As promised here is the 2nd Edition of my Top Non-Fiction from 2023. Last week I put together a list of Herstory, this week the list is general non-fiction and includes subjects from climate change to the cholera epidemic in 19th century London to the Great Migration in 20th century America. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did! Read on my friends!
This book felt extremely relevant as we’re coming out of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. This book tells the story of tracking the cholera epidemic in mid 19th century London. Since contagious disease was known at the time, there were several theories to explain how and why disease spread some more accurate than others. This book tracks down patient zero of the cholera outbreak and lays the groundwork for modern medical theories of disease and it’s spread, especially in densely populated areas. I recommended this one to several people last year, and they all loved it too!
This one was made into a film in 2023 but even if you’ve seen the Leonardo DiCaprio movie, the book is worth reading as well. David Grann is a fantastic non-fiction writer and this tragic story reminds us all of the horrific treatment of indigenous people by white settlers well into the 20th century in America. Other great non-fiction by David Grann:The Wager; The Lost City of Z
Unfortunately, my public school education in the 1990’s did not include covering the Great Migration in America starting in the 1920’s and continuing well into the 1960’s. The large-scale migration of African-American people from the southern states into northern and western states had an enormous impact on the economy, politics, and race relations in the United States. Isabel Wilkerson follows the stories of several individuals on their journey and re-settlement during and after the Great Migration.
Also by Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents demonstrates how the caste system was established in the United States and continues today in the many ways that black and brown people are systematically held at a disadvantage. She documents the real-life affects of a caste system on people held captive by the notions of superiority/inferiority.
The title of this book is no joke! After reading this one, I was forced to change the way(s) I framed climate change, what solutions are actually possible, what caused us to get where we are, and what needs to change to preserve this planet that sustains our lives. This one is a bit dense but very well written and researched which makes it worth the effort.