National Book Critics Circle honors Gaddis for biography of Cold War statesman

The National Book Critics Circle awarded its 2012 biography award to Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis for his work “George F. Kennan: An American Life” (Penguin Press).

Gaddis book cover

The book examines the life and influence of statesman Kennan, an architect of the Marshall Plan, who also proposed the strategy of containment that defined the United States’ policy toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

While working on the book, Gaddis held numerous interviews with Kennan and was given exclusive access to his archives. The result, according to the National Book Critics Circle, is “a book that brings alive the remarkable American statesman while also delivering a profound understanding of U.S. foreign policy in the 20th-century.” The biography was previously selected by The New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year.

Gaddis, the Robert A. Lovett Professor of History, is one of the nation’s most prominent historians of the Cold War and a leading authority on national security and international relations. At Yale, he is also director of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy and professor of political science.

His numerous other books include “The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1941-1947” (1972); “Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security” (1982); “The Long Peace: Inquiries into the History of the Cold War” (1987); “We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History” (1997); “The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past” (2002); “Surprise, Security, and the American Experience” (2004); and “The Cold War: A New History” (2006).

Gaddis’ many honors include a National Humanties Medal, presented to him in 2005 by President George W. Bush.

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