Darkness in El Dorado Controversy - Archived Document

Internet Source: The San Francisco Chronicle, Daily Datebook E7, October 12, 2000
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Local Poet Among Nominees For National Book Award

Oscar C. Villalon, Chronicle Deputy Book Editor

Veteran writers made up the National Book Award's list of fiction nominees yesterday, while a local poet and a controversial book on the Amazon were among the finalists for the award's three other prizes.

Pulitzer winner Susan Sontag, Alan Lightman, Francine Prose, Charles Baxter and four-time finalist Joyce Carol Oates, who won the award for her 1970 novel, "Them," are all up for the fiction prize this year.

In poetry, Kim Addonizio of San Francisco was nominated for "Tell Me." Addonizio, whose collection was cited in The Chronicle's Book Review for its use of "simple, primary words to make (Addonizio's) profound points and reach her everyman audience," is a past recipient of a Pushcart Prize as well as two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Of note among the nonfiction contenders is 93-year-old scholar Jacques Barzun's mammoth work "From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present." Barzun was a finalist once before, in 1960. One of the other nominees, Patrick Tierney, got the nod for "Darkness in El Dorado: How Scientists and Journalists Devastated the Amazon," in which Tierney argues that anthropologists helped push the Yanomami Indians toward extinction.

National Book Award winners will be announced Nov. 15 in New York City at a ceremony hosted by Steve Martin. Ray Bradbury will receive the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Winners receive $10,000 and finalists $1,000. Here is the complete list of finalists:


"The Feast of Love," Charles Baxter (Pantheon Books).

"The Diagnosis," Alan Lightman (Pantheon Books).

"Blonde," Joyce Carol Oates (Ecco Press/HarperCollins).

"Blue Angel," Francine Prose (HarperCollins).

"In America," Susan Sontag (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).


"From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life," Jacques Barzun (HarperCollins).

"The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach," Alice Kaplan, (University of Chicago Press).

"W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century, 1919-1963)," David Levering Lewis (Henry Holt).

"In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex," Nathan Philbrick (Viking).

"Darkness in El Dorado: How Scientists and Journalists Devastated the Amazon," Patrick Tierney (W.W. Norton).


"Tell Me," Kim Addonizio (BOA Editions).

"Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000," Lucille Clifton, (BOA Editions).

"A New Selected Poems," Galway Kinnell (Houghton Mifflin).

"New Addresses: Poems," Kenneth Koch (Alfred A. Knopf).

"The Other Lover," Bruce Smith (University of Chicago Press).


"Forgotten Fire," Adam Bagdasarian (Dorling Kindersley Publishing).

"The Book of the Lion," Michael Cadnum (Viking).

"Many Stones," Carolyn Coman (Front Street).

"Hurry Freedom!," Jerry Stanley (Crown).

"Homeless Bird," Gloria Whelan (HarperCollins).