Bud here with a few mini reviews of some good non-fiction books.
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders, by Vincent Bugliosi & Curt Gentry
The fascinating story of Charlie Manson, his fanatically loyal hippie followers and the savage Tate-LaBianca murders is engrossingly recounted by the author Vince Bugliosi, who was directly involved as a prosecuting attorney in the case. Forty-one years after its original publication, it deservedly remains one of the best, and most popular, True Crime books of all time.
Sample sentence: “It was so quiet, one of the killers would later say, you could almost hear the sound of ice rattling in cocktail shakers in the homes down the canyon.”
Check the WRL catalog for Helter Skelter
The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride, by Daniel James Brown
The story of the tragic Donner party expedition in 1846 is vividly recounted in this fine history book. Told primarily through the experience of one young woman, the narrative is grim and occasionally heartrending but also educational. You learn a lot about what everyday life was like for pioneers on the overland trail and, in particular, about the astonishing ability of people to endure great suffering and survive. A tragic tale eloquently and engrossingly re-told.
Sample sentence: “When she first looked into the survivors’ eyes, Eliza Gregson was startled by what she saw looking back at her, and she later marveled at it. ‘I shall never forget the looks of those people, for the most part of them was crazy and their eyes danced and sparkled in their heads like stars.’”
Check the WRL catalog for The Indifferent Stars Above
Empire of the Summer Moon, by S.C. Gwynne
The lifestyle, battles with white settlers, and eventual decline of the Comanche Indians in late 19th century Southwest America are detailed in this extensively researched and elegiac history. In particular the lives of white Indian captive Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son Quanah, last war Chief of the Comanche are poignantly recounted. A remarkable story graphically brought to life by a skilled writer. A good choice for anyone who thinks history is boring.
Sample Line: “What was she (Cynthia Ann) in the end? A white woman by birth, yes, but also a relic of old Comancheria, of the fading empire of high grass and fat summer moons and buffalo herds that blackened the horizon.”
Check the WRL catalog for Empire of the Summer Moon
Or try Empire of the Summer Moon as an audiobook on CD