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.

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