The Best of Everything Nonfiction for 2009

Here is my list of the very best nonfiction books, films, and documentaries that I've seen or read this past year. Only books or films that got a four star rating or higher made the list. Anything getting a five star rating is indicated with an asterisk. The items in this list do not necessarily have to have been released in 2009.


The Lost City of Z
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher
* Out of Captivity
The Great Depression Ahead
* Columbine
Hot, Flat, and Crowded
* The Bounty
Crazy For The Storm
* Hunting Eichmann
* The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind


Flash of Genius
* Elizabeth: The Golden Age
The Soloist
American Violet
The Blindside
* Julie and Julia


* American Teen
Man on Wire
Cocaine Cowboys
Food Inc.
* Touching The Void
* The Taking od Patty Hearst
* Every Little Step
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

Honorable Mention

Of all the books and films that I came across this past year, the one story that I felt totally immersed in was the story of the Mutiny on The Bounty. One reason is that it's a story that took over two hundred years to develop. The other reason is that I was able to experience this story from a number of perspectives. I first became interested in the story after reading Lost Paradise by Kathy Marks. That book just missed making my best of 2009 list. The book tells the story of what happened to the descendants of the mutineers who ended up on Pitcairn island. Not a pretty picture. I next read The Bounty by Caroline Alexander. This book tells the story of the mutiny and how the mutineers took refuge on Pitcairn. Lastly, I rented the movie The Bounty with Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins. If you're looking for total immersion, these three works are worth your time. A documentary concerning this story is also in the works.


  1. Have you seen the documentary *The Way We Get By*, which debuted on PBS on Veteran’s Day? My high school classmate Gita Pullapilly and her husband made it. It’s on the subject of older people who greet the troops as they leave for, or return from, Afghanistan. I thought it was quite good.

  2. Erin,
    I haven’t seen the documentary you mentioned. If I happen to come across it, I’ll be sure to mention it on this site.

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