THE PULITZER PRIZE IN LITERATURE FOR THE BEST GENERAL NON-FICTION BOOK WAS AWARDED TO SAMANTHA POWER FOR HER BOOK A PROBLEM FROM HELL: AMERICA IN THE AGE OF GENOCIDE.
”I’m sort of in shock,” Power said in a telephone interview with The Boston Globe. ”I just hope the larger lessons of this book–about US foreign policy–don’t get lost in the shuffle.”
Power’s book revisits the Armenian Genocide–the Holocaust–Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge–Iraqi attacks on Kurdish populations–Rwanda–and Bosnian ethnic cleansing. Power makes a compelling argument that US intervention in all these instances of genocide has been inadequate.
Samantha Power is the executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. From 1993 to 1996 she covered the wars in the former Yugoslavia as a reporter for the US News and World Report and The Economist.
In 1996 she worked for the International Crisis Group (ICG) as a political analyst–helping launch the organization in Bosnia. She is a frequent contributor to The New Republic and is the editor–with Graham Allison–of "Realizing Human Rights: Moving from Inspiration to Impact." A native of Ireland–she moved to the United States in 1979 at the age of nine–and graduated from Yale University and Harvard Law School. She lives in Winthrop–Massachusetts.
Power recently commented on the Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance’s exclusion of the Armenian Genocide as a part of its permanent genocide exhibit. "It’s a mistake to leave the Armenian deaths out of any serious look at 20th century genocide," she said. Because of Turkey’s campaigning–the Armenian genocide is "the only hard one [for curators] that’s out there–and it’s conspicuous that the hard one is missing."
Other Pulitzer winners in literature include:
Biography: Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate–by Robert Caro
History: An Army at Dawn: the North African Campaign 1942-43 –by Rick Atkinson
Fiction: Middlesex –by Jeffrey Eugenides–a novel about an adolescent Greek-American hermaphrodite covering history from Smyrna (Izmir) in the 1920s to Detroit in the l970s.
The big winners in journalism were The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Each took three prizes.
Post reporters Kevin Sullivan and Mary Jordan won for their investigation of the Mexican criminal justice system. Film critic Stephen Hunter won for criticism. And in the commentary category–a Post columnist–Colbert I. King–won–as the award citation put it–for ”against-the-grain columns that speak to people in power with ferocity and wisdom.”
Los Angeles Times winners were Alan Miller and Kevin Sack in the national reporting category for their study of a faulty military aircraft. Sonia Nazario won in feature writing for her examination of a young Honduran’s search for his mother in the United States.
And Don Bartletti won in feature photography for his work on undocumented Central American youths trying to reach the United States.
The New York Times–which took a record seven prizes last year–won a single Pulitzer–in the category of investigative reporting. Honored was a series by Clifford J. Levy on the abuse of mentally ill adults in state-regulated homes.
The Wall Street Journal won in the explanatory reporting category for stories that–in the words of the citation–”illuminated the roots–significance–and impact of corporate scandals in America.”
The winner for editorial writing was Cornelia Grumman of the Chicago Tribune for editorials on the death penalty.
David Horsey of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer won for editorial cartooning. And The Rocky Mountain News won in the breaking news photography category for its coverage of the forest fires last summer in Colorado.
The award–the oldest journalism prize in the United States–is worth $7,500–and is named after Joseph Pulitzer–the founder of one of the first mass-circulation newspapers–the New York World–in the 1890s.