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National Book Awards

1950-1959

1950

Winner

The Man with the Golden Arm by Nelson Algren


Finalists

Finalists not announced

Winner

The Universe and Dr. Einstein by Ralph L. Rusk


Finalists

  • The Mature Mind by H. A. Overstreet
  • This I Remember by Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Killers of the Dream by Lillian Smith
  • Lincoln Finds a General by Kenneth P. Williams

Winner

Selected Poems by William Carlos Williams


Finalists

No finalists announced

1951

Winner

The Collected Stories of William Faulkner by William Faulkner


Finalists

  • The Trouble of One House by Brendan Gill

Winner

Herman Melville by Newton Arvin


Finalists

  • No finalists announced

Winner

The Auroras of Summer by Wallace Stevens


Finalists

  • No finalists announced

1952

Winner

From Here to Eternity by James Jones


Finalists

  • The Morning Watch by James Agee
  • The Grass Harp by Truman Capote
  • Requiem for a Nun by William Faulkner
  • The Strange Children by Caroline Gordon
  • The Holy Sinner by Thomas Mann

Winner

The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson

Finalists

  • The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt
  • Life in America, Volumes 1 and 2 by Marshall B. Davidson
  • Henry James by F. W. Dupee
  • Birth of a World by Waldo Frank
  • George Washington by Douglas S. Freeman
  • The Forgotten Language, by Erich Fromm
  • The Uprooted by Oscar Handlin
  • A Walker in the City by Alfred Kazin
  • Jefferson and the Rights of Man by Dumas Malone
  • White Collar by C. Wright Mills
  • The Far Side of Paradise by Arthur Mizener
  • The Conduct of Life by Lewis Mumford
  • Charles Evans Hughes by Merlo Pusey
  • Thomas Jefferson : a Biography by Nathan Schachner
  • The Autobiography of William Carlos Williams by William Carlos Williams
  • Reunion and Reaction by C. Vann Woodward

Winner

Collected Poems by Marianne Moore


Finalists

  • Nones by W. H. Auden
  • The Spirit of the Scene by William Rose Benet
  • Selected Poems by Richard Eberhart
  • Selected Poems of Horace Gregory by Horace Gregory
  • The Seven-League Crutches by Randall Jarrell

1953

Winner

The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison


Finalists

  • Many Mansions by Isabel Bolton
  • Winds of Morning by H. L. Davis
  • The Gathering Darkness by Thomas Gallagher
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • Jefferson Selleck by Carl Jonas

Winner

The Course of Empire by Bernard A. De Voto


Finalists

  • A Declaration of Faith by Herbert Agar
  • Ushant by Conrad Aiken
  • The Big Change by Frederick L. Allen
  • Let There Be Bread by Robert Brittain
  • The Confident Years 1885-1915 by Van Wyck Brooks

Winner

Collected Poems 1917-1952 by Archibald MacLeish


Finalists

  • Early and Late Testament by Stanley Burnshaw
  • New and Selected Poems by Thomas H. Ferril
  • The Suburb by the Sea by Robert Hillyer
  • Cape Horn and Other Poems by Ernest Kroll
  • A Mask for Janus by W. S. Merwin

1954

Winner

The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow


Finalists

No finalists announced

Winner

A Stillness at Appomattox by Bruce Catton


Finalists

No finalists announced

Winner

Collected Poems by Conrad Aiken


Finalists

No finalists announced

1955

Winner

A Fable by William Faulkner


Finalists

  • The Dollmaker by Harriette Arnow
  • The View from Pompey's Head by Hamilton Basso
  • The Night of the Hunter by Davis Grubb
  • Pictures from an Institution by Randall Jarrell
  • The Last Hunt by Milton Lott
  • Lord Grizzly by Frederick Manfred
  • The Bad Seed by William March
  • The Huge Season by Wright Morris
  • The Courts of Memory by Frank Rooney
  • Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck

Winner

The Measure of Man by Joseph Wood Krutch


Finalists

  • Scenes and Portraits by Van Wyck Brooks
  • The Challenge of Man's Future by Harrison Brown
  • But We Were Born Free by Elmer Davis
  • The Manner is Ordinary by John LaFarge
  • The Roosevelt Family of Sagamore Hill by Hermann Hagedorn
  • Great River : The Rio Grande in North American HIstory by Paul Horgan
  • Bent's Fort by David Lavender
  • Abraham Lincoln by Carl Sandburg
  • Beyond the Hundredth Meridian by Wallace Stegner
  • The Test of Freedom by Norman Thomas
  • The Second Tree from the Corner by E. B. White

Winner

The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens by Wallace Stevens


Finalists

  • Poems : A Selection by Léonie Adams
  • Collected Poems, 1923-1953 by Louise Bogan
  • Hungerfield and Other Poems by Robinson Jeffers
  • Songs for Eve by Archibald MacLeish
  • The Love Letters of Phyllis McGinley by Phyllis McGinley
  • Verse Diary of a Psychiatrist by Merrill Moore
  • A Character Invented by LeRoy Smith
  • Another Animal (published as part of "Poets of Today") by May Swenson
  • The Desert Music and Other Poems by William Carlos WIlliams by William Carlos Williams
  • Selected Poems by Marya Zaturenska
  • Poems, 1923-1954 by e. e. cummings

1956

Winner

Ten North Frederick by John O'Hara


Finalists

  • The Spider's House by Paul Bowles
  • The Black Prince by Shirley Ann Grau
  • Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
  • A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O'Connor
  • Faithful Are the Wounds by May Sarton
  • Band of Angels by Robert Penn Warren
  • The Bride of Innisfallen by Eudora Welty
  • Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk


Winner

An American in Italy by Herbert Kubly


Finalists

  • The Solitary Singer by Gay Wilson Allen
  • Government by Investigation by Alan Barth
  • The Edge of the Sea by Rachel Carson
  • The Land They Fought For by Clifford Dowdey
  • Inside Africa by John Gunther
  • The Age of Reform by Richard Hofstadter
  • Part of Our Time by Murray Kempton
  • A Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  • They Thought They Were Free by Milton Mayer
  • Notre-Dame of Paris : the Biography of a Cathedral by Allan Temko
  • Year of Decisions by Harry S. Truman
  • The Scrolls from the Dead Sea by Edmund Wilson

Winner

The Shield of Achilles by W. H. Auden


Finalists

  • Poems, North and South, by Elizabeth Bishop
  • As If, by John Ciardi
  • Birthdays from the Ocean by Isabella Gardner
  • Exiles and Marriages, by Donald Hall
  • Selected Poems by Randall Jarrell
  • The Diamond Cutter and Other Poems by Adrienne Rich
  • Journey to Love by William Carlos Williams

1957

Winner

The Field of Vision by Wright Morris


Finalists

  • A Walk on the Wild Side by Nelson Algren
  • Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin
  • Seize the Day by Saul Bellow
  • Greenwillow by B J. Chute
  • These Thousand Hills by A. B. Guthrie
  • A Single Pebble by John Hersey
  • Generations of Men by John Hunt
  • The Last Hurrah by Edwin O'Connor
  • The Presence of Grace by J. F. Powers
  • The Voice at the Back Door by Elizabeth Spencer
  • Further Fables for Our Time by James Thurber

Winner

Russia Leaves the War by George F. Kennan


Finalists

 

 

  • John Quincy Adams and the Union by Samuel F. Bemis
  • Roosevelt : the Lion and the Fox by James MacGregor Burns
  • This Hallowed Ground by Bruce Catton
  • Old Bullion Benton by William Chambers
  • Guide to Straight Thinking by Stuart Chase
  • The Atomic Quest by Arthur H. Compton
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt : the Triumph by Frank Freidel
  • The Nun's Story by Katherine Hulme
  • Richard the Third by Paul Murray Kendall
  • Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy
  • The Revolt of the Moderates by Samuel Lubell
  • The Raven and the Whale by Perry Miller
  • Transformations of Man by Lewis Mumford
  • Autumn Across America by Edwin Way Teale
  • Segregation by Robert Penn Warren
  • The Organization of Man by William Whyte, Jr.


Winner

Things of This World by Richard Wilbur


Finalists

  • The Form of Loss by Edgar Bowers
  • This Tilting Dust by Leah Bodine Drake
  • The Greenhouse in the Garden by Charles Edward Eaton
  • New and Selected Poems by Kenneth Fearing
  • In the Rose of Time by Robert Fitzgerald
  • Villa Narcisse by Katherine Hoskins
  • Green Armor on Green Ground by Rolfe Humphries
  • Poems of Today, III by Joseph Langland
  • The Unicorn by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  • Green with Beasts by W. S. Merwin
  • Like a Bulwark by Marianne Moore
  • Section : Rock Drill by Ezra Pound
  • In Defense of the Earth by Kenneth Rexroth
  • Poems Old and New by John Hall Wheelock

1958

Winner

The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever


Finalists

  • A Death in the Family by James Agee
  • By Love Possessed by James Gould Cozzens
  • Something About a Soldier by Mark Harris
  • The Velvet Horn by Andrew Lytle
  • The Assistant by Bernard Malamud
  • Love Among the Cannibals by Wright Morris
  • Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
  • The Return of Lady Brace by Nancy Wilson Ross
  • The Birth of a Grandfather by May Sarton

Winner

The Lion and the Throne by Catherine Drinker Bowen


Finalists

  • Mr. Baruch by Margaret Coit
  • The Reformation by Will Durant
  • Alexander Hamilton in the American Tradition by Louis Hacker
  • Poets in a Landscape by Gilbert Highet
  • Justice Holmes : the Shaping Years, 1841-1870 by Mark deWolfe Howe
  • Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy by Mary McCarthy
  • A Proposal : Key to an Effective Foreign Policy by Max F. Milliken and W. W. Rostow
  • The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard
  • The Twentieth Maine by John Pullen
  • As France Goes by David Schoebrun
  • Bridge to the Sun by Gwen Terasaki
  • The Citadel by William S. White

Winner

Promises : Poems, 1954-1956 by Robert Penn Warren


Finalists

  • Time Without Number by Daniel Berrigan
  • Letter from a Distant Land by Phillip Booth
  • The Arctic Tern by Edwin G. Burrows
  • The Selected Poems of H. D. by H. D. (Hilda Doolittle)
  • Great Praises by Richard Eberhart
  • Poems by Richmond Lattimore
  • Swimmer in the Air by Howard Moss
  • In Time Like Air by May Sarton
  • Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana by Eli Siegel
  • Poems : 1947-1957 by William Jay Smith
  • Opus Posthumous by Wallace Stevens
  • The Green Wall by James Wright

1959

Winner

The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud


Finalists

  • The Ginger Man by J. P Donleavy
  • Home from the Hill by William Humphrey
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • From the Terrace by John O'Hara
  • The Lost Country by J. R. Salamanca
  • The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton
  • Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver



Winner

Mistress to an Age : A Life of Madame De Stael by J. Christopher Herold


Finalists

  • The Human Condition by Hannah Arendt
  • Private by Lester Atwell
  • The Americans : the Colonial Experience by Daniel J. Boorstin
  • The Wall Between by Anne Braden
  • Naked to Mine Enemies by Charles Ferguson
  • The Civil War Volume 1 by Shelby Foote
  • The Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith
  • Only in America by Harry Golden
  • Russia, the Atom and the West by George F. Kennan
  • Marlborough's Duchess by Louis Kronenberger
  • A Case HIstory of Hope by Flora Lewis
  • Journey to the Beginning by Edgar Snow

Winner

Words for the Wind by Theodore Roethke


Finalists

  • I Marry You by John Ciardi
  • J. B. by Archibald MacLeish
  • Mirrors and Windows by Howard Nemerove
  • Collected Poems by Theodore Roethke
  • Poems of a Jew by Karl Shapiro
  • A Cage of Spines by May Swenson
  • Paterson, Book IV by William Carlos Williams
  • Selected Poems 1923-1958 by e. e. cummings