Brian Hare started on a journey to find out what makes humans human by doing cognitive tests with some of our closest relatives: chimps. That was until he realized his dog Oreo could also complete some of these cognitive tests. Hare's globetrotting research will blow away even the dog lovers who see the genius of dogs everyday. Don't be fooled into thinking this is just a dog book though; in exploring the genius of dogs Hare discovers that the answer to being human may lie in places we don't expect. - Drew
In what is technically a novel, Laurent Binet tells the story of the two Czechoslovakian parachutists (one Czech, one Slovak) who pulled off the most daring assassination of World War II. These two brave men were able to take down one of the most powerful men in Hitler's regime, Reinhard Heydrich. The title, HHhH, comes from a German phrase of the time which translates to "Himmler's brain is called Heydrich." At the same time, Binet explores the idea of writing historical fiction, and agonizes about how to honor these two brave souls by telling their story accurately. Amazing! - Sarah B.
Without Joe Hill there would be no Woodie Guthrie, Utah Phillips or Bob Dylan. Without Joe Hill, the Wobblies of the IWW would not have had the widespread influence they enjoyed in the early 20th century. Joe Hill is an American hero, unjustly executed by the state of Utah, and one we should never forget - especially now as unions come under attack as never before. When you punch out after 8 hours, or take two days off on the weekend, think of Joe Hill and that famous song: "...I never died said he." - Sarah B.
You know that rare friend you have who is never boring? The one always sharing some new information, making you laugh, pointing out coincidences and strange people? Reading Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan is like hanging out with that person. In fact, I wish Sullivan was my friend and I could call him up for a coffee right now! Whether he's writing about Axel Rose, the near death of his brother, ancient cave art in Tennessee, meeting Bunny Wailer, or having a TV show filmed in his house, Sullivan is extremely witty, insightful and entertaining. It's lucky to meet a great friend, and you will feel lucky to have found Pulphead! - Sarah B.
When Julia Scheeres started to do research for a novel she wanted to write about a religious cult, she knew the Jonestown Massacre would provide relevant material. But as she looked into the recently released FBI and CIA files on Jim Jones and his church, The People's Temple, she realized that this was the story she needed to tell. A Thousand Lives is an amazing book not just because of Scheeres impeccable research, but because she tells the story from the perspective of individual Temple members. She shows us how a diverse group of 918 people fell under Jones’ spell—moving with him to Guyana, dying for him— and how only a lucky few survived. - Sarah B.
This story is almost too crazy to believe! In the wake of Katrina, a lampshade made of human skin is discovered in New Orleans. Author Mark Jacobson comes into possession of this horrifying object, and starts investigating its origins. Through the mystery of the lampshade, he tells a story of the Holocaust, New Orleans, Katrina, and Israel. For readers who loved The Orchid Thief and Devil in the White City, and for fans of Jon Krakauer, comes an amazing work of nonfiction not to be missed! - Sarah B.
As an English major, I think every history book should be this well-written. As someone who believes that history is written by the victors, I think Galeano has made an extremely important contribution to human history -- one that represents the oppressed and marginalized. But most importantly, as a human being I wish that everyone would read this book and really think about the sometimes beautiful and sometimes horrifying world we live in. - Sarah B.