Books about a German general, a Chinese tragedy and a bad-boy Renaissance artist are among six titles nominated for Britain's richest nonfiction book award, the Samuel Johnson Prize.
Jonathan Steinberg's "Bismarck: A Life," Frank Dikotter's "Mao's Great Famine" and Andrew Graham Dixon's "Caravaggio" are shortlisted for the 20,000 pound ($32,000) prize.
The other finalists are "Liberty's Exiles," a study of the American loyalist diaspora by Maya Janasoff; Matt Ridley's upbeat "The Rational Optimist" and "Reprobates," John Stubbs' portrait of 17th-century Cavaliers.
The prize recognizes English-language books in the areas of current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts.
The winner will be announced July 6.