Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity has won the 2012 National Book Award for Nonfiction. A landmark work of narrative nonfiction, the book tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century's great, unequal cities. In her review of the book for The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote: "[Boo] is one of those rare, deep-digging journalists who can make truth surpass fiction, a documentarian with a superb sense of human drama. . . . Comparison to Dickens is not unwarranted."
Pulitzer Prize–winning author Boo penned an essay to educators last year discussing her book and why it is uniquely suited for teaching about the issues of our modern age. The book has already been selected for college common reading programs, with more presently considering it, and a new Educator's Guide for the book is now available.
Noted historian Alfred Young passed away last week at the age of 87 in Durham, NC. A professor for many years at Northern Illinois University, Young's works include The Shoemaker and the Tea Party, Masquerade, and the recently published Revolutionary Founders which he co-edited. His full obituary can be read on the News Observer.