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NYPL Announces Five Finalists In Its Annual Helen Bernstein Book Award For Excellence In Journalism


Winner to be announced at ceremony at The Library’s Landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on May 26

APRIL 29, 2015 – Five important and revelatory works of long-form journalism – spanning topics such as the war in Afghanistan, the extinction of various species, the immigrant’s journey in post 9/11 America, and both past and present issues in China – have been named finalists in The New York Public Library’s acclaimed Helen Bernstein Book Award For Excellence in Journalism.

This year’s finalists are:

  • The True American:  Murder and Mercy in Texas by Anand Giridharadas (W.W. Norton and Company, New York/London): The story of two men’s lives in a post-9/11 United States, chronicling the immigrant’s journey against a backdrop of violence and redemption.
  • No Good Men Among the Living: America, The Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes by Anand Gopal (Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, New York): The story of American intervention in Afghanistan as told through profiles of three Afghans – a Taliban commander, a village housewife and a U.S. backed warlord.
  • The Sixth Extinction:  An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert (Henry Holt and Company, New York) : A look at the extinctions of various species, including past, current – and the future sixth extinction, happening now. 
  • The People's Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited  by Louisa Lim (Oxford University Press, New York): Witnesses and participants share gripping stories of the Tiananmen Square uprising, and how it continues to impact China today.  
  • Age of Ambition by Evan Osnos (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York): A story documenting the rise and transformation of China in the 21st century as told through the moving stories of everyday Chinese people. 

The books – all published in 2014 and written by working journalists – were selected by a seven-member Library Review Committee, which received over 75 nominations from publishers for books published in 2014.  The winner will be chosen by a Selection Committee chaired by James F. Hoge and announced May 26, 2015.

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 Shane Harris, Jane Mayer, Charlie Savage, Philip Gourevitch, Katherine Boo and Lawrence Wright. Dan Fagin won last year for his book, Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation.

The Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism was established in 1987 through a gift from Joseph Frank Bernstein, in honor of journalist Helen Bernstein (now Helen Bernstein Fealy).



Angela Montefinise |

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