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Niall Ferguson’s “Kissinger: 1923-1968: The Idealist” Wins 2016 CFR Arthur Ross Book Award

December 5, 2016


December 5, 2016Historian Niall Ferguson has won the fifteenth annual Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Arthur Ross Book Award for Kissinger: 1923-1968: The Idealist (Penguin Press), the first in a two-volume biography of the former national security advisor Henry A. Kissinger, and will receive $15,000. On December 14, CFR will honor Ferguson—a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and Harvard University’s Center for European Studies—and the other awardees at a cocktail reception hosted by Gideon Rose, editor of Foreign Affairs and chair of the independent award jury.

“Ferguson’s powerful intellect, deep research, and mastery of the underlying subject matter enabled him to move past the myths, legends, and hyperbole surrounding the highest profile American statesman of the second half of the twentieth century, producing a fascinating and engaging portrait of a unique, and uniquely important, historical figure,” said Rose.

The jury awarded the Silver Medal and $7,500 to Princeton University Professor Thomas J. Christensen for The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power (W. W. Norton & Company).

The Bronze Medal and $2,500 were awarded to journalist Charles Moore, author of Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography: Volume II (Allen Lane).

Additional shortlist nominees:

  • Bloomberg View’s Nisid Hajari for Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition (Hougton Miflin Harcourt)
  • Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs’ Emma Sky for The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq (PublicAffairs)
  • Yale University’s Timothy D. Snyder for Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning (Penguin Random House)

Endowed by the late Arthur Ross in 2001, this award honors nonfiction works, in English or translation, that bring forth new information that changes the understanding of events or problems, develop analytical approaches that offer insight into critical issues, or introduce ideas that help resolve foreign policy problems. The jury consists of Council on Foreign Relations members, but reaches its decision independently of the institution.


Gideon Rose (Chair)
Peter G. Peterson Chair and Editor, Foreign Affairs

Lisa Anderson
Former President, American University in Cairo

Nicholas Eberstadt
Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research

Sumit Ganguly
Director, Center on American and Global Security, Indiana University, Bloomington

Walter Russell Mead
James Clarke Chace Professor in Foreign Affairs and Humanities, Bard College

Susan Kaufman Purcell
Independent Consultant

Mary Elise Sarotte
Professor of International Relations and History and Dean's Professor of History, University of Southern California; Research Associate, Harvard University

Susan L. Shirk
President Emeritus and Chair, 21st Century China Program

Calvin G. Sims
President and Chief Executive Officer, International House

Andrew Ross Sorkin
Columnist and Assistant Business Editor, New York Times

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