Honor roll: Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Nonfiction

Each of these books has been nominated for a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Nonfiction. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:An American Plague

An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793

Jim Murphy

1793, Philadelphia. The nation’s capital and the largest city in North America is devastated by an apparently incurable disease, cause unknown…

In a powerful, dramatic narrative, critically acclaimed author Jim Murphy describes the illness known as yellow fever and the toll it took on the city”s residents, relating the epidemic to the major social and political events of the day and to 18th-century medical beliefs and practices. Drawing on first-hand accounts, Murphy spotlights the heroic role of Philadelphia”s free blacks in combating the disease, and the Constitutional crisis that President Washington faced when he was forced to leave the city—and all his papers—while escaping the deadly contagion. The search for the fever”s causes and cure, not found for more than a century afterward, provides a suspenseful counterpoint to this riveting true story of a city under siege. …[more]

Book:The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain

The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain

Peter Sís

“I was born at the beginning of it all, on the Red side—the Communist side—of the Iron Curtain.”

Through annotated illustrations, journals, maps, and dreamscapes, Peter Sís shows what life was like for a child who loved to draw, proudly wore the red scarf of a Young Pioneer, stood guard at the giant statue of Stalin, and believed whatever he was told to believe. But adolescence brought questions. Cracks began to appear in the Iron Curtain, and news from the West slowly filtered into the country. Sís learned about beat poetry, rock ’n’ roll, blue jeans, and Coca-Cola. He let his hair grow long, secretly read banned books, and joined a rock band. Then came the Prague Spring of 1968, and for a teenager who wanted to see the world and meet the Beatles, this was a magical time. It was short-lived, however, brought to a sudden and brutal end by the Soviet-led invasion. But this brief flowering had provided a glimpse of new possibilities—creativity could be discouraged but not easily…[more]

Book:This Land Was Made for You and Me

This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie

Elizabeth Partridge

Before Springsteen and before Dylan, there was Woody Guthrie. With “This Machine Kills Fascists,” scrawled across his guitar in big black letters, Woody Guthrie brilliantly captured in song the experience of twentieth-century America. Whether he sang about union organizers, migrant workers, or war, Woody took his inspiration from the plight of the people around him as well as from his own tragic childhood.

From the late 1920s to the 1950s, Guthrie wrote the words to more than three thousand songs, including “This Land Is Your Land,” a song many call America’s unofficial national anthem. With a remarkable ability to turn any experience into a song almost instantaneously, Woody Guthrie spoke out for people of all colors and races, setting an example for generations of musicians to come. But Woody didn’t have the chance to find everything he was looking for. He was ravaged by Huntington’s disease,…[more]

Book:Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery

Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery

Russell Freedman

The intriguing story of Eleanor Roosevelt traces the life of the former First Lady from her early childhood through the tumultuous years in the White House to her active role in the founding of the United Nations after World War II.

Book:Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun

Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun

Rhoda Blumberg

In 1853, few Japanese people knew that a country called America even existed.

For centuries, Japan had isolated itself from the outside world by refusing to trade with other countries and even refusing to help shipwrecked sailors, foreign or Japanese. The country’s people still lived under a feudal system like that of Europe in the Middle Ages. But everything began to change when American Commodore Perry and his troops sailed to the Land of the Rising Sun, bringing with them new science and technology, and a new way of life.

Book:Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin

Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin

Robert Byrd

A dazzling picture-book biography of a fascinating Founding Father

A true Renaissance man, Benjamin Franklin was the first American celebrity. In pictures and text, master artist Robert Byrd documents Franklin’s numerous and diverse accomplishments, from framing the Constitution to creating bifocals. The witty, wise, and endlessly curious Franklin is the perfect subject for Byrd’s lively style and vibrant art. The pages pulse with facts, quotes, and captions, while the inventive design and intricately detailed illustrations make a striking tribute to the brilliant American.

Book:The Lincolns: A Scrapbook

The Lincolns: A Scrapbook Look at Abraham and Mary

Candace Fleming

The award-winning author of Ben Franklin’s Almanac and Our Eleanor has created an enthralling joint biography of our greatest president and his complex wife unlike any other—a scrapbook history that uses photographs, letters, engravings, and even cartoons, along with a fascinating text, to form an enthralling museum on the page. Here are the extraordinary lives of Abraham and Mary, from their disparate childhoods and tumultuous courtship, through the agony of the Civil War, to the loss of three of their children, and finally their own tragic deaths. Readers can find Mary’s recipe for Abraham’s favorite cake—and bake it themselves; hear what Abraham looked like as a toddler; see a photo of the Lincolns’ dog; discover that the Lincoln children kept goats at the White House; see the Emancipation Proclamation written in Lincoln’s own hand.

Perfect for reluctant readers as well as history lovers, The Lincolns provides a living breathing portrait of a man, a woman, and a country.

Book:The Great Fire (Jim Murphy)

The Great Fire

Jim Murphy

A vertible cinematic account of the catastrophe that decimated much of Chicago in 1871, forcing more than 100,000 people from their homes. Jim Murphy tells the story through the eyes of several survivors. These characters serve as dramatic focal points as the fire sweeps across the city, their stories illuminated by fascinating archival photos and maps outlining the spread of fire.

Book:The Wright Brothers

The Wright Brothers: How They Invented the Airplane

Russell Freedman

He saw the first regular airmail service introduced in 1918, the first nonstop transcontinental flight in 1923, the first round-the-world flight in 1924, the first polar flight in 1926, and the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic in 1927. He witnessed two world wars in which the airplane played a critical role. He saw the earth shrink as the jet engine replaced propellers. He lived to see airplanes that flew faster than the speed of sound, and planes whose wings stretched farther than the distance of his first flight at Kitty Hawk.

There were moments when he looked back wistfully to those long-ago days when flying was still a dream that he shared with his brother. He once said, “I got more thrill out of flying before I had ever been in the air at all—while lying in bed thinking how exciting it would be to fly.

Book:Marching for Freedom

Marching for Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary

Elizabeth Partridge

An inspiring look at the fight for the vote, by an award-winning author

Only 44 years ago in the U.S., Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was leading a fight to win blacks the right to vote. Ground zero for the movement became Selma, Alabama.

Award-winning author Elizabeth Partridge leads you straight into the chaotic, passionate, and deadly three months of protests that culminated in the landmark march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. Focusing on the courageous children who faced terrifying violence in order to march alongside King, this is an inspiring look at their fight for the vote. Stunningly emotional black-and-white photos accompany the text.

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