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Best Nonfiction of 2010 – part one

Based on the opinions of overbooked.org, The Globe and Mail, Quill and Quire and The Reader, these are amongst the best nonfiction books published in 2010. The second half of this list will be posted tomorrow.

Defiant Spirits: the modernist revolution of the Group of Seven by Ross King is an engrossing group biography of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven over a twelve year period. It’s richly illustrating revealing much new information while written in a novelistic style that brings that period of Canada’s history to life.

The Facebook Effect: the inside story of the company that is connecting the world by David Kirkpatrick tells the story of the website that has revolutionized our social lives, businesses and relationships. A thoughtful and balanced example of investigative journalism.

Globish: how the English language became the world’s language by Robert McCrum tells the remarkable story of how the language from one tiny island in the Atlantic Ocean spread, grew and dominated the world. A fascinating and fun read along the lines of Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm, recounts his time as an embedded journalist in Afghanistan in War. Not a book about the war in Afghanistan, rather an exploration of the effects combat, fear, courage and loyalty have on a soldier.

Stephen Pyne puts space exploration into the context of the history of human exploration in Voyager: seeking newer worlds in the third age of discovery. The Voyager probes have spent an amazing 30 years collecting data on the outer planets and Pyne compares this accomplishment with the ambitious sea explorations of the 15th century.

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