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Five Great Nonfiction Books for the Month of July

Need a reading list for the month of July? No problem! Here are five great books that will strike your fancy and teach you something, too.

1. The Girl Who Loved Camellias, by Julie Kavanagh. I’m currently reading this one myself and am really enjoying it. Kavanagh separates the myth of Marguerite Gautier from the real woman who inspired her, Marie Duplessis, pointing out that Marie was just as human as the rest of us and a very intelligent and resourceful woman. Kavanagh also paints a picture of 1840s Parisian café society and the intellectual circles that Marie, as a demimondaine, could freely move in.

2. The Deadly Sisterhood: A Story of Women, Power, and Intrigue in the Italian Renaissance, 1427-1527, by Leonie Freida. This tells the story of eight women from some of Renaissance Italy’s most powerful families – including the d’Este sisters, Lucrezia Borgia, and Caterina Sforza – and how they reaped the benefits and weathered the political storms that often came their way.

3. The Black Count: Glory, Revoultion, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristoby Tim Reiss. Not many people know that Dumas père had inspiration for The Count of Monte Cristo from his own father, General Alex Dumas. Born in Haiti and the son of a slave, Alex Dumas went to Paris and rose through the military ranks during the Revolution and the brief period of abolition of slavery that lasted until Napoleon Bonaparte came to power.

4. The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York, by Deborah Blum. This details the sweeping changes in forensic science during the 1920s and the advances made in detecting poisons, particularly in the cases handled by Charles Norris, the chief medical examiner of New York City, and toxicologist Alexander Gettler.

5. The Roosevelt Women: A Portrait in Five Generations, by Betty Boyd Caroli. This tells the story of five generations of women from both branches of the Roosevelt family and their lives in American politics.

Do you have any books that you could add to this list? Feel free to add in the comments!

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