Darkness in El Dorado Controversy - Archived Document

Internet Source: MSNBC, September 28, 2000
Source URL (Archive.org): http://www.msnbc.com/news/469052.asp

National Book Awards Finalists are Nominated: Steve Martin to Host Prizes Ceremony; Ray Bradbury to Receive Special Award

By Jan Herman - MSNBC

NEW YORK, Oct. 11 — Because the best books usually take wisdom, experience, stamina and literary skill to write, the publishing world even at its most commercial rarely places the premium on youth that movies, television and pop music do. Which is why it may come as no surprise that a 93-year-old historian and a 72-year-old poet are among the 20 finalists named Wednesday for this year’s National Book Awards in nonfiction, poetry, fiction and young people’s literature.

A day before the expected announcement of the Nobel Prize-winner in literature, also likely to be an author of a certain age, the nonagenarian cultural critic and historian Jacques Barzun received a NBA nomination in nonfiction for “From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present” (HarperCollins); and the septeguarian poet Galway Kinnell, a former NBA winner, was nominated for his first published selection since 1982, “A New Selected Poems” (Houghton Mifflin), which culls work from eight previous collections that span a quarter-century.

Other well-known finalists for the 51st annual NBA prizes include middle-aged literary veterans such as Susan Sontag, Francine Prose, Kenneth Koch and former winner Joyce Carol Oates.

NBA winners will be named Nov. 15 in a ceremony to be hosted by author and actor Steve Martin. At the ceremony in Manhattan, science-fiction author Ray Bradbury is to receive the 2000 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, conferred by the National Book Foundation.


Patrick Tierney for “Darkness in El Dorado: How Scientists and Journalists Devastated the Amazon” (W.W. Norton), a volatile account of how journalists, anthropologists and scientists, who, for their own ruthless, self-serving and obsessive interests, placed the Yanomami Indians — one of the Amazon basin’s oldest tribes — on the cusp of extinction during the 1960s.