I think that I’ve been documenting my enjoyment of reading non fiction lately but I thought that it would be fun to talk about some of my favourites that I’ve read recently! And then talk about some others that I really want to read, because there’s always new books to read and now that I’ve established that I have the attention span to read non fiction I feel like everything has changed and there’s so many more books out there to get to! These are all going to be historical non fiction, because I know what I like, but if there’s any good biographies or anything that you think I should check out please let me know!
Bloody History of Paris: Riots, Revolution and Rat Pie by Ben Hubbard
Bloody History of London: Crime, Corruption and Murder by John D. Wright
So I don’t really think that these ones should go together because I absolutely loved one and the other kind of let me down. But! They are part of the same series and I do like the premise for them both and I honestly doubt that anyone but me would be bothered by them. Anyways. As the titles suggest, both books simply take you on a history of all the bloody events that have happened in each city. They start at the very founding of each city, or just with the people that were settled there first, and go all the way up until present day. They’re both easy to read and informative and offer an in depth look into each city. There’s one that’s just about America, but it’s $35 and I don’t think I care that much. Still curious though.
The Great Halifax Explosion: A WWI Story of Treachery, Tragedy and Extraordinary Heroism by John U. Bacon
I won’t talk about this one too much because I know that this is the 5th time I’ve gushed about it since I read it a few months ago but it was just that good. It switched between giving you the facts, like a typical non fiction book, and telling the real life stories of people in Halifax as though it was a fiction account, which really just made it so much more real and so much more heartbreaking. This book was so well done and I know I’ve seen it on BookOutlet so if you were looking to learn about something new, or just like good non fiction set during WWI then I definitely recommend this one.
Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey
I just finished this one and it actually took me by surprise! At first it wasn’t a good surprise, but that’s just because I thought it was going to be a collection of ghost stories and it ended up being so much more. It does give you ghost stories, but it builds around the stories aspects of American history and American culture and it talks about racism and poverty and it’s a lot more than I was anticipating. But it was also really well done. You get the sense that the author is a believer in ghosts but they also present every story with a side of skepticism. I don’t know. It was weird, I did like it though.
The Mysteries of History: Unraveling The Truth From the Myths of Our Past by Graeme Donald
This one was fun because it literally disproved a bunch of well known stories and facts and myths from throughout history. Everything from the pyramids and Stonehenge to the tale of Countess Bathory and other tales of murder. It was a weird book, especially since both before and after I’ve read things that talk about the, supposedly, false stories. It was definitely an interesting read though and I think it’d be a fun one to flip through and see what you could learn.
And here are just a few that I’ve found that I think look really neat! Most of these are from the same screenshot I have saved and although I’m not 100% certain who posted them on their stories, I think it was Rachel Hawkins. I think. They all kind of fit into the “lady murderers” category but since I’ve talked about a bunch of other non fiction ones I already own and want to read this seemed fun.
Hell’s Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men by Harold Schechter
“In the pantheon of serial killers, Belle Gunness stands alone. She was the rarest of female psychopaths, a woman who engaged in wholesale slaughter, partly out of greed but mostly for the sheer joy of it. Between 1902 and 1908, she lured a succession of unsuspecting victims to her Indiana “murder farm.” Some were hired hands. Others were well-to-do bachelors. All of them vanished without a trace. When their bodies were dug up, they hadn’t merely been poisoned, like victims of other female killers. They’d been butchered.
Hell’s Princess is a riveting account of one of the most sensational killing sprees in the annals of American crime: the shocking series of murders committed by the woman who came to be known as Lady Bluebeard. The only definitive book on this notorious case and the first to reveal previously unknown information about its subject, Harold Schechter’s gripping, suspenseful narrative has all the elements of a classic mystery—and all the gruesome twists of a nightmare.”
Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane: A true Story of Victorian Law and Disorder: The Unsolved Murder that Shocked Victorian England by Paul Thomas Murphy
“On April 26th, 1871, a police constable walking one of London’s remotest beats stumbled upon a brutalized young woman kneeling on a muddy road—gashes were cloven into her skull; her left cheek was slashed open and smashed-in; her right eye was destroyed; and above it a chunk of the temporal bone had been bashed out. The policeman gaped in horror as the woman held out her hand before collapsing into the mud, muttering “let me die” and slipping into a coma. Five days later, she died, her identity still unknown.
Within hours of her discovery on Kidbrooke Lane scores of the officers of Greenwich Division were involved in the investigation, and Scotland Yard had sent one of its top detectives, John Mulvany, to lead it. After five days of gathering evidence, the police discovered the girl’s identity: Jane Maria Clouson, a maid in the house of the renowned Pook family . . . and she was two months’ pregnant with Edmund Pook’s child when she died.
Murphy carefully reviews the evidence in the light of 21st century forensic science in order to identify Jane’s killer as Edmund Walter Pook. Using a surprisingly abundant collection of primary sources, Murphy aims to recreate the drama of the case as it unfolded, with its many twists and turns, from the discovery of the body to the final crack of the gavel—and beyond.”
Murder in the First-Class Carriage: The First Victorian Railway Killing by Kate Colquhoun
“In July 1864, Thomas Briggs was traveling home after visiting his niece and her husband for dinner. He boarded a first-class carriage on the 9:45 pm Hackney service of the North London railway. A short time later, two bank clerks entered the compartment and noticed blood pooled in the seat cushions and smeared all over the floor and windows. But there was no sign of Thomas Briggs. All that remained was his ivory-knobbed walking stick, his empty leather bag, and a bloodstained hat that, strangely, did not belong to Mr. Briggs. The race to identify the killer and catch him as he fled on a boat to America was eagerly followed by the public on both sides of the Atlantic. The investigation and subsequent trial became a fixture in New York newspapers–and a frequent distraction from the Civil War that ravaged the nation. In Murder in the First-Class Carriage, acclaimed writer Kate Colquhoun tells the gripping tale of a crime that shocked an era.”
Did She Kill Him?: A Victorian Tale of Deception, Adultery, and Arsenic by Kate Colquhoun
“In the summer of 1889, young Southern belle Florence Maybrick stood trial for the alleged arsenic poisoning of her much older husband, Liverpool cotton merchant James Maybrick.
‘The Maybrick Mystery’ had all the makings of a sensation: a pretty, flirtatious young girl; resentful, gossiping servants; rumours of gambling and debt; and torrid mutual infidelity. The case cracked the varnish of Victorian respectability, shocking and exciting the public in equal measure as they clambered to read the latest revelations of Florence’s past and glimpse her likeness in Madame Tussaud’s.
Florence’s fate was fiercely debated in the courtroom, on the front pages of the newspapers and in parlours and backyards across the country. Did she poison her husband? Was her previous infidelity proof of murderous intentions? Was James’ own habit of self-medicating to blame for his demise?
Historian Kate Colquhoun recounts an utterly absorbing tale of addiction, deception and adultery that keeps you asking to the very last page, did she kill him? “