The 2007 books we liked best: nonfiction

Of the nonfiction books reviewed in the Monitor this year, these received the top marks.

Made to Stick, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (Random House, 289 pp., $29.95)

A Stanford Business School professor and his brother examine the basics of the effective – and memorable – presentation of ideas. (1/23/07)

A LONG WAY GONE: MEMOIRS OF A BOY SOLDIER, by Ishmael Beah (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 229 pp., $22)

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

This haunting memoir tells of the author's experience as a child soldier in Sierra Leone's civil war. (2/13/07)

THE KINGS OF NEW YORK, by Michael Weinreb (Gotham Books, 288 pp., $26)

Sportswriter Michael Weinreb looks at the unlikely rise of America's best high school chess team at a public high school in Brooklyn. (3/6/07)

THE FATHER OF ALL THINGS, by Tom Bissell (Pantheon Books, 407 pp., $25)

In a book that combines memoir, travelogue, and history, Tom Bissell tells of the 2005 trip to Vietnam he took with his father, a former Marine and Vietnam vet. (3/13/07)

AMERICAN ISLAM: THE STRUGGLE FOR THE SOUL OF A RELIGION, by Paul M. Barrett (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 304 pp., $25)

Paul Barrett offers complex, stereotype-defying portraits of seven different Muslims living in the US. (3/20/07)

THE ATOMIC BAZAAR,by William Langewiesche (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 179 pp., $22)

It may not be possible to write an enjoyable book about nuclear proliferation. But journalist William Langewiesche has at least written an intelligent and very readable work on the topic. (5/15/07)

WILD TREES: A STORY OF PASSION AND DARING,by Richard Preston (Random House, 294 pp., $25.95)

Mystery writer Richard Preston explores the world of the tallest trees and the scientists who spend their lives studying them. (4/24/07)

ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MIRACLE: A YEAR OF FOOD LIFE,by Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver (HarperCollins, 370 pp., $26.95)

Novelist Barbara Kingsolver and her family spend a year eating only what was grown or produced within 10 miles of their home. (5/8/07)

LEGACY OF ASHES: A HISTORY OF THE CIA,by Tim Weiner (Doubleday, 702 pp., $27.95)

A 2007 National Book Award winner, this history of the US intelligence by journalist Tim Weiner is compelling, if uncomfortable, reading. (8/14/07)

INDIAN SUMMER,by Alex von Tunzelmann (Henry Holt and Co., 416 pp., $30)

History reads like a novel in this exploration of the key figures involved in the creation of the modern states of India and Pakistan. (8/14/07)

THE REST IS NOISE: LISTENING TO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY,by Alex Ross (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 624 pp., $30)

The "chaotic beauty" of 20th-century music is lost on many. New Yorker writer Alex Ross hopes to change that with this insightful piece of analysis. (10/23/07)

GOD'S HARVARD,by Hanna Rosin (Harcourt, 296 pp., $25)

Washington Post reporter Hanna Rosin profiles Patrick Henry College, the school that aims to be the Harvard of the evangelical world. (9/11/07)

GOMORRAH,by Robert Saviano (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 320 pp., $25)

Italian journalist Robert Saviano takes readers on an eye-popping tour of La Camorra, the ruthless crime network headquartered in Naples. (11/6/07)

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