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Non-Fiction Book Reviews

Listed below are our most recent book reviews for Non-Fiction books. To view additional book reviews, choose a subcategory from the list on the left.

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Through the Perilous Fight: Six Weeks That Saved a Nation

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Vogel, Steve(2013)Recently Added Review
Through the Perilous Fight: Six Weeks That Saved a Nation

In 1814, the United States was two years into an unwise and unwinnable war. The summer after burning Washington, British forces marched on Baltimore to do the same. You know the rest of the story (or you should). There was a night bombardment of the main fort and a heavy rainstorm. And as the sun broke, a very large flag was hoisted over the ramparts. An American hostage watching from a nearby ship set his feelings to verse. Said poem was set to the melody of an English drinking song, working its way into the national consciousness. Author Steve Vogel demonstrates how close to disaster the siege of Baltimore could have been, and how poem and song despite all objections have remained with us as our National Anthem.

Reviewed by John C., Main Library

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North of Normal: a Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Unusual Family, and How I Survived Both

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Person, Cea(2014)Recently Added Review
North of Normal: a Memoir of My Wilderness Childhood, My Unusual Family, and How I Survived Both

Cea Person and her mother lived with Cea’s grandparents in the Canadian wilderness in tipis. Cea’s grandparents were hippies who did drugs daily, rarely wore clothes, and practiced free love - encouraging their children to do the same. When she was five, Cea and her mother moved into town and lived with her mother’s boyfriend Karl, who grew pot and robbed cabins for a living. Cea only realized how unconventional her life was when she started school. When Cea was thirteen she entered a modeling contest and won; that started a twenty year modeling career that provided an escape from her dysfunctional family life. North of Normal is a compelling memoir in the same vein as The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

Reviewed by Jessica B., Mint Hill Branch

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Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: a Memoir of Food and Love From an American Midwest Family

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Flinn, Kathleen(2014)Recently Added Review
Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: a Memoir of Food and Love From an American Midwest Family

Kathleen Flinn’s previous memoirs, The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry and The Kitchen Counter Cooking School, recalled her time at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and what she did with her skills back in the US. In this memoir she explores her family history and you can see how her love of cooking and food can be traced back to generations of wonderful home cooks who expressed their love through food. Kathleen’s parents didn’t have much money when they started out, but they always had a big vegetable garden and Kathleen and her four older siblings grew up eating great homemade food. Family gatherings always centered around food and spending time with their large extended family. This is a wonderful memoir of food, family, and love.

Reviewed by Jessica B., Mint Hill Branch

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Making the Mummies Dance: Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Hoving, Thomas(1993)Recently Added Review
Making the Mummies Dance: Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Thomas Hoving’s charm and wit shine right through the pages of his memoir about being the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hoving, one of the most controversial directors of the Met, takes the reader on a journey of all the behind the scenes activities necessary to keep one of the public’s most cherished institutions up and running. Throughout his descriptions of month long buying trips and schmoozing with potential donors, the reader will be struck by Hoving’s intimate hold-nothing-back tone and his levity in the face of scandal. Overall, Hoving’s memoir makes for a great read either for the studied art critic or for anyone looking for a little scandal and a laugh.

Reviewed by Sarah F., Matthews Branch

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Slow Dancing with a Stranger: Lost and Found in the Age of Alzheimer's

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Comer, Meryl(September 2014)Recently Added Review
Slow Dancing with a Stranger: Lost and Found in the Age of Alzheimer's

At the age of fifty-eight, Dr. Harvey Gralnick is diagnosed with early on- set Alzheimer’s. When his wife notices that little incidents are becoming problematic, she grabs the reigns and tries to steer him back on course, a course that seems never ending. It takes a while for his colleagues to notice Gralnick’s forgetfulness as he doesn’t seem frazzled or forgetful when busy seeing many patients and doing major cancer research. But this is more –much more. Angry outbursts toward family members, inappropriate behavior at public events, and the loss of concentration are only the beginning. To learn about the everyday life of an Alzheimer’s patient, read this memoir, written by Meryl Comer the wife of Dr. Gralnick.

Reviewed by Vera M., Beatties Ford Road Branch

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