Friday, December 18, 2009's best nonfiction books of 2009's Laura Miller named her five best nonfiction books of 2009. One title on the list:
"Tall Man: The Death of Doomadgee" By Chloe Hooper

An utterly riveting combination of true crime, courtroom drama and social exposé, Hooper's exquisitely written book details the 2004 death of an aboriginal man while in the custody of Australian police, and that tragedy's harrowing aftermath. The setting is Palm Island on the Great Barrier Reef, a one-time paradise that for 50 years was Australia's Australia, a "tropical gulag" where uppity Aborigines were sent when they objected to the appalling treatment they received at the hands of the state. With spare, sure strokes, Hooper paints a situation that is anything but clear-cut: The material evidence was damning, but the cop accused was known for his services to the community, and many of the witnesses against him were drunk and susceptible to social pressures. Hooper, a novelist enlisted by the dead man's family and their crusading lawyer, had only the sketchiest knowledge of her nation's treatment of its indigenous people when she began the book; for an American, reading about it is a lot like looking at our own country's troubled racial history through a refracted, yet illuminating lens.
Read about the other books on Miller's list.

See Matilda's roundup of reviews of The Tall Man.

Check out:'s best fiction books of 2009.

--Marshal Zeringue