Geoffrey G. Ward tells the story of his great-grandfather in A Disposition to Be Rich: How a Small-Town Pastor's Son Ruined an American President, Brought on a Wall Street Crash, and Made Himself the Best-Hated Man in the United States (Knopf)
Island Practice: Cobblestone Rash, Underground Tom, and Other Adventures of a Nantucket Doctor (PublicAffairs) by Pam Belluck describes an unorthodox doc's helpful ways.
Kate Summerscale's Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady (Bloomsbury) tells of a forgotten courtroom scandal.
Desert Reckoning: A Town Sheriff, a Mojave Hermit, and the Biggest Manhunt in Modern California History (Nation Books) by Deanne Stillman tells of a duel in the desert.
Prairie Fever: British Aristocrats in the American West 1830 - 1890 (Norton) by British historian Peter Pagnamenta tells of a surprising culture clash.
Assignment to Hell: The War Against Nazi Germany with Correspondents Walter Cronkite, Andy Rooney, A. J. Liebling, Homer Bigart, and Hal Boyle (NAL Caliber) by Timothy M. Gay tells how the correspondents remade journalism for the big war.
People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished from the Streets of Tokyo - And the Evil That Swallowed Her Up (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) by Richard Lloyd Parry describes a bizarre crime in a different society.
Doug MacDougall in Why Geology Matters: Decoding the Past, Anticipating the Future (University of California Press) explains why the dusty old science is actually vitally instructive.
Mickey Cohen: The Life and Crimes of L.A.'s Notorious Mobster (ECW Press) by Tere Tereba gives us an exciting, horrifying life story.
Freedom's Cap: The United States Capitol and the Coming of the Civil War (Hill and Wang) by Guy Gugliotta tells how bitter conflicts produced a monument to our way of government.