RaveBooklistStille interviewed multiple Sullivanians and poured over personal papers and court documents to develop a linear account of the group’s astonishing rise and decline. Readers will appreciate this in-depth, endlessly absorbing history of an obscure cult.
PositiveBooklistPoignant ... Drawing on skills she learned from the cult, Dowd is ultimately able to break free. While the subject matter is heavy, Dowd’s self-assured prose ensures that the reader is never crushed. Beautifully delicate illustrations and foraging tips also keep things bright. An inspiring and insightful tale of resilience in the face of adversity, this book is hard to put down.
Helene Stapinski, Bonnie Siegler
PositiveBooklistThis is a beautifully hopeful tale about what it means to live the American dream, how ordinary people can become real-life superheroes, and the serendipitous ways in which strangers impact our lives. Supremely readable, this book is highly recommended to both serious and casual history readers.
RaveBooklistIn 1971, Go Ask Alice became an instant sensation...The anonymous diary detailed the life of a teen girl who tries LSD and is seduced into the fatal world of addiction...Emerson unveils the woman responsible for the book, Beatrice Sparks...Sparks, a \'psychologist,\' claimed to have met Alice at a convention and published the diary as a cautionary tale at the request of Alice’s parents...This story has never been corroborated...Go Ask Alice’s success inspired suicide victim Alden Barrett’s mother to send his journal to Sparks with hopes that she would raise awareness about mental health...The fictional work, published and marketed as fact, tore apart the Barrett family and ignited the Satanic panic, ruining countless lives...An absorbing and unnerving read about how one conniving con artist’s unquenchable thirst for acclaim fooled the publishing world and fed two cultural panics with lasting fallout, this book demands to be finished in one sitting.
Magda Hellinger and Maya Lee
PositiveBooklistIn this harrowing personal narrative, Magda’s experience as a block leader is shared in heartbreaking detail ... Magda’s own words, completed by her daughter’s copious research, create an unputdownable account of resilience and the power of compassion.
PositiveBooklistTrue-crime superstar Holes takes readers on a gripping journey into the mind of a cold-case detective. Best known for unmasking the Golden State Killer, Holes provides a realistic look at the painstaking process of solving the unsolvable and the emotional toll it takes on everyone involved, from the victims and their families to the detectives themselves. Holes’ passion for his profession leaps from each page, but that passion and unfettered focus on the job adversely affected his personal life. He does not shy away from exposing the unglamorous side of detective work ... Holes also bestows readers with an inside glimpse at famous cases like the murder of Laci Peterson and the kidnapping of Jaycee Duggard while elucidating lesser-known investigations like the mysterious murder of wealthy recluse Emmon Bodfish. Holes presents a thoughtful yet fast-paced and absorbing amalgamation of personal memoir and true-crime novel. Crime junkies and nonfiction fans will be eager to get their hands on this book.
PositiveBooklist... an exhaustive and dark expedition into the diabolical mind of a truly evil villain and unsettling insight on the deliberate delusion that blinded some Germans to the horrific atrocities committed by the Third Reich.
PositiveBooklistThompson’s impressive research and engaging exposition create a unique addition to the Kennedy canon. This is not just the story of the Kennedys; Thompson paints a picture of life for many Irish immigrants. History buffs should pick up this book immediately.
PositiveBooklistJames’ career forced her to remove the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia and look back on her time at Taft with a critical lens. She recounts anecdotes, some comical and some disturbing, about the predominately white student body and faculty ... James’ social commentary and sparkling wit shine throughout this absorbing and insightful coming-of-age memoir. Recommended for readers interested in a peek behind the curtain of private-school education.
RaveBooklistHughes’ compact retelling of the Insys saga unfolds like a blockbuster film. Fans of Bad Blood by John Carreyrou (2018) will be captivated by this story of unbelievable greed and hubris. A must-read.
RaveBooklistNXIVM has been the subject of multiple docuseries and podcasts, but investigative journalist Berman’s account is a standout. With astute research, court testimonies, and firsthand narratives from inner-circle NXIVM members, she traces the downfall of NXIVM ... Berman demonstrates the tactics cults use to manipulate and control without casting judgment or blame on the victims. Truly gripping, this is the definitive book on NXIVM.
RaveBooklistMoore’s expert research and impassioned storytelling combine to create an absolutely unputdownable account of Packard’s harrowing experience. Readers will be shocked, horrified, and inspired. A veritable tour de force about how far women’s rights have come and how far we still have to go.
Nancy Jo Sales
RaveBooklistA breath of fresh air, she doesn’t hold back when it comes to critiquing online dating, and she shares her own experience with equally brutal honesty. Sales nails the confounding ordeal of grappling with singledom and COVID-19 at the same time, a unique aspect of this book that will resonate with many readers. Relatable, hilarious, heart-breaking, and eye-opening, Nothing Personal is an updated Sex and the City.
PositiveBooklistUsing Fodor’s original papers, Summerscale has produced a thoroughly engrossing tale about the power of trauma and how the past can haunt us all.
Audrey Clare Farley
RaveBooklistFarley takes creative license to set the scene and craft conversations, a method that creates an extremely readable narrative. She goes beyond Ann’s story to include the voices of Black, Indigenous, Latina, and poor white women forcibly sterilized throughout modern history—segments that very well could have been expanded into their own book. Given the allegations of forced sterilization at ICE detention centers in 2020, this book is as timely as ever. A gripping tale about the atrocity of systematic reproductive control.
RaveBooklistStories of Jewish women who resisted the Nazi regime have been woefully neglected in modern history ... Batalion spent years researching, pouring over memoirs and testimonies, and even meeting with the women’s children. The result is a harrowing record of the resiliency of the human spirit and the power of female friendship. An important work, sure to become part of the WWII canon.
PositiveBooklistSweig utilizes these prodigious entries to produce a genuine biography that fully covers Lady Bird’s lasting impact on the Johnson administration and the nation. A refreshingly readable and elucidating portrait of a remarkable woman.
PositiveBooklistRipped from the headlines, this book is sure to be a crowd-pleaser with nonfiction readers. It is a juicy and engrossing indictment of privilege gone awry.
Mitchell James Kaplan
PositiveBooklistKaplan delicately stitches together the notes of Gershwin and Swift’s nontraditional love song with the constant, glamorous hum of the Roaring Twenties playing in the background. Snappy dialogue and lush prose bring the Jazz Age to life as Kaplan takes readers from Harlem rent parties to the stage lights of Broadway ... Kaplan also uses the historical setting and characters to briefly explore conversations about topics that remain relevant today, particularly antisemitism and the appropriation of Black culture by white people for artistic gain. A sumptuous fictional account of a complex real-life romance, this book will stick in readers’ heads like the melody of a favorite ballad.
PositiveBooklistVronsky cuts to the core of American culture at that time and theorizes its contribution to the explosion of multiple murderers. Young men raised by parents traumatized from the Great Depression and World War II, seduced by graphic images of rape and domination easily available in men’s adventure and true detective magazines, and then tossed into the uncertainty and chaos of Vietnam: it was the perfect recipe for a generation of homicidal maniacs. Thoroughly researched and highly detailed, Vronsky’s analysis of the \'golden age\' of serial killers is an essential true crime reference work.
PositiveBooklist... heartwarming ... Ryan exquisitely captures the realities of wartime domesticity, including period-accurate recipes. She delivers an inspiring tale about the unbreakable bonds of family, the importance of friendship, and the resilience of the female spirit. A positively uplifting read that is as soothing as a warm cup of Earl Grey on a gloomy morning.
Christine Leigh Heyrman
PositiveBooklistHeyrman’s exhaustive account of this doomed romance deftly probes the sexual politics of nineteenth-century religion and its place in the country’s culture at large. Recommended for readers interested in religious history.
PositiveBooklist... [an] intriguing intersection of history, science, and the macabre ... Rosenbloom’s passion for the topic is infused in each page, making for a captivating read.
PositiveBooklistMiller navigates the delicate intricacies of the case with compassion and respect for all involved, never losing his focus on Ashley and Lauria. Harrowing, beautifully written, and filled with unexpected twists, readers won’t be able to put down this book until they reach the very last word. A new true-crime classic that is sure to engross fans of the genre.
PositiveBooklistDubbs...delivers a rousing narrative of adventurous women, passionate about their careers, who broke free from oppressive gender norms to accomplish their goals. Hand this book to World War I aficionados and casual history buffs.
PositiveBooklistWeinman...has carefully curated a collection of tales about murder, mayhem, and other misdeeds that will transfix voracious true crime consumers ...As a whole, these tales reflect on and seek to understand society’s insatiable appetite for crime stories. This anthology is essential reading for all true crime fans.
RaveBooklist...intriguing ... The research is concrete, and the writing is infused with sly humor. Harkup serves a delectable stew of history, science, and wit that is sure to sate the appetite of any Anglophile.
PositiveBooklist... a shockingly captivating history of the census ... While fans of microhistories will certainly pick up this title, the impending 2020 Census will attract even more readers.
PositiveBooklistGoldfarb was selected as Lee’s official biographer by her family and was given full access to the family’s papers. Thorough research helps him paint a captivating portrait of a feminist hero and forensic pioneer. A stand-out addition to any library’s true-crime collection.
Emma Copley Eisenberg
RaveBooklistThe book is more than just another true crime memoir; Eisenberg has crafted a beautiful and complicated ode to West Virginia. Exquisitely written, this is a powerful commentary on society’s notions of gender, violence, and rural America. Readers of literary nonfiction will devour this title in one sitting.
PositiveBooklistHelpfully, the book includes a handy guide to the differences between Thomas Paine and the rapper T-Pain. Mobituaries are not just limited to people—one of the best entries is dedicated to the station wagon. Impeccably researched, this book is packed with facts that are sure to give you a leg up at pub trivia ... Authors Rocca and Greenberg have written a delightful, hilarious romp through history. Put this book in the hands of history buffs or anyone who loves a good laugh.
PositiveFiction Writers Review[These] stories are linked...by hardship. Women grapple with varieties of abandonment and betrayal—from absent fathers and abusive suitors to the gentrification of their neighborhoods and the theft of their ancestors’ remains. Their relationship to place is rich and complicated ... Kali Fajardo-Anstine[\'s]...gritty and tender debut gives voice to so many women whose stories are rarely heard, and that’s another way the book’s title functions—to announce upfront whose stories these are.
PositiveFiction Writers Review\"These stories are dark, aberrant, and garish, in the lovely way that Muriel Spark’s The Driver’s Seat is dark, aberrant, and garish, but what is more striking is how deeply observant and compassionate Meijer is with her characters, even the worst of them. Striking too is her prose, which is studded with beautiful, searing lines ... Maryse Meijer’s Rag asks us to pay closer attention to the everyday stuff of our lives—from mundane objects to less tangible things such as pain, loneliness, desire, and masculinity—to how we use these things, how we render them into weapons.\