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Winners & Nominees Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in AmericaIbram X Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, Winner, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of WarViet Thanh Nguyen, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, Nominee, The Other SlaveryAndrés Reséndez, The Other Slavery, Nominee, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its LegacyHeather Ann Thompson, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy, Nominee, Between the World and MeTa-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me, Winner, If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the QuranCarla Power, If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran, Nominee, Ordinary Light: A memoirTracy K Smith, Ordinary Light: A memoir, Nominee, Hold Still: A Memoir with PhotographsSally Mann, Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs, Nominee, The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of ConsciousnessSy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness, Nominee, Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune - Truth - and Faith in the New ChinaEvan Osnos, Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune - Truth - and Faith in the New China, Winner, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the FleshJohn Lahr, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, Nominee, The Meaning of Human ExistenceE O Wilson, The Meaning of Human Existence, Nominee, Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?Roz Chast, Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?, Nominee, No Good Men Among the Living: America - the Taliban - and the War through Afghan EyesAnand Gopal, No Good Men Among the Living: America - the Taliban - and the War through Afghan Eyes, Nominee, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New AmericaGeorge Packer, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, Winner, The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia - 1772-1832Alan Taylor, The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia - 1772-1832, Nominee, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane FranklinJill Lepore, Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin, Nominee, Going ClearLawrence Wright, Going Clear, Nominee, Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing FieldsWendy Lower, Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields, Nominee, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life - Death - and Hope in a Mumbai UndercityKatherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life - Death - and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, Winner, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe - 1944-1956Anne Applebaum, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe - 1944-1956, Nominee, House of Stone: A Memoir of Home - Family - and a Lost Middle EastAnthony Shadid, House of Stone: A Memoir of Home - Family - and a Lost Middle East, Nominee, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon JohnsonRobert Caro, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Nominee, The Boy Kings of Texas: A MemoirDomingo Martinez, The Boy Kings of Texas: A Memoir, Nominee
2015 national book award for nonfiction
The National Book Award for Nonfiction is one of four annual National Book Awards, which are given by the National Book Foundation to recognize outstanding literary work by U.S. citizens. They are awards "by writers to writers". The panelists are five "writers who are known to be doing great work in their genre or field".
- 2015 national book award for nonfiction
- Nonfiction now through 1984
- Multiple nonfiction categories 1964 to 1983
- Nonfiction 1950 to 1963
- Early awards won by nonfiction books
- Repeat winners
The original National Book Awards recognized the "Most Distinguished" biography and nonfiction books (two) of 1935 and 1936, and the "Favorite" nonfiction books of 1937 to 1940. The "Bookseller Discovery" and the "Most Original Book" sometimes recognized nonfiction. (See below.)
The general "Nonfiction" award was one of three when the National Book Awards were re-established in 1950 for 1949 publications, which the National Book Foundation considers the origin of its current Awards series. From 1964 to 1983, under different administrators, there were multiple nonfiction categories.
The current Nonfiction award recognizes one book written by a US citizen and published in the US from December 1 to November 30. The National Book Foundation accepts nominations from publishers until June 15, requires mailing nominated books to the panelists by August 1, and announces five finalists in October. The winner is announced on the day of the final ceremony in November. The award is $10,000 and a bronze sculpture; other finalists get $1000, a medal, and a citation written by the panel. The sculpture by Louise Nevelson dates from the 1980 awards. The $10,000 and $1000 cash prizes and autumn recognition for current-year publications date from 1984.
About 200 books were nominated for the 1984 award, when the single award for general nonfiction was restored.
There were 435 books nominated for the 2010 award.
Nonfiction, now through 1984
The winner is listed first followed by the four other finalists (from 1987) or other runners up.
2016: Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
2015: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
2014: Evan Osnos, Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China
2013: George Packer, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America
2012: Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
2011: Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
2010: Patti Smith, Just Kids [memoir]
2009: T. J. Stiles, The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt [bio: Cornelius Vanderbilt]
2008: Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family
2007: Tim Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA
2006: Timothy Egan, The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
2005: Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking[memoir]
2004: Kevin Boyle, Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age
2003: Carlos Eire, Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy
2002: Robert A. Caro, Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson[bio: Lyndon Johnson]
2001: Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
2000: Nathaniel Philbrick, In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
1999: John W. Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II
1998: Edward Ball, Slaves in the Family
1997: Joseph J. Ellis, American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson
1996: James P. Carroll, An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War that Came Between Us
1995: Tina Rosenberg, The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism
1994: Sherwin B. Nuland, How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter
1993: Gore Vidal, United States: Essays 1952–1992
1992: Paul Monette, Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story
1991: Orlando Patterson, Freedom, Vol. 1: Freedom in the Making of Western Culture
1990: Ron Chernow, The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance
1989: Thomas L. Friedman, From Beirut to Jerusalem
1988: Neil Sheehan, A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam
1987: Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb
1986: Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape
1985: J. Anthony Lukas, Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families
1984: Robert V. Remini, Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Democracy, 1833–1845
Multiple nonfiction categories, 1964 to 1983
For the 1963/1964 cycle, three new award categories replaced "Nonfiction": Arts and Letters; History and Biography; Science, Philosophy and Religion. For the next twenty years there were at least three award categories for nonfiction books marketed to adult readers and the term "Nonfiction" was used only 1980 to 1983 ("General Nonfiction", hardcover and paperback).
From 1980 to 1983 there were dual awards for hardcover (hc) and paperback (ppb) books in all nonfiction subcategories and some others. Most of the paperback award winners were second and later editions that had been previously eligible in their first editions. Here the first edition publication year is given parenthetically except the calendar year preceding the award is represented by "(new)".
Nonfiction finalists, 1984 to date
1983 entries were published during 1982, the pattern established for 1949 books in 1950. Winners in 27 categories were announced April 13 and privately celebrated April 28, 1983.
The awards practically went out of business that spring. Their salvation with a reduced program to be determined was announced in November. The revamp was completed only next summer, with an autumn program recognizing books published during the award year (initially, preceding November to current October). There were no awards for books published in 1983 before November.
By this time the awards were sponsored by the book publishers alone. From 1980 (for 1979 books) they were termed "American Book Awards", and the National Book Awards were considered to have been discontinued after 1979.
1984 entries for the "revamped" awards in merely three categories were published November 1983 to October 1984; that is, approximately during the award year. Eleven finalists were announced October 17. Winners were announced and celebrated November 15, 1984.
Nonfiction, 1950 to 1963
1963: Leon Edel, Henry James, volumes II and III (biography of Henry James)
1962: Lewis Mumford, The City in History: Its Origins, its Transformations and its Prospects
1961: William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
1960: Richard Ellmann, James Joyce (biography of James Joyce)
1959: J. Christopher Herold, Mistress to an Age: A Life of Madame de Staël
1958: Catherine Drinker Bowen, The Lion and the Throne (see Edward Coke)
1957: George F. Kennan, Russia Leaves the War'
1956: Herbert Kubly, An American in Italy
1955: Joseph Wood Krutch, The Measure of Man
1954: Bruce Catton, A Stillness at Appomattox
1953: Bernard De Voto, The Course of Empire
1952: Rachel Carson, The Sea Around Us
1951: Newton Arvin, Herman Melville (biography of Herman Melville)
1950. The first awards in the current series were presented to the best books of 1949 at the annual convention dinner of the booksellers, book publishers, and book manufacturers in New York City, March 16, 1950. There were honorable mentions ("special citations") in the non-fiction category only.
1950: Ralph L. Rusk, The Life of Ralph Waldo Emerson (biography of Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Early awards won by nonfiction books
The National Book Awards for 1935 to 1940 annually recognized the "most distinguished" or "favorite" book of General Nonfiction or simply Nonfiction. In 1935 and 1936 there was distinct award to the most distinguished Biography; both winners were autobiographies. Meanwhile, four of the six general nonfiction winners were autobiographical and one more was a biography. Furthermore, all books were eligible for the "Bookseller Discovery" and "Most Original Book" (two awards); nonfiction winners are listed here. In 1937 and 1939 alone, the New York Times reported close seconds and runners up respectively.
There was only one National Book Award for 1941, the Bookseller Discovery, which recognized a novel; then none until their 1950 revival for 1949 books in three categories including general Nonfiction.
1935: Anne Morrow Lindbergh, North to the Orient (flight memoir)Biography: Vincent Sheean, Personal History (autobiography)
1936: Van Wyck Brooks, The Flowering of New England: 1815–1865Biography: Victor Heiser (see Leprosy), An American Doctor's Odyssey: Adventures in Forty-Five Countries (autobiography)
1937: Ève Curie, Madame Curie (biography of Marie Curie)
1938: Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Listen! The Wind (flight memoir)
1939: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand and Stars (flight memoir)
1940: Hans Zinsser, As I Remember Him: The Biography of R.S. (autobiography)
1936: see fiction
1937: see fiction
1938: David Fairchild, The World Was My Garden: Travels of a Plant Explorer
1939: see fiction
1940: Perry Burgess, Who Walk Alone (1942 subtitle, Life of a Leper)
1941: see fiction
1935: see fiction
1936: Della T. Lutes, The Country Kitchen (autobiography & cookbook)
1937: Carl Crow, Four Hundred Million Customers: The Experiences—Some Happy, Some Sad, of an American Living in China, and What They Taught Him (nonfiction)
1938: Margaret Halsey, With Malice Toward Some (humor, satire)
1939: see fiction
Repeat winnersSee also Winners of multiple U.S. National Book Awards
Three books have won two literary National Book Awards (that is, excluding graphics), all in nonfiction subcategories of 1964 to 1983.
Matthiessen and Thomas won three Awards (as did Saul Bellow, all fiction). Matthiessen won the 2008 fiction award. Thomas is one of several authors of two Award-winning books in nonfiction categories.