My colleague teases me about my liking for books about disasters, terrorism, wars and various other horrors. But the National Book Critics Circle Award feeds my habit … The National Book Critics Circle consists of nearly 700 active book reviewers, and their annual literary prizes have some brilliant non-fiction of a doomy nature.
- Heart Like Water: Surviving Katrina and Life in Its Disaster Zone by Joshua Clark
- Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet Washington
- The World Without Us byAlan Weisman
- Russian Diary: A Journalist’s Final Account of Life, Corruption and Death in Putin’s Russia by Anna Politkovskaya
Winners in past years have included the following essentials if you like your non-fiction emotionally weighty:
- 2005 winner: Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral history of a Nuclear Disaster by Svetlana Alexievich relies on hundreds of interviews with those involved to convey the enormity of this 1986 disaster.
- 1998 winner: We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families by Philip Gourevitch. This is a phenomenal book about the genocide in Rwanda. Gourevitch’s book “captures the immense sadness and emptiness of a country that lost a tenth of its population in a single spasm of political violence, as well as the pervasive dread that Rwanda will likely experience such bloodshed again”. Continue reading