Law School Alumna Wins National Book Award

Annette Gordon-Reed’s book on a slave family owned by Thomas Jefferson takes the nonfiction prize.

This year’s National Book Award for nonfiction went to The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, by Annette Gordon-Reed, J.D. ’84.

The book follows three generations of a slave family owned by Thomas Jefferson. It beat out This Republic of Suffering—University president Drew Faust’s account of the Civil War’s staggering death toll and how it changed Americans’ view of death—which was also a finalist in the nonfiction category. (Read an excerpt from Faust’s book in the Harvard Magazine archives.)

Other finalists with Harvard connections included Joan Wickersham, author of this magazine’s 2007 cover story “Bricks and Politics: What gets built at Harvard, what doesn’t, and why,” a nonfiction nominee for her memoir, The Suicide Index: Putting My Father’s Death in Order; and Frank Bidart, A.M. ’67, nominated for his book of poems, Watching the Spring Festival.

To learn more, read the New York Times account, or visit the National Book Foundation website.

You might also like

The Roman Empire’s Cosmopolitan Frontier

Genetic analysis reveals a culture enriched from both sides of the Danube.

Tobacco Smoke and Tuberculosis

Harvard researchers illuminate a longstanding epidemiological connection. 

Discourse and Discipline

Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences broaches two tough topics.

Most popular

Small-Town Roots

Professors’ humble beginnings, concentration choices, and a mini history of Harvard and Radcliffe presidents

Vita: Fanny Bullock Workman

Brief life of a feisty mountaineer: 1859-1925

Being Black at Work

Realizing the full potential of black employees

More to explore

Illustration of a box containing a laid-off fossil fuel worker's office belongings

Preparing for the Energy Transition

Expect massive job losses in industries associated with fossil fuels. The time to get ready is now.

Apollonia Poilâne standing in front of rows of fresh-baked loaves at her family's flagship bakery

Her Bread and Butter

A third-generation French baker on legacy loaves and the "magic" of baking

Illustration that plays on the grade A+ and the term Ai

AI in the Academy

Generative AI can enhance teaching and learning but augurs a shift to oral forms of student assessment.