1985: Raymond Bonner
Weakness & Deceit: U.S. Policy and El Salvador / Sitting in Darkness: Americans in the Philippines / A Rage for Order: Black-White Relations in the American South Since Emancipation / The Crucible of Race: Black-White Relations in the American South Since Emancipation
1985: Raymond Bonner

A land and culture poorly understood by analysts, politicians, and voters in the far-off United States. A regime permeated with corruption; a country in the steel grip of a few families that disdained any system which might give a voice to the millions who kept them in comfort: guarding their children, watering their lawns and putting food on their tables. A brutal and remorseless police force and army trained in America, armed with American guns, and fighting a bloody proxy war against anyone who might conceivably be an American foe—whether or not they held a gun.

Sound familiar?

This was Central America in the 1980s, at a time when El Salvador was the centerpiece of a misguided and ultimately disastrous foreign policy. It resulted in atrocities that took the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and destabilized a region that has not recovered to this day. At a time when the Reagan Administration’s obsession with communism overwhelmed objections to its policies, Ray Bonner took a courageous, unflinching look at just who we were supporting and what the consequences were.

Now supplemented with an epilogue drawing on newly available, once-secret documents that detail the extent of America’s involvement in assassinations, including the infamous murder of three American nuns and a lay missionary in 1980, Weakness and Deceit is a classic, riveting and ultimately tragic account of foreign policy gone terribly wrong.

Honorable Mention: Sitting in Darkness: Americans in the Philippines by David Haward Bain

Tells the story behind two American military expeditions into the Philippines--the first in 1901 and the second in 1982--while examining American-Filipino relations, past and present

Honorable Mention: A Rage for Order: Black-White Relations in the American South Since Emancipation by Joel Williamson

Williamson now offers us an abridgement of his widely acclaimed and award-winning The Crucible of Race--one of the most important books on race relations in the American South--which C. Vann Woodward, in The New Republic, declared "the most conspicuous landmark of scholarship in an important field" and "a deeper and more thorough penetration of the endless complexities of the subject than any ever attempted before." This abridgement--which explores Southern race relations over a span of 150 years--preserves all of the original themes and many of the individual stories and portraits of historic figures.

Honorable Mention: The Crucible of Race: Black-White Relations in the American South Since Emancipation by Joel Williamson

This landmark work provides a fundamental reinterpretation of the American South in the years since the Civil War, especially the decades after Reconstruction, from 1877 to 1920. Covering all aspects of Southern life--white and black, conservative and progressive, literary and political--it offers a new understanding of the forces that shaped the South of today.