Social histories of one thing.
Salt : a world history
by Mark Kurlansky

Explores the role of salt in shaping history, discussing how one of the world's most sought-after commodities has influenced economics, science, politics, religion, and eating customs
The children's blizzard
by David Laskin

Describes the deadly late-nineteenth-century snowstorm in the Great Plains that killed more than five hundred people including numerous schoolchildren, describing how the unexpected blizzard devastated generations of immigrant families and dramatically affected pioneer advancement. 
Stiff : the curious lives of human cadavers
by Mary Roach

A compelling look inside the world of forensics examines the use of human cadavers in a wide range of endeavors, including research into new surgical procedures, the testing of the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, space exploration, a Tennessee human decay research facility, and a Scandinavian funeral directors' conference on human composting.
A history of the world in 6 glasses
by Tom Standage

An offbeat history of the world traces the story of humankind from the Stone Age to the twenty-first century from the perspective of six different drinks--beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola--describing their pervasive influence during pivotal eras of world history, from humankind's adoption of agriculture to the advent of globalization.
The ghost map : the story of London's most terrifying epidemic--and how it changed science, cities, and the modern world
by Steven Johnson

A historical chronicle of Victorian London's worst cholera outbreak traces the day-by-day efforts of Dr. John Snow, who put his own life on the line in his efforts to prove his previously dismissed contagion theory about how the epidemic was spreading.
The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot

Documents the story of how scientists took cells from an unsuspecting descendant of freed slaves and created a human cell line that has been kept alive indefinitely, enabling discoveries in such areas as cancer research, in vitro fertilization and gene mapping. 
The disappearing spoon : and other true tales of madness, love, and the history of the world from the periodic table of the elements
by Sam Kean

Explores intriguing tales about every element of the periodic table, sharing their parts in human history, finance, mythology, war, evil, love, the arts, and the lives of the colorful scientists who discovered them.
The omnivore's dilemma : a natural history of four meals
by Michael Pollan

An ecological and anthropological study of eating offers insight into food consumption in the twenty-first century, explaining how an abundance of unlimited food varieties reveals the responsibilities of everyday consumers to protect their health and the environment. By the author of The Botany of Desire. 
The poisoner's handbook : murder and the birth of forensic medicine in Jazz Age New York
by Deborah Blum

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Ghost Hunters chronicles the dramatic story of New York City's first forensic scientists to describe Jazz Age poisoning cases, including a family's inexplicable balding, Barnum and Bailey's Blue Man and the crumbling bones of factory workers.
The code book : the evolution of secrecy from Mary, Queen of Scots, to quantum cryptography
by Simon Singh

A look at the world of codes includes a history of how they have affected the world, from the World Wars to the death of Mary, Queen of Scots, and also looks at what the future holds for the field of cryptography.
Color : a natural history of the palette
by Victoria Finlay

Examining the physical materials that color the world, a freelance journalist explores the social, political, and cultural implications of color throughout history.
The emperor of all maladies : a biography of cancer
by Siddhartha Mukherjee

A historical assessment of cancer addresses both the courageous battles against the complex disease and the misperceptions and hubris that have compromised modern understandings, providing coverage of such topics as ancient-world surgeries and the developments of present-day treatments.

Isaac's storm : a man, a time, and the deadliest hurricane in history
by Erik Larson

Provides an in-depth chronicle of America's deadliest hurricane, which struck the city of Galveston, Texas, in 1900 and killed some ten thousand people, drawing on eyewitness accounts of the catastrophe and the writings of one of America's earliest professional weathermen, Isaac Cline. 

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