Our July Nonfiction Picks

Chris


White Trash - Nancy Isenberg

In this landmark book, Nancy Isenberg argues that the voters who boosted Trump all the way to the White House have been a permanent part of the American fabric, and reveals how the wretched and landless poor have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlements to today's hillbillies. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery.

Our Nonfiction book of the month for July!


Charlatan - Catherine Jinks

Charlatan is the story of a notorious nineteenth-century court case involving a larger-than-life character. With a driving narrative and novelistic pacing, this scrupulously researched account of the life of Thomas Guthrie Carr, stage mesmerist who lied, fought and sleazed his way around Australia and New Zealand between 1865 and 1886, is more than just a fascinating piece of social history. It's also a mystery, a piece of true crime, and a delicately humorous portrait of a man whose eye for the main chance and ferocious pursuit of publicity made him an oddly contemporary figure. 


Australian Desperadoes - Terry Smyth

San Francisco's first organised-crime gang ? were Australians:  men and women with criminal careers in Australia who had come to the US, mostly illegally, during the gold rush. The Coves had come not to dig for gold but to unleash a crime wave the likes of which America had never seen. Robbery, murder, arson and extortion were the Coves' stock-in-trade, and it was said that the leader of the gang, Jim Stewart, had killed more men than any man in California.


Mozart's Starling - Lyanda Lynn Haupt

On May 27th, 1784, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart met a flirtatious little starling who sang (an improved version of!) the theme from his Piano Concerto Number 17 in G to him. Knowing a kindred spirit when he met one, Mozart wrote "That was wonderful" in his journal and took the bird home to be his pet. For three years Mozart and his family enjoyed the uniquely delightful company of the starling until one April morning when the bird passed away.

In 2013, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, rescued her own starling, Carmen, who has become a part of her family. In Mozart's Starling, Haupt explores the unlikely bond between one of history's most controversial characters and one of history's most notoriously disliked birds. Part natural history, part story, this book will delight readers as they learn about language, music, and the secret world of starlings.


Unbreakable - Jane Caro (ed)

In this revealingly honest collection (a follow-up to 2013's Destroying the Joint), successful Australian women talk about the challenges they have overcome, from sexual assault and domestic violence to racism, miscarriage, depression and loss, and how they let the past go to move forward with their lives. Courageously, the contributors delve deep into how these experiences made them feel, what the personal cost was and why they may have chosen to remain quiet until now.

In a time when bragging about sexual assault doesn't preclude being elected President of the United States, women must stand together and speak out against violence against women. Unbreakable shows that every woman, no matter her success, has a story, and that together we are stronger.


October - China Miéville

On the centenary of the Russian Revolution, China Miéville tells the extraordinary story of this pivotal moment in history.

In February of 1917 Russia was a backwards, autocratic monarchy, mired in an unpopular war; by October, after not one but two revolutions, it had become the world’s first workers’ state, straining to be at the vanguard of global revolution. How did this unimaginable transformation take place?


Rise of the Outsiders - Steve Richards

Something strange has been happening. All over the World, people are angry and rejecting the establishment like never before. Britain votes Brexit. Trump promises walls in America. Corbyn promises a new socialism in the UK. Tsipras in Greece. Podemos in Spain. Marine Le Pen in France. Norbert Hofer in Austria. The list goes on.

Why has the mainstream lost support? Why are the outsiders flourishing on far left and far right? Do they have the answers to our problems?In this landmark book, political journalist Steve Richards provides a captivating account of the defining political phenomenon of this decade.


Koh-I-Noor - William Dalrymple

The first comprehensive and authoritative history of the Koh-i Noor, arguably the most celebrated and mythologised jewel in the world. Masterly, powerful and erudite, this is history at its most compelling and invigorating.



Draw Your Weapons - Sarah Sentilles

In Draw Your Weapons, Sarah Sentilles offers an impassioned defence of life lived by peace and principle. Through a dazzling combination of memoir, history, reporting, visual culture, literature and theology, Sentilles tells the true stories of a conscientious objector during World War II and a former prison guard at Abu Ghraib. In the process she challenges conventional thinking about how violence is waged, witnessed and resisted.