2015 Nominees: nonfiction

10% HUMAN by Alanna Collen
HEALTH & MEDICINE
Released: May 5, 2015

"Everything you wanted to know about microbes but were afraid to ask."
This state-of-the-science survey explores and explains what is known about the microbial community that lives within us and what we have yet to learn. Read full book review >
THE HOUSE OF TWENTY THOUSAND BOOKS by Sasha Abramsky
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"If you finish this brilliant, realized book thinking you need to own more books, you're to be forgiven. A wonderful celebration of the mind, history, and love."
Memoir of Jewish intellectual life and universal history alike, told through a houseful of books, their eccentric collectors, and the rooms in which they dwelled. Read full book review >
THE MAN WHO COULDN'T STOP by David Adam
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 20, 2015

"Well-researched, witty, honest and irreverent, Adam's account proves as irresistible as his subject."
An engrossing first-person study of obsessive-compulsive disorder from within and without. Read full book review >
IT'S WHAT I DO by Lynsey Addario
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 5, 2015

"A brutally real and unrelentingly raw memoir that is as inspiring as it is horrific."
A remarkable journalistic achievement from a Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur Fellowship winner that crystalizes the last 10 years of global war and strife while candidly portraying the intimate life of a female photojournalist. Read full book review >
BECOMING A MOUNTAIN by Stephen Alter
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 3, 2015

"There are many treasures to discover in this insightful memoir of hiking and healing in the Himalayas."
With a naturalist's eye and a poet's pen, a victim of violence looks to the Himalayas for healing. Read full book review >
BELIEVER by David Axelrod
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"Obama has been profiled many times but seldom with so practical an outlook. An excellent view of politics from the inside."
Longtime political adviser Axelrod, late of the White House, tells most of what he's seen in the cloakroom. Read full book review >
RAIN by Cynthia Barnett
HISTORY
Released: April 21, 2015

"Highlights the severity of some of our environmental problems with knowledge, humor, urgency and hope."
An environmental journalist returns with a multifaceted examination of the science, the art, the technology and even the smell of rain throughout history. Read full book review >
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: April 28, 2015

"Superior science writing that eschews the usual fulsome biographies of eccentric geniuses, droll anecdotes and breathless prognostication to deliver a persistently fascinating portrait of an odd but routine feature of the cosmos."
Black holes enthrall physicists and astronomers, as well as Hollywood filmmakers, and readers of this fine popular science account will understand why. Read full book review >
PALIMPSEST by Matthew Battles
HISTORY
Released: July 21, 2015

"A fascinating exploration stylishly and gracefully told."
An illuminating look at the origins and impact of writing. Read full book review >
UNFAIR by Adam Benforado
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: June 16, 2015

"An original and provocative argument that upends our most cherished beliefs about providing equal justice under the law."
A law professor sounds an explosive alarm on the hidden unfairness of our legal system. Read full book review >
GIVE US THE BALLOT by Ari Berman
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Aug. 4, 2015

"Not just a compelling history, but a cry for help in the recurring struggle to gain what is supposed to be an inalienable right."
An incisive look at the many issues surrounding the right to vote. Read full book review >
THE CRIME AND THE SILENCE by Anna Bikont
HISTORY
Released: Sept. 15, 2015

"Bikont's fearless research—she even confronted the brothers known to have led the Jedwabne murders—makes this a fantastic book. It was first published in Poland in 2004, and the European Book Prize it won in 2011 (for the French version) should be only the first of many awards for this significant work."
Polish journalist Bikont (editor: And I Still See Their Faces: Images of Polish Jews, 1996) delivers a daring exposure of the crimes of her countrymen in the first week of July 1941.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.