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Books on Mao, Bismarck up for nonfiction prize

- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 14, 2011

LONDON (AP) - Books about a German general, a Chinese tragedy and a bad-boy Renaissance artist are among six titles nominated for Britain's richest nonfiction book award, the Samuel Johnson Prize.

Jonathan Steinberg's "Bismarck: A Life," Frank Dikotter's "Mao's Great Famine" and Andrew Graham Dixon's "Caravaggio" are shortlisted for the 20,000 pound ($32,000) prize.

The other finalists are "Liberty's Exiles," a study of the American loyalist diaspora by Maya Janasoff; Matt Ridley's upbeat "The Rational Optimist" and "Reprobates," John Stubbs' portrait of 17th-century Cavaliers.

The prize recognizes English-language books in the areas of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts.

The winner will be announced July 6.

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Online: http://www.thesamueljohnsonprize.co.uk

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