November 2, 2018—Professor Stephen Kotkin has won the seventeenth annual Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Arthur Ross Book Award for Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929–1941 (Random House), the second volume of a definitive biography of Joseph Stalin. The book covers major events in the Soviet Union from collectivization and the Great Terror to the conflict with Germany under Adolf Hitler. Kotkin, the John P. Birkelund Professor in History and International Affairs at Princeton University, will receive $15,000.
“Deeply researched, richly textured, and eminently readable—Kotkin has written a brilliant book that explores some of the most consequential events of the twentieth century,” said Gideon Rose, editor of Foreign Affairs and chair of the award jury, which includes CFR members, but reaches its decision independently of the institution. Kotkin's first volume, Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 (Random House), was awarded the Silver Medal in 2015.
The jury awarded the Silver Medal and $7,500 to Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Director of the Asia Program at Georgetown University Michael J. Green for By More Than Providence: Grand Strategy and American Power in the Asia Pacific Since 1783 (Columbia University Press).
The Bronze Medal and $2,500 were awarded to New Yorker staff writer Masha Gessen for The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia (Random House).
Additional shortlist nominees:
- Southern Methodist University Professor Jeffrey A. Engel for When the World Seemed New: George H. W. Bush and the End of the Cold War (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
- Brookings Institution Fellow and Director Thomas J. Wright for All Measures Short of War: The Contest for the Twenty-First Century and the Future of American Power (Yale University Press)
- Former FBI agent and Soufan Group CEO Ali Soufan for Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of Bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State (Norton & Company)
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.
Kotkin and the other awardees will be honored at a reception at CFR's headquarters on December 4.
ARTHUR ROSS BOOK AWARD JURY
Gideon Rose (Chair)
Peter G. Peterson Chair and Editor, Foreign Affairs
Former President, American University in Cairo
Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations, Indiana University, Bloomington
Michelle D. Gavin
Former U.S. Ambassador to Botswana
Walter Russell Mead
James Clarke Chace Professor in Foreign Affairs and Humanities, Bard College
Susan Kaufman Purcell
Susan L. Shirk
Research Professor and Chair, 21st Century China Program, UC San Diego
Calvin G. Sims
President and Chief Executive Officer, International House
Andrew Ross Sorkin
Columnist and Assistant Business Editor, New York Times