Each year, Foreign Policy partners with the the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto to present the 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. It was founded in 1989 in memory of Canadian diplomat Lionel Gelber (1907-1989). A prize of $15,000 is awarded to the winner.
The five jurors, including our own Daniel Drezner, have selected a longlist of 12 books. A shortlist of five titles will be announced on Feb. 19 and the winner will be announced on March 25. The winner will be invited to accept their award and deliver a free public lecture on Monday, April 15th at the Munk School of Global Affairs.
Here's the full longlist:
- Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu (Cambridge, Massachusetts) and James A. Robinson (Cambridge, Massachusetts), published by Random House.
- Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956 by Anne Applebaum (Washington, D.C. and Poland), published by Signal Editions.
- The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger, and the New Power Politics by Paul Bracken (Connecticut), published by Times Books.
- The Twilight War: The Secret History of America's Thirty-Year Conflict with Iran by David Crist (Potomac, Maryland), published by The Penguin Press.
- Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else by Chrystia Freeland (New York, New York), published by The Penguin Press.
- The Endgame: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Iraq, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama by Michael R. Gordon (Washington, D.C.) and General Bernard E. Trainor (Potomac Falls, Virginia), published by Pantheon Books.
- Ghosts of Empire: Britain's Legacies in the Modern World by Kwasi Kwarteng (London, England), published by Public Affairs.
- Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam by Fredrik Logevall (Ithaca, NY), published by Random House.
- From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia by Pankaj Mishra (London, England), published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
- Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing and Dying by Sonke Neitzel (London, England) and Harald Welzer (Germany), published by Signal Editions.
- The Wars For Asia: 1911-1949 by S.C.M. Paine (Newport, Rhode Island), published by Cambridge University Press.
- Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy by Andrew Preston (Cambridge, England), published by Alfred A. Knopf.
Over the next few weeks, we're going to be featuring one interview per day with the authors of the books. The interviews are conducted by Rob Steiner, former Wall Street Journal correspondent and director of fellowships in international journalism at the Munk School.
First up is MIT economist and frequent FP contributor Daron Acemoglu. Here's the prize citation for Why Nations Fail:
"Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson brings a classically liberal perspective to the diverging fates of societies of similar potential over time. Ranging broadly in historic circumstance to illustrate their argument against the 'extractive state,' the authors bring fresh information and new analytical tools to bear on the dynamics of national development. The regressive role of colonial regimes competes with local values and ideologies for the black ribbon in this stimulating thesis."