The other finalists for the award (who each received $1,000) were Jay Bahadur, for The Pirates of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World, which depicts the lives and exploits of Somali pirates; Edward Girardet for Killing the Cranes: A Reporter’s Journey Through Three Decades of War in Afghanistan, a deep look at the continuing problems facing Afghanistan; Donovan Hohn for Moby Duck: The True Story of 28,000 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went In Search of Them, which investigates the environmental, economic, and social effects of a rubber duck spill in the Pacific Ocean; and Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, for Counterstrike: The Untold Story of America’s Secret Campaign Against Al Qaeda, which reveals the United States’ modern counter-terrorism infrastructure.

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Peter Sterne is an editorial intern at CJR. Follow him on Twitter @petersterne.