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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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In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeanette

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Sides, Hampton(2014)Recently Added Review
In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeanette

The USS Jeanette set out in 1879 through the Bering Strait to the Arctic Ocean with hopes of reaching the North Pole by water. Hampton Sides introduces the men and women of this story and discusses nineteenth-century geographical knowledge in the first third of the book, which makes for interesting and informative reading. The narration of the actual voyage begins at that point and is indeed `grand and terrible,` as the subtitle promises. The crew survive extreme conditions and physical and mental stress thanks to great leadership and ingenuity. Don`t skip to the end to see how it turned out: you`ll want to experience the full emotional impact of this story as presented by a masterful author.

Reviewed by Tom C., Main Library

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Ghost Soldiers: the Forgotten Epic of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission

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Sides, Hampton(2001)Recently Added Review
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Ghost Soldiers: the Forgotten Epic of World War II's Most Dramatic Mission

Hampton Sides reconstructs the experience of American POW’s in World War II from diaries, letters, memoirs and interviews of the inmates of the Cabanatuan camp in the Philippines. They experienced extreme deprivation and abuse at the hands of their Japanese captors. The survivors found small ways to endure and hoped for deliverance. US Army Rangers and Filipino insurgents eventually launched a raid on Cabanatuan, and Sides tells their dramatic story with similar attention to detail and respect for eyewitness accounts. He provides context by including Filipino and even Japanese perspectives. Readers of Unbroken will appreciate Ghost Soldiers for its psychological depth. It also shows group cohesion and the heat of battle in a way that readers of Band of Brothers will enjoy.

Reviewed by Tom C., Main Library

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A Wolf Called Romeo

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Jans, Nick(2014)Recently Added Review
A Wolf Called Romeo

In the winter of 2003 Nick Jans encounters a lone wolf near his Juneau, Alaska home. Having seen wolves in the wild before, but only rarely, he is amazed at how much human and canine interaction this wolf seems to seek out. Over the next six years many other Juneau residents have encounters with Romeo, as the lone wolf is called. All too soon though Romeo’s story takes a tragic turn. Jans intersperses Romeo’s story with facts about wolves that show just how unique this situation was. He also explores the unfortunate history of human interaction with wolves in both Alaska and the continental US. This is a unique story about how a lone wolf impacted a community in Alaska.

Reviewed by Jessica B., Mint Hill Branch

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Exodus

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Feldman, Deborah(2014)Recently Added Review
Exodus

In Deborah Feldman’s first memoir, Unorthodox, she describes growing up in an Orthodox Jewish community and her decision to leave once she had her son. Exodus picks up where Unorthodox leaves off; Deborah has to figure out how to support her son and adjust to life outside the strict Orthodox Jewish world. Traveling helps Deborah explore the United States and then to better understand her Jewish roots she travels to Europe tracing her Grandmother’s life starting in Hungary and through the concentration camps of Germany, which her Grandmother survived. While Exodus is not told in chronological order, the reader gets an overview of how Feldman found her way in the outside world, while still embracing her Jewish heritage.

Reviewed by Jessica B., Mint Hill Branch

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Delancey: a Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage

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Wizenburg, Molly(2014)Recently Added Review
Delancey: a Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage

Molly Wizenburg’s husband Brandon was always becoming obsessed with an obscure interest or hobby and then dropping it for the next one. So when he says he wants to open a pizza restaurant, Molly thinks this will be another passing interest. But, soon Brandon has leased a space and is renovating it for their new restaurant, Delancey. Molly isn’t sure how she feels about the restaurant – sometimes she’s excited and other times she terrified. Delancey tells the story of Molly and Brandon’s pizza restaurant, but it’s also the story of how Molly came to terms with this huge change in her life and marriage and how she came to embrace Delancey and all the craziness that came with it.

Reviewed by Jessica B., Mint Hill Branch

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