Tag Archives: Phillip M. Hoose

Best Books of 2014: Non-Fiction

Here are my top 12 non-fiction reads of 2014, covering health, politics and feminism.

Health

Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek
Strong stomachs are a prerequisite. This should be categorized as horror, but it’s surprisingly readable and accessible. Beware the rundown of most painful ways to die and an extremely detailed and emotionally-charged account of 9/11 and the systematic sorting of the bodies and the impact it had on those workers. High points include some of the more absurd, stupid and just plain weird ways to die. TV gets it wrong. Medical examiners never go out into the field, though they do investigate. Melinek talked to relatives, doctors, police – anyone she had to to determine manner and cause of death when it wasn’t obvious from the body. An autopsy can take as little as 45 minutes, but further investigation can take months before conclusions can be made. Recommended for Mary Roach fans.

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Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip M. Hoose

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward JusticeRating:

Rosa Parks was not the first woman to refuse to give up her seat on a bus for a white person. I know, I didn’t know this either. It’s not our fault. Claudette Colvin had done the same nine months before. She was not considered by African American civil rights leaders to be a suitable symbol for the campaign against segregationist legislation. She was too young (she was fifteen), perceived to be too fiesty and too emotional, and too working class to be an appropriate figurehead to inspire revolution among her fellow African American residents of Montgomery, Alabama. She suffered more at the hands of the police than Ms. Parks (Colvin was jailed, among other things), more scorn from her neighbours and supposed friends than Ms. Parks, and yet she’s been conveniently forgotten by the press, the historians and the public.

Continue reading Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip M. Hoose