Every year, Foreign Policy partners with the Lionel Gelber Foundation and the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto to award the Lionel Gelber Prize, a literary award handed out to the year’s best book on international affairs.
Patricia Rubin — the president of the Lionel Gelber Prize Board and the niece of Lionel Gelber, the Canadian diplomat who created the award — announced the prize finalists on Monday, and they are an impressively diverse collection of books: an account of FDR’s struggle to convince a reluctant nation to join World War II; a revealing look at the many unexpected, terrifying ways nuclear weapons can malfunction; the astonishing story of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger’s role in a forgotten genocide; a riveting history of nearly six centuries of geopolitical intrigue in the battle to control the heart of Europe; and the inside story of the dramatic creation of the modern financial system.
"Four of the five books on the Lionel Gelber Prize shortlist reveal telling aspects of American governance in pressing circumstances. We see how personalities in the White House play over-sized roles in the conduct of foreign policy, at times to tragic effect. In the fifth book, we see how inexorably the central dilemmas of Europe arrive on American shores without pity for American desires," jury chair William Thursell said in a statement. "There is an epic quality to this coincidence of subjects that can be read as one."
Here is the full list of finalists:
- The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide by Gary J. Bass, published by Alfred A. Knopf
- Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight Over World War II, 1939 – 1941 by Lynne Olson, published by Random House
- Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlosser, published by The Penguin Press
- Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy, from 1453 to the Present by Brendan Simms, published by Basic Books
- The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order by Benn Steil, published by Princeton University Press
The winner will be announced on March 31. In the run-up to the announcement, FP will be featuring interviews with the authors conducted by Robert Steiner, who directs the fellowship program in global journalism at the Munk School.