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Summer Nonfiction: True Tales Enlighten, Delight

Jun 24, 2009

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Ancient Gonzo Wisdom The Age of Wonder Dangerous Games Cooking Dirty

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John Freeman

A few summers ago, I strolled past an intrepid reader on the beach. Propped beneath an umbrella, he sat with The Power Broker, Robert Caro's 1,300 page masterpiece about the great New York City urban planner Robert Moses, as his "beach read."

Ever since then, I have felt entitled to pack plenty of history, biography and other nonfiction in my vacation reading bag. These true tales can be every bit as exhilarating and illuminating as novels. You simply have to pick the right books.

Here, then, are five that will shock, appall and delight you, wherever you chose to "relax."

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'A Bright And Guilty Place'

A Bright and Guilty Place: Murder, Corruption and L.A.'s Scandalous Coming of Age, by Richard Rayner, hardcover, 288 pages, Doubleday, list price: $25

'Ancient Gonzo Wisdom'

Ancient Gonzo Wisdom: Interviews with Hunter S. Thompson, edited by Anita Thompson, paperback, 432 pages, Da Capo Press, list price: $18

'The Age Of Wonder'

The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science, by Richard Holmes, hardcover, 576 pages, Pantheon, list price: $40

'Dangerous Games'

Dangerous Games: The Uses and Abuses of History, by Margaret MacMillan, hardcover, 208 pages, Modern Library, list price: $22

'Cooking Dirty'

Cooking Dirty: A Story of Life, Sex, Love and Death in the Kitchen, by Jason Sheehan, hardcover, 368 pages, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, list price: $26

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