Special Collections

National Book Award Winners - Non-Fiction

Description: The National Book Awards are presented annually "to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America." Here we present the Non-Fiction medal winners. #award #adults


Showing 26 through 50 of 82 results
 

The Hemingses of Monticello

by Annette Gordon-Reed

Winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize

This epic work tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. Now, historian and legal scholar Annette Gordon-Reed traces the Hemings family from its origins in Virginia in the 1700s to the family's dispersal after Jefferson's death in 1826.

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 2008

Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Democracy 1833-1845

by Robert V. Remini

Volume III of Robert V. Remini's biography of Andrew Jackson.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1984

Walt Whitman

by Justin Kaplan

Whitman's genius, passions, poetry, and androgynous sensibility entwined to create an exuberant life amid the turbulent American mid-nineteenth century. In vivid detail, Kaplan examines the mysterious selves of the enigmatic man who celebrated the freedom and dignity of the individual and sang the praises of democracy and the brotherhood of man.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1981

The Enlightenment

by Peter Gay

The eighteenth-century Enlightenment marks the beginning of the modern age, when the scientific method and belief in reason and progress came to hold sway over the Western world. In the twentieth century, however, the Enlightenment has often been judged harshly for its apparently simplistic optimism. Now a master historian goes back to the sources to give a fully rounded account of its true accomplishments.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1967

White Over Black

by Winthrop D. Jordan and Christopher Leslie Brown and Peter H. Wood

In 1968, Winthrop D. Jordan set out in encyclopedic detail the evolution of white Englishmen's and Anglo-Americans' perceptions of blacks, perceptions of difference used to justify race-based slavery, and liberty and justice for whites only. This second edition, with new forewords by historians Christopher Leslie Brown and Peter H. Wood, reminds us that Jordan's text is still the definitive work on the history of race in America in the colonial era. Every book published to this day on slavery and racism builds upon his work; all are judged in comparison to it; none has surpassed it.

National Book Award Winner

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1969

The Unwinding

by George Packer

A riveting examination of a nation in crisis, from one of the finest political journalists of our generation.

American democracy is beset by a sense of crisis. Seismic shifts during a single generation have created a country of winners and losers, allowing unprecedented freedom while rending the social contract, driving the political system to the verge of breakdown, and setting citizens adrift to find new paths forward. In The Unwinding, George Packer, author of The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq, tells the story of the United States over the past three decades in an utterly original way, with his characteristically sharp eye for detail and gift for weaving together complex narratives.

The Unwinding journeys through the lives of several Americans, including Dean Price, the son of tobacco farmers, who becomes an evangelist for a new economy in the rural South; Tammy Thomas, a factory worker in the Rust Belt trying to survive the collapse of her city; Jeff Connaughton, a Washington insider oscillating between political idealism and the lure of organized money; and Peter Thiel, a Silicon Valley billionaire who questions the Internet's significance and arrives at a radical vision of the future. Packer interweaves these intimate stories with biographical sketches of the era's leading public figures, from Newt Gingrich to Jay-Z, and collages made from newspaper headlines, advertising slogans, and song lyrics that capture the flow of events and their undercurrents.

The Unwinding portrays a superpower in danger of coming apart at the seams, its elites no longer elite, its institutions no longer working, its ordinary people left to improvise their own schemes for success and salvation. Packer's novelistic and kaleidoscopic history of the new America is his most ambitious work to date.

National Book Award 2013

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 2013

James Joyce

by Richard Ellmann

Biography of the Irish author. Listed #73 on Modern Library's top 100 nonfiction books of the century.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1960

The City in History

by Lewis Mumford

The city's development from ancient times to the modern age. Winner of the National Book Award. "One of the major works of scholarship of the twentieth century" (Christian Science Monitor). Index; illustrations.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1962

How We Die

by Sherwin B. Nuland

Attempting to demythologize the process of dying, Nuland explores how we shall die, each of us in a way that will be unique. Through particular stories of dying--of patients, and of his own family--he examines the seven most common roads to death: old age, cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer's, accidents, heart disease, and strokes, revealing the facets of death's multiplicity. "It's impossible to read How We Die without realizing how earnestly we have avoided this most unavoidable of subjects, how we have protected ourselves by building a cultural wall of myths and lies. I don't know of any writer or scientist who has shown us the face of death as clearly, honestly and compassionately as Sherwin Nuland does here."--James Gleick.

*** Originally published in 1994 and on the New York Times bestseller list for weeks, this reprint includes an in-depth 2010 post-epilogue epilogue by the author.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1994

China

by Fox Butterfield

In 1979 Fox Butterfield became the first New York Times correspondent in China in 30 years. He wrote this book about his experiences during the two years he was a correspondent there.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1983

Voices of Protest

by Alan Brinkley

This is a book about two remarkable men--Huey P. Long, a first-term United States Senator from the red-clay, piney-woods country of north­ern Louisiana; and Charles E. Coughlin, a Catholic priest from an industrial suburb near Detroit. From modest origins, they rose together in the early years of the Great Depression to become the two most successful leaders of national political dissidence of their era.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1983

Making of the Atomic Bomb

by Richard Rhodes

Twenty-five years after its initial publication, The Making of the Atomic Bomb remains the definitive history of nuclear weapons and the Manhattan Project. From the turn-of-the-century discovery of nuclear energy to the dropping of the first bombs on Japan, Richard Rhodes’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book details the science, the people, and the socio-political realities that led to the development of the atomic bomb.

This sweeping account begins in the 19th century, with the discovery of nuclear fission, and continues to World War Two and the Americans’ race to beat Hitler’s Nazis. That competition launched the Manhattan Project and the nearly overnight construction of a vast military-industrial complex that culminated in the fateful dropping of the first bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Reading like a character-driven suspense novel, the book introduces the players in this saga of physics, politics, and human psychology—from FDR and Einstein to the visionary scientists who pioneered quantum theory and the application of thermonuclear fission, including Planck, Szilard, Bohr, Oppenheimer, Fermi, Teller, Meitner, von Neumann, and Lawrence.

From nuclear power’s earliest foreshadowing in the work of H.G. Wells to the bright glare of Trinity at Alamogordo and the arms race of the Cold War, this dread invention forever changed the course of human history, and The Making of The Atomic Bomb provides a panoramic backdrop for that story.

Richard Rhodes’s ability to craft compelling biographical portraits is matched only by his rigorous scholarship. Told in rich human, political, and scientific detail that any reader can follow, The Making of the Atomic Bomb is a thought-provoking and masterful work.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1987

Gödel, Escher, Bach

by Douglas R. Hofstadter

This groundbreaking Pulitzer Prize-winning book sets the standard for interdisciplinary writing, exploring the patterns and symbols in the thinking of mathematician Kurt Gödel, artist M.C. Escher, and composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

Winner of the National Book Award

Pulitzer Prize Winner

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1980

National Defense

by James Fallows

THIS BOOK is designed to give the general reader better ways of thinking about defense. In the first few years of the 1980s, the United States will have to make choices of enormous consequence about the size, purpose, and composition of its military force. These include whether to restore the draft, build new nuclear missiles and bombers, enlarge the Navy, equip a "rapid deployment force" for intervention overseas.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1983

Roosevelt

by James Macgregor Burns

The second entry in James Macgregor Burns’s definitive two-volume biography of Roosevelt begins with the president’s precedent-breaking third term election in 1940, just as Americans were beginning to face the likelihood of war. Here, Burns examines Roosevelt’s skillful wartime leadership as well as his vision for post-war peace. Hailed by William Shirer as “the definitive book on Roosevelt in the war years,” and by bestselling author Barbara Tuchman as “engrossing, informative, endlessly readable,” The Soldier of Freedom is a moving profile of a leader gifted with rare political talent in an era of extraordinary challenges, sacrifices, heroism, and hardship.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1971

The Noonday Demon

by Andrew Solomon

With uncommon humanity, candor, wit, and erudition, award-winning author Andrew Solomon takes the reader on a journey of incomparable range and resonance into the most pervasive of family secrets. His contribution to our understanding not only of mental illness but also of the human condition is truly stunning.

The Noonday Demon examines depression in personal, cultural, and scientific terms. Drawing on his own struggles with the illness and interviews with fellow sufferers, doctors and scientists, policymakers and politicians, drug designers and philosophers, Solomon reveals the subtle complexities and sheer agony of the disease. He confronts the challenge of defining the illness and describes the vast range of available medications, the efficacy of alternative treatments, and the impact the malady has had on various demographic populations around the world and throughout history. He also explores the thorny patch of moral and ethical questions posed by emerging biological explanations for mental illness.

The depth of human experience Solomon chronicles, the range of his intelligence, and his boundless curiosity and compassion will change the reader's view of the world.

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 2001

The Right Stuff

by Tom Wolfe

The Right Stuff is Tom Wolfe's deft account of a cast of heroes, introduced to America with the explosion of space exploration in the romantic heyday of the 20th century and encapsulated in Neal Armstrong's "one giant step for mankind."

Beginning with the first experiments with manned space flight in the 1940s, remembering the feats of Chuck Yeager and the breaking of the sound barrier, and focusing in on the brave pilots of the Mercury Project, Wolfe's ability to marry historical fact with dramatic intensity is nowhere more evident than in The Right Stuff.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1980

Becoming a Man

by Paul Monette

Paul Monette's National Book Award-winning memoir hailed as a classic coming-out story

Paul Monette grew up all-American, Catholic, overachieving... and closeted. As a child of the 1950s, a time when a kid suspected of being a "homo" would routinely be beaten up, Monette kept his secret throughout his adolescence. He wrestled with his sexuality for the first thirty years of his life, priding himself on his ability to "pass" for straight. The story of his journey to adulthood and to self-acceptance with grace and honesty, this intimate portrait of a young man's struggle with his own desires is witty, humorous, and deeply felt.

Before his death of complications from AIDS in 1995, Monette was an outspoken activist crusading for gay rights. Becoming a Man shows his courageous path to stand up for his own right to love and be loved.This ebook features an illustrated biography of Paul Monette including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the Paul Monette papers of the UCLA Library Special Collections.

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1992

World of Our Fathers

by Irving Howe

This book tells the story of those east European Jews who, for several decades starting in the 1880's, undertook a massive migration to the United States. There were two million of them, and they settled mostly in the large American cities, where they attempted to maintain their own Yiddish culture; then, as a result of both external pressures and their own desires, they made their way into American society.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1977

Age of Ambition

by Evan Osnos

Winner of the 2014 National Book Award in nonfiction. An Economist Best Book of 2014. A vibrant, colorful, and revelatory inner history of China during a moment of profound transformation From abroad, we often see China as a caricature: a nation of pragmatic plutocrats and ruthlessly dedicated students destined to rule the global economy-or an addled Goliath, riddled with corruption and on the edge of stagnation. What we don't see is how both powerful and ordinary people are remaking their lives as their country dramatically changes  As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party's struggle to retain control. He asks probing questions: Why does a government with more success lifting people from poverty than any civilization in history choose to put strict restraints on freedom of expression? Why do millions of young Chinese professionals-fluent in English and devoted to Western pop culture-consider themselves "angry youth," dedicated to resisting the West's influence? How are Chinese from all strata finding meaning after two decades of the relentless pursuit of wealth? Writing with great narrative verve and a keen sense of irony, Osnos follows the moving stories of everyday people and reveals life in the new China to be a battleground between aspiration and authoritarianism, in which only one can prevail.

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 2014

Eleanor and Franklin

by Joseph P. Lash

In his extraordinary biography of the major political couple of the twentieth century, Joseph P. Lash reconstructs from Eleanor Roosevelt's personal papers her early life and four-decade marriage to the four-time president who brought America back from the Great Depression and helped to win World War II. The result is an intimate look at the vibrant private and public worlds of two incomparable people.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1972

The Swerve

by Stephen Greenblatt

Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction

Winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Non-Fiction

One of the world's most celebrated scholars, Stephen Greenblatt has crafted both an innovative work of history and a thrilling story of discovery, in which one manuscript, plucked from a thousand years of neglect, changed the course of human thought and made possible the world as we know it.

Nearly six hundred years ago, a short, genial, cannily alert man in his late thirties took a very old manuscript off a library shelf, saw with excitement what he had discovered, and ordered that it be copied. That book was the last surviving manuscript of an ancient Roman philosophical epic, On the Nature of Things, by Lucretius--a beautiful poem of the most dangerous ideas: that the universe functioned without the aid of gods, that religious fear was damaging to human life, and that matter was made up of very small particles in eternal motion, colliding and swerving in new directions.

The copying and translation of this ancient book-the greatest discovery of the greatest book-hunter of his age-fueled the Renaissance, inspiring artists such as Botticelli and thinkers such as Giordano Bruno; shaped the thought of Galileo and Freud, Darwin and Einstein; and had a revolutionary influence on writers such as Montaigne and Shakespeare and even Thomas Jefferson.

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 2011

Lives of a Cell

by Lewis Thomas

Elegant, suggestive, and clarifying, Lewis Thomas's profoundly humane vision explores the world around us and examines the complex interdependence of all things. Extending beyond the usual limitations of biological science and into a vast and wondrous world of hidden relationships, this provocative book explores in personal, poetic essays to topics such as computers, germs, language, music, death, insects, and medicine. Lewis Thomas writes, "Once you have become permanently startled, as I am, by the realization that we are a social species, you tend to keep an eye out for the pieces of evidence that this is, by and large, good for us."

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1975

Embracing Defeat

by John W. Dower

Drawing on a vast range of Japanese sources and illustrated with dozens of astonishing documentary photographs, Embracing Defeat is the fullest and most important history of the more than six years of American occupation, which affected every level of Japanese society, often in ways neither side could anticipate. Dower, whom Stephen E. Ambrose has called "America's foremost historian of the Second World War in the Pacific," gives us the rich and turbulent interplay between West and East, the victor and the vanquished, in a way never before attempted, from top-level manipulations concerning the fate of Emperor Hirohito to the hopes and fears of men and women in every walk of life. Already regarded as the benchmark in its field, Embracing Defeat is a work of colossal scholarship and history of the very first order. John W. Dower is the Elting E. Morison Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for War Without Mercy.

Winner of the National Book Award.

Pulitzer Prize Winner

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1999

Winners & Losers

by Frances Fitzgerald and Gloria Emerson

The National Book Award-winning classic on the Vietnam War, reissued for the war's fiftieth anniversary. Based on interviews with both Americans and Vietnamese, Winners and Losers is Gloria Emerson's powerful portrait of the Vietnam War. From soldiers on the battlefield to protesters on the home front, Emerson chronicles the war's impact on ordinary lives with characteristic insight and brilliance. Today, as we approach the fiftieth anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin incident, much of the physical and emotional damage from that conflict--the empty political rhetoric, the mounting casualties, and the troubled homecomings of shell-shocked soldiers--is once again part of the American experience. Winners and Losers remains a potent reminder of the danger of blindly applied American power, and its poignant truths are the legacy of a remarkable journalist.

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1978


Showing 26 through 50 of 82 results