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Meet the Finalists for the 2016 Lionel Gelber Prize

This year's Lionel Gelber Prize will be awarded on March 1. Read about the finalists here.

SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 8: Books sit stacked in a bedroom at a hoarders home in on April 8, 2011in San Diego, California. Martin's mother was a hoarder and recenty passed away leaving her son Greg and his wife Sidney to clean the place out.  (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images for YOU Magazine)
SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 8: Books sit stacked in a bedroom at a hoarders home in on April 8, 2011in San Diego, California. Martin's mother was a hoarder and recenty passed away leaving her son Greg and his wife Sidney to clean the place out. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images for YOU Magazine)

Drones, financial meltdowns, Henry Kissinger, tsarist Russia, and the League of Nations: These are some of the topics tackled by the five finalists for the Lionel Gelber prize, a literary award that honors the year’s best book on international affairs.

The 2016 shortlist was announced this week, and each year, Foreign Policy partners with the the Lionel Gelber Foundation and the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto to highlight the finalists. The winner will be announced on March 1 and invited to speak at an event at the Munk School on March 29.

Check out the finalists below, with commentary from the jury on why each book mattered this year:

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

“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.”

Kissinger: 1923-1968: The Idealist, by Niall Ferguson.

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 End of Tsarist Russia: The March to World War I and Revolution, by Dominic Lieven.

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.‎”

The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire, by Susan Pederson.

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.”

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

“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.”

Photo Credit: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images for YOU Magazine

Correction, Feb. 9, 2016: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the award winner would be announced on March 29. The winner will be announced March 1 and will be invited to speak at the Munk School on March 29. 

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