Friday, May 08, 2020

Prize Watch: history, biography and nonfiction at the Pulitzers

American nonfiction writers gotta love the Pulitzer Prizes. They have separate honours for History, Biography, and General Nonfiction, and since it's hard to make firm boundaries between these categories, it's not uncommon for one book to be nominated in more than one category.

This year the winner in General Nonfiction, The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America, by Greg Grandin, was also a nominee in History, where the winner was Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America, by W. Caleb McDaniel.

In biography, the winner was Benjamin Moser's Sontag: Her Life and Work, which the jurors must found to be some book (despite Janet Malcolm's very critical review), because it won over what I thought was an exemplar of how to write biography, George Packer's Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century
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