Honor roll: National Book Award for Current Interest

Each of these books has been nominated for a National Book Award for Current Interest. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:The Snow Leopard

The Snow Leopard

Peter Matthiessen

When Peter Matthiessen set out with the field biologist George Schaller from Pokhara, in northwest Nepal, their hope was to reach the Crystal Mountain—a foot journey of 250 miles or more across the Himalaya—in the Land of Dolpo, on the Tibetan plateau. Since they wished to observe the late-autumn rut of the bharal, or Himalayan blue sheep, they undertook their trek as winter snows were sweeping into the high passes, and five weeks were required to reach their destination.

At Shey Compaa, a very ancient Buddhist shrine on the Crystal Mountain, the Lama had forbidden all killing of wild animals, and bharal were said to be numberous and easily observed. Where they were numerous there was bound to appear that rarest and most beautiful of the great cats, the snow leopard. Hope of glimpsing this near-mythic beast in the snow mountains would be reason enough for the entire journey. …[more]

Book:Fire in the Lake

Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam

Frances FitzGerald

This landmark work, based on Frances FitzGerald’s own research and travels, takes us inside Vietnam—into the traditional, ancestor-worshiping villages and the corrupt crowded cities, into the conflicts between Communists and anti-Communists, Catholics and Buddhists, generals and monks—and reveals the country as seen through Vietnamese eyes. With a clarity and authority unrivaled by any book before it or since, Fire in the Lake shows how America utterly and tragically misinterpreted the realities of Vietnam.

Book:The Culture of Narcissism

The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations

Christopher Lasch

When The Culture of Narcissism was first published, it was clear that Christopher Lasch had identified something important: waht was happening to American society in the wake of the decline of the family over the last century. The book quickly became a bestseller and continued its success in paperback.

Book:Julia Child and More Company

Julia Child and More Company

Julia Child

Book:Winners & Losers

Winners & Losers: Battles, Retreats, Gains, Losses, and Ruins from a Long War

Gloria Emerson

Book:The Uses of Enchantment

The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales

Bruno Bettelheim

The great child psychologist gives us a moving revelation of the enormous and irreplaceable value of fairy tales—how they educate, support and liberate the emotions of children.

Book:Passage to Ararat

Passage to Ararat

Michael J. Arlen

This 1976 National Book Award winner echoes current headlines as Arlen examines the 1915 “ethnic cleansing” of the Armenian race by the Turks. In Armenia, Arlen comes to understand his father’s detachment from his past when he sees what it means when a people are “hated to death”. A deeply felt, personal memoir with a new introduction by Clark Blaise.

Book:All God's Dangers

All God's Dangers

Theodore Rosengarten

Nate Shaw’s father was born under slavery. Nate Shaw was born into a bondage that was only a little gentler. At the age of nine, he was picking cotton for thirty-five cents an hour. At the age of forty-seven, he faced down a crowd of white deputies who had come to confiscate a neighbor’s crop. His defiance cost him twelve years in prison.

This triumphant autobiography, assembled from the eighty-four-year-old Shaw’s oral reminiscences, is the plain-spoken story of an “over-average” man who witnessed wrenching changes in the lives of Southern black people—and whose unassuming courage helped bring those changes about.

Book:The Briar Patch

The Briar Patch: The Trial of the Panther 21

Murray Kempton

On April 2, 1969 five-man squads of New York policemen, armed with shotguns and wearing bulletproof vests, pounded on a succession of apartment doors throughout New York City, rounding up members of the Black Panther party. Thirteen of twenty-one suspects were charged and tried for attempted arson, attempted murder, and conspiracies to blow up various police stations, school buildings, a railroad yard, and the Bronx Botanical Gardens. But the forces of “law and order” behaved in a decidedly less lawful manner than the defendants. The Briar Patch brilliantly examines the proceedings, from the police undercover operations that first implicated the Panthers, to their acquittal on all charges. It remains a seminal book—not just about the Panther 21, but about the quality of justice in America.

Book:Last Whole Earth Catalog

Last Whole Earth Catalog

Stewart Brand

Lots of people think they have the original Whole Earth Catalog, from fall, 1968, somewhere-in their garage or attic, back in the storage shed of the old commune. If you are holding a copy, you have a collector’s item in your hands. There must be some out there, but we only know of two actual copies. Most people who think they own the first edition really have the second, or tenth, or the 1972 Last Whole Earth Catalog. Thirty years ago, WEC was a tool, not a collectible—an L.L. Bean Catalog that proclaimed, “We are as gods and might as well get good at it.”

So to celebrate WEC’s thirtieth anniversary in 1998, we published a full-size facsimile of the original Catalog: every word and every illustration from every review-from Buckminster Fuller’s Ideas and Integrities to The Dome Cookbook to the Hewlett Packard 9100A table-top calculator ($4,900 in 1968 dollars). It’s the same book, down to the funky print quality,…[more]

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