Menu

The 2013 Cundill Prize Short List

Posted on March 12th, 2014

Anne Applebaum Iron Curtain:
The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956

(Allen Lane - Penguin Books / McClelland & Stewart)
Anne Applebaum
Iron-Curtain

Biography

ANNE APPLEBAUM is a historian and journalist, a regular columnist for the Washington Post and Slate, and the author of several books, including Gulag: A History, which won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. She is the Director of Political Studies at the Legatum Institute in London, and she divides her time between Britain and Poland, where her husband, Radek Sikorski, serves as Foreign Minister.

Book Summary

At the end of the Second World War, the Soviet Union unexpectedly found itself in control of a huge swath of territory in Eastern Europe. Stalin and his secret police set out to convert a dozen radically different countries to a completely new political and moral system: communism. In Iron Curtain, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Anne Applebaum describes how the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe were created and what daily life was like once they were complete.

Reviews

Christian Caryl Strange Rebels:
1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century

(Basic Books)
Christian-Caryl1
Strange Rebels

Biography

Currently Deputy Editor at Foreign Policy, as well as a contributing editor at Newsweek and a Senior Fellow of the Center for International Studies at MIT, Christian Caryl is a brilliant journalist who has gleaned unparalleled insights into world affairs while reporting from some forty countries throughout the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. He was a finalist for the 1999 International Consortium of Investigative Journalists Award for Outstanding Investigative Reporting, won a 2011 Overseas Press Club Award for “Best Online Commentary,” and was a member of the reporting team that won a 2004 National Magazine Awards prize for Newsweek.

Book Summary

Most historians would have us believe that the 20th century ended and the 21st century began in 1989, with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the triumph of the West over the Soviet Union. But as veteran journalist Christian Caryl shows in Strange Rebels, the world we live in today—and the problems that plague it—can actually be traced back a decade earlier. 1979 was the year that the postwar order evaporated, reshaping the international system and making way for a new era of global history.

Reviews

Christopher Clark The Sleepwalkers:
How Europe Went To War In 1914

(HarperCollins / Allen Lane - Penguin Books)
christopher-clark-6eeda32c3fabbf6763112e4a6f61a8ae2f19fbde-s6-c30
918p+4UnpsL._AA1500_

Biography

Christopher Clark is a professor of modern European history and a fellow of St. Catharine’s College at the University of Cambridge, UK. He is the author of Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947, among other books.

Book Summary

On the morning of June 28, 1914, when Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie Chotek arrived at Sarajevo Railway Station, Europe was at peace.  Thirty-seven days later, it was at war. The conflict that resulted would kill over twenty million people, destroy three empires, and permanently alter world history. The Sleepwalkers reveals in gripping detail how this crisis unfolded.

Reviews

Fredrik Logevall Embers of War:
The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam

(Random House)
Logevall photo
embers_of_war_0

Biography

Fredrik Logevall is John S. Knight Professor of International Studies and professor of history at Cornell University, where he serves as director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies.

Book Summary

A groundbreaking history of America’s four-decade-long road to war in Vietnam. This monumental history asks the simple question: How did we end up in a war in Vietnam? To answer that question Fredrik Logevall traces the forty-year path that led us from World War I to the first American casualties in 1959.

Reviews

Lynne Olson Those Angry Days:
Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America's Fight Over World War II, 1939-1941

(Random House of Canada)
lynn_olson_solo
those_angry_days

Biography

Lynne Olson worked as a reporter and journalist for many years, in New York, Moscow, Washington, and the White House.  She is the author of Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in its Darkest, Finest Hour; Troublesome Young Men: The Rebels Who Brought Churchill to Power and Helped Save England; and Freedom’s Daughters: The Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement from 1830 to 1970, and co-author of two other books.

Book Summary

From the acclaimed author of Citizens of London comes the definitive account of the debate over American intervention in World War II—a bitter, sometimes violent clash of personalities and ideas that divided the nation and ultimately determined the fate of the free world. At the center of this controversy stood the two most famous men in America: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who championed the interventionist cause, and aviator Charles Lindbergh, who as unofficial leader and spokesman for America’s isolationists emerged as the president’s most formidable adversary.

Reviews

Tom Reiss The Black Count:
Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo

(Harvill Secker)
tom_reiss_author_photo
the_black_count_jacket

Biography

Tom Reiss is an American author and journalist who lives in New York. He is the author of The Orientalist, an acclaimed biography of Lev Nussimbaum (aka Kurban Said) which was shortlisted for the 2006 Samuel Johnson Prize.

Book Summary

Who was the real Count of Monte Cristo? In this extraordinary biography, Tom Reiss traces the almost unbelievable life of the man who inspired not only Monte Cristo, but all three of the Musketeers: the novelist’s own father.

Reviews