100 Best Nonfiction Books

Time Magazine has just revealed their list of the 100 Best Nonfiction Books. The list is comprised of their choices of the most influential nonfiction books written in English since 1923 (when Time Magazine first published), and are taken from all categories, including biorgraphy, history, politcs, health, business, sports and culture. While lists like these are always subject to debate, it is certainly a starting point for some great reading. Although the Library doesn't own every title, a majority can be found throughout our various collections:

Autobiography / Memoir

The autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein

Black boy: (American hunger): a record of childhood and youth by Richard Wright; with a forward by Edward P. Jones

Dreams from my father: a story of race and inheritance by Barack Obama

A heartbreaking work of staggering genius by Dave Eggers

I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou

Manchild in the promised land by Claude Brown

Maus: a survivor's tale. Vol. 1. My father bleeds history by Art Spiegelman

A moveable feast by Ernest Hemingway

Notes of a native son by Baldwin, James, 1924-

On writing: a memoir of the craft by Stephen King

Speak, memory: an autobiography revisited by Vladimir Nabokov

A walk in the woods: rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson


The autobiography of Malcolm X by with the assistance of Alex Haley; introduction by M.S. Handler; epilogue by Alex Haley; afterword by Ossie Davis

The last lion, Winston Spencer Churchill. [Vol. 2.] Alone, 1932-1940 by William Manchester

The power broker: Robert Moses and the fall of New York by Robert A. Caro


Fast food nation: the dark side of the all-American meal by Eric Schlosser

The general theory of employment, interest, and money by John Maynard Keynes

How to win friends & influence people by Dale Carnegie; editorial consultant, Dorothy Carnegie; editorial assistance, Arthur R. Pell

No logo: no space, no choice, no jobs by Naomi Klein

What color is your parachute? 2012: a practical manual for job-hunters and career-changers by Richard N. Bolles


The story of art by E.H. Gombrich


A room of one's own by Virginia Woolf; foreword by Mary Gordon

A supposedly fun thing I'll never do again: essays and arguments by David Foster Wallace

Food Writing

Mastering the art of French cooking. Volume 1 by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck; illustrations by Sidonie Coryn

The omnivore's dilemma: a natural history of four meals by Michael Pollan


Baby and child care by Benjamin Spock and Michael B. Rothenberg; consultants, Lawrence R. Berger, Kathryn A. Mikesell; illustrations by Dorothea Fox

The joy of sex by Alex Comfort

Sexual behavior in the human male by Alfred C. Kinsey, Wardell B. Pomeroy, Clyde E. Martin

Sexual behavior in the human female by Kinsey, Alfred C. (Alfred Charles), 1894-1956

Our bodies, ourselves: a new edition for a new era by the Boston Women's Health Book Collective


The best and the brightest by David Halberstam

Bury my heart at Wounded Knee: an Indian history of the American West by Dee Brown

Carry me home: Birmingham, Alabama: the climactic battle of the civil rights revolution by Diane McWhorter

The fatal shore by Robert Hughes

The gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels

A people's history of the United States: 1492-present by Howard Zinn

The rise and fall of the Third Reich: a history of Nazi Germany by y William L. Shirer


The closing of the American mind: how higher education has failed democracy and impoverished the souls of today's students by Allan Bloom

Gödel, Escher, Bach: an eternal golden braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter

The hero with a thousand faces by Joseph Campbell

Orientalism by Edward W. Said

A theory of justice by John Rawls

Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

Nonfiction Novels

The electric kool-aid acid test by Tom Wolfe

The executioner's song by Norman Mailer

In cold blood: a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences by Truman Capote

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen


All the President's men [by] Carl Bernstein [and] Bob Woodward by Bernstein, Carl, 1944-

The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order by Samuel P. Huntington

The making of the president, 1960 by Theodore H. White

The origins of totalitarianism by Arendt, Hannah

The paranoid style in American politics, and other essays by Richard Hofstadter; foreword by Sean Wilentz

What it takes: the way to the White House by Richard Ben Cramer


A brief history of time: from the big bang to black holes by Stephen W. Hawking; introduction by Carl Sagan; illustrations by Ron Miller

Coming of age in Samoa: a psychological study of primitive youth for western civilisation by Margaret Mead

The double helix: a personal account of the discovery of the structure of DNA by James D. Watson; [introduction by Sylvia Nasar]

The emperor of all maladies: a biography of cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

The lives of a cell; notes of a biology watcher by Thomas, Lewis, 1913-

The selfish gene by Richard Dawkins

Silent spring by Rachel Carson; introduction by Linda Lear; afterword by Edward O. Wilson; [drawings by Lois and Louis Darling]

The structure of scientific revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn

Self-Help / Instructional

Alcoholics Anonymous: the story of how many thousands of men and women have recovered from alcoholism

The elements of style by William Strunk, Jr.; with revisions, an introd., and a chapter on writing by E. B. White

Social History

The American way of death revisited by Jessica Mitford

Animal liberation by Peter Singer

The beauty myth: how images of beauty are used against women by Naomi Wolf

The feminine mystique by Betty Friedan; introduction by Anna Quindlen

Guns, germs, and steel: the fates of human societies by Jared Diamond

Nickel and dimed: on (not) getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

The other America: poverty in the United States by Michael Harrington; with a new introduction by Irving Howe

Why we can't wait by Martin Luther King, Jr.; with an afterword by Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

Working by Studs Terkel


Ball four: the final pitch by Jim Bouton


The Civil War, a narrative by Shelby Foote

Dispatches by Michael Herr

Hiroshima by John Hersey

The looming tower: Al-Qaeda and the road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright