School of Journalism in New York and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard.
Since the prize's namesake wrote the phenomenal Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families, which remains a central book for any understanding of the seventies, and his humane style was so influential on my own, this prize is truly an honor. It tends to go to journalists and writers, not academic types, and covers all of nonfiction writing so that's pretty thrilling, too.
The prize committee said of Stayin' Alive:
Jefferson Cowie’s Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class will long stand as the finest and most sophisticated portrait of politics and culture in the American 1970s, and also as a model for how to talk about both political and cultural transformations without shortchanging either. Ranging from Brooklyn to Lordstown, Ohio and from “Saturday Night Fever” to “Born to Run,” Cowie traces how “a republic of anxiety overtook a republic of security” in the United States. Combining empathy with passion, Cowie makes understanding his goal and condescension his enemy. Americans living in 2011 will understand themselves far better because of Cowie’s brilliant excavation of the 1970s.The winner of the prize was
Eliza Griswold for Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
The other finalists were:
Paul Greenberg for Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food (Penguin)
Siddartha Mukherjee for The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (Scribner).
The 2011 Lukas Book Award jurors were:
Katherine Bouton: former New Yorker Writer who has had a subsequent distinguished career at the New York Times, including as an editor at the Book Review, and as Deputy Editor of the Times Magazine, and editor of the Arts Section.
E.J. Dionne: Washington Post columnist; Brookings Institution fellow; professor in the Foundations of Democracy and Culture at Georgetown U., author of several books including the bestselling Why Americans Hate Politics.
David Finkel: Pulitzer prize winning Washington Post reporter. Author of The Good Soldiers, which won the 2010 J.Anthony Lukas Book Award.
Prize Ceremonies will be on the evening of May 3 at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism.