Pulitzer Prize Winning Books and a Guide to the Finalists

Nelson’s story about how the Civil War unfolded in the West examines the conflict from the perspective of nine historical figures from different backgrounds. Critics and historians have praised Nelson for shedding light on how the Civil War affected the natives living in the West. Biographer David W. Blight said in an ambiguity, “Seldom has a Civil War book been so readable and new to our understanding.”

Credits…LiveWrite, via The Associated Press


This biography, whoever won won National Book Award for Non-Fiction, was a decade long project; Les Payne died in 2018, leaving his daughter and lead researcher, Tamara, to finish the manuscript. “No one has written a more poetic account of the life of Malcolm X”, our reviewer said, praising the book’s reconstruction of major events in his life.

Finalist: Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath,” by Heather Clark (Knopf)

In this biography, Clark draws from materials that have never been accessed before—including court documents and psychological records, unpublished manuscripts and letters— A review in The New York Times caused Plath to “largely avoid reductive clichés and distorted readings of her work”. said.

Finalist: “Stranger in the Shogun City: A Japanese Woman and Her World,” by Amy Stanley (Scribner)

Stanley follows the daughter of a Buddhist priest, Tsuneno, who defies social convention in order to make a living for herself in 19th-century Japan – fleeing her village after three divorces to live in Edo, the city that Tokyo will become The book won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Penn/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography.


In her second book, Diaz claims a classic form—the love poem—and centers the experiences of queer women of color. Our reviewer praised the “extreme succinctness for the language used by Diaz, especially about love, sex, and desire”.

Finalist: a treatise on the stars, by Mei-Mei Bersenbrug (New Directions)

this collection, which was also a Finalist for National Book Award, leaps from the deeply personal to the cosmic.

Final: “in the sluggishness of the worldby Carolyn Fourche (Penguin Press)

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