The Passenger Pigeon (Princeton University Press) by Errol Fuller commemorates a great loss.
Blood Aces: The Wild Ride of Benny Binion, the Texas Gangster Who Created Vegas Poker (Viking) by Doug J. Swanson tells a violent rags-to-riches tale.
The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses (The Penguin Press) by Kevin Birmingham details the efforts to keep a classic out of our hands.
Rum Maniacs: Alcoholic Insanity in the Early American Republic (University of Chicago Press) by Matthew Warner Osborn is history with a view to alcohol.
Shadows in the Vineyard: The True Story of the Plot to Poison the World's Greatest Wine (Twelve) by Maximillian Potter is more than just a true crime story.
Matthew Stewart in Nature's God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic (W. W. Norton) tells of the influence of deism, not Christianity, on our founders.
The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America's Coldest Cases (Simon and Schuster) by Deborah Halber shows a new way of fighting crime and identifying the anonymous dead.
How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking (The Penguin Press) is a fine explanation for non-mathematicians (but we are all mathematicians!).
Laughter in Ancient Rome: On Joking, Tickling, and Cracking Up (University of California Press) by Mary Beard is a serious look at old, old jokes.
Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies (Ballantine Books) by Lawrence Goldstone tells of the patent fights as the airplane was developed.