For a distinguished and appropriately documented biography or autobiography by an American author, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
Awarded to “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House,” by Jon Meacham (Random House), an unflinching portrait of a not always admirable democrat but a pivotal president, written with an agile prose that brings the Jackson saga to life.
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: “Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt,” by H.W. Brands (Doubleday), a richly textured and highly readable exploration of the inner Roosevelt, presented with analytical acuity and flashes of originality; and
“The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century,” by Steve Coll (The Penguin Press), an epic tale extending far beyond Osama Bin Laden and the calamity of 9/11, rooted in meticulous research and written with an urgency, clarity and flair that entertains as easily as it educates.