Annal: 1998 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest

Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 1998.

Book:We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda

Philip Gourevitch

An unforgettable firsthand account of a people’s response to genocide and what it tells us about humanity.

This remarkable debut book chronicles what has happened in Rwanda and neighboring states since 1994, when the Rwandan government called on everyone in the Hutu majority to murder everyone in the Tutsi minority. Though the killing was low-tech—largely by machete—it was carried out at shocking speed: some 800,000 people were exterminated in a hundred days. A Tutsi pastor, in a letter to his church president, a Hutu, used the chilling phrase that gives Philip Gourevitch his title.

With keen dramatic intensity, Gourevitch frames the genesis and horror of Rwanda’s “genocidal logic” in the anguish of its aftermath: the mass displacements, the temptations of revenge and the quest for justice, the impossibly crowded prisons and refugee camps. Through intimate portraits of Rwandans in all walks of life, he focuses on the psychological and political challenges…[more]

Book:American Beach

American Beach: A Saga of Race, Wealth, and Memory

Russ Rymer

In American Beach, award-winning journalist Russ Rymer provides astonishing insights into the meaning of American race relations. Avoiding the easy clichs of victimhood and oppression, he searches for answers through three unexpected, overlapping, intensely personal stories. Ultimately he presents a vision of a nation where the futures of blacks and whites are as linked as their histories, and where black experience offers a key to the struggle of every modern American.

American Beach opens with the killing of an unarmed black motorist by white police on a Florida resort island. It’s the emblematic race confrontation of the 1990s, but Rymer’s examination turns up everything but the ordinary. His journey leads us through ghostly plantation cemeteries, sance parlors, black resorts, European opera houses, Harlem salons, America’s newest tone, and its oldest incorporated black city. We meet black pirated and planters, witness the incendiary death of the world’s…[more]

Book:Articles of Faith

Articles of Faith: A Frontline History of the Abortion Wars

Cynthia Gorney

In Articles of Faith, veteran journalist Cynthia Gorney presents the first balanced political and social narrative of the most significant years in the abortion conflict, told from the perspective of the people who fought the battles on both sides.

Focusing on the battle in Missouri, which mirrors the deepening abortion conflicts around the country as American states first begin changing their century-old criminal abortion laws, Gorney draws from more than five hundred interviews and previously unseen archival material to create the first narrative history of the modern American abortion conflict ever written.

The central characters, whose evolving personal stories and eventual confrontation in the U.S. Supreme Court form the narrative drive of Articles of Faith, are two passionate, strong-willed leaders from opposing camps in the city of St. Louis:…[more]

Book:Cold New World

Cold New World: Growing Up in a Harder Country

William Finnegan

In this groundbreaking work of social journalism, a spotlight is cast on a population we find it easy, or convenient, to overlook.

“While the national economy has been growing, the economic prospects of most Americans have been dimming,” William Finnegan writes. “A new American class structure is being born—one that is harsher, in many ways, than the one it is replacing. Some people are thriving in it, of course. This book is about some families who are not. More particularly, it’s about their children who are teenagers and young adults, about their lives and times, how they speak and act as they try to find their way in this cold new world.”

Finnegan spent time with families in four communities across America and became an intimate observer of the lives revealed…[more]

Book:On the Outside Looking In

On the Outside Looking In: A Year in an Inner-City High School

Cristina Rathbone

Cristina Rathbone’s critically acclaimed On the Outside Looking In is the story of inner-city kids who come from poverty, dysfunctional homes, and drug-riddled neighborhoods; of an underfunded high school and its devoted principal, who represent their last slim connection to mainstream society; and of a young reporter who, as Samuel Freedman wrote, “offered her young subjects both compassion and unflinching honesty…even as she bore witness to the social chaos around them and the persistent humanity in them all.” On the Outside Looking In is an important work about American poverty, and a moving, inspiring book about the persistence of the human spirit among a segment of our population that many seem to have written off.

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