Nonfiction Picks

I have read several nonfiction books lately, so you get one big nonfiction post! Over the last few years, I have come to enjoy nonfiction, probably because I have discovered so many well-written nonfiction writers. When a writer/researcher/historian takes on a nonfiction subject and writes in a narrative, novel-esque style, the story really comes alive–so much better than textbooks! (See here, here, and here for more nonfiction posts.)
Here are 3 more you can add to your to-read list:

God’s Smuggler
by Brother Andrew
Andrew tells his incredible story of ministering in communist countries in the Cold War era. Dutch-born Andrew serves in Asia during World War 2 and returns home disillusioned, injured, and directionless. All of these “handicaps,” however, disappear when Andrew responds to God’s calling on his life and becomes a missionary to countries behind the Iron Curtain. Many of the episodes that fill this book are so unbelievable that they have to be true–no one could have made them up! Brother Andrew’s life is one big miracle and a testament of faith and trust in God. It also makes you wonder why it’s so hard to invite your neighbor to church!

Call the Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times (Also, Call the Midwife: In the Shadows of the Work House and Call the Midwife: Farewell to the East End)
by Jennifer Worth
A friend suggested that I watch the PBS/BBC adaptation of Call the Midwife (which is lovely, by the way). Then I discovered it was based on memoirs, so of course I had to read them too! This is one instance where I give HUGE kudos to the producers and writers of the television show, because they follow the stories recounted by Mrs. Worth nearly to the letter. The book is more medical and less personal, so in that regard, I actually prefer the TV show. The characters are more developed when you can see them in living color, so to speak. But the book(s) relate the realities of medical care, living conditions, and society in post-World War 2 London, which is much more third-world than progressive, world-leader than one would expect. This is not for the faint of heart; if a biology book gives you the heebie-jeebies, then this not for you!
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
by Erik Larsen
The most I had ever heard or read about the Lusitania was a sentence in a history textbook. I knew a German U-boat torpedoed and sunk it, and that it propelled the United States to enter World War 1, but that was about it. Erik Larsen’s talent lies in taking that one sentence and spinning it into an intriguing and compelling personal story. The ship doesn’t actually sink until around 2/3 of the way through the book; Larsen uses the first half or so to recount the stories of the various passengers, the captain of the U-boat, President Wilson, and the secret British intelligence Room 40. I especially enjoyed the chapters following the sinking of the ship and the epilogue; knowing “the rest of the story” contributes to understanding the importance of the sinking of this ocean liner. Larsen even delves into the conspiracy theory that posits that British military intelligence allowed the Lusitania to be hit in order to get the US into the war.

Erik Larsen is probably one of the main reason that I currently enjoy nonfiction so much–Devil in the White City and Isaac’s Storm are both excellent books, and I have several of his others on my to-read list.


I just realized that even though these books are strikingly different from each other, they all center around the World Wars! So much for my attempt at reading diverse subject matters!

Happy reading,


Photo credits/Amazon links: , ,


4 thoughts on “Nonfiction Picks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s