Douglas Dillon Book Award
The Douglas Dillon Book Award
for Books of Distinction on the Practice of American Diplomacy
Since 1995, the American Academy of Diplomacy has celebrated distinguished writing about US diplomatic efforts and achievements with an annual award.
The deadline for submission of nominations for each year’s award is usually by August. A committee of Academy members reviews nominated books and determines the winner, with concurrence by the Academy’s Board of Directors. The award for the winning entry includes a cash prize of $5,000. The awards are 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.
Eligibility is limited to books written by American citizens and published in the United States within a one year period from mid-August of the previous year to mid-August of the current year. 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. The book committee is particularly interested in books that focus on the opportunities diplomacy offers as well as its limitations.
To view details about the 2018 call for entries, click on Dillon Award Call for Entries 2018.
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History of Douglas Dillon Book Award Recipients
To access an extended list of previous award winners, click here.
The gripping history behind the Marshall Plan—told with verve, insight, and resonance for today.
The Marshall Plan—the costly and ambitious initiative to revive western Europe after World War II—marked the true beginning of the Cold War, argues Benn Steil. Bringing to bear new Russian and American archival material, Steil shows that it was only after the launch of the plan in 1947 “that both sides, the United States and the Soviet Union, became irrevocably committed to securing their respective spheres of influence.”
In his new book, The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War, Steil describes how President Harry S. Truman’s State Department, under George C. Marshall’s leadership, formulated the recovery program to provide Europe with a new economic and political architecture appropriate for a continent divided into two worlds: a capitalist and a communist one. The Marshall Plan “promised a continuing energetic U.S. presence, underwritten by a reindustrialized capitalist western Germany at the heart of an integrated, capitalist western Europe,” Steil explains. His narrative, which Paul Kennedy’s Wall Street Journal review calls “brilliant,” brings to life the most dramatic episodes of the early Cold War—such as the Prague coup, the Berlin blockade, and the division of Germany—and shows how they unfurled from Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s determination to undermine the U.S. intervention.
Given current echoes of the Cold War, the tenuous balance of power and uncertain order of the late 1940s is as relevant as ever. The Marshall Plan provides critical context into understanding today’s international landscape. “Many of the institutions we now take for granted as natural elements of the liberal postwar order—in particular, the European Union, NATO, and the World Trade Organization—were forged under U.S. leadership during the early Marshall years,” writes Steil. This order is now under threat, Steil argues, partly from failures in American diplomacy.
Benn Steil is senior fellow and director of international economics, as well as the official historian in residence, at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He is also the founding editor of International Finance, a scholarly economics journal; lead writer of the Council’s Geo-Graphics economics blog; and creator of four web-based interactives tracking Global Monetary Policy, Global Imbalances, Sovereign Risk, and Central Bank Currency Swaps. Prior to his joining the Council in 1999, he was director of the International Economics Programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.
Jenny and Sherry Thompson
Recipient of a Special Certificate
The Kremlinologist: Llewellyn E Thompson, America’s Man in Cold War Moscow
by Jenny and Sherry Thompson
Published by the Johns Hopkins University Press
Against the sprawling backdrop of the Cold War, The Kremlinologist revisits some of the twentieth century’s greatest conflicts as seen through the eyes of its hardest working diplomat, Llewellyn E Thompson. From the wilds of the American West to the inner sanctums of the White House and the Kremlin, Thompson became an important advisor to presidents and a key participant in major global events, including the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War. Yet unlike his contemporaries Robert S. McNamara and Dean Rusk, who considered Thompson one of the most crucial Cold War actors and the “unsung hero” of the Cuban Missile Crisis, he has not been the subject of a major biography—until now.
Thompson’s daughters Jenny and Sherry Thompson skillfully and thoroughly document his life as an accomplished career diplomat. In vigorous prose, they describe how Thompson joined the Foreign Service both to feed his desire for adventure and from a deep sense of duty. They also detail the crucial role he played as a negotiator unafraid of compromise. Known in the State Department as “Mr. Tightlips,” Thompson was the epitome of discretion. People from completely opposite ends of the political spectrum lauded his approach to diplomacy and claimed him as their own.
Refuting historical misinterpretations of the Berlin Crisis, the Austrian State Treaty, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Thompsons tell their father’s fascinating story. With unprecedented access to Thompson’s FBI dossier, State Department personnel files, letters, diaries, speeches, and documents, and relying on probing interviews and generous assistance from American and Russian archivists, historians, and government officials, the authors bring new material to light, including important information on the U-2, Kennan’s containment policy, and Thompson’s role in US covert operations machinery.
This unique and monumental biography not only restores a central figure to history, it makes the crucial events he shaped accessible to a broader readership and gives contemporary readers a backdrop for understanding the fraught United States/Russia relationship that still exists today.