The National Book Award for Nonfiction

The prestigious National Book Awards were established in 1950 to recognize American literary works of exceptional merit. The finalists for the fiction category (as well as other categories) are selected by independent judging panels. While sponsored for most years by the National Book Foundation, the awards from 1980 to 1986 were sponsored by the Association of American Publishers, who renamed them the American Book Awards, and made awards in many more categories. (This award description was taken from NoveList, a database dedicated to helping readers find fiction titles, award winning books, and similar titles and authors.)  Visit the National Book Foundation official website for more information about this award and past winners.

All of these titles are located in the Adult Nonfiction section of the Library unless otherwise noted.


2014 Osnos, Evan. Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China.
2013 Packer, George. The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America.
2012 Boo, Katherine. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity.
     Also available: Large Type, CD
2011 Greenblatt, Stephen. The Swerve: How the World Became Modern.
     Also available: eAudiobook
2010 Smith, Patti. Just Kids.
     Also available: CD
2009 Stiles, T.J. The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt.
     Also available: CD
2008 Gordon-Reed, Annette. The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family.           Also available: CD, eAudiobook
2007 Weiner, Tim. Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA.
     Also available: CD
2006 Egan, Timothy. The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl.
     Also available: CD
2005 Didion, Joan. The Year of Magical Thinking.
     Also available: Large Type, CD, Digital Player
2004 Boyle, Kevin. Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age.
     Also available: CD
2003 Eire, Carlos. Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy.
2002 Caro, Robert A. Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson.
2001 Solomon, Andrew. The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression.
2000 Philbrick, Nathaniel. In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex.
     Also available: Large Type, CD
1999 Dower, John W. Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II.
1998 Ball, Edward. Slaves in the Family.
     Also available: Large Type
1997 Ellis, Joseph J. American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson.
1996 Carroll, James. An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War that Came Between Us.
1995 Rosenberg, Tina. The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism.
1994 Nuland, Sherwin B. How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter.
1993 Vidal, Gore. United States: Essays 1952-1992.
1992 Monette, Paul. Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story.
1991 Patterson, Orlando. Freedom.
1990 Chernow, Ron. The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance.
1989 Friedman, Thomas L. From Beirut to Jerusalem.
1988 Sheehan, Neil. A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam.
1987 Rhodes, Richard. The Making of the Atomic Bomb.
1986 Lopez, Barry Holstun. Arctic Dreams.
1985 Lukas, J. Anthony. Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families.
1984 Remini, Robert V. Andrew Jackson & the Course of American Democracy, 1833-1845.
1983 Autobiography/Biography
Thurman, Judith. Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller.
  General Nonfiction
Butterfield, Fox. China: Alive in the Bitter Sea.
  History
Brinkley, Alan. Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin and the Great Depression.
  Science
Pais, Abraham. "Subtle is the Lord...": The Science and Life of Albert Einstein.
1982 Autobiography/Biography
McCullough, David. Mornings on Horseback.
     Also available: CD
  General Nonfiction
Kidder, Tracy. The Soul of a New Machine.
  History
Powell, Father Peter John. People of the Sacred Mountain: A History of the Northern Cheyenne Chiefs and Warrior Societies, 1830-1879.
  Science
Johanson, Donald C. and Edey, Maitland A. Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind.
1981 Autobiography/Biography
Kaplan, Justin. Walt Whitman.
  History
Boswell, John. Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality.
  Science
Gould, Stephen Jay. The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections on Natural History.
1980 Autobiography
Bacall, Lauren. By Myself.
     Also available: Large Type
  Biography
Morris, Edmund. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt.
     Also available: CD
  Current Interest
Child, Julia. Julia Child & More Company.
  General Nonfiction
Wolfe, Tom. The Right Stuff.
     Also available: Large Type
  General Reference Books
Witt, Elder, ed. The Complete Directory
  History
Kissinger, Henry A. The White House Years.
  Religion/Inspiration
Pagels, Elaine. The Gnostic Gospels.
     Also available: CD
  Science
Hofstadter, Douglas R. Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid.
1979 Biography and Autobiography
Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr. Robert Kennedy and His Times.
  Contemporary Thought
Matthiessen, Peter. The Snow Leopard.
  History
Davis, Richard Beale. Intellectual Life in the Colonial South, 1585-1763.
1978 Biography and Autobiography
Bate, W. Jackson. Samuel Johnson.
  Contemporary Thought
Emerson, Gloria. Winners & Losers.
  History
McCullough, David. The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870-1914. Also available: CD
1977 Biography and Autobiography
Swanberg, W. A. Norman Thomas: The Last Idealist.
  Contemporary Thought
Bettelheim, Bruno. The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales.
  History
Howe, Irving. World of Our Fathers.
1976 Arts and Letters
Fussell, Paul. The Great War and Modern Memory.
  Contemporary Affairs
Arlen, Michael J. Passage to Ararat.
  History and Biography
Davis, David Brion. The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770-1823.
1975 Arts and Letters
Shattuck, Roger. Marcel Proust and
Thomas, Lewis. The Lives of a Cell: Notes on a Biology Watcher.
  Biography
Sewall, Richard B. The Life of Emily Dickinson.
  Contemporary Affairs
Rosengarten, Theodore, comp. All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw .
  History
Bailyn, Bernard. The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson.
  Philosophy and Religion
Nozick, Robert. Anarchy, State and Utopia.
  The Sciences
Arieti, Silvano. Interpretation of Schizophrenia and
Thomas, Lewis. The Lives of a Cell: Notes on a Biology Watcher.
1974 Arts and Letters
Kael, Pauline. Deeper into Movies.
  Biography
Clive, John. Macaulay: The Shaping of the Historian and
Day, Douglas. Malcolm Lowry: A Biography.
  Contemporary Affairs
Kempton, Murray. The Briar Patch.
  History
Clive, John. Macaulay: The Shaping of the Historian.
  Philosophy and Religion
Natanson, Maurice. Edmund Husserl: Philosopher of Infinite Tasks.
  The Sciences
Luria, S. E. Life: The Unfinished Experiment.
1973 Arts and Letters
Wilson, Arthur M. Diderot.
  Biography
Flexner, James Thomas. George Washington, Vol. IV: Anguish and Farewell, 1793-1799.
  Contemporary Affairs
FitzGerald, Frances. Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam.
  History
Myers, Robert Manson. The Children of Pride and
Trunk, Isaiah. Judenrat.
  Philosophy and Religion
Ahlstrom, S. E. A Religious History of the American People.
  The Sciences
Schaller, George B. The Serengeti Lion: A Study of Predator-Prey Relations.
1972 Arts and Letters
Rosen, Charles. The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven.
  Biography
Lash, Joseph P. Eleanor and Franklin: The Story of Their Relationship, Based on Eleanor Roosevelt's Private Papers.
  Contemporary Affairs
Brand, Stewart, ed. The Last Whole Earth Catalogue.
  History
Nevins, Allan. Ordeal of the Union, Vols. VII & VIII: The Organized War, 1863-1864 and The Organized War to Victory.
  Philosophy and Religion
Marty, Martin E. Righteous Empire: The Protestant Experience in America.
  The Sciences
Small, George L. The Blue Whale.
1971 Arts and Letters
Steegmuller, Francis. Cocteau: A Biography.
  History and Biography
Burns, James MacGregor. Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom.
  The Sciences
Sterns, Raymond Phineas. Science in the British Colonies of America.
1970 Arts and Letters
Hellman, Lillian. An Unfinished Woman: A Memoir.
  History and Biography
Williams, T. Harry. Huey Long.
  Philosophy and Religion
Erikson, Erik H. Gandhi's Truth: On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence.
1969 Arts and Letters
Mailer, Norman. The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, The Novel as History.
  History and Biography
Jordan, Winthrop D. White over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812.
  The Sciences
Lifton, Robert J. Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima.
1968 Arts and Letters
Troy, William. Selected Essays.
  History and Biography
Kennan, George F. Memoirs: 1925-1950.
  Science, Philosophy, and Religion
Kozol, Jonathan. Death at an Early Age.
1967 Arts and Letters
Kaplan, Justin. Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain: A Biography.
  History and Biography
Gay, Peter. The Enlightenment, Vol. I: An Interpretation the Rise of Modern Paganism.
  Science, Philosophy, and Religion
Lewis, Oscar. La Vida.
1966 Arts and Letters
Flanner, Janet. Paris Journal, 1944-1965.
  History and Biography
Schlesinger Jr, Arthur M. A Thousand Days.
1965 Arts and Letters
Clark, Eleanor. Oysters of Locmariaquer.
  History and Biography
Fischer, Louis. The Life of Lenin.
  Science, Philosophy, and Religion
Wiener, Norbert. God and Golem, Inc: A Comment on Certain Points where Cybernetics Impinges on Religion.
1964 Arts and Letters
Ward, Aileen. John Keats: The Making of a Poet.
  History and Biography
McNeill, William H. The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community.
  Science, Philosophy, and Religion
Tunnard, Christopher and Pushkarev, Boris. Man-made America.
1963 Edel, Leon. Henry James, Vol. II: The Conquest of London, Henry James, Vol. III: The Middle Years.
1962 Mumford, Lewis. The City in History: Its Origins, its Transformations and its Prospects.
1961 Shirer, William L. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
1960 Ellmann, Richard. James Joyce.
1959 Herold, J. Christopher. Mistress to an Age: A Life of Madame De Stael.
1958 Bowen, Catherine Drinker. The Lion and the Throne.
1957 Kennan, George F. Russia Leaves the War.
1956 Kubly, Herbert. An American in Italy.
1955 Krutch, Joseph Wood. The Measure of Man.
1954 Catton, Bruce. A Stillness at Appomattox.
1953 De Voto, Bernard A. The Course of Empire.
1952 Carson, Rachel. The Sea Around Us.
1951 Arvin, Newton. Herman Melville.
1950 Rusk, Ralph L. The Life of Ralph Waldo Emerson.