Book Reviews - Nonfiction/Biography

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letters to my daughter
 Title: Letters to My Daughter
Author: Maya Angelou
Book Category/Genre: Nonfiction
Summary: This book is truly meaningful to me. I love how when you first look at the title you will automatically think that she has a daughter. But when you read the prologue it makes you realize that she doesn't have a daughter, she is writing letters to all the daughters of the world. Her stories always leave me with a valuable lesson for life. She truly is a Phenomenal Woman, and I am not just talking about the poem.
Rating: Super book, one of the best books I've read.
Reviewer: A. E., student
honest truth   Title: The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves
Author: Dan Ariely
Book Category/Genre: Nonfiction
Summary: This book wasn't that good. I felt it to be very boring.
Rating: Boring, it didn't hold my interest.
Reviewer: A. E., student 
friday night lightsTitle: Friday Night Lights
Author: H. G. Bissinger
Book Category/Genre:  Nonfiction
Summary: Friday Night Lights is a fascinating piece of nonfiction that reads like a fictional masterpiece. H. G. Bissinger stayed in the town of Odessa, Texas to find out about the meaning of football to the town. To know more about the Permian High Panthers H. G. Bissinger tells the story of how football was everything to the town and everyone who was affiliated with the school. The town would come out of their houses and cheer on the football team at home games and would even follow them to away games. Everyone in the town treats the football players with high respect, and everyone who wanted to be someone affiliated themselves with the town's obsession of  football. To fully understand the deepness football had on the town, H. G. Bissinger talks about Odessa's troubled past and each of the player's struggles and dreams of a Permian High Panther.
Rating: Super book, one of the best books I've read.
Reviewer: H. L., student
Andrew Jackson
Title: Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times
Author: H. W. Brands
Book Category/Genre: Biography
Summary: H.W. Brands' Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times presents an intriguing analysis of Andrew Jackson's political career as well as an interesting examination of his personal life. Jackson"s complicated character becomes more comprehendible as the professional and private realms of his life overlap during the course of the biography and hence enables the reader to approach Jackson"s life in a more sophisticated manner. The author does a wonderful job of validating Andrew Jackson's position as one of the greatest presidents and most influential persons in the United States' more than two hundred year old history. Brands defends Jackson by arguing that Jackson's actions, although did not produce the democratic society we live in today, were vital to democracy's maturity and development; for this, Jackson was a hero of democracy maybe not according to current standards but certainly to those of the 1830s.
Rating: Super book, one of the best books I've read.
Reviewer: J. G., student
boys in the boat
 Title: The Boys in the Boat
Author: Daniel James Brown
Book Category/Genre: Nonfiction
Summary: Awesome story of the 1936 Olympic rowing team from the US. Also some history of the Nazi regime in regards to the Olympics.
Rating: Super book, one of the best books I've read.
Reviewer: A. S., support staff
CanTitle:  Can't Stop Won't Stop
Author:  Jeff Chang
Book Category/Genre:  Nonfiction
Summary:  Can't Stop Won't Stop is the story about the hip hop generation and how it came to life. It starts in Jamaica, where, the "father" of hip hop music, Reggae was born. The story evolves to show the collapse of the Bronx and many other sections of New York City, the gangs that came out of the music, and the constant fighting that came from it all. The book tells up what the really meaning of Hip-hop music is and gives a new perspective of the genre.
Rating:  OK book, but not great.
Reviewer:  M. K., student
political dialogues
 Title: Political Dialogues
Author: Maurice Cranston
Book Category/Genre: Nonfiction
Summary: A series of reconstructed conversations (some imagined) between important intellectuals throughout history. Begins with the Renaissance and goes up to the 19th century. All are informative, but the one featuring David Hume and Voltaire really stands out.
Rating: Super book, one of the best books I've read.
Reviewer: D. I., teacher
room full of mirrors   Title: Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography Of Jimi Hendrix
Author: Charles R. Cross
Book Category/Genre: Music, Nonfiction, Biography
Summary: I am also a big fan of Jimi Hendrix. I was so surprised by some of the information in the book!! It was amazing!!!
Rating: Super book, one of the best books I've read.
Reviewer: A. E., student
stephen hawking   Title: Stephen Hawking: An Unfettered Mind
Author: Kitty Ferguson
Book Category/Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Summary: I am a huge fan of Steven Hawkings. This book taught me so much about him!!
Rating: Super book, one of the best books I've read.
Reviewer: A. E., student
The Breaks of the Game
Title: The Breaks of the Game
Author: David Halberstam
Book Category/Genre: Nonfiction, Sports
Summary: David Halberstam's The Breaks of the Game provides a behind-the-scenes look at the game of basketball in the late 1970s. While most books focus on the game of basketball itself, The Breaks of the Game examines the game from a business perspective through the eyes of the Portland Trailblazers' organization. Halberstam suggests that after the merger of the NBA and ABA, the game took a turn from a league focused on the purity of the sport to a league obsessed with money, publicity, and greed. In addition to the exceptional coverage of the front office aspect, Halberstam provides great insight on the game itself, that is, the game played on the court. Although the author's understanding of the game of basketball on and off the court is unparalleled, the in-depth coverage of both sides of the game often made continuing to read a nuisance. Many of the points were repetitive throughout the writing, and Halberstam often diverted off from his main topic. For instance, one moment he could be talking about how signing a particular player could beneficial to the team"s play on the floor, the next moment he would be discussing the player's effects in terms of the team's revenue. One might argue that these points do correlate, but time after time, Halberstam refuses to focus on the topic at hand. One of the remarkable feats of this book is that even though it was written nearly 30 years ago, many of the topics covered by Halberstam remain evident in today's game: the greediness of players, the marketability of the sport, and the infatuation with TV ratings and merchandise sales. Unfortunately, the sport of basketball has become just another industry filled with big businesses who care about nothing but the bottom line: the price. This is a sad revelation for the purists who watch for the beauty of the team aspect of the sport, not the individual, selfish play of today's athletes. All in all, The Breaks of the Game provides a unique read for those interested in the sport of basketball as well as those interested in the business of sports.
Rating: Good book, I enjoyed reading it.
Reviewer: R. G., student
Title:  Roman's Journey
Author:  Roman Halter
Book Category/Genre:  Memoir, Nonfiction
Summary:  Roman's Journey is about a Jewish boy who lived in a Jewish town during the rising of SS soldiers and the Holocaust. You then see the horrors that the boy went through from camps to the ghettos.
Rating:  Good book, I enjoyed reading it.
Reviewer:  D. W., student
Physics of the Impossible

Title:  Physics of the Impossible
Author:  Michio Haku
Book Category/Genre:  Nonfiction
Summary:  This informative book takes a scientific approach to topics that have always been thought to be purely science fiction.  It discusses certain concepts such as time travel, parallel universes, invisibility, and teleportation.  The reader is informed of the work done by scientists about each subject, then the author discusses what technology or knowledge would be necessary for these impossibilities to become realities.  If you are interested in physics or if you enjoy science fiction and would like to read about it from a different perspective, you should read this book.  The style of writing the author uses is easy to read, and most high school students would be able to understand the concepts.
Rating:  Good book, I enjoyed reading it.
Reviewer:  B. M., student

war child

Title: War Child
Author: Emmanuel Jal
Book Category/Genre: Memoir, Nonfiction, Adventure
Summary: In the mid-1980s, Jal was a seven year old boy living with his family in Sudan. However, the civil war in Sudan moved closer, and the Islamic government killed and destroyed villages seeking oil and other resources. Jal and his family were constantly on the move, seeking peace in a time of war. However, he was separated from his mother and later found out she was killed. His father held a high commanding position in the SPLA, Sudanese Peoples' Liberation Army, that was fighting to liberate Sudan. Jal was soon conscripted in that army as a child soldier. After a lot of gruesome fighting, Jal finally changes his mindset on fighting and war. How? Find out by reading the book.
Rating: Good book, I enjoyed reading it.
Reviewer: J. Z., student

Into the WildTitle: Into The Wild
Author: Jon Krakauer
Book Category/Genre: Nonfiction
Summary: This is a story about a man named Chris McCandless who gave all his money in the bank to charity and burned all the rest. Then he hitch-hiked to Alaska and lives there and wrote about his journey.
Rating: Good book, I enjoyed reading it.
Reviewer: C. M., student
Title: Freakonomics
Author: Stephen D. Levitt
Book Category/Genre: Nonfiction
Summary: This is a great book that provides a look at the hidden and weird side of economics. It was one of the most interesting books I've ever read, it kept me wanting to read more at all times.
Rating: Super book, one of the best books I've read.
Reviewer: M. G., student
Michael Jordan

Title:  Michael Jordan

Author:  Robert Lipsyte

Book Category/Genre:  Nonfiction, Biography

Summary:  Michael Jordan is the story of Michael Jordan's Life. At first Michael Jordan starts out in college before he became the greatest basketball player to ever play the game. Michael Jordan had great work ethic and deserved every bit of fame that he got. This book also gives a great deal of history of basketball and the great players who played the sport. Michael Jordan is a great inspirational book and shows that you have to work hard to become great.

Rating:  Good book, I enjoyed reading it.

Reviewer:  M. S., student

1339 quite interesting facts   Title: 1,339 Quite Interesting Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop
Authors: John Lloyd, John Mitchinson, and James Harkin
Book Category/Genre: Nonfiction, Humor
Summary: I loved this book!! It had so many facts that I didn't know about!! Many of my friends thought this book was very funny.
Rating: Super book, one of the best books I've read.
Reviewer: A. E., student 
The Rookie
Title: The Rookie
Author: Jim Morris and Joel Engel
Book Category/Genre: Nonfiction, Sports
Summary: In this book a high school coach tries out for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays team and makes it, and he fulfills his childhood dream as he makes his way up through the minors and finally to the majors.
Rating: Good book, I enjoyed reading it.
Reviewer: S. H., student
Bob MarleyTitle:  Bob Marley
Author:  Sherry Beck Paprocki
Book Category/Genre:  Biography
Summary:  This book is about Bob Marley's life.  It shares many of the struggles that Marley and the Wailers went through.  It describes how his music means so much to people and how is music lives on today.
Rating:  Good book, I enjoyed reading it.
Reviewer:  D. B., student
The Lost BoyTitle:  The Lost Boy
Author:  Dave Pelzer
Book Category/Genre:  Biography, Fiction, Problem Novel, Relationships
Summary:  This is the story of the childhood Dave Pelzer had to go through. He was abused by his alcoholic mother and was soon taken away to a foster home. This is actually the second book he has written about his childhood, and the first one "A Child Called It" was also very tear-jerking. After taken into the foster home, Dave has to deal with fitting in with other kids, and learning to overcome his fear of getting hurt... again.
Rating:  Super book, one of the best books I've read.
Reviewer:  K. C., student
lip service   Title: Lip Service: Smiles in Life, Death, Trust, Lies, Work, Memory, Sex, and Politics
Author: M. J. Rose
Book Category/Genre: Nonfiction, Humor
Summary: I liked the book because it talked about lot of different topics that people can honestly relate to. It definitely will help on my project for class as well.
Rating: Good book, I enjoyed reading it.
Reviewer: A. E., student 
when you are engulfed in flames

Title: When You Are Engulfed In Flames
Author: David Sedaris
Book Category/Genre: Essay Collection, Nonfiction, Biography, Humor
Summary: Lighthearted and witty though deep and serious if given enough thought, Sedaris recalls past events in his life.  This collection of essays will leave you both laughing at and acutely aware of the human faults that he points out.  From taking out his anger on crossword puzzles, to scaring away birds with album covers, to moving to Japan to quit smoking, Sedaris never ceases to satisfy with his vivid and humorous essays.
Rating: Good book, I enjoyed reading it.
Reviewer: A. X., student

Title: Slash
Author: Slash with Anthony Bozza
Book Category/Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Summary: This is a biography about Slash the guitarist from the famous rock band "Guns n' Roses" and recently the band "Velvet Revolver." This book talks about growing up in England, moving to Los Angeles, having a very strange childhood, and then starting to play guitar and forming his first band. When Slash and his friend Steven Adler meet Duff , a band starts to form, and in no time the Guns n' Roses formed. Many problems arrived from drugs, girls, and sex. His drug addiction and problems with band members interfere with his passion for music and playing guitar as he speaks of his life and whether he deserves to be alive or not.
Rating: Super book, one of the best books I've read.
Reviewer: E. F., student
Google Story
Title: The Google Story
Author: David A. Vise and Mark Malseed
Book Category/Genre: Nonfiction
Summary: Readers can get inside the hottest business, media and technology success of our time in The Google Story. Potential Google recruits and computer geeks all over the world learn everything there is to know about Google and just how it has become the flourishing business it is today. In 1998, Sergey Brin and Larry Page decided to drop out of graduate school at Stanford University to pursue their interest in making Google more successful. Using only their computer science knowledge, everything they wanted to change about current search engines, and supporters at Stanford, they used hundreds of computers to download the World Wide Web and create the homepage millions of people everywhere use to search for information everyday.
Rating: Good book, I enjoyed reading it.
Reviewer: S. S., student
The Glass Castle

Title:  The Glass Castle

Author:  Jeannette Walls

Book Category/Genre:  Autobiography, Nonfiction, Adventure, Relationships

Summary:  This book is about a how a dysfunctional family in the 1960s.  The parents of this family don't take care of their children, and the children learn to love and take care of themselves at a very early age.

Rating:  Super book, one of the best books I've read.

Reviewer:  A. P., student

Last Modified on March 16, 2015