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March 11, 2019
Benn Steil, the author of “The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War,” has been named the winner of the New-York Historical Society’s Barbara and David Zalaznick Book Prize, awarded each year to the best work in the field of American history or biography.
The 600-plus-page book, published last year by Simon and Schuster, chronicled America’s contribution to the reconstruction of Europe in the emerging post-World War II world order. Timothy Naftali, writing in The New York Times Book Review, called it “trenchant and timely,” adding that “the architects of America’s global engagement after World War II would have been appalled that future generations — let alone a future president — might think they had been acting in anything but the national interest.”
In a statement, Mr. Steil, the director of international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, echoed that point, indirectly linking his book to today’s debates about trade, global alliances and America’s place in the world.
“It is ebbing from the national consciousness just what it was that made America great,” he said. “The creation, implementation and legacy of the Marshall Plan define its essence.”
Mr. Steil will receive the prize on April 12 as part of the historical society’s Weekend with History, a private event.