- Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction, 1982, for The Soul of a New Machine
- National Book Award for Nonfiction, 1982, for The Soul of a New Machine[a]
- Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, 1989–1990, for Among Schoolchildren
- L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award, 1990, for Among Schoolchildren
- Ambassador Book Award in American Studies, 1990, for Among Schoolchildren
- Lettre Ulysses Award (2nd prize), 2004, for Mountains Beyond Mountains
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