Annal: 1991 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History

Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 1991.

Book:The Promised Land

The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America

Nicholas Lemann

A New York Times bestseller, the groundbreaking authoritative history of the migration of African-Americans from the rural South to the urban North. A definitive book on American history, The Promised Land is also essential reading for educators and policymakers at both national and local levels.

Book:Behind the Mask of Innocence

Behind the Mask of Innocence: Sex, Violence, Prejudice, Crime: Films of Social Conscience in the Silent Era

Kevin Brownlow

Combining film history and social history, Kevin Brownlow surveys the treatment of contemporary social problems by film directors and producers in the early part of the century. This is the definitive history of silent films, documenting many that have been lost or forgotten.

Book:The Prize

The Prize: The Epic Quest For Oil, Money & Power

Daniel Yergin

The Prize recounts the panoramic history of oil—and the struggle for wealth power that has always surrounded oil. This struggle has shaken the world economy, dictated the outcome of wars, and transformed the destiny of men and nations. The Prize is as much a history of the twentieth century as of the oil industry itself. The canvas of this history is enormous—from the drilling of the first well in Pennsylvania through two great world wars to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and Operation Desert Storm.

The cast extends from wildcatters and rogues to oil tycoons, and from Winston Churchill and Ibn Saud to George Bush and Saddam Hussein. The definitive work on the subject of oil and a major contribution to understanding our century, The Prize is a book of extraordinary breadth, riveting excitement—and great importance.

Book:Soulstealers

Soulstealers: The Chinese Sorcery Scare of 1768

Philip A. Kuhn

Midway through the reign of the Ch’ien-lung emperor, Hungli, in the most prosperous period of China’s last imperial dynasty, mass hysteria broke out among the common people. It was feared that sorcerers were roaming the land, clipping off the ends of men’s queues (the braids worn by royal decree), and chanting magical incantations over them in order to steal the souls of their owners. In a fascinating chronicle of this epidemic of fear and the official prosecution of soulstealers that ensued, Philip Kuhn provides an intimate glimpse into the world of eighteenth-century China.

Kuhn weaves his exploration of the sorcery cases with a survey of the social and economic history of the era. Drawing on a rich repository of documents found in the imperial archives, he presents in detail the harrowing interrogations of the accused—a ragtag assortment of vagabonds, beggars, and roving clergy—conducted under torture by provincial magistrates. In tracing the…[more]

Book:Stalin in Power

Stalin in Power: The Revolution from Above, 1928-1941

Robert C. Tucker

In 1929 Stalin plunged Soviet Russia into a coercive revolution from above, a decade-long effort to amass military-industrial power in preparation for a new war. Later in the 1930s Stalin transformed the Communist Party into a servile instrument of his personal dictatorship. In 1939 he concluded a pact with Hitler that enabled him to impose his revolution on parts of Eastern Europe while Hitler made war on the West. With the publication of Stalin In Power, this pivotal sequence of events at last acquires a its interpretive history.

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