Annal: 2006 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction

Results of the Pulitzer Prize in the year 2006.

Book:Imperial Reckoning

Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya

Caroline Elkins

As part of the Allied forces, thousands of Kenyans fought alongside the British in World War II. But just a few years after the defeat of Hitler, the British colonial government detained nearly the entire population of Kenya’s largest ethnic minority, the Kikuyu—some one and a half million people.

The compelling story of the system of prisons and work camps where thousands met their deaths has remained largely untold—the victim of a determined effort by the British to destroy all official records of their attempts to stop the Mau Mau uprising, the Kikuyu people’s ultimately successful bid for Kenyan independence.

Caroline Elkins, an assistant professor of history at Harvard University, spent a decade in London, Nairobi, and the Kenyan countryside interviewing hundreds of Kikuyu men and women who survived the British camps, as well as the British and African…[more]

Book:The Assassins' Gate

The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq

George Packer

The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq recounts how the United States set about changing the history of the Middle East and became ensnared in a guerilla war in Iraq. It brings to life the people and ideas that created the Bush administration’s war policy and led America to the Assassins’ Gate—the main point of entry into the American zone in Baghdad. The consequences of that policy are shown in the author’s brilliant reporting on the ground in Iraq, where he made four tours on assignment for The New Yorker. We see up close the struggles of American soldiers and civilians and Iraqis from all backgrounds, thrown together by a war that followed none of the preconceived scripts.

The Assassins’ Gate also describes the place of the war in American life: the ideological battles in Washington that led to chaos in Iraq, the ordeal of a fallen soldier’s family, and the political culture of a country too bitterly polarized…[more]

Book:Postwar

Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945

Tony Judt

Tony Judt’s Postwar makes one lament the overuse of the word “groundbreaking.” It is an unprecedented accomplishment: the first truly European history of contemporary Europe, from Lisbon to Leningrad, based on research in six languages, covering thirty-four countries across sixty years in a single integrated narrative, using a great deal of material from newly available sources. Tony Judt has drawn on forty years of reading and writing about modern Europe to create a fully rounded, deep account of the continent’s recent past. The book integrates international relations, domestic politics, ideas, social change, economic development, and culture—high and low—into a single grand narrative. Every country has its chance to play the lead, and although the big themes are superbly handled—including the cold war, the love/hate relationship with America, cultural and economic malaise and rebirth, and the myth and reality of unification—none of them is allowed to overshadow the rich pageant that is the whole.…[more]

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