The 10 Nonfiction Books Nominated For This Award Will Change Your Thoughts On American History

By Kerri Jarema

The National Book Foundation released the longlist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction, and you're going to want to set aside ample room on your bookshelf for these 10 fascinating books. It's no secret that there is a lot going on politically both in the United States and beyond, and these books are completely indicative of the many different topics at the forefront of the American consciousness right now. From One Person, No Vote, Carol Anderson's book about voter suppression to Rebecca Solnit's Call Them By Their True Names, her examination of the country's gun violence epidemic, these 10 books all have their finger on the pulse of some of the most controversial topics confronting Americans right now.

2017's National Book Award for Nonfiction winner, Masha Gessen's The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, examined the cyclical history of Russia and what made it possible for the unobstructed reemergence of the old Soviet order in the form of today's terrifying and seemingly unstoppable mafia state. So, clearly the judges of the National Book Award has adopted a no holds barred philosophy when it comes to choosing their nonfiction nominees. Check out all the books on this year's longlist below:

'One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy' by Carol Anderson

Focusing on the aftermath of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Anderson explains exactly how voter suppression works. She also explores how activists, politicians, and lawyers are working to restore the basic right to vote to all Americans.

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'The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation' by Colin G. Calloway

In this biography, Calloway focuses on the great Native leaders of Washington's time ― Shingas, Tanaghrisson, Bloody Fellow, Joseph Brant, Red Jacket, Little Turtle―and the tribes they represented. In the process, Calloway returns them to their rightful place in the story of America's founding.

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'Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan' by Steve Coll

Steve Coll tells for the first time the enthralling story of America's efforts to defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan since Sept. 11. He focuses specifically on "Directorate S," a wing of the Pakinstani Intelligence Agency that was covertly training, arming, and seeking to legitimize the Taliban before the deadly attacks.

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'Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian War' by Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple

Marwan Hisham shares his firsthand experiences documenting the Syrian war, first as a college student who joined the protests in 2011, and later as as a journalist.

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'American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic' by Victoria Johnson

When Alexander Hamilton stepped onto a boat bound for a New Jersey dueling ground to settle his bitter dispute with Aaron Burr, he took two men with him: His “second” for the duel, and Dr. David Hosack. Johnson tells the little known story of Dr. Hosack and how his early work in botany and medicine helped shape the country.

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'The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life' by David Quammen

In The Tangled Tree, David Quammen explains how recent discoveries in molecular biology can change our understanding of evolution and life’s history, with powerful implications for human health and even human nature.

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'Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth' by Sarah Smarsh

Smarsh's memoir uses her own turbulent childhood in Kansas in the 1980s and 1990s to challenge readers to look more closely at the class divide in our country.

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'Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises' by Rebecca Solnit

Rebecca Solnit examines the gun violence epidemic in the U.S. through her collection of essays that touches on everything from police brutality to domestic violence and those who are pursuing power and profit at the the point of a gun.

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'The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke' by Jeffrey C. Stewart

In The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, Jeffrey C. Stewart offers the definitive biography of the father of the Harlem Renaissance and the man who mentored a generation of young artists, including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jacob Lawrence.

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'We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights' by Adam Winkler

Winkler's book chronicles the story of how corporations fought to gain equal rights under the Constitution — and today have nearly all the same rights as ordinary people. He explains how the controversial Supreme Court decisions extending free speech and religious liberty to corporations were the capstone of a centuries-long struggle over corporate personhood and constitutional protections for business.

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