History Buzz February 29, 2012: John Lewis Gaddis: Historian wins annual American History Book Prize for “George F. Kennan: An American Life”

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Gaddis Wins History Prize for Kennan Biography

Source: NYT, 2-29-12

The historian John Lewis Gaddis has won the annual American History Book Prize for “George F. Kennan: An American Life,” the New-York Historical Society announced. Roger Hertog, the chair of the society’s board of trustees, praised Mr. Gaddis for bringing to life “the story of the grand strategist who shaped foreign policy over the last 60 years.”

Mr. Gaddis, a professor at Yale University and the author of numerous books about the cold war, began researching his biography back in 1982, when Kennan, best known for outlining the containment strategy against the Soviet Union in his famous 1946 “Long Telegram” from Moscow, was 78. (He died in 2005, at age 101.) The book, published by the Penguin Press, received respectful attention from critics when it finally appeared last November, including a 4,400-word assessment in the New York Times Book Review by Henry Kissinger, who called the book “as close to the final word as possible on one of the most important, complex, moving, challenging and exasperating American public servants.”

The prize, which comes with a cash award of $50,000 and the official title of American Historian Laureate, will be awarded on April 13 as part of the historical society’s “Weekend With History” event in Manhattan. Past winners have included Gordon S. Wood, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Ron Chernow.

Gaddis wins national award for Kennan biography

After winning high praise among reviewers for his biography of George F. Kennan, history professor John Lewis Gaddis has won the seventh annual American History Book Prize for his work, the New York Times reported.

The prize, which has been handed out by the New-York Historical Society, is awarded for a nonfiction American history book “that is distinguished by its scholarship, its literary style and its appeal to a general as well as an academic audience,” according to the society’s website. Gaddis will receive a cash award of $50,000 and the title of American Historian Laureate.

Yale’s Cold War star began research on Kennan — the American diplomat known for articulating the United States’ “containment” strategy against the Soviet Union — back in 1982. The book finally appeared in print last November.

Gaddis is also in the running for a National Book Critics Circle Award.

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