Non-fiction

Autobiography, Biography, History, Anthropology, Christian, Travel, Sociology, Political Essay, War, Medical, Botany, Biology, Horology, Theology, Collected Columns…

 

 

 A

 

LEVI, Primo   

If This Is A Man     1947     Autobiography

Potent witness testimony of eleven months in Auschwitz

 

FEYNMAN, Richard (ed. Ralph Leighton)     

Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman    1985     Non-Fiction - Biography

A total pleasure. Deservedly an instant classic

 

REMARQUE, Erich Maria       

All Quiet on the Western Front     1929     War/Autobiography

Powerful. Awful. Profound.

 

 A-

 

DURRELL, Gerald      

My Family and Other Animals      1956     Biology/Autobiography

Amusing recollections of an animal mad kid about his eccentric family

 

 B+

 

ADAMS, Douglas & Carwardine, Mark

Last Chance to See     1990     Biology/Travel

Engaging narration of endangered species and their protectors

 

BRYSON, Bill 

A Walk in the Woods       1997     Travel

Able narrative, good mix of research and humour

 

At Home    2010     History

Researching and cherry-picking interesting snippets of 19th English lifestyle

 

DAHL, Roald        

Boy      1984     Autobiography

Interesting, brief, readable autobiography of his childhood

 

DIAZ, Bernal  

The Conquest of New Spain   1570    History

Incredible eye-witness account of Cortez’ conquest

 

FLANNERY, Tim   

Throwim Way Leg      1998     Biology/Anthropology

Interesting PNG treks: biology and anthropology

 

HERRIOT, James

If Only They Could Talk    1970     Autobiography/Biology

Light and formulaic, but charming and amusing country vet recollections

 

Let Sleeping Vets Lie 1973     Autobiography/Biology

Light and formulaic, but charming and amusing country vet recollections

 

Every Living Thing     1992     Autobiography/Biology

Light and formulaic, but charming and amusing country vet recollections

 

GRIFFIN, William 

C.S. Lewis - The Authentic Voice       1986     Biography

Interesting vignettes from all the years of Lewis’ life from age twenty-seven

 

MILLIGAN, Spike

Adolf Hitler – My Part in His Downfall (1st of his War Memoirs)     1971     Autobiography/Humour

Silly drunken licentious farting about in basic training

 

ORWELL, George

The Road to Wigan Pier    1937     Autobiography/Sociology

Orwell’s personal testimony about miners, India, and marketing socialism

 

SOBEL, Dava       

Longitude 1995     NF: Biography/Science History

Capable account of interesting history

 

WARD, Geoffrey C.    

The West   1996     History

Fascinating illustrated individual stories in the American west since the 17th century

 

WAKE, Nancy 

The White Mouse 1985     Non-Fiction (Autobiography)

WW2 Australian woman in French resistance: amazing story, prosaic narration

 

YUN, Brother with HATTAWAY, Paul      

The Heavenly Man      2002     Autobiography/Christian

Contemporary miracles, brutal persecution, and mass conversions in China

 

 B

 

ALBOM, Mitch

Tuesdays With Morrie       1997     Biography/Self-Help

A nice book more than a challenging or inspiring one

 

CHABON, Michael

Manhood For Amateurs    2009     Collected Columns

Able, seductive, pretentious

 

COOK, Peter (Cook, William – Ed.)   

Tragically I was an Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook     2002     Humour/Biography

Some great moments, but better as a DVD

 

DAWSON, Norma      

An Ordinary Woman with an Extraordinary God       2004     Autobiography/Christian

Honest summary rather than evocative interpretation

 

DICKSON, John   

A Hell of a Life      1997     Christian Teen Apologetic

Contrived apologetics, but at least an attempt to connect

 

GUNDRY, Stanley (Ed.)     

Five Views on Sanctification        1987     Theology

Able, clear, but not life-changing

 

HITCHENS, Peter

The Rage Against God      2010    

Small personal epilogue more powerful than nostalgia and argument

 

JAMES, Clive

Unreliable Memoirs    1980     Autobiography

 Very readable style, includes some discomforting seedy juvenile recollections

 

McGRATH, Alister (with COLLICUTT McGRATH, Joanna)

The Dawkins Delusion      2007     NF / Theology

Able, reasonable, readable

 

YANCEY, Philip

Disappointment with God       1988     Christian

Honest but still requires as much faith as it offers

 

 B-

 

DURRELL, Gerald      

Encounters with Animals       1958     Natural History

Video overwhelms text (here anyway)

 

HARVEY, Miles

The Island of Lost Maps    2000     History/Crime

Island of content in an ocean of padding

 

HAWKS, Tony      

Round Ireland with a Fridge   1998     Travel/Humour

Whimsical comedian travelogue. Not as many chuckles as the Moldovans sequel

 

SACKS, Oliver           

The Island of the Colour-blind      1996     Travel (Medical; Botany)

Sacks is only as good as his content. This isn’t good content.

 

WILLIAMS, Donna     

Nobody Nowhere  1992     Autobiography

One tough story more than insight into autism

 

 

 C+

 

JAMES, Clive

Snakecharmers in Texas   1980-88      Essays

Limited audience pieces (with a use-by)

 

POSTMAN, Neil   

Amusing Ourselves to Death 1984     Social Commentary

Some valid attacks on TV undermined by absurd bias

 

 C

 

FARRAR, Steve    

Point Man       1990     Christian

Generally OK Christian advice wrapped in offensive glossy & stupid theory

 

 D

 

DUNBAR, Robin   

Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language    1996     Anthropology

Ignorant, smug, crackpot pre-historical anthropology