New Nonfiction Books – August 2009

The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal Ben Mezrich, 338.761 MEZ 2009 – Two Harvard undergraduates looking for a way to win social success, hacked into the university’s computer system.  The framework for Facebook was born in a Harvard dorm room.

The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us and What We Can Do About It Joshua Cooper Ramo, 973.931 RAM 2009 – How to thrive in a world of unpredictability.

American Passage: The History of Ellis Island Vincent J. Cannato, 325.7 CAN 2009 – Between 1892 to 1924 over twelve million immigrants passed through the gates at Ellis Island.

And Then the Roof Caved In: How Wall Street’s Greed and Stupidity Brought Capitalism to Its Knees David Faber, 332.63 FAB 2009 – The author relates the story behind the economic crisis: the defining theme of which has been greed, coupled with the regulatory failure of the government.

Busted: Life Inside the Great Mortgage Meltdown Edmund L. Andrews, 332.722 AND 2009 – Even as a New York Times economics reporter, the author succumbed to the temptation of subprime lending and became part of the economic catastrophe.

Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle Chris Hedges, 302.23 HED 2009 – The author asserts that a culture that cannot distinguish between reality and illusion dies; the society that retreats into fantasy will eventually turn to demagogues and charlatans.

Escape from Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur Pamela Slim,658.11 SLI 2009 – How to make a getaway from the corporate grind.

The Evolution of God Robert Wright, 200.9 WRI 2009 – The author presents a sweeping journey through history and the development of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of ‘08 and the Descent Into Depression Richard A. Posner, 330.973 POS 2009 – The author presents a non-technical examination of the current financial disaster and the efforts to cope with it.

Halfway to Heaven: My White-knuckled and Knuckleheaded Quest for the Rocky Mountain High Mark Obmascik, 796.522 OMB  2009 – A look inside the culture of the mountaineering obsessives who try scaling all 54 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains in one year, to become part of an elite group known as the  Fourteneers.

Holy Roller: Finding Redemption and the Holy Ghost in a Forgotten Texas Church Julie Lyons, 289.9 LYO 2009 – An inspiring story of a journalists firsthand investigation into the results of faith and prayer in the lives of society’s overlooked people.

Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan Doug Stanton, 958.1047 STA 2009 – The dramatic account of a small band of Special Forces soldiers who secretly entered Afghanistan following 9/11 and rode to war on horses against the Taliban.

How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In Jim Collins, 338.7 COL 2009 – Every institution is vulnerable to decline, but it can be avoided. By the author of Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t.

How Rome Fell Adrian Goldsworthy, 937.09 GOL 2009 – During the second century, the Roman Empire controlled most of the known world.  By the end of the fifth century, the empire had disintegrated, a shadow of its former might.

The Language of Things: Understanding the World of Desirable Objects Dyan Sudjic, 745.401 SUD 2009 – An informative look at the intersection between art, design, and commerce.

The Last Best Hope: Restoring Conservatism and America’s Promise Joe Scarborough, 320.52 SCA 2009 – A new take on the nation’s political and economic situation.

Packing the Court: The Rise of Judicial Power and the Coming Crisis of the Supreme Court James MacGregor Burns, 347.7326 BUR 2009 – A penetrating look at the nation’s top court by a noted author.

Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day Daryl Collins,, 339.46 POR 2009 – About 40% of the world’s people live on incomes of $2.00 a day or less. How do the poor find solutions to living on such an amount? A thoughtful report on the “bottom billion.”

Renegade: The Making of a President Richard Wolffe, 324.973 WOL 2009 – The story of how a political newcomer with no money became the world’s most powerful leader.

Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon Craig Nelson, 629.45 NEL 2009 – The dramatic story of the first trip to the moon aboard the 30-story-high Apollo II-Saturn V spaceship.

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work Matthew B. Crawford, 331 CRA 2009 – The author discusses the experience that was once quite common: the activity of making and fixing things with our hands.

Soul Survivor: The Reincarnation of a World War II Fighter Pilot Bruce and Andrea Leininger, 133.90135 LEI 2009 – The parents of James Leininger were puzzled and disturbed by the nightmares their two-year-old son was having.  They set out on a journey of discovery that led to one conclusion.

Stay Close: A Mother’s Story of Her Son’s Addiction Libby Cataldi, 362.29 CAT 2009 – The poignant story of a mother’s love and her struggles with her son’s drug addiction.

Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played L. Jon Wertheim, 796.342 WER 2009 – All the details of the classic tennis match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on July 6, 2008.

The Third Reich at War Richard J. Evans, 940.53 EVA 2009 – A narrative of the war along with the personal stories from a wide range of people during the rise and demise of German military might.

The Whole Five Feet: What the Great Books Taught Me About Life, Death, and Pretty Much Everything Else Christopher R. Beha, 011.73 BEH 2009 – The Harvard Classics were compiled a century ago by Charles Eliot.  The author decides to revisit these classic books over the course of a year.

You Are Here: Why We Can Find Our Way to the Moon, but Get Lost in the Mall Colin Ellard, 153.752 ELL 2009 – How has modern culture become so directionally challenged?