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John Lewis Gaddis Wins CFR's Arthur Ross Book Award for "George F. Kennan: An American Life"

December 19, 2012
Council on Foreign Relations


December 19, 2012George F. Kennan: An American Life (The Penguin Press), by renowned historian John Lewis Gaddis, won the eleventh annual Arthur Ross Book Award for the best book published on international affairs. Gaddis, who was awarded the Gold Medal by the jury, will receive $15,000 and be honored at a CFR event in January.

"John Lewis Gaddis' long-awaited biography of George Kennan is simply a masterwork--the depth of its insight, the fairness and soundness of its judgment, and the grace of its writing are extraordinary. Three decades in the making, it was worth the wait," said Foreign Affairs Editor Gideon Rose, who chaired the selection committee. Kennan was a diplomat and a political scientist, who is best known for his seminal role in the development of the containment policy toward the Soviet Union. The policy was publicly articulated by Kennan for the first time in an article in Foreign Affairs magazine, "The Sources of Soviet Conduct," in July 1947.

The Silver Medal and a prize of $7,500 was awarded to Jason Stearns for Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa (PublicAffairs).

The jury also awarded an Honorable Mention and $2,500 to Daniel Yergin for The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World (The Penguin Press).

Additional shortlist nominees:
Francis Fukuyama for The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Frederick Kempe for Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Krushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth (G.P. Putnam's Sons)

Endowed by the late Arthur Ross in 2001, this award honors nonfiction works, in English or translation, that merit special attention for bringing forth new information that changes the understanding of events or problems, developing analytical approaches that allow new and different insights into critical issues, or providing new ideas that help resolve foreign policy problems.

The next deadline for Arthur Ross Book Award submissions is January 15, 2013.


Stanley Hoffmann
Harvard University

Robert W. Kagan
The Brookings Institution

Gideon Rose (Chairman)
Editor, Foreign Affairs

Mary Elise Sarotte
University of Southern California

Stephen M. Walt
Harvard University

To learn more about the Arthur Ross Book Award, visit: