William Hammett, Independent Ghostwriter

Great Nonfiction Tiles

The best nonfiction titles awe and inspire their readers. My own path in life was deeply affected by many nonfiction titles. A few well-know titles are listed below, all of them part of a longer list of my personal favorites.

  • Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
  • The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
  • Darkness Made Visible by William Styron
  • A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  • Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain
  • Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
  • The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton

The above titles resonated with me, and I revisit them from time to time because I still learn something new each time I read them.

Another title I'm fond of is One Hell of a Ride. I ghostwrote this title for Lou Federico several years ago. Lou contacted me and asked me to write his memoir. He'd built resort hotels in Baja, California. He'd lived an interesting life, but I couldn't find a specific angle that would make the book come together.

Lou was not to be deterred, however. He was convinced I was the man to write his memoir, so we scheduled a telephone call to discuss the project further. It was then that I learned that Lou had been far more than a real estate developer. He'd built resort hotels for Hollywood stars. John Wayne had sailed into the lagoon near his hotel at Punta Chuvato, and the two men drank late into the night and became great friends.

Dozens of Hollywood luminaries frequented Lou's resorts on a regular basis, stars such as Fred Astaire and Jayne Mansfield. Mansfield married Mickey Hargitay at the hotel, and their daughter Mariska went on to star in Law and Order: SVU.

Other visitors to Lou's hotels included famous authors, athletes, and politicians. Lou was an accomplished pilot, as well as a deep sea fisherman and big game hunter – and a bit of a rascal. He was a man's man.

"Lou," I said. "You've got a book. I'll do it."

Lou was seventy-eight, but he pecked out a few sentences every day on his old computer and sent them to me. They were hard to read, but in the end, the book was a great success. It's one of the more interesting projects I've worked on.

If you have a great idea for nonfiction, send me an email. Maybe you're onto something big.

You might also want to consult my Topics Considered page.

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