Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Time's 100 All-time Best Nonfiction Books

Jumping around a little bit ago on the internet I ran across a list of the 100 top nonfiction books printed in English since 1923 and chosen by Time magazine. Why it says "all-time" and only includes books since 1923 is unexplained. The books were not ranked in any order, but they were separated by different genres such as "War," "Social History," "Sports," etc.

I was pleased to see that there were a number of books that I have in my library or that I have read over the years. Black Boy by Richard Wright is a classic, although I prefer the fiction Native Son. Manchild in the Promised Land by Claude Brown and Notes on a Native Son by James Baldwin made the list, as did Why We Can't Wait by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I remember reading that for my American Studies class as a junior in high school. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley is also on the list. If you have never read that one, make plans to as soon as you can. You won't be disappointed. Another one that stands out is Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown. Bury My Heart should be required reading for every American.

I wasn't shocked to see a Civil War book listed, but I was a little surprised that it was Shelby Foote's trilogy, Civil War: A Narrative. I figured that if there was a Civil War book on the list it would be James McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom. Shelby Foote was an excellent writer...a narrative writer, so comparing him to the more scholarly McPherson is probably a little unfair. Both are good, just different.

If you are interested in checking out the list, here's the link:

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