Harsh reality dominates non-fiction prize shortlist

This year’s non-fiction prize shortlist features two books related to U.S. military intervention in Iraq and one study of an Islamist extremist murder in Holland Ian Buruma’s Murder in Amsterdam is about the killing of the provocative columnist and filmmaker Theo van Gogh by the son of Moroccan immigrants who was angry because he had collaborated with an anti-Islamic politician. These books edged out other promising biographies-presumably they were favored given the political nature of these times.