Annal: 2005 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction

Results of the Pulitzer Prize in the year 2005.

Book:Ghost Wars

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden

Steve Coll

Looming large in the minds of the American people since the devastation of September 11, 2001—and perplexing their political analysts, media, and elected leaders—are two unsettling questions: To what extent did America’s best intelligence analysts grasp the rising threat of Islamist radicalism? And, Who tried to stop bin Laden and why did they fail? Steve Coll, managing editor of the Washington Post, provides answers in an exhaustively researched account of U.S. involvement in the covert wars in Afghanistan that fueled Islamic militancy and gave rise to bin Laden’s al Qaeda.

For nearly the past quarter century, while most Americans were unaware, Afghanistan has been the playing field for intense covert operations by U.S. and foreign intelligence agencies—invisible wars that sowed the seeds of the September 11 attacks and that provide its context. From the Soviet invasion in 1979 through the summer of 2001, the CIA, KGB, Pakistan’s IST, and Saudi…[more]

Book:The Devil's Highway

The Devil's Highway: A True Story

Luis Alberto Urrea

In May 2001, a group of men attempted to cross the border into the desert of southern Arizona, through the deadliest region of the continent, a place called the Devil’s Highway. Twenty-six people—fathers and sons, brothers and strangers—entered a desert so harsh and desolate that even the Border Patrol is afraid to travel through it. For hundreds of years, men have tried to conquer this land, and for hundreds of years the desert has stolen their souls and swallowed their blood.

Along the Devil’s Highway, days are so hot that dead bodies naturally mummify almost immediately. And that May, twenty-six men went in. Twelve came back out.

Now, Luis Alberto Urrea tells the story of this modern Odyssey. He takes us back to the small towns and unpaved cities south of the border, where the poor fall prey to dreams of a better life and the sinister promises of smugglers. We meet the men…[more]

Book:Maximum City

Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found

Suketu Mehta

A brilliantly illuminating portrait of Bombay and its people—a book as vast, diverse, and rich in experience, incident, and sensation as the city itself—from an award-winning Indian-American fiction writer and journalist.

A native of Bombay, Suketu Mehta gives us a true insider’s view of this stunning city, bringing to his account a rare level of insight, detail, and intimacy. He approaches the city from unexpected angles—taking us into the criminal underworld of rival Muslim and Hindu gangs who wrest control of the city’s byzantine political and commercial systems…following the life of a bar dancer who chose the only life available to her after a childhood of poverty and abuse…opening the doors onto the fantastic, hierarchical inner sanctums of Bollywood…delving into the stories of the countless people who come from the villages in search of a better life and end up living on the sidewalks—the essential saga of a great city endlessly played out. …[more]

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