Special Collections

National Book Award Winners - Non-Fiction

Description: 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.


Showing 51 through 75 of 80 results
 

Samuel Johnson

by Walter Jackson Bate

W. Jackson Bate's Samuel Johnson has been hailed as a supreme example of the biographer's art and the first great modern life of Johnson. Bate's work is literary biography at its finest, delving into the character that formed Johnson's awesome intellect and fueled his prodigious output.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1978

The Path Between the Seas

by David Mccullough

The National Book Award–winning epic chronicle of the creation of the Panama Canal, a first-rate drama of the bold and brilliant engineering feat that was filled with both tragedy and triumph, told by master historian David McCullough.

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Truman, here is the national bestselling epic chronicle of the creation of the Panama Canal. In The Path Between the Seas, acclaimed historian David McCullough delivers a first-rate drama of the sweeping human undertaking that led to the creation of this grand enterprise.

The Path Between the Seas tells the story of the men and women who fought against all odds to fulfill the 400-year-old dream of constructing an aquatic passageway between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is a story of astonishing engineering feats, tremendous medical accomplishments, political power plays, heroic successes, and tragic failures. Applying his remarkable gift for writing lucid, lively exposition, McCullough weaves the many strands of the momentous event into a comprehensive and captivating tale.

Winner of the National Book Award for history, the Francis Parkman Prize, the Samuel Eliot Morison Award, and the Cornelius Ryan Award (for the best book of the year on international affairs), The Path Between the Seas is a must-read for anyone interested in American history, the history of technology, international intrigue, and human drama.

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1978

The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales

by Bruno Bettelheim

Bruno Bettelheim was one of the great child psychologists of the twentieth century and perhaps none of his books has been more influential than this revelatory study of fairy tales and their universal importance in understanding childhood development.

Analyzing a wide range of traditional stories, from the tales of Sindbad to “The Three Little Pigs,” “Hansel and Gretel,” and “The Sleeping Beauty,” Bettelheim shows how the fantastical, sometimes cruel, but always deeply significant narrative strands of the classic fairy tales can aid in our greatest human task, that of finding meaning for one’s life.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1977

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

Passage to Ararat

by Michael J. Arlen

In Passage to Ararat, Michael J. Arlen goes beyond the portrait of his father, the famous Anglo-Armenian novelist of the 1920s, that he created in Exiles to try to discover what his father had tried to forget: Armenia and what it meant to be an Armenian, a descendant of a proud people whom conquerors had for centuries tried to exterminate. But perhaps most affectingly, Arlen tells a story as large as a whole people yet as personal as the uneasy bond between a father and a son, offering a masterful account of the affirmation and pain of kinship.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1976

The Great War and Modern Memory

by Paul Fussell

Fussell writes: This book is about the British experience on the Western Front from 1914 to 1918 and some of the literary means by which it has been remembered, conventionalized, and mythologized. It is also about the literary dimensions of the trench experience itself. Indeed, if the book had a subtitle, it would be something like "An Inquiry into the Curious Literariness of Real Life."

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1976

Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher

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

All God's Dangers

by Theodore Rosengarten

Classic of oral history tells the life story of Nate Shaw, an illiterate black sharecropper who stood up against white farmers in the 1930's and spent time in prison for it. Includes much folklore and information about rural life.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1975

Anarchy, State, and Utopia

by Robert Nozick

In this brilliant and widely acclaimed book, winner of the 1975 National Book Award, Robert Nozick challenges the most commonly held political and social positions of our age?liberal, socialist, and conservative.

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1975

The Briar Patch: The People of the State of New York V. Lumamba Shakur et al.

by Murray Kempton

American justice...and the violent fears that underscore it...is the theme of Murray Kempton's brilliant examination of the landmark trial of a group of young men and women who came to be called the Panther 21.

At five o'clock in the morning of April 2, 1969, approximately 100 members of the Special Services Division of the New York City Police Dept. were dispatched to capture 19 of the 21 persons,' many of them Black Panthers,' who had been indicted for arson, conspiracy and attempted murder.

The narrative of 'The Briar Patch' explores both the mechanics of the police undercover operations that brought the Panthers to the bar, and those of their highly publicized trial. What especially distinguishes this book is the way Kempton illustrates each of the contending forces...prosecution, defense, member of the jury...acting out this great human drama from their own angle of alienation.

As Mr. Kempton states, 'A man's spirit can be marked most clearly in its passage from the reform to the revolutionary impulse at the moment when he decides that his enemy will no longer write his history.' The furious heroics and posturings of the defendants in this extraordinary trial grew out of one such moment of self-determination. That moment, a watershed of American history, is recorded in 'The Briar Patch.'

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1974

Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam

by Frances Fitzgerald

This landmark work, based on Frances FitzGerald's own research and travels, takes us inside Vietnam into the traditional, ancestor-worshiping villages and the corrupt crowded cities, into the conflicts between Communists and anti-Communists, Catholics and Buddhists, generals and monks and reveals the country as seen through Vietnamese eyes.

With a clarity and authority unrivaled by any book before it or since, Fire in the Lake shows how America utterly and tragically misinterpreted the realities of Vietnam.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1973

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 Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven

by Charles Rosen

This book treating the three most beloved composers of the Vienna School is considered basic to any study of classical-era music. Drawing on his rich experience and intimate familiarity with the works of these giants, Charles Rosen presents his keen insights in clear and persuasive language.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1972

Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom (1940-1945)

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

Gandhi's Truth: On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence

by Erik H. Erikson

In this study of Mahatma Gandhi, psychoanalyst Erik H. Erikson explores how Gandhi succeeded in mobilizing the Indian people both spiritually and politically as he became the revolutionary innovator of militant non-violence and India became the motherland of large-scale civil disobedience.

Winner of the National Book Award

Pulitzer Prize Winner

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1970

The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, The Novel as History

by Norman Mailer

October 21, 1967. Washington DC. Protesters are marching to end the war in Vietnam, Mailer among them. From his perception of the day comes a work that shatters traditional reportage.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1969

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

Memoirs (1925-1950)

by George F. Kennan

The American diplomat's reflections of his years of government service provide insight into four decades of U.S. policy

Winner of the National Book Award

Pulitzer Prize Winner

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1968

The Enlightenment: An Interpretation - The Rise of Modern Paganism

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

Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain: A Biography

by Justin Kaplan

Mark Twain, the American comic genius who portrayed, named, and in part exemplified America's "Gilded Age," comes alive -- a presence felt, an artist understood -- in Justin Kaplan's extraordinary biography.

With brilliant immediacy, Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain brings to life a towering literary figure whose dual persona symbolized the emerging American conflict between down-to-earth morality and freewheeling ambition. As Mark Twain, he was the Mississippi riverboat pilot, the satirist with a fiery hatred of pretension, and the author of such classics as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. As Mr. Clemens, he was the star who married an heiress, built a palatial estate, threw away fortunes on harebrained financial schemes, and lived the extravagant life that Mark Twain despised. Kaplan effectively portrays the triumphant-tragic man whose achievements and failures, laughter and anger, reflect a crucial generation in our past as well as his own dark, divided, and remarkably contemporary spirit.

The book begins as the thirty-one-year-old Mark Twain, carrying bottled within himself the experience of his boyhood in Hannibal and his coming-of-age on the Mississippi and on Nevada's silver-rush frontier, quits San Francisco and the old elemental America of the open spaces. He is heading east for the burgeoning new urban America of commerce, invention, finance, and status, where he is destined to marry well, hobnob with the rich and influential, throw away fortunes on tragically alluring schemes...and produce literary works that fulfill and go beyond the vocation he has already acknowledged: "to excite the laughter of God's creatures." He is heard, seen, made palpable. The texture of his marriage with Olivia Langdon, the protean presence of Mark Twain on the lecture platform, his friendships and enmities -- virtually all his closest relationships partook of both -- spring to life. His writing and publishing experience is organically re-created. His endurance in the face of personal tragedy, his unrivaled charm, his compulsion to quarrel, his humility and his vanity are evoked and felt. His wit rings through the book. "Honest poverty is a gem that even a King might be proud to call his own, but I wish to sell out. I have sported that kind of jewelry long enough." Thus the young Mark Twain, on the eve of world fame, spoke his disgust at a money-centered society in that blatantly philistine voice that he chose for his most savage satirical declarations. But all his life -- racked by his own ambivalences -- he was to embrace the values of that society. Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain brilliantly conveys this towering literary figure who was himself a symbol of the peculiarly American conflict between moral scrutiny and the drive to succeed. Mr. Clemens lived the Gilded Life that Mark Twain despised. The merging and fragmenting of these and other identities, as the biography unfolds, results in a magnificent projection of the whole man; the great comic spirit; and the exuberant, tragic human being, who, his friend William Dean Howells said, was "sole, incomparable, the Lincoln of our literature."

Winner of the National Book Award

Pulitzer Prize Winner

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1967

A Thousand Days

by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

As special assistant to the president, Arthur Schlesinger witnessed firsthand the politics and personalities that influenced the now legendary Kennedy administration.

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1966

The Oysters of Locmariaquer

by Eleanor Clark

On the northwest coast of France, just around the corner from the English Channel, is the little town of Locmariaquer (pronounced "loc-maria-care"). The inhabitants of this town have a special relationship to the world, for it is their efforts that maintain the supply of the famous Belon oysters, called les plates ("the flat ones"). A vivid account of the cultivation of Belon oysters and an excursion into the myths, legends, and rich, vibrant history of Brittany and its extraordinary people, The Oysters of Locmariaquer is also an unforgettable journey to the heart of a fascinating culture and the enthralling, accumulating drama of a unique devotion.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1965

Henry James: A Life

by Leon Edel

This is the one-volume edition of a famous biography of Henry James. Born in America, Henry James was educated both there and in Europe before settling in London, where he was to spend most of his life, in 1876. His novels represent the culmination of the 19th-century realist tradition of Austen, George Eliot, Flauberty and Balzac, and a decisive step towards the experimental modernism of Woolf and T.S. Eliot. His works often focus upon an innocent American in Europe, and assess the qualities and dangers of both American and European culture at the time, as well as showing their vast differences. "A Portrait of a Lady", "The Ambassadors" and "The Golden Bowl" all explore this subject, whilst Honore de Balzac's "Eugenie Grandet" was so admired by James that he was inspired to write "Washington Square", his own version of the tale. James's works explore sexual roles, feminism and class conflict.

Winner of the National Book Award

Pulitzer Prize Winner

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1963

The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects

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

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

by William L. Shirer

Before the Nazies could destroy the files, famed foreign correspondent and historian William L. Shirer sifted through the massive self-documentation of the Third Reich, to create a monumental study that has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of one of the most frightening chapters in the history of mankind--now in a special 30th anniversary edition.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1961


Showing 51 through 75 of 80 results