National Book Award for Nonfiction

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The National Book Award for Nonfiction is one of five U.S. 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".[1] The panelists are five "writers who are known to be doing great work in their genre or field".[2]

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.[3] From 1964 to 1983, under different administrators, there were multiple nonfiction categories.[3]

The current Nonfiction award recognizes one book written by a U.S. citizen and published in the U.S. 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.[4] The sculpture by Louise Nevelson dates from the 1980 awards.[5] The $10,000 and $1000 cash prizes and autumn recognition for current-year publications date from 1984.[6][7][a]

About 200 books were nominated for the 1984 award when the single award for general nonfiction was restored.[7]

Multiple nonfiction categories (1964-1983)[edit]

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).

Scope of "Nonfiction" as covered in the following tables
timespan of all


list of "Nonfiction" categories covered below
1964–1966 3 of 5 Arts and Letters; History and Biography; Science, Philosophy and Religion
1967–1968 3 of 6
1969–1971 3 of 7 Arts and Letters; History and Biography; "The Sciences" or "Philosophy and Religion" alternating
1972–1975 6 of 10 Arts and Letters; Biography; Contemporary Affairs; History; Philosophy and Religion; The Sciences
1976 3 of 6 Arts and Letters; Contemporary Affairs; History and Biography
1980 16 of 30+ Autobiography; Biography; Current Interest; General Nonfiction; History; Religion/Inspiration; Science
1977–1979 3 of 7 Biography and Autobiography; Contemporary Thought; History
1981–1983 8 of 20+ Autobiography/Biography; General Nonfiction; History; Science (each hardcover and paperback)



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.[8][9]

There was only one National Book Award for 1941, the Bookseller Discovery, which recognized a novel;[10] then none until their 1950 revival for 1949 books in three categories including general Nonfiction.

National Book Awards presented to nonfiction books, 1935-1940
Year Category Author Title Result Ref.
1935 Nonfiction Anne Morrow Lindbergh North to the Orient Winner [11]
Vincent Sheean Personal History Finalist
1936 Most Original Book Della T. Lutes The Country Kitchen Winner [12][13]
Nonfiction Van Wyck Brooks The Flowering of New England: 1815–1865 Winner [13]
1937 Most Original Book Carl Crow Four Hundred Million Customers: The Experiences—Some Happy, Some Sad, of an American Living in China, and What They Taught Him Winner [8]
Nonfiction Ève Curie Madame Curie Winner [8]
Lin Yutang The Importance of Living[b] Finalist
1938 Bookseller Discovery David Fairchild The World Was My Garden: Travels of a Plant Explorer Winner [14]
Most Original Book Margaret Halsey With Malice Toward Some Winner [15][14]
Nonfiction Anne Morrow Lindbergh Listen! The Wind Winner [14]
1939 Nonfiction Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Wind, Sand and Stars Winner [16][9]
Pierre van Paassen Days of Our Years Finalist
1940 Bookseller Discovery Perry Burgess Who Walk Alone Winner [17]
Nonfiction Hans Zinsser As I Remember Him: The Biography of R.S. Winner [17]


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.[18]

National Book Awards presented to nonfiction books, 1950-1963
Year Author Title Subject Result Ref.
1950 Ralph L. Rusk The Life of Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson, American philosopher, essayist, and poet (1803–1882) Winner [19]
Lincoln Barnett The Universe and Dr. Einstein Finalist
Harry Allen Overstreet The Mature Mind Finalist
Eleanor Roosevelt This I Remember Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States (1933–1945), diplomat, and activist Finalist
Lillian Smith Killers of the Dream Finalist
Kenneth P. Williams Lincoln Finds a General Finalist
1951 Newton Arvin Herman Melville Herman Melville, American writer and poet (1819–1891) Winner [20]
1952 Rachel Carson The Sea Around Us Winner [21]
1953 Bernard De Voto, The Course of Empire Winner [22]
1954 Bruce Catton A Stillness at Appomattox Winner [23]
1955 Joseph Wood Krutch The Measure of Man Winner [24]
1956 Herbert Kubly An American in Italy Winner [25]
1957 George F. Kennan Russia Leaves the War Winner [26]
1958 Catherine Drinker Bowen The Lion and the Throne Edward Coke, English lawyer and judge Winner [27]
1959 J. Christopher Herold Mistress to an Age: A Life of Madame de Staël Madame de Staël, Swiss/French author (1766–1817) Winner [28]



National Book Awards presented to nonfiction books, 1960-1963
Year Author Title Subject Result Ref.
1960 Richard Ellmann James Joyce James Joyce, Irish novelist and poet (1882–1941) Winner [29]
1961 William L. Shirer The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich Nazi Germany, Germany under control of the Nazi Party, 1933 to 1945 Winner [30]
1962 Lewis Mumford The City in History: Its Origins, its Transformations and its Prospects Winner [31]
1963 Leon Edel Henry James Henry James, American-born British writer and literary critic Winner [32]


From 1964-1969, winners were presented by specific categories (e.g., Arts and Letters). However, finalists were presented in one general nonfiction category. Individual categories of finalists have been guessed.

Arts and Letters[edit]
National Book Awards presented to nonfiction books, Arts and Letters,1964-1969
Year Author Title Subject Result
1964[33] Aileen Ward John Keats: The Making of a Poet John Keats, English Romantic poet (1795–1821) Winner
Walter Jackson Bate John Keats John Keats, English Romantic poet (1795–1821) Finalist
Francis Steegmuller Apollinaire: Poet among the Painters Guillaume Apollinaire, French poet and writer Finalist
1965[34] Eleanor Clark The Oysters of Locmariaquer Winner
Eric Bentley The Life of the Drama Finalist
Robert Brustein The Theater of Revolt: An Approach to Modern Drama Finalist
Edward Dahlberg Because I Was Flesh Edward Dahlberg, American writer Finalist
Ralph Ellison Shadow and Act Finalist
Howard Mumford Jones O Strange New World: American Culture, the Formative Years Finalist
1966[35] Janet Flanner Paris Journal, 1944–1965 Winner
Alfred Kazin Starting Out in the Thirties Finalist
R. W. B. Lewis Trials of the Word: Essays in American Literature and the Humanistic Tradition Finalist
Philip Rahv The Myth and the Powerhouse Finalist
Lionel Trilling Beyond Culture: Essays on Literature and Learning Finalist
René Wellek History of Modern Criticism: 1750–1950 Finalist
1967[36] Justin Kaplan Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain: A Biography Mark Twain, American author and humorist (1835–1910) Winner[37]
Oliver Larkin Daumier: Man of His Time Honoré Daumier, French artist (1808–1879) Finalist
Frederick A. Pottle James Boswell: The Earlier Years James Boswell, 18th-century Scottish lawyer, diarist, and author Finalist
Isaac Bashevis Singer In My Father's Court Isaac Bashevis Singer, Jewish American author (1903–1991) Finalist
Susan Sontag Against Interpretation and Other Essays Finalist
Lawrance Thompson Robert Frost: The Early Years Robert Frost, American poet (1874–1963) Finalist
1968[38] William Troy Selected Essays Winner
R. P. Blackmur A Primer of Ignorance Finalist
Frank Conroy Stop-Time Frank Conroy, American author Finalist
Leonard B. Meyer Music, the Arts and Ideas Finalist
M. L. Rosenthal The New Poets Finalist
Stanley Weintraub Beardsley: A Biography Aubrey Beardsley, English illustrator and author (1872–1898) Finalist
1969[39] Norman Mailer The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, The Novel as History Winner
Hannah Arendt Men in Dark Times Finalist
Peter Gay Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider Finalist[40]
Gordon S. Haight George Eliot: A Biography George Eliot, English novelist, essayist, poet and journalist (1819–1880) Finalist
Gertrude Himmelfarb Victorian Minds Finalist
History and Biography[edit]
Year Author Title Subject Result
1964[33] William H. McNeill The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community Winner[41]
Shelby Foote The Civil War: A Narrative, Vol. II, Fredericksburg to Meridian Finalist
Richard Hofstadter Anti-intellectualism in American Life Finalist
Seymour Martin Lipset The First New Nation: The United States in Historical and Comparative Perspective Finalist
Peter Lyon Success Story: The Life and Times of S. S. McClure S. S. McClure Finalist
Bertram D. Wolfe The Fabulous Life of Diego Rivera Diego Rivera, Mexican muralist (1886–1957) Finalist
1965[34] Louis Fischer The Life of Lenin Vladmir Lenin, Russian politician, communist theorist and founder of the Soviet Union Winner
Oscar Lewis Pedro Martinez: A Mexican Peasant and His Family Finalist
R. R. Palmer Age of the Democratic Revolution: A Political History of Europe and America, 1760–1800 Finalist
Willie Lee Nichols Rose Rehearsal for Reconstruction: The Port Royal Experiment Port Royal Experiment, program begun during the American Civil War in which former slaves successfully worked on the land abandoned by planters Finalist
Ernest Samuels Henry Adams: The Major Phase Henry Adams, American historian and Adams political family member (1838–1918) Finalist
Richard J. Whalen The Founding Father: The Story of Joseph P. Kennedy Joseph P. Kennedy Finalist
1966[35] Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House John F. Kennedy, President of the United States from 1961 to 1963 Winner
Irving Brant The Bill of Rights: Its Origin and Meaning United States Bill of Rights, First ten amendments to the US Constitution Finalist
Edward Chase Kirkland Charles Francis Adams, Jr., 1835–1915: Patrician at Bay Charles Francis Adams, Jr., American author and historian (1835–1915) Finalist
Richard B. Morris The Peacemakers: The Great Powers and American Independence Finalist
Robert Shaplen The Lost Revolution: The U.S. in Vietnam, 1946–1966 Vietnam War, Cold War conflict in Southeast Asia from 1955 to 1975 Finalist
Theodore H. White The Making of the President, 1964 Finalist
1967[36] Peter Gay The Enlightenment, Vol. I: The Rise of Modern Paganism Winner
James H. Billington The Icon and the Axe: An Interpretative History of Russian Culture Finalist
David Brion Davis The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture Finalist[42]
Martin Duberman James Russell Lowell James Russell Lowell, American poet, critic, editor, and diplomate (1819–1891) Finalist
Barrington Moore, Jr. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World Finalist
Peter Štanský and William Abrahams Journey to the Frontier: Two roads to the Spanish Civil War Finalist
1968[38] George F. Kennan Memoirs: 1925–1950 George F. Kennan, American diplomat, political scientist and historian (1904–2005) Winner
Henry Bragdon Woodrow Wilson: The Academic Years Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States from 1913 to 1921 Finalist
Louis J. Halle The Cold War as History Finalist
Roger Hilsman To Move a Nation: The Politics of Foreign Policy in the Administration of John F. Kennedy John F. Kennedy, President of the United States from 1961 to 1963 Finalist
Nathan Silver Lost New York Former New York City buildings Finalist
1969[39] Winthrop Jordan White over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550–1812 Winner
Nuel Pharr Davis Lawrence and Oppenheimer Ernest Lawrence, American nuclear physicist (1901–1958), and J. Robert Oppenheimer, American theoretical physicist (1904–1967) Finalist
Alvin M. Josephy, Jr. The Indian Heritage of America Finalist
Norman Mailer Miami and the Siege of Chicago: An Informal History of the Republic and Democratic Conventions of 1968 Finalist
David M. Potter The South and the Sectional Conflict Origins of the American Civil War Finalist
Science, Philosophy and Religion[edit]
National Book Awards: Nonfiction books, Science, Philosophy and Religion, 1964-1969
Year Author Title Subject Result
1964[33] Christopher Tunnard and Boris Pushkarev Man-made America: Chaos or Control? Winner
James Baldwin The Fire Next Time Finalist
Raymond Fredric Dasmann The Last Horizon Conservation biology, Study of threats to biological diversity Finalist
Howard Ensign Evans Wasp Farm Entomology, Scientific study of insects Finalist
Nathan Glazer and Daniel Patrick Moynihan Beyond the Melting Pot: The Negroes, Puerto Ricans, Jews, Italians and Irish of New York City Finalist
Stewart Udall The Quiet Crisis Conservation of Natural Resources, Study of threats to biological diversity Finalist
1965[34] Norbert Wiener God & Golem, Inc.: A Comment on Certain Points Where Cybernetics Impinges on Religion Winner
Walter Ciszek With God in Russia Walter Ciszek, Polish-American Jesuit priest and missionary in the Soviet Union Finalist
Theodosius Dobzhansky Heredity and the Nature of Man Finalist
David Hawkins The Language of Nature: An Essay on the Philosophy of Science Finalist
John Courtney Murray The Problem of God, Yesterday and Today Finalist
Walter S. Sullivan We Are Not Alone: The Search for Intelligent Life on Other Worlds Finalist
1966[35] Charles Frankel "The Love of Anxiety" and Other Essays Finalist
Edgar Z. Friedenberg Coming of Age in America Finalist
Bentley Glass Science and Ethical Values Finalist
Alice Kimball Smith A Peril and a Hope: The Scientists' Movement in America, 1945–47 Finalist
1967[36] Oscar Lewis La Vida: A Puerto Rican Family in the Culture of Poverty—San Juan and New York Culture of poverty, Social theory asserting that value systems perpetuate poverty Winner
Howard B. Adelmann Marcello Malpighi and the Evolution of Embryology Marcello Malpighi, Italian biologist and physician Finalist
George Beadle and Muriel Beadle, The Language of Life: An Introduction to the Science of Genetics Finalist
Wassily W. Leontief Essays in Economics Finalist
Philip Rieff The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith After Freud Finalist
Erwin Straus Phenomenological Psychology: The Selected Papers of Erwin W. Straus Phenomenological Psychology, Psychological study of subjective experience Finalist
1968[38] Jonathan Kozol Death at an Early Age Winner
Theodosius Dobzhansky The Biology of Ultimate Concern Finalist
John Kenneth Galbraith The New Industrial State Finalist
Suzanne K. Langer Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling Finalist
Lewis Mumford The Myth of the Machine: Technics and Human Development Finalist
1969[39] Robert Jay Lifton Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima Winner
René Dubos So Human an Animal: How We Are Shaped by Surroundings and Events Finalist
Frank E. Manuel A Portrait of Isaac Newton Isaac Newton, English physicist and mathematician (1642–1727) Finalist
Karl Menninger, M.D. The Crime of Punishment Finalist
James D. Watson The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA Finalist


Throughout the 1970s, the National Book Award was separated into multiple categories.

Arts and Letters[edit]

National Book Award for Nonfiction: Arts and Letters, winners and finalists, 1970-1976
Year Author Title Subject Result
1970[43] Lillian Hellman An Unfinished Woman: A Memoir Lillian Hellman, American dramatist and screenwriter (1905–1984) Winner
Richard Howard Alone with America: Essays on the Art of Poetry in the United States Since 1950 Finalist
Noel Perrin Dr. Bowdler's Legacy: A History of Expurgated Books in England and America Expurgated books Finalist
John Unterecker Voyager: A Life of Hart Crane Hart Crane, American poet Finalist
Gore Vidal Reflections Upon a Sinking Ship Finalist
1971[44] Francis Steegmuller Cocteau: A Biography Jean Cocteau, French writer and filmmaker Winner
Harold Bloom Yeats W. B. Yeats, Irish poet and playwright (1865–1939) Finalist
Robert Coles Erik H. Erikson: the Growth of His Work Erik Erikson, American German-born psychoanalyst & essayist Finalist
Nancy Milford Zelda Zelda Fitzgerald, American novelist (1900–1948) Finalist
Lewis Mumford The Myth of the Machine: The Pentagon of Power Finalist
Kenneth Rexroth The Alternative Society: Essays from the Other World Finalist
1972 Charles Rosen The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven Winner
M. H. Abrams Natural Supernaturalism: Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature Finalist
James Dickey Sorties Finalist
Thomas R. Edwards Imagination and Power: A Study of Poetry on Public Themes Finalist
Norman Fruman Coleridge, the Damaged Archangel Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English poet, literary critic and philosopher (1772–1834) Finalist
César Graña Fact and Symbol: Essays in the Sociology of Art and Literature Finalist
B. H. Haggin Ballet Chronicle Finalist
Nathan Huggins Harlem Renaissance Harlem Renaissance , African-American cultural movement in New York City in the 1920s Finalist
Iris Origo Images and Shadows Iris Origo, British writer, 1902–1988 Finalist
John Simon Movies into Films: Film Criticism, 1967–1970 Finalist
1973[45] Arthur M. Wilson Diderot Denis Diderot, French Enlightenment philosopher, writer and encyclopædist (1713–1784) Winner
Leo Braudy Jean Renoir: The World of His Films Jean Renoir, French film director and screenwriter (1894–1979) Finalist
Arlene Croce The Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers Book Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers's musicals Finalist
Stanley Fish Self-Consuming Artifacts: The Experience of Seventeenth-Century Literature Finalist
Michael Goldman Shakespeare and the Energies of Drama William Shakespeare, English poet, playwright, and actor (1564–1616) Finalist
Daniel Hoffman Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Edgar Allan Poe, American writer and literary critic (1809–1849) Finalist
Albert Murray South to a Very Old Place Finalist
Linda Nochlin Realism Finalist
Harold Rosenberg The De-Definition of Art: Action Art to Pop to Earthworks Finalist
Leo Steinberg Other Criteria: Confrontations with Twentieth-Century Art Finalist
Lionel Trilling Sincerity and Authenticity Finalist
Alec Wilder American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900–1950 Finalist
Vernon Young On Film: Unpopular Essays on a Popular Art Finalist
1974[46] Pauline Kael Deeper Into Movies Winner
Daniel Aaron The Unwritten War: American Writers and the Civil War Finalist
W. H. Auden Forewords and Afterwords Finalist
Clarence Brown [ru] Mandelstam Osip Mandelstam Finalist
Richard Ellmann Golden Codgers: Biographical Speculations Finalist
B. H. Haggin A Decade of Music Finalist
Lillian Hellman Pentimento: A Book of Portraits Lillian Hellman Finalist
Edward Hoagland Walking the Dead Diamond River Dead Diamond River Finalist
Lincoln Kirstein Elie Nadelman Elie Nadelman Finalist
Leonard B. Meyer Explaining Music: Essays and Explorations Finalist
Saul Steinberg The Inspector Finalist
Kevin Starr Americans and the California Dream, 1850–1915 Finalist
1975[47] Roger Shattuck Marcel Proust Marcel Proust Winner
Lewis Thomas The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher[c] Winner
Calvin Bedient Eight Contemporary Poets: Charles Tomlinson, Donald Davie, R. S. Thomas, Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes, Thomas Kinsella, Stevie Smith, W. S. Graham Finalist
Alessandra Comini Egon Schiele's Portraits Egon Schiele Finalist
Peter Gay Style in History Finalist
Richard Gilman The Making of Modern Drama: A Study of Büchner, Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov, Pirandello, Brecht, Beckett, Handke Finalist
Elizabeth Hardwick Seduction and Betrayal Finalist
Marjorie L. Hoover Meyerhold: The Art of Conscious Theater Vsevolod Meyerhold Finalist
H. W. Janson 16 Studies Art History Finalist
Eleanor Perényi Liszt: The Artist as Romantic Hero Franz Liszt Finalist
Oliver Strunk Essays on Music in the Western World Finalist
1976[48] Paul Fussell The Great War and Modern Memory Winner
Lincoln Kirstein Njinsky Dancing Vaslav Nijinsky Finalist
Lawrence L. Langer The Holocaust and the Literary Imagination Finalist
Robert Rosenblum Modern Painting and the Northern Romantic Tradition: Friedrich to Rothko Romanticism painting Finalist
Patricia Meyer Spacks The Female Imagination Finalist
Leo Steinberg Michelangelo's Last Paintings Michelangelo Finalist

History, Biography, and Autobiography[edit]

In some years, the History and Biography awards were combined, while in others, they were two separate categories.

National Book Award for Nonfiction: History and Biography, winners and finalists, 1970-1979
Year Category Author Title Subject Result
1970[43] History and Biography T. Harry William Huey Long Huey Long, American politician from Louisiana (1893–1935) Winner
Dean Acheson Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department Dean Acheson, American politician and lawyer (1893–1971) Finalist
Townsend Hoopes The Limits of Intervention Townsend Hoopes, American historian and government official (1922 – 2004) Finalist
John Womack Zapata and the Mexican Revolution Emiliano Zapata, Mexican revolutionary (1879–1919) Finalist
Gordon S. Wood The Creation of the American Republic Finalist
1971[44] History and Biography James MacGregor Burns Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States from 1933 to 1945 Winner[49]
David Herbert Donald Charles Sumner and the Rights of Man Charles Sumner, American abolitionist and statesman (1811–1874) Finalist
Andy Logan Against the Evidence: The Becker-Rosenthal Affair Rosenthal murder case, Murder of Herman Rosenthal and subsequent trial Finalist
Dumas Malone Jefferson the President: First Term, 1801–1805 Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States from 1801 to 1809 Finalist
C. L. Sulzberger The Last of the Giants Finalist
1972 Biography Joseph P. Lash Eleanor and Franklin: The Story of Their Relationship, Based on Eleanor Roosevelt's Private Papers Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States (1933–1945), diplomat, and activist Winner
John Cody After Great Pain: The Inner Life of Emily Dickinson Emily Dickinson, American poet (1830–1886) Finalist
Emily Farnham Charles Demuth: Behind A Laughing Mask Charles Demuth, American painter Finalist
David Freeman Hawke Benjamin Rush: Revolutionary Gadfly Benjamin Rush, American Founding Father physician, educator, and author (1746–1813) Finalist
Ralph Ketcham James Madison: A Biography James Madison, President of the United States from 1809 to 1817 Finalist
Harding Lemay Inside, Looking Out: A Personal Memoir Harding Lemay, American screenwriter Finalist
D'Arcy McNickle Indian Man: A Life of Oliver La Farge Oliver La Farge, American novelist Finalist
Ronald Paulson Hogarth: His Life, Art, and Times William Hogarth, English artist and social critic (1697–1764) Finalist
Lacey Baldwin Smith Henry VIII: The Mask of Royalty Henry VIII, King of England from 1509 to 1547 Finalist
Barbara Tuchman Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45 Finalist
1972 History Allan Nevins The Organized War, 1863–1864 and The Organized War to Victory, 1864–1865 Winner
1973[45] Biography James Thomas Flexner George Washington: Anguish and Farewell, 1793–1799 George Washington, First president of the United States Winner
Ingrid Bengis Combat in the Erogenous Zone: Writings on Love, Hate, and Sex Finalist
Hortense Calisher Herself Hortense Calisher, American novelist Finalist
Kenneth S. Davis FDR: The Beckoning of Destiny, 1882–1928 Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States from 1933 to 1945 Finalist
Leon Edel Henry James: The Master, 1901–1916 Henry James, American-born British writer and literary critic Finalist
Eleanor Flexner Mary Wollstonecraft: A Biography Mary Wollstonecraft, English writer and intellectual (1759–1797) Finalist
Nikki Giovanni Gemini: An Extended Autobiographical Statement on My First Twenty-Five Years of Being A Black Poet Nikki Giovanni, American poet, writer and activist Finalist
John Houseman Run-Through John Houseman, British-American actor and film producer (1902–1988) Finalist
Diane Johnson Lesser Lives Mary Ellen Meredith, British novelist and poet of the Victorian era Finalist
George F. Kennan Memoirs, 1950–1963 Finalist
Joseph P. Lash Eleanor: The Years Alone Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States (1933–1945), diplomat, and activist Finalist
Margaret Mead Blackberry Winter: My Earlier Years Finalist
Peter Štanský and William Abrahams The Unknown Orwell George Orwell, English author and journalist (1903–1950) Finalist
History Robert Manson Myers The Children of Pride: A True Story of Georgia and the Civil War Charles Colcock Jones, American Presbyterian clergyman, educator, and planter (1804 – 1863) Winner
Isaiah Trunk Judenrat: The Jewish Councils in Eastern Europe under Nazi Occupation Winner
James David Barber The Presidential Character: Predicting Performance in the White House Finalist
John Diggins Mussolini and Fascism: The View from America Finalist
Richard Dunn Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the Planter Class in the English West Indies, 1624–1713 Finalist
Loren Graham Science and Philosophy in the Soviet Union Finalist
David Lovejoy The Glorious Revolution in America Dominion of New England, English regional government in North America, 1686–1689 Finalist
Jerre Mangione The Dream and the Deal: The Federal Writers Project, 1935–43 Finalist
Robert O. Paxton Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order, 1940–1944 Finalist
Edward E. Rice Mao's Way Finalist
1974[46] Biography John Leonard Clive Thomas Babington Macaulay: The Shaping of the Historian[d] Thomas Babington Macaulay Winner
Douglas Day Malcolm Lowry: A Biography Malcolm Lowry Finalist
J. H. Adamson and H. F. Folland Sir Harry Vane: His Life and Times (1613–1662) Henry Vane the Younger Finalist
Robert V. Bruce Bell: Alexander Graham Bell and The Conquest of Solitude Alexander Graham Bell Finalist
Stephen F. Cohen Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography, 1888–1938 Finalist[50]
Lester G. Crocker Jean-Jacques Rousseau: The Prophetic Voice, Vol. II Jean-Jacques Rousseau Finalist
Myra Friedman Buried Alive: The Biography of Janis Joplin Janis Joplin Finalist
William H. Harbaugh Lawyer's Lawyer: The Life of John W. Davis John W. Davis Finalist
Townsend Hoopes The Devil and John Foster Dulles Finalist
Louis Sheaffer O'Neill Volume II: Son and Artist Eugene O'Neill Finalist
Kathryn Kish Sklar Catherine Beecher Catherine Beecher Finalist
Adam Ulam Stalin Joseph Stalin Finalist
History John Leonard Clive Thomas Babington Macaulay: The Shaping of the Historian[d] Thomas Babington Macaulay Winner
Ray Allen Billington Frederick Jackson Turner: Historian, Teacher, Scholar Frederick Jackson Turner Finalist
Daniel J. Boorstin The Americans[e] Finalist
Frank Freidel Franklin D. Roosevelt[f] Franklin D. Roosevelt Finalist
Lawrence M. Friedman A History of American Law Finalist
Frederic C. Lane Venice: Maritime Republic Finalist
Edward Pessen Riches, Class and Power Before the Civil War Finalist
Richard Slotkin Regeneration Through Violence: the Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600–1860 Finalist
Stephan Thernstrom The Other Bostonians: Poverty and Progress in the American Metropolis, 1880–1970 Finalist
Robert C. Tucker Stalin as Revolutionary, 1879–1929: A Study in History and Personality Finalist
1975[47] Biography Richard B. Sewall The Life of Emily Dickinson Emily Dickinson Winner
Richard Beeman Patrick Henry: A Biography Patrick Henry Finalist
Michael Collins Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut's Journeys Finalist
Ben Maddow Edward Weston: Fifty Years; The Definitive Volume of His Photographic Work Edward Weston Finalist
James R. Mellow Charmed Circle: Gertrude Stein and Company Gertrude Stein Finalist
Francis Steegmuller "Your Isadora": The Love Story of Isadora Duncan & Gordon Craig Isadora Duncan and Gordon Craig Finalist
Wallace Stegner The Uneasy Chair: A Biography of Bernard DeVoto Bernard DeVoto Finalist
Richard M. Sudhalter and Philip R. Evans Bix: Man and Legend Bix Beiderbecke Finalist
Glenn Watkins Gesualdo: The Man and His Music Carlo Gesualdo Finalist
James A. Weisheipl Friar Thomas D'Aquino: his life, thought, and work Thomas Aquinas Finalist
1975[47] History Bernard Bailyn The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson Winner[51]
Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft Finalist
Robert Brentano Rome Before Avignon Finalist
Shelby Foote The Civil War: A Narrative Finalist
Eugene D. Genovese Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made Finalist
John R. Gillis Youth and History: Tradition and Change in European Age Relations, 1750–Present Finalist
Erich S. Gruen The Last Generation of the Roman Republic Finalist
Christopher H. Johnson Utopian Communism in France Finalist
Gerald H. Meaker The Revolutionary Left in Spain Finalist
Edward Shorter and Charles Tilly Strikes in France, 1830–1968 Finalist
Mira Wilkins The Maturing of Multinational Enterprise Finalist
Peter H. Wood Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion Finalist
1976[48] History and


David Brion Davis The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770–1823 Winner
Paul Horgan Lamy of Santa Fe Jean Baptiste Lamy Finalist
R. W. B. Lewis Edith Wharton Edith Wharton Finalist
Charles S. Maier Recasting Bourgeois Europe: Stabilization in France, Germany and Italy in the Decade after World War Finalist
Edmund S. Morgan American Slavery, American Freedom Finalist
Richard Pipes Russia Under the Old Regime Finalist
Frank R. Rossiter Charles Ives and His America Charles Ives Finalist
Martin J. Sherwin A World Destroyed: Hiroshima and its Legacies Finalist
1977[52] Biography and


W. A. Swanberg Norman Thomas: The Last Idealist Norman Thomas Winner
Peter Collier and David Horowitz The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty Finalist
Anaïs Nin The Diary of Anaïs Nin: Volume VI 1955–1966 Anaïs Nin Finalist
B. L. Reid The Lives of Roger Casement Roger Casement Finalist
E. B. White Letters of E. B. White E. B. White Finalist
History Irving Howe World of Our Fathers: The Journey of the East European Jews to America and the Life They Found and Made Winner
Lawrence Goodwyn Democratic Promise: The Populist Moment in America Finalist[53]
Linda Gordon Woman's Body, Woman's Right: The History of Birth Control in America Finalist
Richard Kluger Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality Finalist
Joshua C. Taylor America as Art Finalist
1978[54] Biography and


W. Jackson Bate Samuel Johnson Samuel Johnson Winner
James Atlas Delmore Schwartz: The Life of an American Poet Finalist
Will D. Campbell Brother to a Dragonfly Finalist
Will Durant and Ariel Durant A Dual Autobiography Finalist
Frank Vandiver Black Jack: The Life and Times of John J. Pershing Finalist
History David McCullough The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870–1914 Winner[55]
Henry Steele Commager The Empire of Reason: How Europe Imagined and America Realized Age of Enlightenment Finalist
Robert J. Donovan Conflict and Crisis: The Presidency of Harry S. Truman, 1945–48 Harry S. Truman Finalist
Joseph Kastner A Species of Eternity Natural history in the New World Finalist
Fritz Stern Gold and Iron Gerson Bleichröder and Otto von Bismarck Finalist
1979[56] Biography and


Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Robert Kennedy and His Times Winner
Donald Hall Remembering Poets Finalist
William Manchester American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur Finalist
William M. Murphy Prodigal Father: The Life of John Butler Yeats Finalist
Phyllis Rose Woman of Letters: A Life of Virginia Woolf Virginia Woolf Finalist
History Richard Beale Davis Intellectual Life in the Colonial South, 1585–1763 Winner
Reinhard Bendix Kings or People: Power and the Mandate to Rule Finalist
Gordon A. Craig Germany, 1866–1945 Finalist
John H. White, Jr. The American Railroad Passenger Car Finalist
Garry Wills Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence Finalist

Philosophy and Religion[edit]

National Book Award for Nonfiction: Philosophy and Religion, winners and finalists, 1970-
Year Author Title Subject Result
1970[43] Erik Erikson Gandhi's Truth: On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence Winner
Kenneth E. Boulding Beyond Economics: Essays on Society, Religion, and Ethics Finalist
Loren Eiseley The Unexpected Universe Finalist
Rollo May Love and Will Finalist
Theodore Roszak The Making of a Counter Culture: Reflections on the Technocratic Society and Its Youthful Opposition Finalist
1971 No award presented
1972 Martin E. Marty Righteous Empire: The Protestant Experience in America Winner
1973[45] S. E. Ahlstrom A Religious History of the American People Winner
Silvano Arieti, M.D. The Will to be Human Finalist
Germaine Brée Camus and Sartre Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre Finalist
Arthur Danto Mysticism and Morality: Oriental Thought and Moral Philosophy Finalist
Stanley Cavell The Senses of Walden Walden Finalist
William A. Christian Person and God in a Spanish Valley Finalist
William Leiss The Domination of Nature Finalist
Theodore Roszak Where the Wasteland Ends Finalist
Morton White Science and Sentiment in America Finalist
Theodore Ziolkowski Fictional Transfigurations of Jesus Finalist
1974[46] Maurice Natanson Edmund Husserl: Philosopher of Infinite Tasks Edmund Husserl Winner
Don Browning Generative Man: Psychoanalytic Perspectives Finalist
Harvey Cox The Seduction of the Spirit: The Use and Misuse of People's Religion Finalist
Erich Fromm The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness Finalist
Marjorie Grene Jean-Paul Sartre Jean-Paul Sartre Finalist
Trent Schroyer The Critique of Domination: The Origins and Development of Critical Theory Critical Theory Finalist
Laurence Veysey The Communal Experience: Anarchist and Mystical Counter-Cultures in America American communes Finalist
Frederic Wakeman History and Will: Philosophical Perspectives of Mao Tse-Tung's Thought Maoism Finalist
Harry Austryn Wolfson Studies in the History of Philosophy and Religion, Vol. 1 Finalist
Larzer Ziff Puritanism in America: New Culture in a New World New England Puritan Finalist
1975[47] Robert Nozick Anarchy, State, and Utopia Winner
Ian Barbour Myths, Models and Paradigms Finalist
Leonard E. Barrett Soul-Force: African Heritage in Afro-American Religion Afro-American religion Finalist
John Murray Cuddihy The Ordeal of Civility: Freud, Marx, Lévi-Strauss and the Jewish Struggle with Modernity Modernization of European Jews or shtetl people Finalist
Philip Garvin and Julia Welch Religious America Finalist
Guenter Lewy Religion and Revolution Finalist
Barbara Myerhoff Peyote Hunt: The Sacred Journey of the Huichol Indians Huichol use of peyote Finalist
Jaroslav Pelikan The Spirit of Eastern Christendom 600–1700 Eastern Christianity Finalist
Rosemary Radford Ruether Faith and Fratricide: The Theological Roots of Anti-Semitism Anti-Semitism Finalist

The Sciences[edit]

National Book Award for Nonfiction: The Sciences, winners and finalists, 1971-
Year Author Title Subject Result
1971 Raymond Phineas Stearns Science in the British Colonies of America Winner
Gustav Eckstein The Body Has a Head Finalist
Victor C. Ferkiss Technological Man Finalist
Ian L. McHarg Design with Nature Ecological land-use planning Finalist
Theodor Rosebury Life on Man Human skin as an ecosystem Finalist
1972 George L. Small The Blue Whale Winner
1973[45] George B. Schaller The Serengeti Lion: A Study of Predator-Prey Relations Winner
John E. Bardach, John H. Ryther and William O. McLarney Aquaculture: the farming and husbandry of freshwater and marine organisms Aquaculture, Farming of aquatic organisms Finalist
Herman H. Goldstine The Computer from Pascal to Von Neumann History of computing and history of computing hardware Finalist
Garrett Hardin Exploring New Ethics for Survival: The Voyage of the Spaceship Beagle Lifeboat ethics and bioethics Finalist
Morris Kline Mathematical Thought from Ancient to Modern Times Finalist
Peter Matthiessen The Tree Where Man Was Born East Africa Finalist
H. Lewis McKinney Wallace and Natural Selection Alfred Russel Wallace Finalist
Victor Richards, M.D., Cancer: The Wayward Cell; its origins, nature, and treatment Cancer Finalist
Ann Zwinger and Beatrice Willard Land Above the Trees: A Guide to American Alpine Tundra Alpine tundra Finalist
1974[46] S. E. Luria Life: The Unfinished Experiment Winner
Jeremy Bernstein Einstein Albert Einstein Finalist
Theodosius Dobzhansky Genetic Diversity and Human Equality Finalist
Amitai Etzioni Genetic Fix: The Next Technological Revolution Finalist
J. M. Jauch Are Quanta Real?: A Galilean Dialogue Finalist
Ruth Kirk and Louis Kirk Desert: The American Southwest Finalist
Suzanne K. Langer Mind: An Essay on Human Feeling, Vol. II Finalist
George Laycock Autumn of the Eagle Bald eagles Finalist
Robert I. Levy Tahitians: Mind and Experience in the Society Islands Finalist
William T. Powers Behavior: The Control of Perception Finalist
Edwin S. Shneidman Deaths of Man Finalist
1975[47] Silvano Arieti Interpretation of Schizophrenia Winner
Lewis Thomas The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher[c] Winner
Lewis Feuer Einstein and the Generation of Science Finalist
Howard E. Gruber and Paul H. Barrett Darwin on Man: A Psychological Study of Scientific Creativity Finalist
J. L. Heilbron H. G. J. Moseley: The Life and Letters of an English Physicist, 1887–1915 Henry Moseley Finalist
Richard S. Lewis The Voyages of Apollo: The Exploration of the Moon Apollo program Finalist
John McPhee The Curve of Binding Energy Finalist
Stanley Milgram Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View Finalist
Walter S. Sullivan Continents in Motion: The New Earth Debate Plate tectonics Finalist
Dorothy B. Vitaliano Legends of the Earth: Their Geologic Origins Geomythology Finalist

Contemporary Affairs[edit]

National Book Award for Nonfiction: Contemporary Affairs, winners and finalists, 1972-
Year Author Title Subject Result
1972 Stewart Brand (editor) The Last Whole Earth Catalogue Winner
1973[45] Frances FitzGerald Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam Vietnam War, Cold War conflict in Southeast Asia from 1955 to 1975 Finalist
Michael Barone, Grant Ujifusa and Douglas Matthews The Almanac of American Politics Finalist
Herbert Block Herblock's State of the Union Finalist
Lynn Eden Crisis in Watertown: The Polarization of an American Community Watertown, Wisconsin (1967–1969) Finalist
David Halberstam The Best and the Brightest Vietnam War, Cold War conflict in Southeast Asia from 1955 to 1975 Finalist
Seymour Hersh Finalist
Seymour Hersh Cover-Up: The Army's Secret Investigation of the Massacre at My Lai 4 My Lai Massacre cover-up Finalist
Stanley Karnow Mao and China: From Revolution to Revolution Mao Zedong (ounder of the People's Republic of Chinaa) nd China Finalist
Richard Sennett and Jonathan Cobb The Hidden Injuries of Class Working-class consciousness Finalist
Colin M. Turnbull The Mountain People Ik people Finalist
Garry Wills Bare Ruined Choirs: Doubt, Prophecy, and Radical Religion Finalist
Garry Wills Attica: The Official Report of the New York State Special Commission on Attica Attica Prison riot Finalist
1974[46] Murray Kempton The Briar Patch: The People of the State of New York versus Lumumba Shakur, et al. A Black Panthers's trial Winner
Peter Davies The Truth About Kent State: A Challenge to the American Conscience Kent State shootings Finalist
John Kenneth Galbraith Economics and the Public Purpose Finalist
Vivian Gornick In Search of Ali Mahmoud: An American Woman in Egypt Finalist
Walter Karp Indispensable Enemies: The Politics of Misrule in America Finalist
Robert Jay Lifton Home from the War: Vietnam Veterans—Neither Victims nor Executioners US Vietnam veterans Finalist
Jessica Mitford Kind and Usual Punishment: The Prison Business Finalist
Nora Sayre Sixties Going on Seventies (Perspectives on the Sixties) 1960s Finalist
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. The Imperial Presidency Finalist
Robert Sherrill The Saturday Night Special and Other Guns Personal firearms Finalist
1975[47] Theodore Rosengarten All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw Ned Cobb Winner
Raoul Berger Executive Privilege: A Constitutional Myth U.S. executive privilege Finalist
Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward All the President's Men Finalist
Robert Jean Campbell, M.D. The Chasm: The Life and Death of a Great Experiment in Ghetto Education Finalist
Robert Caro, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York Robert Moses Finalist
Joe Eszterhas Charlie Simpson's Apocalypse Harrisonville shooting Finalist
Middleton A. Harris with others (uncredited editor Toni Morrison) The Black Book "Printed scrapbook" of American "Negro historical materials" Finalist
Andrew Levinson The Working Class Majority Finalist
Robert M. Pirsig Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values Finalist
Franz Schurmann The Logic of World Power: An Inquiry into the Origins, Currents, and Contradictions of World Politics Finalist
Rachel Scott Muscle and Blood Finalist
Studs Terkel Working Finalist
1976[48] Michael J. Arlen Passage to Ararat Winner
Richard Barnet and Ronald E. Muller Global Reach: The Power of the Multinational Corporations Multinational corporations Finalist
Peter L. Berger Pyramids of Sacrifice: Political Ethics and Social Change Finalist
John Kenneth Galbraith Money: Whence It Came, Where It Went Money Finalist
W. Eugene Smith and Aileen M. Smith Minamata Minamata disease Finalist
Tim Wicker A Time to Die Finalist
1977[52] Bruno Bettelheim The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales Winner
Dorothy Dinnerstein The Mermaid and the Minotaur: Sexual Arrangements and Human Malaise Finalist
Joseph Frank Dostoyevsky: A Writer in His Time Fyodor Dostoyevsky Finalist
Ada Louise Huxtable Kicked a Building Lately? Finalist
Rufus E. Miles, Jr. Awakening from the American Dream Finalist
1978[54] Gloria Emerson Winners and Losers Winner
Kai T. Erikson Everything in Its Path: Destruction of Community in the Buffalo Creek Flood Buffalo Creek Flood Finalist
Michael Harrington The Vast Majority Finalist
Louise Kapp Howe Pink Collar Workers Pink-collar workers Finalist
Julian Jaynes The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind Finalist
1979[56] Peter Matthiessen The Snow Leopard Winner
Kenneth E. Boulding Stable Peace Peace science Finalist
Ivan Doig This House of Sky: Landscapes of the Western Wind Finalist[57]
Alfred Kazin New York Jew Finalist
Meyer Schapiro Modern Art: 19th and 20th Centuries Finalist



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)".[g]

In 1980, the "Nonfiction" category included the following genres, each in both paperback and hardcover.

Autobiography and Biography[edit]
Year Category Author Title Subject Result
1980[58] Autobiography Hardcover Lauren Bacall Lauren Bacall by Myself Winner
Barbara Gordon I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can Valium addiction Finalist
John Houseman Front and Center Finalist
William Saroyan Obituaries Finalist
Autobiography Paperback Malcolm Cowley And I Worked at the Writer's Trade: Chapters of Literary History 1918–1978 Winner
Biography Hardcover Edmund Morris The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt Theodore Roosevelt Winner
Millicent Bell Marquand: An American Life Finalist
Leon Edel Bloomsbury: A House of Lions Finalist
Ernest Samuels Bernard Berenson: The Making of a Connoisseurk Bernard Berenson Finalist
Biography Paperback A. Scott Berg Max Perkins: Editor of Genius Maxwell Perkins Winner
W. Jackson Bate Samuel Johnson Samuel Johnson Finalist
William Manchester American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur, 1880–1964 Douglas MacArthur Finalist
Arthur Schlesinger Robert Kennedy and His Times Finalist
1981[59] Hardcover Justin Kaplan Walt Whitman: A Life Walt Whitman Winner[37]
Robert K. Massie Peter the Great: His Life and World Finalist
James R. Mellow Nathaniel Hawthorne in His Times Nathaniel Hawthorne Finalist
Peter Štanský and William Abrahams Orwell: The Transformation George Orwell Finalist
Paperback Deirdre Bair Samuel Beckett: A Biography Samuel Beckett Winner
E. K. Brown Willa Cather: A Critical Biography Willa Cather Finalist
Leon Edel Bloomsbury: A House of Lions Finalist
Maureen Howard Facts of Life Finalist
Meryle Secrest Being Bernard Berenson Finalist
1982[60] Hardcover David McCullough Mornings on Horseback Theodore Roosevelt Winner[55]
Gay Wilson Allen Waldo Emerson: A Biography Ralph Waldo Emerson Finalist
Dumas Malone Jefferson and His Time: The Sage of Monticello Finalist
William S. McFeely Grant: A Biography Ulysses S. Grant Finalist
Milton Rugoff The Beechers Finalist
Paperback Ronald Steel Walter Lippmann and the American Century Walter Lippmann Winner
Joseph P. Lash Helen and Teacher: The Story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy Finalist
Robert K. Massie Peter the Great: His Life and World Finalist
Ted Morgan Maugham W. Somerset Maugham Finalist
Ernest Samuels Bernard Berenson: The Making of a Connoisseur Bernard Berenson Finalist
1983[61] Hardcover Judith Thurman Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller Winner
Russell Baker Growing Up Finalist
Robert A. Caro The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power Finalist
Robert J. Donovan Tumultuous Years: The Presidency of Harry S. Truman, 1949–1953 Finalist
Lewis Mumford Sketches from Life: The Autobiography of Lewis Mumford: The Early Years Finalist
Paperback James R. Mellow Nathaniel Hawthorne in His Times Nathaniel Hawthorne Winner
Dumas Malone Jefferson and His Time: The Sage of Monticello Finalist
Paul Mariani William Carlos Williams: A New World Naked William Carlos Williams Finalist
William S. McFeely Grant: A Biography Ulysses S. Grant Finalist
Jean Strouse Alice James: A Biography Alice James Finalist
Current Interest[edit]
Year Category Author Title Subject Result
1980[58] Hardcover Julia Child Julia Child and More Company Julia Child Winner
Raymond Lifchez and Barbara Winslow Design for Independent Living: The Environment and Physically Disabled People Finalist
Gay Gaer Luce Your Second Life: Vitality and Growth in Middle and Later Years from the Experiences of the Sage Program Finalist
Nathan Pritikin with Patrick M. McGrady The Pritikin Program for Diet and Exercise Finalist
Robert Ellis Smith Privacy: How to Protect What's Left of It Finalist
Paperback Christopher Lasch The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations Winner
Frances Wells Burck Babysense: A Practical and Supportive Guide to Baby Care Finalist
Farallones Institute The Integral Urban House: Self-Reliant Living in the City Finalist
Tracy Hotchner Pregnancy and Childbirth: The Complete Guide for a New Life Finalist
Calvin Trillin Alice, Let's Eat: Further Adventures of a Happy Eater Finalist
General nonfiction[edit]
Year Category Author Title Subject Result
1980[58] Hardcover Tom Wolfe The Right Stuff Winner
Frances FitzGerald America Revised Finalist
David Halberstam The Powers That Be Finalist
Frederic Morton A Nervous Splendor: Vienna, 1888–1889 Finalist
Thomas Powers The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA Finalist
Paperback Peter Matthiessen The Snow Leopard Winner
Sissela Bok Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life Finalist
Barry Lopez Of Wolves and Men Finalist
1981[59] Hardcover Maxine Hong Kingston China Men[h] Winner
Malcolm Cowley The Dream of the Golden Mountains: Remembering the 1930s Finalist
John Graves From a Limestone Ledge Finalist
Victor S. Navasky Naming Names Hollywood blacklist Finalist
Studs Terkel American Dreams: Lost and Found Finalist
Paperback Jane Kramer The Last Cowboy: Europeans and The Politics of Memory Winner
Joan Didion The White Album Finalist
David Halberstam The Powers That Be Finalist
Dan Morgan Merchants of Grain: The Power and Profits of the Five Giant Companies at the Center of the World's Food Supply Finalist
Paul Theroux The Old Patagonian Express Finalist
1982[60] Hardcover Tracy Kidder The Soul of a New Machine Winner
Guy Davenport The Geography of the Imagination: Forty Essays Finalist
James Fallows National Defense Finalist
Janet Malcolm Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession Finalist
Andrea Lee Russian Journal Finalist
Paperback Victor S. Navasky Naming Names Hollywood blacklist Winner
Norman Cousins Anatomy of an Illness As Perceived by the Patient: Reflections on Healing Finalist
Edward Hoagland African Calliope: A Journey to the Sudan Finalist
Landon Jones Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation Finalist
Barbara Novak Nature and Culture: American Landscape Painting, 1825–1875 Finalist
1983[61] Hardcover Fox Butterfield China: Alive in the Bitter Sea Winner
George F. Kennan The Nuclear Delusion: Soviet-American Relations in the Atomic Age Finalist
David McClintock Indecent Exposure: A True Story of Hollywood and Wall Street Begelman affair Finalist
Jonathan Schell The Fate of the Earth Finalist
Susan Sheehan Is There No Place on Earth for Me? Finalist
Paperback James Fallows National Defense Winner
Edwin R. Bayley Joe McCarthy and the Press Finalist
Paul Fussell Abroad: British Literary Traveling Between the Wars Finalist
Al Santoli Everything We Had: An Oral History of the Vietnam War Finalist
Joanna Stratton Pioneer Women: Voices from the Kansas Frontier Finalist
General reference[edit]
Year Category Author Title Subject Result
1980[58] Hardcover[62] Elder Witt (editor) Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court Winner
Frederic M. Kaplan, Julian M. Sopin, and Stephen Andors (eds.) Encyclopedia of China Today Finalist
Bernard Karpel Arts in America: A Bibliography Finalist
J. Gordon Melton Encyclopedia of American Religions Finalist
Carolyn Sue Peterson and Ann D. Fenton (eds.) Index to Children's Songs Finalist
Paperback Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present Winner
Cynthia W. Cooke, M.D., and Susan Dworkin The Ms. Guide to a Woman's Health Finalist
Solar Age magazine editors The Solar Age Resource Book Finalist
Stuart Berg Flexner I Hear America Talking: An Illustrated History of American Words and Phrases Finalist
Elisabeth L. Scharlatt (editor) Kids: Day In and Day Out: a parents' manual
Year Category Author Title Result
1980[58] Hardcover Henry A. Kissinger The White House Years Winner
Robert Dallek Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932–1945 Finalist
George F. Kennan Decline of Bismarck's European Order: Franco-Russian Relations, 1875–1890 Finalist
Frank E. Manuel and Fritzie P. Manuel Utopian Thought in the Western World Finalist
Telford Taylor Munich: The Price of Peace Finalist
Paperback Barbara W. Tuchman A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century Winner
James Lincoln Collier The Making of Jazz: A Comprehensive History Finalist
Daniel J. Kevles The Physicists: The History of a Scientific Community in Modern America Finalist
Allen Weinstein Perjury: The Hiss–Chambers Case Finalist
Theodore H. White In Search of History: A Personal Adventure Finalist
1981[59] Hardcover John Boswell Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality Winner
James H. Billington Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith Finalist
Steven Ozment The Age of Reform, 1250–1550: An Intellectual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe Finalist
Carl E. Schorske Fin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture Finalist
Page Smith The Shaping of America: A People's History of the Young Republic Finalist
Paperback Leon F. Litwack Been in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery Winner
Richard Drinnon The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and Empire-Building Finalist
A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. In the Matter of Color: The Colonial Period Finalist
Telford Taylor Munich: The Price of Peace Finalist
Howard Zinn A People's History of the United States Finalist
1982[60] Hardcover Peter J. Powell People of the Sacred Mountain: A History of the Northern Cheyenne Chiefs and Warrior Societies, 1830–1879 Winner
Ray Huang 1587, a Year of No Significance: The Ming Dynasty in Decline Finalist
Donald Neff Warriors at Suez: Eisenhower Takes America into the Middle East Finalist
Russell F. Weigley Eisenhower's Lieutenants: The Campaign of France and Germany, 1944–1945 Finalist
C. Vann Woodward (editor) Mary Chestnut's Civil War Finalist
Paperback Robert Wohl The Generation of 1914 Winner
Malcolm Cowley The Dream of the Golden Mountains Finalist
Robert Dallek Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932–1945 Finalist
Carl N. Degler At Odds: Women and the Family in America from the Revolution to the Present Finalist
Charles Rembar The Law of the Land: The Evolution of Our Legal System Finalist
1983[61] Hardcover Alan Brinkley Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin and the Great Depression Winner
Gordon A. Craig The Germans Finalist
Robert Darnton The Literary Underground of the Old Regime Finalist
John Putnam Demos Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England Finalist
William H. McNeill The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force and Society Since A.D. 1000 Finalist
Bertram Wyatt-Brown Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South
Paperback Frank E. Manuel and Fritzie P. Manuel Utopian Thought in the Western World Winner
George M. Fredrickson White Supremacy: A Comparative Study in American and South African History Finalist
Ray Huang 1587, a Year of No Significance: The Ming Dynasty in Decline Finalist
John Noble Wilford The Mapmakers Finalist
Year Category Author Title Subject Result
1980[58] Hardcover Elaine Pagels The Gnostic Gospels Gnostic Gospels Winner
Peter L. Berger The Heretical Imperative: Contemporary Possibilities of Religious Affirmation Finalist
Brevard S. Childs Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture Canonical criticism Finalist
Peter Kreeft Love Is Stronger Than Death Finalist
Jack B. Rogers and Donald K. McKim The Authority and Interpretation of the Bible: An Historical Approach Biblical authority Finalist
Paperback Sheldon Vanauken A Severe Mercy Winner
Richard Bach Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah Finalist
Catherine Marshall The Helper Holy Ghost Finalist
Year Category Author Title Result
1980[58] Hardcover Douglas Hofstadter Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid Winner
Freeman Dyson Disturbing the Universe Finalist
Douglas Faulkner and Richard Chesher Living Corals Finalist
Bernd Heinrich Bumblebee Economics Finalist
Horace Freeland Judson The Eighth Day of Creation: Makers of the Revolution in Biology Finalist
Paperback Gary Zukav The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics Winner
William J. Kaufmann Black Holes and Warped Spacetime Finalist
Thomas S. Kuhn The Essential Tension: Selected Studies in Scientific Tradition and Change Finalist
Anne W. Simon The Thin Edge: Coast and Man in Crisis Finalist
1981[59] Hardcover Stephen Jay Gould The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections on Natural History Winner
Claude C. Albritton The Abyss of Time: Changing Conceptions of the Earth's Antiquity after the Sixteenth Century Finalist
René Dubos The Wooing of Earth Finalist
Timothy Ferris Galaxies Finalist
Carl Sagan Cosmos Finalist
Paperback Lewis Thomas The Medusa and the Snail: More Notes of a Biology Watcher Winner
Carl Sagan Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science Finalist
Joseph Silk The Big Bang: The Creation and Evolution of the Universe Finalist
Walter Sullivan Black Holes: the Edge of the Space, the End of Time Finalist
1982[60] Hardcover Donald C. Johanson and Maitland A. Edey Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind Winner
Gene Bylinsky Life in Darwin's Universe: Evolution and the Cosmos Finalist
Eric Chaisson Cosmic Dawn: The Origins of Matter and Life Finalist
Steven J. Gould The Mismeasure of Man Finalist
Steven M. Stanley The New Evolutionary Timetable: Fossils, Genes and the Origin of Species Finalist
Paperback Fred Alan Wolf Taking the Quantum Leap: The New Physics for Nonscientists Winner
Freeman Dyson Disturbing the Universe Finalist
Howard E. Gruber Darwin on Man: A Psychological Study of Scientific Creativity Finalist
Bernd Heinrich Bumblebee Economics Finalist
Guy Murchie The Seven Mysteries of Life: An Exploration in Science & Philosophy Finalist
1983[61] Hardcover Abraham Pais "Subtle is the Lord ...": The Science and Life of Albert Einstein Winner
Philip J. Hilts Scientific Temperaments: Three Lives in Contemporary Science Finalist
Melvin Konner The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit Finalist
Ernst Mayr The Growth of Biological Thought: Diversity, Evolution and Inheritance Finalist
Heinz R. Pagels Cosmic Code: Quantum Physics as the Language of Nature Finalist
Paperback Philip J. Davis and Reuben Hersh The Mathematical Experience Finalist
Morris Kline Mathematics: The Loss of Certainty Finalist
Cynthia Moss Portrait in the Wild: Animal Behavior in the Western World Finalist
Berton Roueché The Medical Detectives Finalist
G. Ledyard Stebbins Darwin to DNA: Molecules to Humanity (new)


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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[7] Winners were announced and celebrated November 15, 1984.[63]


National Book Award for Nonfiction winners and finalists, 1984-1989
Year Author Title Subject Result Ref.
1984 Robert V. Remini Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Democracy, 1833–1845 Andrew Jackson, President of the United States from 1829 to 1837 Winner [64]
Howard M. Feinstein Becoming William James William James, American philosopher, psychologist, and pragmatist (1842–1910) Finalist
Richard Marius Thomas More: A Biography Thomas More, English statesman and philosopher (1478–1535) Finalist
Ernst Pawel The Nightmare of Reason: A Life of Franz Kafka Franz Kafka, Bohemian writer from Prague (1883–1924) Finalist
Eudora Welty One Writer's Beginnings Eudora Welty, American short story writer, novelist and photographer Finalist
1985 J. Anthony Lukas Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families Winner [65]
Daniel J. Kevles In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Use of Human Heredity Finalist
Walter A. McDougall ...the Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age Finalist
1986 Barry Lopez Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape Winner [66][67]
John W. Dower War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War Finalist
Richard Kluger The Paper: The Life and Times of the New York Herald Tribune New York Herald Tribune, Defunct American newspaper published in New York City Finalist
Michael S. Reynolds The Young Hemingway Ernest Hemingway, American author and journalist (1899–1961) Finalist
Theodore Rosengarten Tombee: Portrait of a Cotton Planter Finalist
1987 Richard Rhodes The Making of the Atomic Bomb Winner [68]
David Herbert Donald Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe Thomas Wolfe, American novelist Finalist
James Gleick Chaos: Making a New Science Finalist
Claudia Koonz Mothers in the Fatherland Finalist
Robert A.M. Stern, Gregory Gilmartin, and Thomas Mellins New York 1930: Architecture and Urbanism Between the Two World Wars Finalist
1988 Neil Sheehan A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam John Paul Vann, Lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, known for his role in the Vietnam War (1924 – 1972) Winner [69]
Eric Foner Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863–1877 Reconstruction era in the United States Finalist
Peter Gay Freud: A Life for Our Time Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis (1856–1939)[i] Finalist
Brenda Maddox Nora: The Real Life of Molly Bloom Molly Bloom, Fictional character, wife of the main protagonist in Ulysses Finalist
Jack McLaughlin Jefferson and Monticello: The Biography of a Builder Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States from 1801 to 1809, and Monticello, the primary residence of U.S. president Thomas Jefferson Finalist
1989 Thomas L. Friedman From Beirut to Jerusalem Winner [70]
Taylor Branch Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954–63 Finalist
McGeorge Bundy Danger and Survival: Choices about the Bomb in the First Fifty Years Finalist
William Pfaff Barbarian Sentiments: How the American Century Ends Finalist
Marilynne Robinson Mother Country: Britain, the Welfare State and Nuclear Pollution Finalist


National Book Award for Nonfiction winners and finalists, 1990-1999
Year Author Title Subject Result Ref.
1990 Ron Chernow The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance Winner [71]
Samuel G. Freedman Small Victories: The Real World of a Teacher, Her Students and Their High School Finalist
Roger Morris Richard Milhous Nixon: The Rise of an American Politician Richard Nixon, President of the United States from 1969 to 1974 Finalist
Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith Jackson Pollock: An American Saga[ Jackson Pollock, American abstract painter (1912–1956) Finalist
T.H. Watkins Righteous Pilgrim: The Life and Times of Harold L. Ickes, 1847–1952 Harold L. Ickes, American politician (1874–1952) Finalist
1991 Orlando Patterson Freedom, Vol. 1: Freedom in the Making of Western Culture Winner [72]
E.J. Dionne, Jr. Why Americans Hate Politics Finalist
Melissa Fay Greene Praying for Sheetrock Finalist
R.W.B. Lewis The Jameses: A Family Narrative Henry James, American-born British writer and literary critic, and William James, American philosopher, psychologist, and pragmatist (1842–1910) Finalist
Diane Wood Middlebrook Anne Sexton: A Biography Anne Sexton, American poet (1928–1974) Finalist
1992 Paul Monette Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story Paul Monette, American author, poet, and activist (1945 – 1995) Winner [73]
Edward L. Ayers The Promise of the New South Finalist
James Gleick Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman Richard Feynman, American theoretical physicist (1918–1988) Finalist
David McCullough Truman Harry S. Truman, President of the United States from 1945 to 1953 Finalist
Garry Wills Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America Gettysburg Address, Speech by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln Finalist
1993 Gore Vidal United States: Essays 1952–1992 Winner [74]
William Leach Land of Desire: Merchants, Power, and the Rise of a New American Culture Finalist
David Levering Lewis W. E. B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868–1919 W. E. B. Du Bois, American sociologist, historian, socialist, activist, and writer Finalist
Richard Slotkin Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century America Finalist
Peter Svenson Battlefield: Farming a Civil War Battleground Finalist
1994 Sherwin B. Nuland How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter Winner [75]
John Putnam Demos The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story from Early America Finalist
Jane Mayer and Jill Abramson Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas Clarence Thomas, US Supreme Court justice since 1991 Finalist
John Edgar Wideman Fatheralong: A Meditation on Fathers, Sons, Race and Society Finalist
Tobias Wolff In Pharoah's Army: Memories of the Lost War Tobias Wolff, American writer and educator Finalist
1995 Tina Rosenberg The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism Winner [76]
Dennis Covington Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia Finalist
Daniel C. Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meaning of Life Finalist
Jonathan Harr A Civil Action Anderson v. Cryovac, 1986 US federal lawsuit concerning toxic contamination of groundwater Finalist
Maryanne Vollers Ghosts of Mississippi Finalist
1996 James P. Carroll An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War that Came Between Us Winner [77]
Melissa Fay Greene The Temple Bombing Finalist
Paul Hendrickson The Living and the Dead: Robert McNamara and Five Lives of a Lost War Robert McNamara, American businessman and Secretary of Defense Finalist
Cary Reich The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer, 1908–1958 Nelson Rockefeller, Vice president of the United States from 1974 to 1977 Finalist
Anne Roiphe Fruitful: A Real Mother in the Modern World Finalist
1997 Joseph J. Ellis American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States from 1801 to 1809 Finalist [78]
David I. Kertzer The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara Edgardo Mortara Winner
Jamaica Kincaid My Brother Finalist
Thomas Lynch The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade Funeral directors, Professionals involved in the business of funeral rites Finalist
Sam Tanenhaus Whittaker Chambers: A Biography Whittaker Chambers, Defected communist spy, writer, editor (1901–1961) Finalist
1998 Edward Ball Slaves in the Family Winner [79]
Harold Bloom Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human William Shakespeare, English poet, playwright, and actor (1564–1616) Finalist
Yaffa Eliach There Once Was a World: A 900-Year Chronicle of the Shtetl of Eishyshok Jewish Eishyshok Finalist
Beth Kephart A Slant of Sun: One Child's Courage Finalist
Henry Mayer All on Fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery William Lloyd Garrison, American journalist and abolitionist (1805–1879) Finalist
1999 John W. Dower Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II Winner [80]
Natalie Angier Woman: An Intimate Geography Finalist
Mark Bowden Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War Finalist
John Phillip Santos Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation John Phillip Santos, American freelance filmmaker, producer, journalist, author Finalist
Judith Thurman Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette Colette, French novelist Finalist


National Book Award for Nonfiction winners and finalists, 2000-2009
Year Author Title Subject Result Ref.
2000 Nathaniel Philbrick In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex Whaleship Essex, American whaleship from Nantucket, Massachusetts Winner [81][82]
Jacques Barzun From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present Finalist
Alice Kaplan The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach Robert Brasillach, French writer and journalist Finalist
David Levering Lewis W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919–1963 W.E.B. Du Bois, American sociologist, historian, socialist, activist, and writer Finalist
Patrick Tierney[j] Darkness in El Dorado: How Scientists and Journalists Devastated the Amazon Finalist
2001 Andrew Solomon The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression Winner [84][85]
Marie Arana American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood Finalist
Nina Bernstein The Lost Children of Wilder: The Epic Struggle to Change Foster Care Finalist
David James Duncan My Story as Told by Water Finalist
Jan T. Gross Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland Finalist
2002 Robert A. Caro Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States from 1963 to 1969 Winner [86]
Devra Davis When Smoke Ran Like Water: Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle Against Pollution 1948 Donora smog, Major Pennsylvania air pollution incident Finalist
Atul Gawande Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science Finalist
Elizabeth Gilbert The Last American Man Eustace Conway Finalist
Steve Olson Mapping Human History: Discovering the Past through Our Genes Finalist
2003 Carlos Eire Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy Winner [87]
Anne Applebaum Gulag: A History Finalist
George Howe Colt The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home Finalist
John D'Emilio Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin Bayard Rustin, American civil rights activist (1912–1987) Finalist
Erik Larson The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America Finalist
2004 Kevin Boyle Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age Winner [88]
David Hackett Fischer Washington's Crossing Finalist
Jennifer Gonnerman Life on the Outside: The Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett Finalist
Stephen Greenblatt Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare William Shakespeare, English poet, playwright, and actor (1564–1616) Finalist
9/11 Commission 9/11 Commission Report The 9/11 Commission's final report on the September 11 attacks Finalist
2005 Joan Didion The Year of Magical Thinking Joan Didion, American writer (1934–2021) Winner [89]
Alan Burdick Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion Finalist
Leo Damrosch Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Restless Genius Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer (1712–1778) Finalist
Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn 102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers September 11 attacks, 2001 Islamist terrorist attacks in the United States Finalist
Adam Hochschild Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves Finalist
2006 Timothy Egan The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl Winner [90][91]
Taylor Branch At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68 Finalist
Rajiv Chandrasekaran Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone Iraq's Green Zone, Area in Baghdad, Iraq Finalist
Peter Hessler Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China's Past and Present Finalist
Lawrence Wright The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 Al-Qaeda, Salafi jihadist organization founded in 1988 Finalist
2007 Tim Weiner Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA Central Intelligence Agency, National intelligence agency of the United States Winner [92]
Edwidge Danticat Brother, I'm Dying Edwidge Danticat, Haitian-American writer Finalist
Christopher Hitchens God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything Finalist
Woody Holton Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution Finalist
Arnold Rampersad Ralph Ellison: A Biography Ralph Ellison, American novelist, literary critic, scholar and writer (1913–1994) Finalist
2008 Annette Gordon-Reed The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family Winner [93]
Drew Gilpin Faust This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War American Civil War, 1861–1865 conflict in the United States Finalist
Jane Mayer The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals War on terror, Ongoing international military campaign following the September 11 attacks Finalist
Jim Sheeler Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives Finalist
Joan Wickersham The Suicide Index: Putting My Father's Death in Order Finalist
2009 T. J. Stiles The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt Cornelius Vanderbilt, American businessman and tycoon (1794–1877) Winner [94]
David M. Carroll Following the Water: A Hydromancer's Notebook Finalist
Sean B. Carroll Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species Finalist
Greg Grandin Fordlândia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City Fordlândia, Village in Pará, Brazil Finalist
Adrienne Mayor The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy Mithradates, King of Pontus from 120 to 63 BC Finalist


National Book Award for Nonfiction winners and finalists, 2010-2019
Year Author Title Subject Result Ref.
2010 Patti Smith Just Kids Patti Smith, American singer, songwriter, author and poet Winner [95]
Barbara Demick Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea North Korea, Country in East Asia Finalist
John W. Dower Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9-11, Iraq Finalist
Justin Spring Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade Samuel Steward, American poet, novelist, tattoo artist Finalist
Megan K. Stack Every Man in This Village Is a Liar: An Education in War Finalist
2011 Stephen Greenblatt The Swerve: How the World Became Modern Winner [96][97]
Deborah Baker The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism Maryam Jameelah, American writer Finalist
Mary Gabriel Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution Karl Marx, German philosopher (1818–1883), and Jenny von Westphalen, German theatre critic and political activist Finalist
Manning Marable Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention Malcolm X, African-American human rights activist (1925–1965) Finalist
Lauren Redniss Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love & Fallout Marie Curie, Polish-French physicist and chemist (1867–1934), and Pierre Curie, French physicist (1859–1906) Finalist [98]
2012 Katherine Boo Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity Mumbai, Capital of Maharashtra, India Winner [99][100][101][102]
Anne Applebaum Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945–1956 Finalist
Robert A. Caro The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States from 1963 to 1969 Finalist
Domingo Martinez The Boy Kings of Texas Finalist [103]
Anthony Shadid House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East Anthony Shadid, American journalist Finalist
2013 George Packer The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America Winner [104][105][106]
Jill Lepore Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin Jane Franklin Mecom, 18th-century American and sister of Benjamin Franklin Finalist
Wendy Lower Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields Finalist
Alan Taylor The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 Finalist
Lawrence Wright Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief Finalist
2014 Evan Osnos Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China Winner [107][108]
Roz Chast Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? Finalist
Anand Gopal No Good Men Among The Living Finalist
John Lahr Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh Tennessee Williams, American playwright (1911–1983) Finalist
E.O. Wilson The Meaning of Human Existence Finalist
2015 Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me Winner [109][110]
Sally Mann Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs Finalist
Sy Montgomery The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness Finalist
Carla Power If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran Finalist
Tracy K. Smith Ordinary Light: A Memoir Tracy K. Smith, American poet Finalist
2016 Ibram X. Kendi Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America Winner [111][112]
Arlie Russell Hochschild Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right Finalist [113]
Viet Thanh Nguyen Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War Finalist [113]
Andrés Reséndez The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America Finalist [113]
Heather Ann Thompson Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy Attica Prison riot, 1971 prisoner rebellion, Attica, New York prison Finalist [113]
2017 Masha Gessen The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia Winner [114][115]
Erica Armstrong Dunbar Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge Finalist
Frances FitzGerald The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America Finalist
David Grann Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI Osage Indian murders, Series of murders of Osage Indians in Osage County, Oklahoma Finalist
Nancy MacLean Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America Finalist
2018 Jeffrey C. Stewart The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke Alain LeRoy Locke, American philosopher and writer (1885–1954) Winner [116][117]
Colin G. Calloway The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation Finalist
Victoria Johnson American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic David Hosack, American physician, botanist, and educator (1769-1835) Finalist
Sarah Smarsh Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth Finalist
Adam Winkler We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights Corporate personhood and the rights of corporations under the U.S. Constitution Finalist
2019 Sarah M. Broom The Yellow House Winner [118]
Tressie McMillan Cottom Thick: And Other Essays Finalist
Carolyn Forché What You Have Heard is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance Finalist
David Treuer The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present Finalist
Albert Woodfox with Leslie George Solitary Solitary confinement, Strict imprisonment form Finalist [119]


National Book Award for Nonfiction winners and finalists, 2020-2029
Year Author Title Subject Result Ref.
2020 Les Payne and Tamara Payne The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X Malcolm X, African-American human rights activist (1925–1965) Winner [120]
Claudio Saunt Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory Finalist
Jenn Shapland My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir Finalist
Karla Cornejo Villavicencio The Undocumented Americans Finalist
Jerald Walker How To Make a Slave and Other Essays Finalist
2021 Tiya Miles All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake Ashley’s Sack, a mid-1800s cloth sack embroidered with account of a slave sale of a 9-year-old girl Winner [121][122]
Hanif Abdurraqib A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance Finalist
Lucas Bessire Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains Finalist
Grace M Cho Tastes Like War: A Memoir Finalist
Nicole Eustace Covered with Night: A Story of Murder and Indigenous Justice in Early America Finalist
2022 Imani Perry South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon To Understand the Soul of a Nation Winner [123][124]
Meghan O’Rourke The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness Finalist [83]
David Quammen Breathless: The Scientific Race To Defeat a Deadly Virus Finalist [83]
Ingrid Rojas Contreras The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir Finalist [83]
Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice George Floyd, African-American man murdered by a police officer (1973–2020) Finalist [83]
2023 Ned Blackhawk The Rediscovery of America: Native peoples and the unmaking of US history Winner [125]
Cristina Rivera Garza Liliana’s Invincible Summer: A sister’s search for justice Finalist [126]
Christina Sharpe Ordinary Notes
Raja Shehadeh We Could Have Been Friends, My Father and I: A Palestinian memoir
John Vaillant Fire Weather: A true story from a hotter world

Repeat winners[edit]

See 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.

  • John Clive, Thomas Babington Macaulay: The Shaping of the Historian
1974 Biography; 1974 History
1979 Contemporary Thought; 1980 General Nonfiction, Paperback
1975 Arts and Letters; 1975 Science

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.

  • Justin Kaplan, 1961, 1981 (Arts and Letters, Biography/Autobiography)
  • George F. Kennan, 1957, 1968 (Nonfiction, History and Biography)
  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1936, 1939 (Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction)
  • David McCullough, 1978, 1982 (History, Autobiography/Biography)
  • Arthur Schlesinger, 1966, 1979 (History and Biography, Biography and Autobiography)
  • Frances Steegmuller, 1971, 1981 (Arts and Letters, Translation)
  • Lewis Thomas, 1975, 1981 (Arts and Letters and Science, Science)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Beginning 2005, the official annual webpages (see References) provide more information: the panelists in each award category, the publisher of each finalist, some audio-visual interviews with authors, etc. For 1996 to date, annual webpages generally provide transcripts of acceptance speeches by winning authors.
  2. ^ The other three of four runners-up listed in New York Times coverage of the awards for 1937 were works of fiction, and Nonfiction was one of four award categories, so it is likely to call Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living runner up for the Nonfiction award.
    • That is not certain, for it does not match the NYT order of listing and mis-classification is possible. NYT lists four "close seconds" in order Conrad Richter, Sea of Grass; Kenneth Roberts, Northwest Passage; Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living; [Leo Rosten], The Education of Hyman Kaplan. Meanwhile, the four winners are identified by award category and listed in order Fiction, Nonfiction, Bookseller Discovery, Most Original. Both Sea of Grass and Northwest Passage are historical novels, which does not fit the second-listed category Nonfiction. The Importance of Living is nonfiction and also consistent with the third-listed winner, Bookseller Discovery. Hyman Kaplan is fiction and also consistent with the fourth-listed winner, Most Original.
  3. ^ a b Lewis Thomas, The Lives of a Cell, won both the Arts & Letters and Science awards in 1975.
  4. ^ a b In 1974 John Clive, Thomas Babington Macaulay, won both the History and Biography awards.
  5. ^ Boorstin published the third and final volume of The Americans in 1973 (The Americans: The Democratic Experience).
  6. ^ Freidel published the fourth and final folume of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1973 (ending 1934).
  7. ^ "(new)" implies that the book was not previously eligible for a National Book Award. It does not imply a paperback original or first publication in simultaneous hard and paper editions. There may have been a first hardcover edition earlier and award-winning paperback edition later in the calendar year. • No book was a finalist for hardcover and paperback awards in the same year.
  8. ^ Wikipedia puts the book in genres "short-story cycle; historical fiction" and calls it a novel in her biography.
  9. ^ The National Book Foundation website mistakenly lists Peter Gay's The Enlightenment: An Interpretation. Gay won the 1967 Award in History and Biography for the first volume of that work, subtitled The Rise of Modern Paganism. The second and third volumes were published in 1969 (The Science of Freedom) and 1973 (A Comprehensive Anthology).
  10. ^ Patrick Tierney's book was later determined to be deliberately fraudulent.[83][55]


  1. ^ "History of the National Book Awards". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  2. ^ "How the National Book Awards Work". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "National Book Award Winners: 1950 – Present". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  4. ^ "National Book Award Selection Process". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  5. ^ Edwin McDowell (November 22, 1985). "'85 Award To DeLillo For Novel". New York Times. p. C33. Archived from the original on March 24, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  6. ^ Edwin McDowell (April 14, 1983). "American Book Awards Announced". New York Times. p. C30. Archived from the original on 18 March 2018. Additional archives: 2015-05-24.
  7. ^ a b c Edwin McDowell (October 18, 1984). "11 Nominated for American Book Awards". New York Times. p. C25. Archived from the original on 18 March 2018. Additional archives: 2015-05-24.
  8. ^ a b c "Booksellers Give Prize to 'Citadel': Cronin's Work About Doctors Their Favorite--'Mme. Curie' Gets Non-Fiction Award". New York Times. March 2, 1938. p. 14.
  9. ^ a b "1939 Book Awards Given by Critics: Elgin Groseclose's 'Ararat' is Picked as Work Which Failed to Get Due Recognition". New York Times. February 14, 1940. p. 25.
  10. ^ "Neglected Author Gets High Honor: 1941 Book Award Presented to George Perry for 'Hold Autumn In Your Hand'". New York Times. February 2, 1942. p. 18.
  11. ^ "Lewis is Scornful of Radio Culture: Nothing Ever Will Replace the Old-Fashioned Book, He Tells Booksellers". New York Times. May 12, 1936. Archived from the original on 18 March 2018.
  12. ^ Theo (November 6, 2009). "Book Review: The Country Kitchen by Della T. Lutes". Organic Test Kitchen. Archived from the original on March 24, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  13. ^ a b "5 Honors Awarded on the Year's Books: Authors of Preferred Volumes Hailed at Luncheon of Booksellers Group". New York Times. February 26, 1937. Archived from the original on 18 March 2018.
  14. ^ a b c "Book About Plants Receives Award: Dr. Fairchild's 'Garden' Work Cited by Booksellers". New York Times. February 15, 1939. p. 20.
  15. ^ Dinitia Smith (February 7, 1997). "Margaret Halsey, 86, a Writer Who Lampooned the English". New York Times. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  16. ^ "French Flier Gets Book Prize for 1939: Antoine de St. Exupery Able at Last to Receive Award". New York Times. January 15, 1941. p. 6.
  17. ^ a b "Books and Authors". New York Times. February 16, 1941. p. BR12.
  18. ^ "Book Publishers Make 3 Awards: Nelson Algren, Dr. Ralph L. Rusk and Dr. W. C. Williams Receive Gold Plaques". New York Times. March 17, 1950. p. 21.
  19. ^ "National Book Awards – 1950". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  20. ^ "National Book Awards – 1951". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  21. ^ "National Book Awards – 1952". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  22. ^ "National Book Awards – 1953". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  23. ^ "National Book Awards – 1954". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  24. ^ "National Book Awards – 1955". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  25. ^ "National Book Awards – 1956". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  26. ^ "National Book Awards – 1957". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  27. ^ "National Book Awards – 1958". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  28. ^ "National Book Awards – 1959". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  29. ^ "National Book Awards – 1960". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  30. ^ "National Book Awards – 1961". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  31. ^ "National Book Awards – 1962". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  32. ^ "National Book Awards – 1963". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  33. ^ a b c "National Book Awards – 1964". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  34. ^ a b c "National Book Awards – 1965". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  35. ^ a b c "National Book Awards – 1966". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  36. ^ a b c "National Book Awards – 1967". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  37. ^ a b "Obituary Notes: Justin Kaplan; Sherwin B. Nuland". Shelf Awareness. March 5, 2014. Retrieved 2022-10-08.
  38. ^ a b c "National Book Awards – 1968". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  39. ^ a b c "National Book Awards – 1969". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  40. ^ "Obituary Notes: Peter Gay; William Zinsser". Shelf Awareness. May 13, 2015. Retrieved 2022-10-08.
  41. ^ "Obituary Note: William H. McNeill". Shelf Awareness. July 14, 2016. Retrieved 2022-10-08.
  42. ^ "Obituary Note: David Brion Davis". Shelf Awareness. April 17, 2019. Retrieved 2022-10-08.
  43. ^ a b c "National Book Awards – 1970". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  44. ^ a b "National Book Awards – 1971". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  45. ^ a b c d e "National Book Awards – 1973". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  46. ^ a b c d e "National Book Awards – 1974". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  47. ^ a b c d e f "National Book Awards – 1975". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  48. ^ a b c "National Book Awards – 1976". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  49. ^ "Obituary Notes: Liam Davison, James MacGregor Burns". Shelf Awareness. July 21, 2014. Retrieved 2022-10-08.
  50. ^ "Rediscover: Stephen F. Cohen". Shelf Awareness. October 2, 2020. Retrieved 2022-10-08.
  51. ^ "Rediscover: Bernard Bailyn". Shelf Awareness. August 14, 2020. Retrieved 2022-10-08.
  52. ^ a b "National Book Awards – 1977". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  53. ^ "Obituary Note: Lawrence Goodwyn". Shelf Awareness. October 9, 2013. Retrieved 2022-10-08.
  54. ^ a b "National Book Awards – 1978". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  55. ^ a b c "Rediscover: David McCullough". Shelf Awareness. August 12, 2022. Retrieved 2022-10-08.
  56. ^ a b "National Book Awards – 1979". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  57. ^ "Obituary Notes: Ivan Doig; John E. Walsh". Shelf Awareness. April 10, 2015. Retrieved 2022-10-08.
  58. ^ a b c d e f g "National Book Awards – 1980". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  59. ^ a b c d "National Book Awards – 1981". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  60. ^ a b c d "National Book Awards – 1982". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  61. ^ a b c d "National Book Awards – 1983". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
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