Douglas Dillon Book Award

The Douglas Dillon Book Award
for Books of Distinction on the Practice of American Diplomacy


James F. Dobbins accepts the 2017 Dillon Book Award for his book, Foreign Service – Five Decades on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy.

Since 1995, the American Academy of Diplomacy has celebrated distinguished writing about US diplomatic efforts and achievements with an annual award. A committee of Academy members review nominated books and determine the winner, with concurrence by the Academy’s Board of Directors. The award for the winning entry in 2023 includes a cash prize of $5,000. The awards are customarily presented at the Academy’s Annual Awards Luncheon ceremony in the Benjamin Franklin Room at the US Department of State in the late fall/early winter.

The submission period for 2023 nominations closed on August 4, 2023.

2023 Eligibility Requirements

Submitted books must meet the following four criteria to be accepted for consideration: (1) The book is written by an American citizen, (2) the book is published in the U.S., (3) the book is published within the period of August 3, 2022 to August 2, 2023, and (4) the focus of the book fits within the thematic scope described below.

In selecting the winner, the Academy seeks to honor books, and their authors, dealing with the practice of American diplomacy with emphasis on the way US foreign policy is developed and carried out, rather than international theory, studies of broad foreign policy issues, or analyses of intelligence and security operations. Biographies, autobiographies, and personal memoirs that relate to diplomatic practice and process are welcome. Both official diplomatic relations between governments and non-official “Track Two” and other activities that supplement government-to-government diplomacy fall within the scope of this competition. We are particularly interested in books that focus on the opportunities diplomacy offers as well as its limitations.

Details about the 2023 call for entries can be accessed here: Dillon Award Call for Entries 2023

For any questions or to be added to our distribution list of publishers, please contact [email protected].


History of Douglas Dillon Book Award Recipients

 To access an extended list of previous award winners, click here. 



Steve Kemper

The winner of the 2023 Douglas Dillon Award for a
Book of Distinction on the Practice of American Diplomacy

Our Man In Tokyo: An American Ambassador and the Countdown to Pearl Harbor
by Steve Kemper

Published by Mariner Books

Steve Kemper is an author and freelance journalist who has written four books and articles for many national magazines and newspapers. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Detroit and a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut, and has taught writing and journalism as an adjunct professor at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and at Fairfield University.

In Our Man in Tokyo, Steve Kemper offers the readers a fascinating account of diplomatic history between Japan and the US in the run-up to World War II, as well as a case study of how Joseph A. Grew, one of America’s most experienced and skilled diplomats of his time, dealt with a situation that over his nine-year mission in Japan (1932-1941) went gradually out of control. It is a tribute to the profession of diplomacy, which masterfully captures how an effective ambassador works on the ground. It is also a well-told story, which keeps the readers cheering on the well-meaning efforts of Grew and others around him despite knowing how the story ends. Finally, Kemper’s book highlights more than a few important lessons for the
current age, making it a must read for practitioners, students and the general public alike.