It is possible to write a completely factual account of history that has the narrative force of a novel. Not easy, but possible. John Tayman did it in The Colony, his new book about the leper colony on Molokai. If Oprah picks up The Colony, she'll see the difference right away.
I can't remember the last book I sneaked off to read during the middle of a work day (OK, it was Silence of the Lambs, which I read in a corner of the Newsday employee cafeteria), but Tayman's has lured me away from even the siren's call of online shopping. It's $18.15 at Amazon. From Chapter 1:
Stolz announced that all lepers in the valley were to gather at the beach, by order of the board of health. The next morning, two dozen men and women milled at the forest’s edge. Stolz informed them that a boat would arrive early the next week to collect them. They would be sent to Kalihi Hospital, and then to Molokai. Any person who resisted would be shackled and carried aboard. Stolz asked, Who agrees to go willingly?
Koolau stepped from the trees. “I first ask whether my wife will be allowed to go with me,” he yelled.
“No!” Stolz replied. “Your wife cannot at all go with you. You and all those who have the sickness will be taken, no one else.”