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'Bloodshed' precedes Samuel Johnson longlist announcement

15th April 2011

The BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction longlist has been announced after some 'intense and robust debate, and only small amounts of bloodshed' amongst the judges.

There are 18 titles on the longlist that vary wildly in scope and subject, and it is likely that more 'bloodshed' is to come as the panel whittles down the list of books even further - which they will have to do in the full glare of the media spotlight.

Ben Macintyre, chair of the judges, said: 'We have come up with a longlist that reflects the extraordinary quality and range of the books published in this stellar year for non-fiction.'

Meanwhile, Mark Bell, BBC commissioning editor for the arts, said: 'I am pleased The Culture Show will continue to give BBC2 audiences the chance to watch the judges whittle down this enticing list.'

Biographies crop up the most on the longlist, including Tolstoy by Rosamund Bartlett, Caravaggio by Andrew Graham Dixon and Bismarck: A Life by Jonathan Steinberg.

But there is also a candid assessment of the modern, global economic system in Capitalism 4.0 by Anatole Kaletsky and an investigation of the evolution of contemporary trust issues and trade in The Rational Optimist by popular science author Matt Ridley.

The shortlist will be announced on June 14th and the winner will be named on July 6th.

The complete longlist is as follows:
Tolstoy, Rosamund Bartlett
Afgantsy, Rodric Braithwaite
The Hare with Amber Eyes, Edmund De Waal
Caravaggio, Andrew Graham Dixon
Liberty's Exiles, Maya Jasanoff
Capitalism 4.0, Anatole Kaletsky
Scott-land, Kelly Stuart 
People Who Eat Darkness, Richard Lloyd Parry
The Bridge
, David Remnick
The Rational Optimist, Matt Ridley
Mao's Great Famine, Frank Dikotter
Bismarck: A Life, Jonathan Steinberg
Reprobates, John Stubbs
Storyteller: The Life of Roald Dahl, Donald Sturrock
Bomber County, Daniel Swift
Sex Before the Sexual Revolution, Simon Szreter and Kate Fisher
Amexica: War Along The Borderline, Ed Vulliamy
Through the Language Glass, Guy Deutscher

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