The Greatest Nonfiction Books


How is this list generated?


This list is generated from 128 "best of" book lists from a variety of great sources. An algorithm is used to create a master list based on how many lists a particular book appears on. Some lists count more than others. I generally trust "best of all time" lists voted by authors and experts over user-generated lists. On the lists that are actually ranked, the book that is 1st counts a lot more than the book that's 100th. If you're interested in the details about how the rankings are generated and which lists are the most important(in my eyes) please check out the list details page.

If you have any comments, suggestions, or corrections please feel free to e-mail me.


  1. 1051 . Friday Night Lights by H. G. Bissinger

  2. 1052 . Through the Brazilian Wilderness by Theodore Roosevelt

    -
  3. 1053 . England in Particular by Sue Clifford, Angela King

    Sue Clifford co-founded Common Ground, an organisation which campaigns to link nature with culture and the positive investment people can make in their own localities, with Angela King in 1983.

  4. 1054 . Écrits: The First Complete Edition in English by Jacques Lacan

    Presents an English translation of Jacques Lacan's most famous work, with translations of all the papers featured in the original French edition.

    - Google
  5. 1055 . Minus 148 by Art Davidson

    -
  6. 1056 . The Theater and Its Double by Antonin Artaud

    A collection of manifestos originally published in 1938, in which the French artist and philosopher attacks conventional assumptions about the drama, and calls for the influx of irrational material...

    - Google
  7. 1057 . Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

    Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia is a 2006 memoir by American author and memoirist Elizabeth Gilbert. The memoir chronicles the author's trip aro...

  8. 1058 . Travels (Ibn Battúta) by Ibn Battúta

    -
  9. 1059 . Giving up the Ghost by Hilary Mantel

  10. 1060 . Jaguars Ripped My Flesh by Tim Cahill

  11. 1061 . Journal of a Trapper by Osborne Russell

  12. 1062 . Let's Talk About Love by Carl Wilson

    -
  13. 1063 . I'll Take My Stand by Twelve Southerners

    The Southern Agrarians (also known as the Twelve Southerners, the Vanderbilt Agrarians, the Nashville Agrarians, the Tennessee Agrarians, or the Fugitive Agrarians) were a group of twelve American ...

  14. 1064 . Full Tilt by Dervla Murphy

  15. 1065 . Terra Incognita by Sara Wheeler

    -
  16. 1066 . We Die Alone by David Howarth

    -
  17. 1067 . Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution by Ruth Scurr

  18. 1068 . Kabloona by Gontran de Poncins

    Kabloona is a book by French adventurer Gontran de Poncins, written in collaboration with Lewis Galantiere, first published in English in 1941. It recounts Poncin's solo unsupported journey in the ...

  19. 1069 . An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan

    Brian Keenan went to Beirut in 1985 for a change of scene from his native Belfast. He became headline news when he was kidnapped by fundamentalist Shi'ite militiamen and held in the suburbs of Beir...

    - Google
  20. 1070 . Conquistadors of the Useless by Lionel Terray

    -
  21. 1071 . Carrying the Fire by Michael Collins

    -
  22. 1072 . Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

    Blue Like Jazz is the second book by Donald Miller. This semi-autobiographical work, subtitled "Non-Religious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality," is a collection of essays and personal reflections...

  23. 1073 . My Father and other Working-Class Football Heroes by Gary Imlac

    -
  24. 1074 . Adventures in the Wilderness by William H. H. Murray

  25. 1075 . The Message In the Bottle by Walker Percy

    The Message in the Bottle: How Queer Man is, How Queer Language is, and What One Has to Do with the Other is a collection of essays on semiotics written by Walker Percy and first published in 1975....

  26. 1076 . The Burder of Southern History by C. Vann Woodward

    -
  27. 1077 . The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson

    The Ascent of Money: The Financial History of the World is Harvard professor Niall Ferguson's tenth book, published in 2008, and an adapted television documentary for Channel 4 (UK) and PBS (US). I...

  28. 1078 . The Mountains of My Life by Walter Bonatti

  29. 1079 . Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found by Suketu Mehta

    Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found is a narrative nonfiction book by Suketu Mehta, published in 2004, about the Indian city of Mumbai ("Bombay"). It was published in hardcover by Random House's Al...

  30. 1080 . Great Heart by James West Davidson, John Rugge

    -
  31. 1081 . This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust

  32. 1082 . Journal of the Voyage to the Pacific by Alexander Mackenzie

    -
  33. 1083 . Comfort Me with Apples by Ruth Reichl

  34. 1084 . Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

    Adrian Nicole LeBlanc is an American journalist whose works focus on the marginalized members of society: adolescents living in poverty, prostitutes, women in prison, etc.

  35. 1085 . The Valleys of the Assassins by Freya Stark

  36. 1086 . The Silent World by Jacques Cousteau

  37. 1087 . Berlin: The Downfall, 1945 by Antony Beevor

  38. 1088 . Alaska Wilderness by Robert Marshall

  39. 1090 . The Earl of Louisiana by A. J. Liebling

    Originally this book was a three-part profile in The New Yorker. It's a breezy portrait of the last 15 months of Earl Long's lusty career. Liebling believes that Governor Earl Long, brother of the ...

  40. 1091 . Origins of the New South by C. Vann Woodward

  41. 1092 . I Married Adventure by Osa Johnson

  42. 1093 . The Descent of Pierre Saint-Martin by Norbert Casteret

    -
  43. 1094 . Killing Yourself to Live by Chuck Klosterman

    Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story is a work of non-fiction written by Chuck Klosterman, first published by Scribner in 2005. It is the third book released by Klosterman. Klosterman cons...

  44. 1095 . The Crystal Horizon by Reinhold Messner

  45. 1096 . The Predators' Ball by Connie Bruck

    -
  46. 1098 . Grizzly Years by Doug Peacock

    Doug Peacock is an American naturalist, outdoorsman, and author. He is best known for his book Grizzly Years: In Search of the American Wilderness, a memoir of his experiences in the 1970s and 1980...

  47. 1099 . America by John Stewart

    -
  48. 1100 . One Man's Mountains by Tom Patey