LA Times History Book Prize Finalists


bookPrizesLogo.gifThe Los Angeles Times 2010 Book Prize finalists have just been announced — and I’m pleased to report that this year I served as a judge on the history panel. That meant that we had about a hundred books to read through and consider from this past year — and while edifying, it’s also a real time juggling challenge.
I really liked all five of these history category finalists:

  • Ron Chernow, Washington: A Life (The Penguin Press)
  • John W. Dower, Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9-11/Iraq (W. W. Norton & Company and The New Press)
  • Susan Dunn, Roosevelt’s Purge: How FDR Fought To Change the Democratic Party (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press)
  • Thomas Powers, The Killing of Crazy Horse (Knopf)
  • Steven Solomon, Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization (HarperCollins)
  • Special thanks to James Fallows of The Atlantic and Diane Smith of Montana State University for their terrific work as co-judges of this history panel; and also to Ann Binney and Kenneth Turan for hanging in there with us as we went through our process selecting the finalists.
    On April 29th, you’ll get to hear who the winner is.
    — Steve Clemons


    One comment on “LA Times History Book Prize Finalists

    1. WigWag says:

      The WigWag awards for best non-fiction books of 2010 go to:
      1) The Tenth Parallel by Eliza Griswold. Griswold in a fellow at the New America Foundation and the daughter of one of the more prominent Episcopal Bishops in the United States. The book describes her travels along nations roughly located on the tenth parallel which happens to be a border zone where Islam and Christianity meet.
      2) Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power by Robert D. Kaplan. The long time Atlantic Monthly correspondent tours nations along the Indian Ocean and comments on the geopolitics of the region. The book is much less relentlessly bleak than many of Kaplan’s books.
      3) Nomad by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. After escaping a family that insisted on the strictest interpretation of Islam, Hirsi-Ali ended up in the West and actually became a Dutch legislator. After criticizing the most extreme tenets of Islam, Hirsi-Ali and her friend and colleague Theo Van Gogh were targeted and Van Gogh is ultimately murdered. “Nomad,” like her previous book “Infidel” is riveting.
      4) The Flight of the Intellectuals by Paul Berman. The book documents the history of the Muslim Brotherhood and its genesis in Nazi Germany. The book is scathing in its description of the willingness of modern leftists to excuse the most barbaric behavior of Islamists.
      5) Rebel Land: Unraveling the Riddle of History in a Turkish Town by Christopher de Bellaigue. The age-old fight between ethnic Turks, Kurds, Alevi and Armenians as experienced by the small Turkish town of Varto.
      Honorable mention”
      “Enemies of the People: My Family’s Journey to America” by Kati Marton.
      “The Hawk and the Dove: George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War” by Nicholas Thompson


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