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The New York Public Library Announces the Finalists for the 22nd Annual Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism


<p>Winner to Be Announced at May 6 Ceremony at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street</p>

The New York Public Library has announced the finalists for the 2009 Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. Library President Paul LeClerc, Library Trustee David Remnick and Selection Committee Chair James F. Hoge, Jr. will present the award on May 6 at 6:00 p.m. The reception will be held in the Trustees Room at the Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

Since 1988 the annual award, which includes a $15,000 cash prize, has been given to journalists whose books have brought clarity and public attention to important issues, events, or policies. Previous winners of the award include Charlie Savage, Philip Gourevitch, Lawrence Wright, Dana Priest, Thomas Friedman and David Remnick.This year’s finalists were chosen by a Library Review Committee from more than 75 titles nominated by their publishers for the award. They are:

Dexter Filkins,The New York Times
The Forever War (Knopf)
A compelling account of the rise of the Taliban and America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Peter Gosselin,The Los Angeles Times
High Wire: The Precarious Financial Lives of American Families
(Basic Books) An examination of the economic uncertainty faced by American families.

Jane Mayer,The New Yorker
The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals
An investigative report on the Bush Administration’s controversial anti-terrorist policies.

Melody Peterson,The New York Times
Our Daily Meds: How the Pharmaceutical Companies Transformed Themselves in Slick Marketing Machines and Hooked the Nation on Prescription Drugs (Sarah Crichton Books / Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
A critique of the pharmaceutical industry.

Robin Wright,The Wall Street Journal
Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East (The Penguin Press)
An insightful look at social change and the historic transitions currently occurring in the Middle East.

About the Selection Committee
The 2009 Selection Committee, which chooses the winner from among the five finalists, is chaired by James F. Hoge, Jr., Editor of Foreign Affairs, Council on Foreign Relations. The other 2009 committee members are: Ellis Cose, Contributing Editor, Newsweek; Harold McGraw III, Chairman, President and CEO, The McGraw-Hill Companies; Jack Rosenthal, President, The New York Times Company Foundation; and Elaine Sciolino, Paris Correspondent; The New York Times , and 2001 Bernstein Award recipient for her book Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran.

About The New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award
Established in 1987 as an annual award, The New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism honors an outstanding journalist whose book has drawn public attention to important current issues or events. The award was established with a gift from Joseph F. Bernstein in honor of Helen Bernstein, a journalist in Palm Beach, Florida. The gift also included an endowment for the position of the Helen Bernstein Librarian for Periodicals and Journals which is currently held by Karen Gisonny. Information about the award and the nomination process is available online at

About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. It comprises four research centers – the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; and the Science, Industry and Business Library – and 87 Branch Libraries in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 50 million items, including materials for the visually impaired. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English as a second language. The Library serves some 16 million patrons who come through its doors annually and another 25 million users internationally, who access collections and services through the NYPL website,


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