LONDON — A book chronicling a Chinese tragedy under Mao has won Britain's richest nonfiction book award, the Samuel Johnson Prize.
Frank Dikotter's "Mao's Great Famine" won the 20,000 pound ($32,000) award at a ceremony in London on Wednesday.
The book, described by judges as an "epic record of human folly," beat out five others – including Jonathan Steinberg's "Bismarck: A Life" and Andrew Graham Dixon's "Caravaggio."
The prize recognizes English-language books in the areas of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts.
Ben Macintyre, chair of the judges, said Dikotter's "meticulous account of a brutal manmade calamity is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the history of the 20th century."