Six Nonfiction Books on This Year’s Reading List

Just like all of the bookish, clever members of the Iron Unicorn Army, I have made a reading list for this year that I am very woefully behind on.Here are six of the nonfiction books on this year’s reading list that I promise to read and review for PMag:

  1. Elizabeth of York: A Tudor Queen and Her World, by Alison Weir. This is the most recent biography on the young princess who married Henry VII and united the houses of Tudor and York after the very bloody Wars of the Roses. Weir is an excellent writer and really does her research, and while I don’t always agree with the conclusions she draws from her research, I’m eager to see how she dispels some of the myths created by such authors as Philippa Gregory and Sandra Worth.
  2. The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England’s Most Notorious Queen, by Susan Bordo. This explores the mythos of Anne Boleyn and tries to get to the heart of the real woman behind the legends surrounding her. Bordo analyzes the different depictions of Anne, from the wily, dark-eyed witch with six fingers to Natalie Dormer’s portrayal of Anne Boleyn as a cunning, brilliant woman who saw how far her star could rise.
  3. Anne Orthwood’s Bastard: Sex and Law in Early Virginia, by John Ruston Pagan. This details a paternity case in colonial Virginia, in which a young planter’s son and an indentured servant have an affair which results in her pregnancy. Anne dies giving birth to twins, one of whom survives, and the courts must determine how responsible the father is for the baby. The case set the standard for paternity cases in the American colonies.
  4. Pocahontas and the Powhaten Dilemma, by Camilla Townsend. Townsend narrates the story of the founding of Jamestown and the events leading up to the fateful encounter between Pocahontas and John Smith. The arrival of the English colonists would have irreversible, detrimental effects on the Native American populations, and Pocahontas and her father are forced into games of diplomacy and politics to weather the storm.
  5. The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra, by Helen Rappaport. This book was recently published and focuses on the four daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra: Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia, and their young lives before their world came crashing down around them.
  6. The Dracula Secrets: Jack the Ripper and the Darkest Sources of Bram Stoker, by Neil Storey. During the Autumn of Terror in 1888, Stoker was a theater manager at the Lyceum in London and also ran with the artistic and intellectual crowd, which avidly followed the news of the murders as they unfolded. Storey explores how Stoker’s interest the murders helped to inspire Dracula.

Do you have anything interesting on your reading list for this year? If so, please share!

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