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:Ashes to Ashes

Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris

Richard Kluger

No book before this one has rendered the story of cigarettes—mankind’s most common self-destructive instrument and its most profitable consumer product—with such sweep and enlivening detail. Here for the first time, in a story full of the complexities and contradictions of human nature, all the strands of the historical process—financial, social, psychological, medical, political, and legal—are woven together in a riveting narrative. The key characters are the top corporate executives, public health investigators, and antismoking activists who have clashed ever more stridently as Americans debate whether smoking should be closely regulated as a major health menace.

We see tobacco spread rapidly from its aboriginal sources in the New World 500 years ago, as it becomes increasingly viewed by some as sinful and some as alluring, and by government as a windfall source of tax revenue. With the arrival of the cigarette…[more]

Book:A Civil Action

A Civil Action

Jonathan Harr

Two of the nation’s largest corporations stand accused of causing the deaths of children. Representing the bereaved parents, the unlikeliest of heroes emerges: a young, flamboyant Porsche-driving lawyer who hopes to win millions of dollars and ends up nearly losing everything—including his sanity.

A Civil Action is the searing, compelling tale of a legal system gone awry—one in which greed and power fight an unending struggle against justice. Yet it is also the story of how one man can ultimately make a difference. With an unstoppable narrative power reminiscent of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, A Civil Action is an unforgettable reading experience that leaves the reader both shocked and enlightened.

Book:We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda

Philip Gourevitch

An unforgettable firsthand account of a people’s response to genocide and what it tells us about humanity.

This remarkable debut book chronicles what has happened in Rwanda and neighboring states since 1994, when the Rwandan government called on everyone in the Hutu majority to murder everyone in the Tutsi minority. Though the killing was low-tech—largely by machete—it was carried out at shocking speed: some 800,000 people were exterminated in a hundred days. A Tutsi pastor, in a letter to his church president, a Hutu, used the chilling phrase that gives Philip Gourevitch his title.

With keen dramatic intensity, Gourevitch frames the genesis and horror of Rwanda’s “genocidal logic” in the anguish of its aftermath: the mass displacements, the temptations of revenge and the quest for justice, the impossibly crowded prisons and refugee camps. Through intimate portraits of Rwandans in all walks of life, he focuses on the psychological and political challenges…[more]

Book:The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

Anne Fadiman

When three-month-old Lia Lee Arrived at the county hospital emergency room in Merced, California, a chain of events was set in motion from which neither she nor her parents nor her doctors would ever recover. Lia’s parents, Foua and Nao Kao, were part of a large Hmong community in Merced, refugees from the CIA-run “Quiet War” in Laos. The Hmong, traditionally a close-knit and fiercely people, have been less amenable to assimilation than most immigrants, adhering steadfastly to the rituals and beliefs of their ancestors. Lia’s pediatricians, Neil Ernst and his wife, Peggy Philip, cleaved just as strongly to another tradition: that of Western medicine. When Lia Lee Entered the American medical system, diagnosed as an epileptic, her story became a tragic case history of cultural miscommunication.

Parents and doctors both wanted the best for Lia, but their ideas about the causes of her illness and its treatment could…[more]

Book:Into Thin Air

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster

Jon Krakauer

When Jon Krakauer reached the summit of Mt. Everest in the early afternoon of May 10,1996, he hadn’t slept in fifty-seven hours and was reeling from the brain-altering effects of oxygen depletion. As he turned to begin the perilous descent from 29,028 feet (roughly the cruising altitude of an Airbus jetliner), twenty other climbers were still pushing doggedly to the top, unaware that the sky had begun to roil with clouds…

Into Thin Air is the definitive account of the deadliest season in the history of Everest by the acclaimed Outside journalist and author of the bestselling Into the Wild. Taking the reader step by step from Katmandu to the mountain’s deadly pinnacle, Krakauer has his readers shaking on the edge of their seat. Beyond the terrors of this account, however, he also peers deeply into the myth of the world’s tallest mountain. What is is about Everest that has compelled so many poeple—including himself—to…[more]

Book:The Prize

The Prize: The Epic Quest For Oil, Money & Power

Daniel Yergin

The Prize recounts the panoramic history of oil—and the struggle for wealth power that has always surrounded oil. This struggle has shaken the world economy, dictated the outcome of wars, and transformed the destiny of men and nations. The Prize is as much a history of the twentieth century as of the oil industry itself. The canvas of this history is enormous—from the drilling of the first well in Pennsylvania through two great world wars to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and Operation Desert Storm.

The cast extends from wildcatters and rogues to oil tycoons, and from Winston Churchill and Ibn Saud to George Bush and Saddam Hussein. The definitive work on the subject of oil and a major contribution to understanding our century, The Prize is a book of extraordinary breadth, riveting excitement—and great importance.

Book:The Content of Our Character

The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race In America

Shelby Steele

In this controversial essay collection, award-winning writer Shelby Stelle illuminates the origins of the current conflict in race relations—the increase in anger, mistrust, and even violence between black and whites. With candor and persuasive argument, he shows us how both black and white Americans have become trapped into seeing color before character, and how social policies designed to lessen racial inequities have instead increased them. The Content of Our Character is neither “liberal” nor “conservative,” but an honest, courageous look at America’s most enduring and wrenching social dilemma.

Book:Why Americans Hate Politics

Why Americans Hate Politics: The Death of the Democratic Process

E.J. Dionne

All over the United States, Americans are deserting the political process. Why? In this national bestseller, one of our shrewdest political observers traces thirty years of volatile political history and finds that on point after point, liberals and conservatives are framing issues as a series of “false choices,” making it impossible for politicians to solve problems, and alienating voters in the process. Now with a new afterword discussing the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings and the 1992 presidential election, Dionne explores what has gone wrong with the American system and offers a back-to-basics approach to politics designed to respond to the anger of America’s restive majority.

Book:Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War

Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War

Mark Bowden

The acclaimed New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down is “a shocking account of modern warfare . . . gripping and horrifying” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Destined to become a classic of war reporting, Black Hawk Down is Mark Bowden’s brilliant account of the longest sustained firefight involving American troops since the Vietnam War. On October 3rd, 1993, about a hundred elite U.S. soldiers were dropped by helicopter into the teeming market in the heart of Mogadishu, Somalia. Their mission was to abduct two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord and return to base. It was supposed to take an hour. Instead they found themselves pinned down through a long and terrible night fighting against thousands of heavily armed Somalis. The following morning, eighteen Americans were dead and more than seventy had been badly injured. …[more]

Book:All God's Children

All God's Children: The Bosket Family and the American Tradition of Violence

Fox Butterfield

Considered by many to be the most dangerous inmate in the history of the New York penal system, Willie Bosket is a brilliant, violent man who began his criminal career at age five. His slaying of two subway riders at fifteen led to the passage of the first law in the nation allowing teenagers to be tried as adults. Yet sadly, Willie is not an aberration within the Bosket family—but rather the latest in a long line of brutal, exceptionally intelligent malefactors who were driven by circumstances, racism, and a distinctly American craving for respect by any means necessary.

In this groundbreaking work, award-winning journalist Fox Butterfield traces a troubled family’s history back to the days of slavery in an attempt to get to the roots of the violence endemic in our society.

Views: 2,121 • Modified: • Elapsed: 0.022 sec