- The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook , A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal. Ben Mezrich (Doubleday)
- A skillful navigation of the cultures of Harvard College, tech start-ups, and venture capitalists to tell the story of a social media tool and the ensuing human fallout when a undergraduate lark became, in three short years, a multibillion dollar enterprise.
- ****American Passage: The History of Ellis Island, Vincent J. Cannato (Harper) WINNER
- A clarifying and enlightening account of Ellis Island, that is not only a history of the Island itself, but also a study of the process of the entire Ellis Island experience and an invitation to contemplate openings and closings of the gates in our nation of immigrants.
- Black Walden : Slavery and Its Aftermath in Concord, Massachusetts, Elise Lemire (U of Pennsylvania Press).
- A carefully-researched book, mustering available sources to create a historically-grounded account of the (very small) slave community in Concord before, during , and following the Revolutionary War; a captivating narrative of real people and their times.
- A Brave Vessel : The True Tale of the Castaways Who Rescued Jamestown and Inspired Shakespeare's The Tempest, Hobson Woodward (Viking)
- An engaging account of hope and endurance, telling the story of aspiring writer William Strachey who set sail for Jamestown, in the early 1600s, and was shipwrecked instead for a year in Bermuda, a story that inspired one of Shakespeare's most beloved plays.
- Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town, Elyssa East (Free Press)
- A look at one of New England's most fascinating regions: the no-man's-land of Dogtown, a highland area of Cape Ann between Gloucester and Rockport, a strange, almost otherwordly place, full of rock formations, colonial ruins, and interesting characters captured nicely in this well-written and engaging book.
- Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms, Ethan Gilsdorf (Lyons Press)
- A readable and enlightening look at the gaming world, its various lore, arcana, and substrates, driven by the author's candor and insight into one manifestation of a human need to "deny death and provide a vacation from everyday thought."
- The Fence: A Police Cover-Up Along Boston's Racial Divide, Dick Lehr (Harper)
- An exhaustively complete yet compelling narrative from a former Boston Globe reporter about the use of excessive force by the Boston police. The case is particularly poignant because the victim was a black plainclothes policeman from Roxbury.
- The Finest Hours : The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard's Most Daring Sea Rescue, Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman (Scribner)
- The story of the harrowing Coast Guard rescue of crewmen from two tanker ships wrecked off the coast of Cape Cod during the infamous February 1952 Nor'easter. Like The Perfect Storm, a magnificent and haunting story, impossible to put down.
- Fresh Pond: the History of a Cambridge Landscape, Jill Sinclair (MIT Press)
- The evolution of Fresh Pond from a natural lake carved out during the Ice Age to the center of the nineteenth century ice industry and recreation, the book is also an important reminder about the fragility of one of Massachusetts' most treasured natural resources.
- The Gardner Heist : The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft, Ulrich Boser (Smithsonian).
- A study of the 1990 thefts from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum that concentrates most on the aftermath and the whodunit aspect of the crime that attempts to crack the case and that offers some tantalizing clues and takes us deep into the Boston underworld in the process.
- Louisa May Alcott : The Woman Behind Little Women, Harriet Reisen (Henry Holt)
- A portrayal of a family struggling against poverty, many times relying on the good will of friends and relatives to survive, pulled by a father's dreams and a mother's determination, this book provides important biographical understanding of an author whose works continue to inspire.
- You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas, Augusten Burroughs (St. Martin's).
- A unique retelling of Christmases past and present, hilarious, bittersweet, and -- as the front cover suggests -- not your ordinary collection of holiday memories, not exactly suitable for the kids' bedtime on Christmas Eve.
|Judges for the 10th MassBooks in Nonfiction: Jeremy Dibble, Massachusetts Historical Society; Francis DiMenno, Emily Williston Memorial Library, Easthampton; Jane Granatino, Uxbridge Public Library
The Massachusetts Book Awards are a program of the Massachusetts Center for the Book, on the web at www.massbook.org.
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