Honor roll: Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest

Each of these books has been nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:Parting the Waters

Parting the Waters: Volume 1 of America in the King Years, 1954-1963

Taylor Branch

Hailed as the most masterful story ever told of the American civil rights movement, Parting the Waters is destined to endure for generations. Moving from the fiery political baptism of Martin Luther King, Jr., to the corridors of Camelot where the Kennedy brothers weighed demands for justice against the deceptions of J. Edgar Hoover, here is a vivid tapestry of America, torn and finally transformed by a revolutionary struggle unequaled since the Civil War.

Taylor Branch provides an unsurpassed portrait of King’s rise to greatness and illuminates the stunning courage and private conflict, the deals, maneuvers, betrayals, and rivalries that determined history behind closed doors, at boycotts and sit-ins, on bloody freedom rides, and through siege and murder.

Epic in scope and impact, Branch’s chronicle definitively captures one of the nation’s most crucial passages.

Book:Move Your Shadow

Move Your Shadow: South Africa, Black and White

Joseph Lelyveld

The complexities of South Africa are illuminated upon in this acclaimed work that takes a close, clear look at the strange realities within that country.

Book:Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number

Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number

Jacobo Timerman, Toby Talbot

The bestselling, classic personal chronicle of the Argentine publisher’s ordeal at the hands of the Argentine government—imprisoned and tortured as a dissenter and as a Jew—that aroused the conscience of the world.

Book:Secrets of the Temple

Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country

William Greider

This ground-breaking best-seller reveals for the first time how the mighty and mysterious Federal Reserve operates—and how it manipulated and transformed both the American economy and the world’s during the last eight crucial years. Based on extensive interviews with all the major players, Secrets of the Temple takes us inside the government institution that is in some ways more secretive than the CIA and more powerful than the President or Congress.

Book:The Blind Watchmaker

The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design

Richard Dawkins

The watchmaker belongs to the eighteenth-century theologian William Paley, who made one of the most famous creationist arguments: Just as a watch is too complicated and too functional to have sprung into existence by accident, so too must all living things, with their far greater complexity, be purposefully designed. It was Charles Darwin’s brilliant discovery that put the lie to these arguments. But only Richard Dawkins could have written this eloquent riposte to the creationists. Natural selection—the unconscious, automatic, blind, yet essentially nonrandom process that Darwin discovered—has no purpose in mind. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker.

Acclaimed as perhaps the most influential work on evolution written in this century, The Blind Watchmaker offers an engaging and accessible introduction to one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time.

Book:Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life

Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life

Robert Neelly Bellah, Richard Madsen, William M. Sullivan, Ann Swidler, Steven M. Tipton

Habits of the Heart, first published in 1985, rapidly became one of the most widely discussed interpretations of American society in the twentieth century, joining a small body of pivotal studies such as Middletown and The Lonely Crowd. Much of what Habits described, and which resonated so widely in the public consciousness, is even more evident ten years later.

Meanwhile, the authors’ antidote to the American sickness—a quest for democratic community that draws on our diverse civic and religious traditions—has contributed to a vigorous scholarly and popular debate. In their new introduction, the authors relate the argument of their book to both the current realities of American society and the growing debate about the country’s future.

Book:Cities and the Wealth of Nations

Cities and the Wealth of Nations

Jane Jacobs

“Jacobs’ book is inspired, idiosyncratic and personal… It is written with verve and humor; for a work of embattled theory, it is wonderfully concrete, and its leaps are breathtaking.”—Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times.

Book:Lost in the Cosmos

Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book

Walker Percy

Walker Percy’s mordantly funny and wholly original contribution to the self-help book craze deals with the Western mind’s tendency toward heavy abstraction. This favorite of Percy fans continues to charm and beguile readers of all tastes and backgrounds. Lost in the Cosmos invites us to think about how we communicate with our world.

Book:The Fate of the Earth

The Fate of the Earth

Jonathan Schell

When Jonathan Schell heard all that loose talk about attainment of objectives in a limited nuclear war, it was too much for him and he did what all of us would like to do: he wrote a book.

It is very pessimistic. The mere presence of all those weapons is enough to ensure that sometime, somewhere, someone is going to set one off.

Schell makes sure all of us know the horrendous possibilities of a nuclear exchange and all the reasons for bringing such possibilities to a halt.

Everyone agrees. The question is, how do we get these monsters under control?

Book:Without Fear Or Favor

Without Fear Or Favor: The New York Times and Our Times

Harrison Evans Salisbury

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