Image Celebrated journalist Jane Mayer won the 2009 RFK Book Award for The Dark Side:The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals. Mayer, a Washington-based investigative reporter for The New Yorker, chronicles the missteps of top U.S. national security officials in the pursuit of the War on Terror. With devastating detail, she demonstrates that their choices not only violated the Constitution, but also hampered the pursuit of those who masterminded the 9/11 attacks. Mayer recounts the decisionmaking process of top officials as they leveraged national sentiment over the September 11 attacks to undermine human rights in the pursuit of unrivaled presidential power.

Jane Mayer joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in March 1995. Based in Washington, D.C., she writes about politics, law and national security for the magazine.

Honorable Mention

Karl Jacoby's Shadows at Dawn examines multiple accounts of one of the worst slaughters in the history of the American West, the Camp Grant Massacre. Jacoby's expansive research analyzes how the events were relayed from four distinct cultural perspectives, giving insight into how each community viewed the violence and chose to revise a dark corner of American history.