various roles as an agent for the United States government, including hunting Nazi submarines with ONI-supplied munitions in the Caribbean on his boat, Pilar; his command of an informant ring in Cuba called the “Crook Factory” that reported to the American embassy in Havana; and his on-the-ground role in Europe, where he helped OSS gain key tactical intelligence for the liberation of Paris and fought alongside the U.S. infantry in the bloody endgame of World War II.As he examines the links between Hemingway’s work as an operative and as an author, Reynolds reveals how Hemingway’s secret adventures influenced his literary output and contributed to the writer’s block and mental decline (including paranoia) that plagued him during the postwar years — a period marked by the Red Scare and McCarthy hearings, which destroyed the life of anyone with Soviet connections. Reynolds also illuminates how those same experiences played a role in some of Hemingway’s greatest works, including For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea, while also adding to the burden that he carried at the end of his life and perhaps contributing to his suicide.A literary biography with the soul of an espionage thriller, Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy is an essential contribution to our understanding of the life, work, and fate of one of America’s most legendary authors.*William Doyle
The book is rated 3.66/5 at goodreads.com, from 317 ratings. See 71 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2wwq89T.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2xaRwOt.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A non-fiction book recommendation: The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2txuIre.
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last Hermit may not appeal to everyone. But for those who desire an amazing true story that is told with immeasurable depth and compassion, it is an extraordinary glimpse into a world that defies much of what we think we know about people.
Book description from Google Books:
Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality–not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.  A New York Times bestseller In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life–why did he leave? what did he learn?–as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.
The book is rated 3.89/5 at goodreads.com, from 12231 ratings. See 2000 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2paTfvV.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2paTU0h.

A non-fiction book recommendation: Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me by Bill Hayes

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2v3SV4R.
Hayes has now written a memoir of his own, “Insomniac City.” It’s a loving tribute to Sacks and to New York. He provides tender insights into living with both. But Sacks was by far the more eccentric of his two loves.
Book description from Google Books:
A moving celebration of what Bill Hayes calls “the evanescent, the eavesdropped, the unexpected” of life in New York City, and an intimate glimpse of his relationship with the late Oliver Sacks. “A beautifully written once-in-a-lifetime book, about love, about life, soul, and the wonderful loving genius Oliver Sacks, and New York, and laughter and all of creation.”–Anne LamottBill Hayes came to New York City in 2009 with a one-way ticket and only the vaguest idea of how he would get by. But, at forty-eight years old, having spent decades in San Francisco, he craved change. Grieving over the death of his partner, he quickly discovered the profound consolations of the city’s incessant rhythms, the sight of the Empire State Building against the night sky, and New Yorkers themselves, kindred souls that Hayes, a lifelong insomniac, encountered on late-night strolls with his camera. And he unexpectedly fell in love again, with his friend and neighbor, the writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks, whose exuberance–“I don’t so much fear death as I do wasting life,” he tells Hayes early on–is captured in funny and touching vignettes throughout. What emerges is a portrait of Sacks at his most personal and endearing, from falling in love for the first time at age seventy-five to facing illness and death (Sacks died of cancer in August 2015). Insomniac City is both a meditation on grief and a celebration of life. Filled with Hayes’s distinctive street photos of everyday New Yorkers, the book is a love song to the city and to all who have felt the particular magic and solace it offers.
The book is rated 4.49/5 at goodreads.com, from 1281 ratings. See 239 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uKxlXR.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2v3qzYK.

A non-fiction book recommendation: Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom by Thomas E. Ricks

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2urcWXJ.
“Churchill & Orwell” is an eminently readable, frankly inspirational and exceptionally timely tribute to the two men Simon Schama called “the architects of their time.”
Book description from Google Books:
New York Times Bestseller A dual biography of Winston Churchill and George Orwell, who preserved democracy from the threats of authoritarianism, from the left and right alike. Both George Orwell and Winston Churchill came close to death in the mid-1930’s–Orwell shot in the neck in a trench line in the Spanish Civil War, and Churchill struck by a car in New York City. If they’d died then, history would scarcely remember them. At the time, Churchill was a politician on the outs, his loyalty to his class and party suspect. Orwell was a mildly successful novelist, to put it generously. No one would have predicted that by the end of the 20th century they would be considered two of the most important people in British history for having the vision and courage to campaign tirelessly, in words and in deeds, against the totalitarian threat from both the left and the right. In a crucial moment, they responded first by seeking the facts of the matter, seeing through the lies and obfuscations, and then they acted on their beliefs. Together, to an extent not sufficiently appreciated, they kept the West’s compass set toward freedom as its due north. It’s not easy to recall now how lonely a position both men once occupied. By the late 1930’s, democracy was discredited in many circles, and authoritarian rulers were everywhere in the ascent. There were some who decried the scourge of communism, but saw in Hitler and Mussolini “men we could do business with,” if not in fact saviors. And there were others who saw the Nazi and fascist threat as malign, but tended to view communism as the path to salvation. Churchill and Orwell, on the other hand, had the foresight to see clearly that the issue was human freedom–that whatever its coloration, a government that denied its people basic freedoms was a totalitarian menace and had to be resisted. In the end, Churchill and Orwell proved their age’s necessary men. The glorious climax of Churchill and Orwell is the work they both did in the decade of the 1940’s to triumph over freedom’s enemies. And though Churchill played the larger role in the defeat of Hitler and the Axis, Orwell’s reckoning with the menace of authoritarian rule in Animal Farm and 1984 would define the stakes of the Cold War for its 50-year course, and continues to give inspiration to fighters for freedom to this day. Taken together, in Thomas E. Ricks’s masterful hands, their lives are a beautiful testament to the power of moral conviction, and to the courage it can take to stay true to it, through thick and thin.
The book is rated 4.14/5 at goodreads.com, from 615 ratings. See 116 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uqZbZ2.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uIa6sH.

A non-fiction book recommendation: Generation Revolution: On the Front Line Between Tradition and Change in the Middle East by Rachel Aspden

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2uU5Pmb.
“Generation Revolution” is an excellent social history of Egypt’s persistent pathologies, as well as a universal story about the difficulty of changing deeply ingrained societal attitudes.
Book description from Google Books:
Generation Revolution’ unravels the complex forces shaping the lives of four young Egyptians caught between tradition and modernity, and what their stories mean for the future of the Middle East. In 2003, Rachel Aspden arrived in Egypt as a 23-year-old trainee journalist. She found a country on the brink of change. The two-thirds of Egypt’s 80 million citizens under the age of 30 were stifled, broken and frustrated, caught between a dictatorship that had nothing to offer them and their autocratic parents’ generation, and left clinging to tradition and obedience by a lifetime of fear. In January 2011, the young people’s patience ran out. They thought the revolution that followed would change everything for them. But as violence escalated, the economy collapsed and as the united front against Mubarak shattered into sectarianism, many found themselves wavering, hesitant to discard the old ways. What happens when a revolution unravels? Why is a generation raised on Hollywood movies and global brand names turning to religion? How do you choose between sex and tradition, consumerism and faith? Why would people who once chanted for freedom support a military state? And where will the next generation take the Middle East? Following the stories of four young Egyptians – Amr the atheist software engineer, Amal the village girl who defied her family and her entire community, Ayman the one-time religious extremist and Ruqayah the would-be teenage martyr – ‘Generation Revolution’ unravels the complex forces shaping the lives of young people caught between tradition and modernity, and what their stories mean for the future of the Middle East.
The book is rated 4.00/5 at goodreads.com, from 27 ratings. See 2 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2uChv1o.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2uUDw75.