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5 Action-Packed New Nonfiction Books for Summer

Escape with these true stories about daring feats and wild adventures

three scenes of adventure from left to right a treasure chest full of gold and jewels a mountain climbing expedition and a man escaping prison

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Feel like life has been on the dull side lately? Get your blood pumping with a dive into one of these five new adventure-filled books. Two are jaw-dropping stories of obsessive quests: one on the climbers dead set on conquering Mount Everest, the other about a search for buried treasure. The others feature the bravery of Japanese Americans in the face of injustice during World War II; a wildly implausible (but successful) prison escape; and a woman who set off on horseback across the country determined to see the Pacific before she died, finding fame and the kindness of strangers along the way.

 

the third pole book by mark synnott

Dutton

The Third Pole: Mystery, Obsession and Death on Mount Everest

by Mark Synnott

Mount Everest has always been the holy grail of adventure, and professional climber Synnott takes readers along for the terrifying ascent. But his journey wasn't just for the summit. He wanted to investigate a mystery about the disappearance of two people, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, who attempted to be the first to reach the world's highest peak in 1924. They vanished just 800 feet before the top but had brought a camera. Could it still somehow be found? And would the film be viable enough to reveal what happened to them? This is a hold-your-breath story that features the author's own hazardous journey and exploration of the motives behind climbers’ obsession with reaching dangerous heights. What he found, he writes, offered “a window on the best of humanity. And the worst.”

 


facing the mountain a true story of japanese american heroes in world war two by daniel james brown

Viking


Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II

by Daniel James Brown

The best-selling author of 2013's The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown focuses his new book on four families who were among the 120,000 Japanese Americans forcibly removed from their homes and imprisoned by the American government during WWII. He takes us overseas with three of their sons who were volunteers for the heroic mostly Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team deployed to Europe to fight fascism, and one, a Quaker and conscientious objector, who was imprisoned for his defiance (his conviction was finally overturned in 1987).

 

 

 


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chasing the thrill obsession death and glory in americas most extraordinary treasure hunt by daniel barbarisi

Knopf

Chasing the Thrill: Obsession, Death, and Glory in America's Most Extraordinary Treasure Hunt

By Daniel Barbarisi

This is a movie-ready true story about a heart-pumping treasure hunt that sounds whimsical and fun but quickly turned dark and deadly. You may have heard a bit about it: After being given a cancer death sentence in 1990, millionaire art dealer Forrest Fenn challenged readers of his memoir, The Thrill of the Chase, to find the chest of gold and jewels he had hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Their only guidance: nine cryptic clues Fenn had woven into a 24-line poem. Countless people became obsessed, including Barbarisi, a reporter and author (Dueling With Kings), who describes his own quest with dramatic flair. Some searchers died and others went bankrupt, while controversies, conspiracies and lawsuits over “stolen” clues erupted. The winner? A medical student who found the chest in Wyoming last year — and whose win is still in dispute.


the confidence men how two prisoners of war engineered the most remarkable escape in history by margalit fox

Random House

The Confidence Men: How Two Prisoners of War Engineered the Most Remarkable Escape in History

by Margalit Fox

Who doesn't love escape stories? Here, Margalit Fox tells the astonishing story of two wily British officers, Harry Jones and Cedric Hill, who were prisoners in a remote, supposedly escape-proof Turkish prison during World War I. After they entertained other prisoners with a handmade Ouija board, a Turkish officer approached them to ask if they could contact a spirit who knew where treasure might be found. Jones and Hill pretended they could, telling the officer the spirit had agreed, but only if the men were outside the camp. The con was on, and it got crazier, because once outside, the POWs feigned madness so they could be put into an insane asylum and then seek repatriation for medical reasons. A little eye-rolling, but still this tale of friendship, nerves and wits is a great deal of fun.


the ride of her life the true story of a woman her horse and their last chance journey across america by elizabeth letts

Ballantine

The Ride of Her Life: The True Story of a Woman, Her Horse, and Their Last-Chance Journey Across America

by Elizabeth Letts

Here's a more heartwarming tale: In 1954, 63-year-old Annie Wilkins was sick with tuberculosis and given two to four years to live. In response, Annie bought an old horse named Tarzan for $5, left her home in Maine, and headed south and west with her dog, Depeche Toi, to see the Pacific before she died. The adventurers traveled more than 4,000 miles, from big cities to tiny towns, sleeping in cop stations or welcomed into unfamiliar homes. The media caught the story and made this homespun woman a celebrity who got to meet Andrew Wyeth (he drew her horse), Groucho Marx and many big-hearted Americans. Wilkins became a folk hero for following her dream and eliciting remarkable acts of kindness from strangers across the country.

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