Nonfiction of Note: Five Titles Not To Miss This Month | Wyatt’s World

The perspective, enlightenment, and pleasure found in the pages of well-crafted nonfiction are just a few of the reasons many patrons seek the Dewey side of the stacks. May offers a number of notable nonfiction choices to please these readers. Here are but five titles focused upon perennially popular subjects. Birdmen

  • Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle To Control the Skies by Lawrence Goldstone (Ballantine).
    Rich in story and character, Goldstone’s book traces the early history of aeronautics, chiefly the bitter rivalry between the Wrights and their chief competition Glenn Curtiss. Other larger-than-life figures populate the pages as well, as Goldstone paints a sharp account of what it took—and what it cost—for humans to take to the skies.
  • Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation by Blake J. Harris (It:HarperCollins).
    The evolution of video games and the battle for dominance among rival companies form the core of Harris’s engaging and detailed social and corporate history of the 1990s video game scene. While focusing primarily on upstart Sega and dominant Nintendo, Harris also explores the arrival of Sony and the wider history of the gaming industry in full.
  • The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery by Sam Kean (Little, Brown).
    How did scientists figure out how the brain works? By studying a man who survived getting a spike through his head and by deciphering how trauma changes personality. In Kean’s capable hands, the early years of neurosurgery become a fascinating canvas upon which such stories unfold.
  • Supreme City: How Jazz Age Manhattan Gave Birth to Modern America by Donald L. Miller (S. & S.).
    Manhattan in the 1920s is brought to vivid life in a sweeping account of Midtown—that small space replete with clubs, skyscrapers, theaters, and department stores. Chock-full of the characters that made the city, from the famous to the infamous to the everyday, Miller’s social history is deeply engrossing and well captures the vibrant feel of the era.
  • The Long Shadow: The Legacies of the Great War in the Twentieth Century by David Reynolds (Norton).
    This year marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, and there can be little better guide to the consequences of that war than award winner Reynolds. He explores what the Great War came to mean and how it has shaped the history, art, and politics that followed in its wake.
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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at