Non-Fiction That Reads Like Fiction: Part 2

Part 2 is here with more narrative non-fiction books! From the divas of Egypt's roaring 20's to a 4,000 mile journey into the Alaskan wilds to the natural history heist of the century, these true stories will have you reading late into the night. If you missed part 1, definitely check it out here. Enjoy!

For more book recommendations, make sure to follow us on social media @thirdplacebooks and @thirdplacebookskids!

Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am Cover Image

Glamour, danger, liberation: in a Mad Men–era of commercial flight, Pan Am World Airways attracted the kind of young woman who wanted out, and wanted up

Required to have a college education, speak two languages, and possess the political savvy of a Foreign Service officer, a jet-age stewardess serving on iconi


Midnight in Cairo: The Divas of Egypt's Roaring '20s Cover Image

A vibrant portrait of the talented and entrepreneurial women who defined an era in Cairo.


The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story Cover Image

The #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, named one of the best books of the year by The Boston Globe and National Geographic: acclaimed journalist Douglas Preston takes readers on a true adventure deep into the Honduran rainforest in this riveting narrative about the discovery of a lost civilization -- culminating in a stunning medical mystery.


Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao's Revolution Cover Image

The dramatic real life stories of four young people caught up in the mass exodus of Shanghai in the wake of China’s 1949 Communist revolution—a heartrending precursor to the struggles faced by emigrants today. 


The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia Cover Image

“[A] superb history.... In these thrilling, highly readable pages, we meet Rasputin, the shaggy, lecherous mystic...; we visit the gilded ballrooms of the doomed aristocracy; and we pause in the sickroom of little Alexei, the hemophiliac heir who, with his parents and four sisters, would be murdered by the Bolsheviks in 1918.” —The Wall Street Journal
 


Staff Pick Badge
The Daughters of Kobani: A Story of Rebellion, Courage, and Justice Cover Image

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

The extraordinary story of the women who took on the Islamic State and won


Lord of All the Dead: A Nonfiction Novel Cover Image

In this deeply personal work of historical interrogation, Javier Cercas—“the bard of [the] movement for the recovery of Spain’s suppressed memory” (The New York Times Book Review)—unpacks the legacy of the Spanish Civil War by way of his own family’s history.


D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II Cover Image

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The dramatic, untold history of the heroic women recruited by Britain’s elite spy agency to help pave the way for Allied victory in World War II


Lady in Waiting: My Extraordinary Life in the Shadow of the Crown Cover Image

Discover untold secrets with this extraordinary memoir of drama and tragedy by Anne Glenconner—a close member of the royal circle and lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret. 

Anne Glenconner has been at the center of the royal circle from childhood, when she met and befriended the future Queen Elizabeth II and her sister, the Princess Margaret.


Silver, Sword, and Stone: Three Crucibles in the Latin American Story Cover Image

Winner, American Library Association Booklist’s Top of the List, 2019 Adult Nonfiction

Acclaimed writer Marie Arana delivers a cultural history of Latin America and the three driving forces that have shaped the character of the region: exploitation (silver), violence (sword), and religion (stone).


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The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of the Donner Party Cover Image

From the #1 bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat and Facing the Mountain comes an unforgettable epic of family, tragedy, and survival on the American frontier


The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women Cover Image

A New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon Charts Bestseller


Staff Pick Badge
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Cover Image

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The story of modern medicine and bioethics—and, indeed, race relations—is refracted beautifully, and movingly.”—Entertainment Weekly


The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine Cover Image

New York Times Bestseller

"Janice P. Nimura has resurrected Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell in all their feisty, thrilling, trailblazing splendor." —Stacy Schiff


A Most Beautiful Thing: The True Story of America's First All-Black High School Rowing Team Cover Image

Now a documentary narrated by Common, produced by Grant Hill, Dwyane Wade, and 9th Wonder, from filmmaker Mary Mazzio

The moving true story of a group of young men growing up on Chicago's West side who form the first all-Black high school rowing team in the nation, and in doing so not only transform a sport, but their lives.


Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life Cover Image

**Winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography**

Included in President Obama’s 2016 Summer Reading List

“Without a doubt, the finest surf book I’ve ever read . . . ” —The New York Times Magazine


Running with Sherman: How a Rescue Donkey Inspired a Rag-tag Gang of Runners to Enter the Craziest Race in America Cover Image

"A delight, full of heart and hijinks and humor." --John Grogan, author of Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog


Crossing the Line: A Fearless Team of Brothers and the Sport That Changed Their Lives Forever Cover Image

"A marvelous addition to the literature of inspirational sports stories." - Booklist (Starred Review)

"This remarkable and inspiring story shines." - Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)


The Club: How the English Premier League Became the Wildest, Richest, Most Disruptive Force in Sports Cover Image

The Club is the inside story of how English soccer’s Premier League became the wildest, richest, most popular sports product on the planet, "a narrative that is part Great Expectations, part Game of Thrones, in equal measure." (Roger Bennett, NBC Sports, Men in Blazers)
 
This is a sports and business tale of how money, ambition, and twenty-five


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The Sun Is a Compass: My 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds Cover Image

For fans of Cheryl Strayed, the gripping story of a biologist's human-powered journey from the Pacific Northwest to the Arctic to rediscover her love of birds, nature, and adventure.


Staff Pick Badge
Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived Cover Image

A captivating true story of loyalty, friendship, and high adventure that spans several decades and three continents, Modoc is one of the most remarkable true stories ever told, perfect for fans of The Zookeeper's Wife or Water for Elephants.


Stronghold: One Man's Quest to Save the World's Wild Salmon Cover Image

PNBA BESTSELLER • “A powerful and inspiring story. Guido Rahr’s mission to save the wild Pacific salmon leads him into adventures that make for a breathtakingly exciting read.”—Ian Frazier, author of Travels in Siberia


The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century Cover Image

As heard on NPR's This American Life

“Absorbing . . . Though it's non-fiction, The Feather Thief contains many of the elements of a classic thriller.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air

“One of the most peculiar and memorable true-crime books ever.” —Christian Science Monitor


Flight of the Diamond Smugglers: A Tale of Pigeons, Obsession, and Greed Along Coastal South Africa Cover Image

“Unforgettable. . . . An outstanding adventure in its lyrical, utterly compelling, and heartbreaking investigations of the world of diamond smuggling.” —Aimee Nezhukumatathil


The Woman Who Stole Vermeer: The True Story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough House Art Heist Cover Image

The extraordinary life and crimes of heiress-turned-revolutionary Rose Dugdale, who in 1974 became the only woman to pull off a major art heist.

In the world of crime, there exists an unusual commonality between those who steal art and those who repeatedly kill: they are almost exclusively male.


The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage and a Girl Saved by Bees Cover Image

An unforgettable story about finding home in the most unusual of places, and how a tiny, little-understood insect could save a life.


Uncanny Valley: A Memoir Cover Image

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF 2020.


Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family Cover Image

OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB PICK
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

The heartrending story of a midcentury American family with twelve children, six of them diagnosed with schizophrenia, that became science's great hope in the quest to understand the disease.


Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators Cover Image

Now an HBO documentary series streaming on HBO Max. 

One of the Best Books of the Year
 Time * NPR * Washington Post * Bloomberg News * Chicago Tribune * Chicago Public Library * Fortune * Los Angeles Times * E!


The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper Cover Image

Five devastating human stories and a dark and moving portrait of Victorian London—the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper

Polly, Annie, Elisabeth, Catherine, and Mary Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden, and Wales.


We Own This City: A True Story of Crime, Cops, and Corruption Cover Image

The astonishing true story of “one of the most startling police corruption scandals in a generation” (The New York Times), from the Pulitzer Prize–nominated reporter who exposed a gang of criminal cops and their yearslong plunder of an American city


Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman's Search for Justice in Indian Country Cover Image

PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST - The gripping true story of a murder on an Indian reservation, and the unforgettable Arikara woman who becomes obsessed with solving it--an urgent work of literary journalism.


Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid: America’s Original Gangster Couple Cover Image

The true Jazz Age tale of America’s first gangster couple, Margaret and Richard Whittemore

Before Bonnie and Clyde there were Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid. In the wake of world war, a pandemic, and an economic depression, Margaret and Richard Whittemore, two love-struck working-class kids from Baltimore, reached for the dream of a better life.