2015 Nominees: nonfiction

TWO HOURS by Ed Caesar
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"Caesar's winning prose will keep even armchair readers turning pages, perhaps tuning in to watch the next marathon."
A wide-ranging and compelling account of marathons and the very fastest men who run them. Read full book review >
WE WERE BROTHERS by Barry  Moser
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 20, 2015

"With masterful narrative control, Moser reveals the narrowness of perspective as well as the limitations of memory."
This boyhood memoir reveals much more than it ever explicitly states, with its tight focus on boyhood, brotherhood, estrangement, and reconciliation. Read full book review >
A FIELD PHILOSOPHER'S GUIDE TO FRACKING by Adam Briggle
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Oct. 19, 2015

"Goliath takes it right between the eyes in this unique take on the convoluted politics, science, and cultural issues at stake regarding fracking."
Out of the university and into the streets, Briggle (Philosophy/Univ. of North Texas) brings the practice of "field philosophy" to the question of whether fracking is feckless or feasible. Read full book review >
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT by Roger Daniels
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 15, 2015

"Finely delineated history, authoritative and skillfully fashioned."
A vigorous, thorough examination of the New Deal programs, pinpointing Franklin Roosevelt's successes and failures and much improvisation. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"Superb scholarship and a sprightly style recover an unaccountably overlooked life in our history."
A specialist in African-American history pieces together the remarkable career of an antebellum Wall Street broker who was married to a white woman, ambitious, ruthless, successful, and black: in short, "a racist's nightmare come to life." Read full book review >
DOOMED TO SUCCEED by Dennis Ross
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"Ross provides a learned, wise template for understanding the long-term relationship between two countries tethered to one another out of shared self-interest and geopolitical necessity and yet with sometimes-conflicting senses of the way forward."
A history of the sometimes-fraught, occasionally tense, but always essential relationship between the United States and Israel. Read full book review >
EMPIRE OF SELF by Jay Parini
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A superbly personal biography that pulsates with intelligence, scholarship, and heart."
An intimate but unblinking look at Gore Vidal (1925-2012), the gifted essayist, playwright, novelist, and public personality, who, for a time, seemed ubiquitous in the popular culture. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A lifetime of scholarship and an elegant pen combine for an outstanding read."
A distinguished legal historian looks at how dissents have influenced our understanding of the Constitution. Read full book review >
THE END OF THE COLD WAR by Robert Service
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A wholly satisfying, likely definitive, but not triumphalist account of the end of an era."
In this thoughtful re-evaluation of a stunning historical watershed, British Soviet specialist Service (Emeritus, Russian History/Univ. of Oxford; Trotsky, 2009, etc.) concentrates on the political maneuvering that was Byzantine and often wrongheaded but rarely dull.Read full book review >
THE ARAB OF THE FUTURE by Riad Sattouf
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"Sattouf has also worked as a columnist for the satirical Charlie Hebdo, but the social commentary here is more wistful and melancholy than sharp-edged. This first volume of a memoir 'to be continued' is subtly written and deftly illustrated, with psychological incisiveness and humor."
A child's-eye view of upheaval in the Arab world and its relations with the West. Read full book review >
KEEPING AN EYE OPEN by Julian Barnes
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

"Barnes knows that one of the immeasurable pleasures of art is its capacity to approach us from unexpected angles and excite our senses of wonder. The same may be said of his scholarly and astute yet accessible and exciting essays."
English novelist Barnes (Levels of Life, 2013, etc.) focuses his analytical prowess on significant artists and their oeuvres, opening fresh vistas to readers—and viewers. Read full book review >
THE YEAR OF LEAR by James Shapiro
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

"Shapiro's discoveries of long-lost sources and missed connections make this a fascinating tale. His well-written, scholarly exploration will stand as an influential work that is a joy to read."
Shakespearean scholar Shapiro (English/Columbia Univ.; Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?, 2010, etc.) links the tumultuous events of 1605 and 1606 to three of the Bard's greatest works.Read full book review >

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ABOUT THE KIRKUS PRIZE

The Kirkus Prize is one of the richest literary awards in the world, with a prize of $50,000 bestowed annually to authors of fiction, nonfiction and young readers’ literature. It was created to celebrate the 81 years of discerning, thoughtful criticism Kirkus Reviews has contributed to both the publishing industry and readers at large. Books that earned the Kirkus Star with publication dates between November 1, 2014, and October 31, 2015 (see FAQ for exceptions), are automatically nominated for the 2015 Kirkus Prize, and the winners will be selected on October 15, 2015, by an esteemed panel composed of nationally respected writers and highly regarded booksellers, librarians and Kirkus critics.