The six non-fiction books making up the 2010 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize's shortlist have been revealed.
Alex's Adventures in Numberland by Alex Bellos, Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea and Blood Knots by Luke Jennings are among the titles hoping to win the GBP 200,000 award.
The shortlist is completed by Andrew Ross Sorkin's Too Big to Fail, A Gambling Man by Jenny Uglow and Richard Wrangham's Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human.
BBC presenter, journalist and economist Evan Davis, the chair of judges, commented: 'We did have a number of arguments in our deliberations, but we've settled on an extraordinarily eclectic selection of books which defies simplistic categorisation.'
He added that the only common feature of the works included on the diverse shortlist is the authors' 'passion and sheer enthusiasm' for their chosen subjects.
The winner will be named on July 1st at an event at the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Philip Hoare won last year's BBC Samuel Johnson Prize with Leviathan or The Whale. Previous winners include Michael Burleigh and Antony Beevor.
Richard talks about the darkness lurking in his past and its connection to his role as a Nazi loot-hunter at the auction house, Sothebys.
Brian describes how his ambivalence at having served in the Iraq war, and the awe to be found in extremes, provided the basis for his novel.
On National Brothers Day, Stuart Heritage reflects on fraternal dynamics, how he came to write about the 'whirlwind of aggressive single-mindedness' that is his brother Pete and how their relationship is reflected by that of brothers everywhere.