John Beckman writes in American Fun: Four Centuries of Joyous Revolt (Pantheon Books) about an important, and fun, aspect of the American Character.
The Peculiar Case of the Electric Constable: A True Tale of Passion, Poison, & Pursuit (Oneworld Publications) by Carol Baxter tells of modern crime-fighting in 1845.
The Rude Story of English (McClelland & Stewart) by Tom Howell presents a unique history of our language.
The Dark Box: A Secret History of Confession by John Cornwell tells a shameful history.
A Natural History of Ghosts: 500 Years of Hunting for Proof (Particular Books) by columnist Roger Clarke is just as much about people.
Fizz: How Soda Shook Up the World (Chicago Review Press) by Tristan Donovan is a history of carbonated drinks.
The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day (Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux) by mathematician David Hand looks at the probability of the improbable.
The End of Plagues: The Global Battle Against Infectious Disease (Palgrave Macmillan) by immunologist John Rhodes is full of medical optimism.
The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover's Secret FBI (Knopf) by Betty Medsger recalls a brilliant act of civil disobedience.