Without nonfiction writers dedicated to producing factually accurate accounts that convey the horrific particulars of our world, we end up living a collective lie — a lie readily perpetuated by those who stand to lose political, military, or economic power if the truth is told.

That, in part, is why it matters exactly how many people died in the Srebrenica massacre in 1995, and by whom they were killed, and how, and under what circumstances. Why it matters exactly how many victims were tortured or otherwise abused or humiliated in Abu Ghraib, and by whom, and how, and under whose authority. Why it matters exactly how many people are dying in Homs, Syria, right now, and who is killing them, and how. And why it matters exactly how old the workers are at the Foxconn plants in China, exactly how many of them are suffering injuries on the job, and exactly what sort of misconduct Apple is — or is not — engaged in.