Thommy Ford Reads

A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library

Nonfiction That Reads Like Historical Fiction: A List for Summer Reading

Buffalo Calf Road Woman by Rosemary and Joseph Agonito (973.8 AGO)
According to the newly discovered accounts of Iron Teeth and Kate Bighead, Buffalo Calf Road Woman fought at the Little Big Horn and other battles between the Cheyenne and the U.S. Cavalry. In this novel-like biography, Rosemary and Joseph Agonito challenge the long-accepted portrayal of Native American women.

Chopin’s Funeral by Benita Eisler (B CHOPIN)
Like a movie with cinematic flashbacks, this biography begins with composer Frédéric Chopin’s funeral and revisits his life in dramatic scenes, focusing on his romantic relationship with author George Sand and on his place in Paris society.

Galileo’s Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love by Dava Sobel (B GALILEO)
Suor Maria Celeste, illegitimate daughter of astronomer Galileo Galilei, wrote 124 personal letters from the Convent of San Matteo in Arcetri to her father during the years of his heresy trial and final illness. Award-winning author Dava Sobel incorporates them in this moving tale from Renaissance Italy.

The Man Who Would Be King: The First American in Afghanistan by Ben MacIntyre (B Harlan)
Rudyard Kipling based his famous short story on a true series of incidents involving a young American adventurer who wandered into Afghanistan. Ben MacIntyre tells how Josiah Harlan succeeded in making himself first a governor and then a prince in a hostile land.

The Mapmaker’s Wife: A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the Amazon by Robert Whitaker (B GODIN DES ODONAIS)
In 1769, Isabelle Grameson of Peru risked her life to cross the Andes Mountains and the Amazon Basin to join her husband, who had been imprisoned in French Guinea for twenty years. Robert Whitaker recounts an unlikely adventure in the era of Spanish colonial rule of South America.

My Face Is Black Is True: Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations by Mary Francis Berry (323.092 BER)
Callie House was a washerwoman in Nashville, Tennessee in 1898 when she was elected assistant secretary of the National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief, Bounty, and Pension Society. Mary Frances Berry tells how House was imprisoned for breaking U.S. postal laws that banned the mailing of civil rights pamphlets.

Samurai William: The Englishman Who Opened Japan by Giles Milton (B ADAMS, W.)
In 1600, English sailor William Adams escaped crucifixion when he impressed the Japanese shogun with his knowledge of ships and geography. Giles Milton recounts how Adams became the shogun’s minister and opened the warlike country to foreign trade.

Sweet Hell Inside by Edward Ball (975.7 BAL)
In this true family saga, the African-American Harleston family of Charleston, South Carolina, find their fair skin allows them to prosper in business and travel the world, but racial prejudice bars their admission to high society. Readers follow the family from Reconstruction to the Great Depression.

List by Rick. Ask Rick or any other reference librarian for reading suggestions in historical fiction or other pleasure reading.

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This entry was posted on July 7, 2011 by in History, Lists, Non-Fiction.
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