2015 Nominees: nonfiction

HISTORY
Released: April 1, 2015

"Identifying the Ottomans' decisive choices, Suny creates a compelling narrative of vengeance and terror."
An authoritative examination of unspeakable horrors. Read full book review >
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 >
1920 by Eric Burns
HISTORY
Released: May 15, 2015

"In this delightfully readable book, the author expertly shows how those affected by the Great War linked together, nourished each other and really did change the world."
In a fascinating work about a remarkable year, former NBC News correspondent Burns (Invasion of the Mind Snatchers: Television's Conquest of America in the Fifties, 2010, etc.) shows us what put the roar in the Roaring '20s.Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Oct. 1, 2015

"A mesmerizing study in contrast and comparison."
A bifurcated, lively study of the year that saw the rise of the two most significant political figures of the early 20th century. Read full book review >
1944 by Jay Winik
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"A complex history rendered with great color and sympathy."
An accomplished popular historian unpacks the last full year of World War II and the excruciatingly difficult decisions facing Franklin Roosevelt. 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 >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 8, 2015

"An eloquent testimony to the war's enduring, violent impact."
The daughter of a Lithuanian Catholic mother and Russian Jewish father, Gabis (The Wild Field, 1994) brings her sensibility as a poet and indefatigable energy as a historian to this engrossing memoir. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Feb. 24, 2015

"A harrowing—and, in this era of drones, absolutely pertinent—look at the rapacious reaches of man's murderous imagination."
A British historian of considerable breadth and accomplishment, Preston (The Dark Defile: Britain's Catastrophic Invasion of Afghanistan, 1838-1842, 2012, etc.) focuses on three wartime innovations that elevated to new heights mankind's ability to slaughter itself: submarines, zeppelins and poison gas.Read full book review >
A HOUSE IN ST JOHN'S WOOD by Matthew Spender
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A pointed family memoir from a writer keenly attuned to and reverent of genius."
A frank memoir of Spender's problematic poet father and his emotionally remote pianist mother. Read full book review >
CURRENT AFFAIRS
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"A meticulously detailed feat of rare footage inside the DPRK's propaganda machinery."
Exhaustively researched, highly engrossing chronicle of the outrageous abduction of a pair of well-known South Korean filmmakers by the nefarious network of North Korea's Kim Jong-Il. Read full book review >
A PASSION FOR PARIS by David Downie
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 28, 2015

"Anyone who loves Paris will adore this joyful book. Readers visiting the city are advised to take it with them to discover countless new experiences."
Join Downie (Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of St. James, 2013, etc.) for a top-notch walking tour of Paris.Read full book review >
A STRANGE BUSINESS by James Hamilton
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS
Released: Sept. 15, 2015

"A fascinating, consistently entertaining exploration into the exploding business of 19th-century art."
A noted historian weaves a brilliantly colorful tapestry. 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.