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Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism


2018 Finalists

Press Release


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Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Jessica Bruder (W.W. Norton)
Bruder sheds light onto the new low-cost labor pool in America; transient older Americans, casualties of the Great Recession who have taken to the road by the tens of thousands in late-model RVs, travel trailers, and vans, forming a growing community migrant laborers who call themselves “workampers.”

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The Death and Life of the Great Lakes

Dan Egan (W.W. Norton)
Egan details the ecological threats wreaking havoc on 20% of the world's fresh water supply - The Great Lakes - and how we can overcome these perils and preserve the lakes for generations to come.

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The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia

Masha Gessen (Riverhead Books)
Gessen exposes life under rule in recent Russia through the stories of several Russians whose lives spanned a period of three decades where Russia, having seemingly shed its Soviet incarnation for good and embarked on a journey toward democracy, devolved into a frightening retro-totalitarian state run by Putin with an iron fist.

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Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency

Joshua Green (Penguin)
Drawing on hundreds of interviews conducted with Steve Bannon over the course of six years, Green spins the master narrative of the 2016 campaign from its origins in the far fringes of right-wing politics and reality television to its culmination inside Trump's penthouse on election night.

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Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street

Sheelah Kolhatkar (Random House)
New Yorker staff writer Sheelah Kolhatkar shows how Steve Cohen became one of the richest and most influential figures in finance—and what happened when the Justice Department put him in its crosshairs.

The winner will be announced at the award ceremony on May 21st, 2018

More About the Award

Each year, finalists for the Bernstein Award are selected by an eight-member Library Review Committee. Winners are chosen by a separate Bernstein Selection Committee. The award was established through a gift from Joseph Frank Bernstein, in honor of journalist Helen Bernstein Fealy. The family has also endowed the position of the Helen Bernstein Librarian for Periodicals & Journals, who curates The New York Public Library’s internationally-renowned Periodicals collection—one of the largest collections of past and present newspapers, magazines, and more in the world. The position is currently held by librarian Shannon Keller.

Library Stories from Past Winners

Past winners of the Bernstein Award discuss journalism and democracy.