Annal: 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History

Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 2006.

Book:The Looming Tower

The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

Lawrence Wright

A sweeping narrative history of the events leading to 9/11, a groundbreaking look at the people and ideas, the terrorist plans and the Western intelligence failures that culminated in the assault on America. Lawrence Wright’s remarkable book is based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews that he conducted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States.

The Looming Tower achieves an unprecedented level of intimacy and insight by telling the story through the interweaving lives of four men: the two leaders of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri; the FBI’s counterterrorism chief, John O’Neill; and the former head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki al-Faisal.

As these lives unfold, we see revealed: the crosscurrents of modern Islam that helped to radicalize Zawahiri and bin Laden…the…[more]

Book:At Canaan's Edge

At Canaan's Edge: Volume 3 of America in the King Years, 1965-68

Taylor Branch

At Canaan’s Edge concludes America in the King Years, a three-volume history that will endure as a masterpiece of storytelling on American race, violence, and democracy. Pulitzer Prize-winner and bestselling author Taylor Branch makes clear in this magisterial account of the civil rights movement that Martin Luther King, Jr., earned a place next to James Madison and Abraham Lincoln in the pantheon of American history.

In At Canaan’s Edge, King and his movement stand at the zenith of America’s defining story, one decade into an epic struggle for the promises of democracy. Branch opens with the authorities’ violent suppression of a voting-rights march in Alabama on March 7, 1965. The quest to cross Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge engages the conscience of the world, strains the civil rights coalition, and embroils King in negotiations with all three branches of the U.S. government. …[more]

Book:The Colony

The Colony: The Harrowing True Story of the Exiles of Molokai

John Tayman

Beginning in 1866 and continuing for over a century, more than eight thousand people suspected of having leprosy were forcibly exiled to the Hawaiian island of Molokai—the longest and deadliest instance of medical segregation in American history. Torn from their homes and families, these men, women, and children were loaded into shipboard cattle stalls and abandoned in a lawless place where brutality held sway. Many did not have leprosy, and many who did were not contagious, yet all were ensnared in a shared nightmare.

Here, for the first time, John Tayman reveals the complete history of the Molokai settlement and its unforgettable inhabitants. It’s an epic of ruthless manhunts, thrilling escapes, bizarre medical experiments, and tragic, irreversible error. Carefully researched and masterfully told, The Colony is a searing tale of individual bravery and extraordinary survival, and stands as a testament to the power of faith, compassion, and the human spirit.

Book:Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War

Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War

Nathaniel Philbrick

From the bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea—winner of the National Book Award—the startling story of the Plymouth Colony.

From the perilous ocean crossing to the shared bounty of the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrim settlement of New England has become enshrined as our most sacred national myth. Yet, as bestselling author Nathaniel Philbrick reveals in his spellbinding new book, the true story of the Pilgrims is much more than the well-known tale of piety and sacrifice; it is a fifty-five-year epic that is at once tragic, heroic, exhilarating, and profound.

The Mayflower’s religious refugees arrived in Plymouth Harbor during a period of crisis for Native Americans as disease spread by European fishermen devastated their populations. Initially the two groups—the Wampanoags, under the charismatic…[more]

Book:The War of the World

The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West

Niall Ferguson

A revolutionary reinterpretation of the modern era that resolves its central paradox: why unprecedented progress coincided with unprecedented violence and why the seeming triumph of the West bore the seeds of its undoing.

From the conflicts that presaged the First World War to the aftershocks of the cold war, the twentieth century was by far the bloodiest in all of human history. How can we explain the astonishing scale and intensity of its violence when, thanks to the advances of science and economics, most people were better off than ever before-eating better, growing taller, and living longer? Niall Ferguson-one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People”-masterfully examines what he calls the age of hatred and sets out to explain what went wrong with modernity.

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