Leslie at Regular Rumination and Kim over at Sophisticated Dorkiness are hosting Nonfiction November this month, an entire month devoted to everything nonfiction! My reading is heavily skewed towards nonfiction, although I am making an effort to read more fiction which I have been more successful with this year then in years past. Still, I loved nonfiction! The topic for this week is: Nonfiction Favorite(s): What is your favorite piece of nonfiction? Or, if you can’t pick just one, share several of your best nonfiction reads.
This one is easy! For several years my favorite nonfiction book has been: The Captured: A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier by Scott Zesch. Here’s the summary: On New Year’s Day in 1870, ten-year-old Adolph Korn was kidnapped by an Apache raiding party. Traded to Comaches, he thrived in the rough, nomadic existence, quickly becoming one of the tribe’s fiercest warriors. Forcibly returned to his parents after three years, Korn never adjusted to life in white society. He spent his last years in a cave, all but forgotten by his family. That is, until Scott Zesch stumbled over his own great-great-great uncle’s grave. Determined to understand how such a “good boy” could have become Indianized so completely, Zesch travels across the west, digging through archives, speaking with Comanche elders, and tracking eight other child captives from the region with hauntingly similar experiences. With a historians rigor and a novelists eye, Zesch paints a vivid portrait of life on the Texas frontier, offering a rare account of captivity.
To be honest, I am not sure exactly why this book is my favorite, out of all the wonderful nonfiction books I’ve read. Yes, the writing is great and the book reads like a novel. But so are many of the other nonfiction books I’ve read. Maybe it’s because of the subject; I love anything related to Native American history, culture, and issues. But I’ve also read many other wonderful books about Native Americans. So, I am not sure why I return to this book once every two years or so. But I do, and each time I read it I am moved and take away a little more. I’ve read many other great and illuminating nonfiction books but this one has a special place in my heart. Zesch has written one other nonfiction book and a novel but I have not read either of them. I think I am afraid that his other books might not live up to the magic that this book has for me but I do plan to getting around to them. Eventually.
Another nonfiction book very near and dear to my heart is A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara W. Tuchman. Academics have never been fond of this book, although I have never found out exactly why. It is thoroughly researched and highly entertaining. A fascinating look at life in the late middle ages. My copy, originally my dad’s, is falling apart at the seams so I really need to get a new copy, which of course would be a great excuse to reread it!
I’m so excited for this month and this event! What are your favorite nonfiction books?