5 Nonfiction Books I Loved, What They Were About, and What I Learned from Them

Title: Nothing Like It In The World by Stephan E. Ambrose

Subject: The Transcontinental Railroad

Random Thing I Learned: I liked hearing about the politics behind the funding/placement of the railway, but the thing that stuck most with me was the stories of the workers and how different they were. The Irish went on strike and tore up the whole camp. The Chinese went on strike by sitting calmly in their tents and not doing anything.

Also, they didn't get scurvy and other sicknesses because they weren't drinking the water like everyone else. They made tea! Which meant they boiled the water first...

How It Changed Me: I will now have conversations about the transcontinental railroad. Don't bring it up or I will chatter away until you have to chew your own leg off to escape.

Title: Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goldman

Subject: Emotions. What they are, how they work, how they effect us

Random Thing I Learned: So many things about emotions and nerves. But nothing really stands out.

How It Changed Me: It's really hard for me to lose my temper now... Because I have this understanding of how emotions work, I'm sitting there logically thinking, "Wow. You're getting angry."

And it's kind of hard to be lose your temper when you're logically sitting there looking at yourself.

Title: Spycraft by Robert Wallace and H. Keith Melton

Subject: Spy gadgets and the people who made them

Random Thing I Learned: They used dead freeze dried rats as dead drops in Russia during the Cold War.

How It Changed Me: It didn't really change me. Like "Nothing Like It In the World," I now just have a lot of useless information. I read this after The Gallagher Girls and my small spy obsession phase. I still love spies, but its a bit more muted now. The Cold War is still my favorite time period to learn about.

Title: American Lion

Subject: Andrew Jackson

Random Thing I Learned: I didn't know that the southern states were already talking about succeeding when Andrew Jackson was president.

How It Changed Me: I thought of Andrew Jackson as "Early American History." and the Civil War as entirely unconnected things. Now I know that history all blurs together and blends from one time period to the other.

Title: Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger

Subject:  The first Barbary War

Random Thing I Learned: The government of Tripoli declared war on America/cut diplomatic ties and sent a bunch of men over to the American embassy to chop down their flag pole. They tried for hours to cut through it, but weren't making very good progress. So they tried to pull down the 1/2 chopped pole, but that didn't work. It took them hours to get it to finally fall and when it did, it leaned up against the embassy building instead of crashing dramatically into the dust like they'd wanted.

How It Changed Me: It didn't. I just know a lot about the Barbary war and the politics behind the building of the navy.

The Non Fiction I Want To Read Next:

Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky

What about you? Do you read non-fiction? What is something random you learned from a book?



  1. I don't read a lot of nonfiction, but I'd like to. I think the one you mentioned about emotions sounds pretty cool. I'm going to have to check that one out. :D

  2. These all sound interesting, I think the last nonfiction book I read was a writing one.

  3. I'm not a huge nonfiction reader, but I do try to read some. Usually, it's a writing book or something about the history of words and/or grammar. The Emotional Intelligence one sounds interesting! Nice summary!

  4. These are all sounds good. I'm looking forward to reading all of these.

  5. This was really interesting MK, I'll have to look into a couple of them!

  6. I love reading non-fiction books too and I like to read all of these. Thanks!