The 17 Best Nonfiction Books Of August Include A History Of Serial Killers

Somehow, it’s August already, but that’s OK because summer is reading season. It is a time of celebration for readers, because relaxing with a good book is the perfect way to while away the hot, sticky days. Hopefully, you have been taking full advantage of it, but if not, there’s still time. New books are coming out every week, and August has many more of them for us, including in the nonfiction genre.

A good book is the perfect companion for any setting, whether that be an exciting international travel destination or just your own home. If you’re looking for a good nonfiction new release, you’ve come to exactly the right place. There are numerous options on the way that are bound to catch your attention, so prepare to be enticed.

This month, count on being entertained. August’s nonfiction selection includes an eclectic mix, so no matter where your tastes lie right now, I guarantee you’ll find something. You want a history of serial killers? You’ve got it. A memoir is more your style? No problem. Seriously, the world is your book-filled oyster, so go forth and enjoy.

Below are 17 nonfiction books due out in August that will keep your summer interesting.

‘Dopesick’ by Beth Macy (August 7; Little, Brown and Company)

The opioid crisis in America has been making headlines for months, but the origins of the crisis are still murky. Beth Macy lays it all out in Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America. She goes back more than 20 years to chronicle the rise of opioids and talks with the people whose lives have been affected by the drugs.

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‘A Deal with the Devil’ by Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken (August 7; Atria Books)

Investigative journalists Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken delve into a decades-long con that brought in more than $200 million in A Deal with the Devil: The Dark and Twisted True Story of One of the Biggest Cons in History. It’s a fascinating story that centers on an enigmatic French psychic who was a key player in the elaborate, multinational scheme.

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‘Fly Girls’ by Keith O’Brien (August 7; Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Keith O’Brien tells the little-known story of a group of female pilots in Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History. He brings readers back to the ’20s and ’30s, when airplane races were major events that drew huge crowds. Specifically, he focuses on five unconventional women who banded together to earn the right to race against the men.

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‘The Black and the Blue’ by Matthew Horace and Ron Harris (August 7; Hachette Books)

Matthew Horace revisits his time serving as a police officer in The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes and Racism in America’s Law Enforcement and the Search for Change. In doing so, he describes the racism he encountered in his nearly 30-year career and criticizes aspects of the law enforcement institution and culture. Horace goes on to detail the changes he’d like to see and uses interviews, research, and high-profile examples to make his case.

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‘Maeve in America’ by Maeve Higgins (August 7; Penguin Books)

Irish comedian Maeve Higgins writes about herself in Maeve in America: Essays by a Girl from Somewhere Else. Not only does she touch on issues like her own immigrant experience, she draws inspiration from everyday awkwardness, such her fear of dolphins and being overly polite. Higgins’ essays are a fun romp that are perfect summer reading.

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‘Girl Boner’ by August McLaughlin (August 7; Amberjack Publishing)

In Girl Boner: The Good Girl’s Guide to Sexual Empowerment, August McLaughlin touches on topics that sex ed classes skip. Her aim is to give all of those who identify as women the tools necessary to figure out how to own their sexuality. You’re bound to find it inspiring and, er, stimulating.

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‘Our Stories, Our Voices,’ Edited by Amy Reed (August 14; Simon Pulse)

Young adult author Amy Reed gathers a group of powerhouse women writers in the essay collection Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America. They tackle relevant issues, including racism, sexism, and ableism, using their own experiences and share how they embraced feminism and activism. The thought-provoking collection includes essays from Amber Smith, Sandhya Menon, Brandy Colbert, and more.

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‘All Happy Families’ by Jeannie McCulloch (August 14; Harper Wave)

Jeannie McCulloch paints a portrait of two fascinating families in All Happy Families: A Memoir. Brought together for a wedding in East Hampton in 1983, the two families are shaken when the bride’s father dies after an alcoholism-related stroke before the weekend is over. Following the tragedy, McCulloch comes to understand that both families are dysfunctional in their own way.

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‘Sons of Cain’ by Peter Vronsky (August 14; Berkley)

Peter Vronsky looks at a dark aspect of human history in Sons of Cain: A History of Serial Killers from the Stone Age to the Present. Focusing specifically on sexual serial killers, he shares theories on how they developed and how they fit into their respective slices of the past. Expect plenty of captivating research, statistics, and, of course, some chilling insight.

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‘Blood Papa’ by Jean Hatzfeld (August 21; Farrar, Strauss and Giroux)

Jean Hatzfeld’s Blood Papa: Rwanda's New Generation (translated by Joshua David Jordan) looks at the aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. He focuses on the generation that came after the horrific crimes and examines how they’ve been impacted by what happened.

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‘Lands of Lost Borders’ by Kate Harris (August 21; Dey Street Books)

Writer Kate Harris shares her adventures biking in remote parts of the world in Lands of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Road. Her travel memoir looks at not just the places she visited but their history, plus offers her take on national borders.

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‘America: The Farewell Tour’ by Chris Hedges (August 21; Simon & Schuster)

Pulizter Prize-winning reporter Chris Hedges shares his concerns with the state of the union in America: The Farewell Tour. He argues that hopelessness caused by unemployment and deindustrialization have led to many of the current problems we face, including the opioid epidemic, xenophobia, a culture of hate, and more. With his book, Hedges hopes to rally us all to get our country back on track.

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‘Playing to the Gods’ by Peter Rader (August 21; Simon & Schuster)

Peter Rader spotlights the riveting and contentious relationship between two famous 19th-century stage actresses in Playing to the Gods: Sarah Bernhardt, Eleonora Duse, and the Rivalry that Changed Acting Forever. The two women had very different approaches to acting, and it led to a feud as dramatic as anything seen on the screen, from stealing one another’s lovers to poaching each other’s favorite playwrights.

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‘Beyond Birds and Bees’ by Bonnie J. Rough (August 21; Seal Press)

Acclaimed author Bonnie J. Rough shares an interesting take on parenting in Beyond Birds and Bees: Bringing Home a New Message to Our Kids About Sex, Love, and Equality. After moving to the Netherlands, she saw how children could be taught about human sexuality in a way that promotes equality and consent rather than shame. Her book makes a strong case for the Dutch alternative.

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'Gross Anatomy' by Mara Altman (August 21; Putnam)

Mara Altman combines personal stories with scientific and psychological research to dissect why we all are so grossed out with our bodies — and how we can learn to see the beauty in all our perceived flaws.

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‘The Disordered Mind’ by Eric R. Kandel (August 28; Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Nobel Prize winner Eric Kandel details how atypical brain functioning offers insight into the complexities of the brain in The Disordered Mind: What Unusual Brains Tell Us about Ourselves. He uses the examples of diseases such as PTSD, autism, and depression, among others, to show what they’ve taught us. Given the dense subject matter, it helps to have an expert like Kandel as our guide.

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‘Elizabeth Warren’ by Antonia Felix (August 28; Sourcebooks)

Antonia Felix writes about a face of the resistance in Elizabeth Warren: Her Fight. Her Work. Her Life. The biography takes readers through the Massachusetts senator’s life, from her working-class upbringing in Oklahoma to her successful career on Capitol Hill. Felix shows how Warren’s background has shaped her and motivated her ongoing fight for the middle class.

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