Thursday, April 09, 2009

Lukas Prize Project Awards

The Lukas Prize Project Awards were announced on Wednesday honoring the best American nonfiction. The awards are named for journalist J. Anthony Lukas, who was known for uncompromising examinations of social issues including American counterculture, race relations, and class warfare. His book Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families won the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award in general nonfiction, Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and Washington Monthly Political Book of the Year in 1986. He also won a Pulitzer in 1968 for the New York Times article "The Two Worlds of Linda Fitzpatrick." His last book Big Trouble: A Murder in a Small Western Town Sets Off a Struggle for the Soul of America was also a finalist for the Pulitzer in 1998.

The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard choose winners for the three annual awards:

The J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize Winner: Jane Mayer for The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals - “This is a dramatic account of how the United States made terrible decisions in the pursuit of terrorists around the world--decisions that not only violated the Constitution, but also hampered the pursuit of Al Qaeda. Whatever the short-term gains, there were incalculable losses in terms of moral standing, our country's place in the world, and its sense of itself.”

The Mark Lynton History Prize Winner: Timothy Brook for Vermeer’s Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World - “Moving outward from Vermeer’s studio, Brook traces the web of trade that was spreading across the globe. Vermeer’s Hat shows how the urge to acquire foreign goods was refashioning the world more powerfully than we have yet understood.”

The J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award Winner: Judy Pasternak for Yellow Dirt: The Betrayal of the Navajos (to be published by Free Press) - “Judy Pasternak promises to tell a narrative history of the most dramatic and profound sort. Nearly 60 years ago, mining companies descended on the Navajo nation to dig up uranium for the United States government, which was busily building up a stockpile of nuclear weapons, and in the process they turned the beautiful Navajo lands into a toxic environment, where even today there are areas with astonishingly high levels of radiation.”

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