The Asia Society has selected five out of more than 110 nominations for its Bernard Schwartz Book Award. The prize is given annually for “outstanding contributions to the understanding of contemporary Asia,” according to the think tank.

Since its inception in 2009, think tankers have not fared well in the competition. Duncan MacCargo of University of Leeds won the inaugural prize and James C. Scott of Yale University won in 2010. No think tankers are on the 2011 short­list.

The 2011 finalists are:

Mao’s Great Famine: A History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962, by Frank Dikötter (Walker & Co.)

No Man’s Land: Globalization, Territory, and Clandestine Groups in Southeast Asia, by Justin V. Hastings (Cornell University Press)

The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers, by Richard McGregor (HarperCollins Publishers)

Ordering Power: Contentious Politics and Authoritarian Leviathans in Southeast Asia, by Dan Slater (Cambridge University Press)

Paths to Development in Asia: South Korea, Vietnam, China, and Indonesia, by Tuong Vu (Cambridge University Press)

The award jury includes: Carol Gluck (co-chair), Columbia University; Tommy T.B. Koh (co-chair), ambassador-at-large, Singapore; Ashok Advani, India Business Group; William Kirby, Harvard University; Andrew Nathan, Columbia University; Kazuo Ogoura, the Japan Foundation; Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Chulalongkorn University; Susan Shirk, University of California, San Diego; and Rizal Sukma, Centre for Strategic and International Studies, Indonesia.