Annal: 2008 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction

Results of the Pulitzer Prize in the year 2008.

Book:The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945

The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945

Saul Friedländer

The enactment of the German extermination policies that resulted in the murder of six million European Jews depended upon many factors, including the cooperation of local authorities and police departments, and the passivity of the populations, primarily of their political and spiritual elites. Necessary also was the victims’ willingness to submit, often with the hope of surviving long enough to escape the German vise. The Years of Extermination, the completion of Saul Friedländer’s major historical opus on Nazi Germany and the Jews, explores the convergence of the various aspects of this most systematic and sustained of modern genocides. In this unparalleled work—based on a vast array of documents and an overwhelming choir of voices from diaries, letters, and memoirs—the history of the Holocaust has found its definitive representation.

Book:The Cigarette Century

The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America

Allan M. Brandt

The definitive history of the cigarette, the product that shaped twentieth-century America—from modern advertising to science, from regulatory politics to our sense of glamour and style.

The industrial manufacture of cigarettes began in the late nineteenth century, but it wasn’t until the invention of the modern consumer, advertising campaign—pioneered by cigarette brands—that the product really took off at the turn of the century. The cigarette became an indispensable accessory of glamour and sex appeal: from Marlene Dietrich to Humphrey Bogart to Anne Bancroft, we have imagined stars with cigarettes in their mouths, and imitated them.

The cigarette—the ultimate icon of our consumer culture—serves as a vehicle for historian Allan Brandt to explore critical aspects of American life. From agriculture to big business, from medicine to politics, The Cigarette Century shows…[more]

Book:The Rest Is Noise

The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century

Alex Ross

The scandal over modern music has not died down. While paintings by Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock sell for a hundred million dollars or more, shocking musical works from Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring onward still send ripples of unease through audiences. At the same time, the influence of modern music can be felt everywhere. Avant-garde sounds populate the soundtracks of Hollywood thrillers. Minimalist music has had a huge effect on rock, pop, and dance music from the Velvet Underground onward. Alex Ross, the brilliant music critic for The New Yorker, shines a bright light on this secret world, and shows how it has pervaded every corner of twentieth century life.

The Rest Is Noise takes the reader inside the labyrinth of modern sound. It tells of maverick personalities who have resisted the cult of the classical past, struggled against the indifference of a wide public, and defied the will of dictators.…[more]

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