Favorite Microhistory Titles Cover Several Topics

by | Jul 2021

Microhistory is a non-fiction genre that takes a comprehensive look at a single event, topic or concept but reads more like novels or memoirs. Even for those who do not typically read non-fiction books, microhistories can prove interesting.

To start, consider some of my favorite microhistory selections:

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (Mary Roach): This delves into the “experiences” of a post-mortem body.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot): Unknowingly, cells taken from Lacks during a hospital stay were preserved and grown in culture. Numerous medical advances and research have used her cells, some of which remain alive today.

The Professor and the Madman (Simon Winchester): Discover how the Oxford English dictionary came about, including with the assistance of an American doctor in an English asylum. 

Salt: A World History (Mark Kurlansky): Take a look back at salt, beginning in ancient times, and discover how it has influenced societies.

Paper: Paging Through History (Mark Kurlansky): Learn about the origins of written language, including some precursors to paper and how it helped revolutionize societies.

—Elizabeth Dammar, Hennepin County Library–Maple Grove


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