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Announcing the 2016 Lionel Gelber Prize Shortlist

THE world's five BEST books on FOREIGN AFFAIRS

February 2, 2016 (Toronto and Washington)

Jury Chair John Stackhouse today announced the shortlist for the 2016 Lionel Gelber Prize, as follows:

• Hall of Mirrors: The Great Depression, the Great Recession, and the Uses—and Misuses—of History

Hall of Mirrors: The Great Depression, the Great Recession, and the Uses—and Misuses—of History
by Barry Eichengreen

Published by Oxford University Press

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• Kissinger: 1923–1968: The Idealist

Kissinger 1923–1968: The Idealist
by Niall Ferguson

Published by Penguin Press

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• The End of Tsarist Russia: The March to World War I and Revolution

The End of Tsarist Russia: The March to World War I & Revolution
by Dominic Lieven

Published by Viking

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• The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire

The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire
by Susan Pedersen

published by Oxford University Press

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• Objective Troy: A Terrorist, A President, and the Rise of the Drone

Objective Troy: A Terrorist, A President, and the Rise of the Drone
by Scott Shane

Published by Tim Duggan Books

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Provided below are the jury's comments on each of the finalists' shortlisted books:

Barry Eichengreen provides an original look at the financial crisis and its origins, with desperately needed lessons about moving more quickly during such traumatic moments. Stimulus, coordinated monetary policy and banking regulation, as needed in 2009 as they were in 1929, and yet unappreciated to the degree they ultimately were needed. Beyond finance, Hall of Mirrors presents a cogent case for multilateralism, as it takes us into the corridors of power on both sides of the Atlantic to examine how the two greatest financial crises of the past century were shaped and in many ways mismanaged. Anyone worried about the next financial crisis needs to read this first.

Just the mention of his surname, or its initial, is enough to set off a raging debate. For no other figure has so divided the discussion of modern foreign affairs than Henry Kissinger. Peace-seeker, war-maker, celebrity diplomat, confidante to an epoch — Kissinger is all that and more in the first volume of Niall Ferguson’s sweeping, probing and penetrating study of the man. From the frontline of World War 2 to the fulcrum of the White House, from Harvard to Hanoi, Ferguson employs his extraordinary access to Kissinger’s private archives to shine a fresh light on the man we all think we know, and yet scarcely understand.

The years and months that carried Europe into the tragedies of 1914 and beyond do not wane in importance or impact as Dominic Lieven takes us into the lives that helped end the age of empire. And yet, as the book reveals in exquisite detail, so much was left unresolved. By telling the fall of Tsarist Russia through the lens of Kiev, Lieven illuminates the characters—some renowned, some obscure—who rewrote history and the national tensions that haunt us still.‎

Susan Pedersen transports us back in time, to an age when powers, old and new, thought they could hold the world together, even as they dismantled the vestiges of empire. The fallacy and hopes of a world caught between evil and innocence are captured in Pedersen’s portrait of the birth of internationalism. Her authoritative journey through the League of Nations’ early days, its struggle with legitimacy and its ultimate failure at the feet of fascism, will surely jolt any modern-day reader who struggles with global governance today.

Scott Shane’s book is a rarity among foreign affairs titles, flowing dramatically like a novel, carrying the academic weight of a thesis, and laying out enough policy dilemmas to fill a month of Sunday talk shows. The story of Anwar al-Awlaki is, in some ways, the story of Americans and Arabs in the age of terror, brought into sharp relief by the Obama administration and its unpredicted — and unpredictable — drone policy, which has redefined the meaning of war and reset its price.

About the jury: 

The 2016 Lionel Gelber Prize Jury is composed of Jury Chair John Stackhouse (Toronto, Canada); Michael Barnett (Washington, D.C.); Rachel Lomax (London, England); David M. Malone (Tokyo, Japan); and Matias Spektor (Sao Paulo, Brazil)

About the Lionel Gelber Prize:

The Lionel Gelber Prize, a literary award for the world’s best non-fiction book in English on foreign affairs that seeks to deepen public debate on significant international issues, was founded in 1989 by Canadian diplomat Lionel Gelber. A prize of $15,000 is awarded to the winner. The award is presented annually by The Lionel Gelber Foundation, in partnership with Foreign Policy magazine and the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.

Special thanks to Robert Steiner, Director of the Fellowships in Global Journalism at the Munk School of Global Affairs for his interviews with each of the five finalists for the annual Lionel Gelber Prize Podcast Series, presented in partnership with Funding Media Partner‎ Focus Asset Management, an independent investment counseling firm that specializes in managing the wealth of high net worth individuals and families‎.

Key Dates: The winner will be announced on March 1st, via press release, and invited to speak at a free public event in their honour, held at the Munk School of Global Affairs, at the University of Toronto, on Tuesday, March 29, 2016.


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

June Dickenson: (647) 477-6000 /

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