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Announcing the 2009 Book Prize Winners

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A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel, Allis and Ronald Radoshes's suspenseful, meticulously documented account of Harry S. Truman's controversial decision to recognize the new state of Israel, has won the Gold Prize—including a cash award of $30,000—in The Washington Institute's 2009 Book Prize competition, the research institution announced on October 17, 2009.

The Book Prize, established to highlight new nonfiction books on the Middle East, is among the world's most lucrative literary awards. Winners were announced before an audience of more than 300 journalists, diplomats, scholars, and members of the Institute's Board of Trustees at the organization's annual Weinberg Founders Conference in Leesburg, Virginia.

The Institute also awarded the 2009 Silver Prize ($15,000) to Ali A. Allawi, a former defense and finance minister in postwar Iraq, for his The Crisis of Islamic Civilization, a compelling insider's plea for the resurgence of Islam as a civilizing force that can meet the challenges of modernity and globalization. The Bronze Prize ($5,000) recipient is Amb. Martin Indyk for Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East, an honest and personal account of Middle East statecraft during the Clinton administration.

"This year's award winners exemplify the very best principles of our prize," said Institute executive director Dr. Robert Satloff. "We have in these three books an outstanding collection of compelling scholarship, provocative argument, and powerful narrative."

Winners were chosen by a three-person jury that included Eliot Cohen, former State Department official and professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS); Kenneth Stein, professor of contemporary Middle Eastern history and political science at Emory University; and Lally Weymouth, senior editor of Newsweek magazine.

Winners of the 2009 Washington Institute Book Prize

Gold Prize: $30,000
A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel
Allis and Ronald Radosh (HarperCollins)
Read more about A Safe Haven on the HarperCollins website.

Prize Jury Commendation:
"To a past generation, Harry S. Truman was the American hero in the story of the birth of Israel; in more recent times, some have pointed to his ambivalence and even allege the presence of a casual anti-Semitism. Ronald and Allis Radosh restore balance to the historical record in this splendidly written and exhaustively researched page-turner. Without smoothing over Truman's flaws, the Radoshes demonstrate how this accidental president became Israel's indispensable friend and benefactor at a crucial moment. A Safe Haven should be read not only as history, but as a practical primer in presidential calculation and courage."

Silver Prize: $15,000
The Crisis of Islamic Civilization
Ali A. Allawi (Yale)
Read more about The Crisis of Islamic Civilization on the Yale University Press website.

Prize Jury Commendation:
"The Crisis of Islamic Civilization is an agonized and unsparing dissection of the present malaise that characterizes the Muslim world. Ali A. Allawi writes as a sympathetic but heartbroken insider who warns of the long-term consequences of Islam's failure to cope with modernity. Allawi predicts that further decay will be accompanied by more disruption and violence but sees portents of a recovery. This masterful work succeeds in combining a dignified respect for Islamic and Arab traditions with searing honesty and moral clarity."

Bronze Prize: $5,000
Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East
Martin Indyk (Simon & Schuster)
Read more about Innocent Abroad on the Simon & Schuster website.

Prize Jury Commendation:
"Martin Indyk breaks dramatically with the tradition of the self-serving Washington memoir in this vivid and in-depth account of his years in the White House, State Department, and service in the Middle East. Although Innocent Abroad painstakingly uncovers the conceptual and bureaucratic flaws in America's Middle East and Arab-Israeli diplomacy, it reaches a timelessly valid conclusion: there is only so much that the United States can accomplish in pursuit of Middle East peace in the absence of Arab, Palestinian, and Israeli leaders possessed of will and courage."

About the Authors

Allis and Ronald Radosh
Allis Radosh has taught at Sarah Lawrence College and the City University of New York, and served as a program officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities. Ronald Radosh, professor emeritus of history at the City University of New York and adjunct senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, is the author or coauthor of fourteen books, including The Rosenberg File. He has written for the New Republic, National Review, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. A Safe Haven is the second book they have written together. They live in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

Ali A. Allawi
Ali A. Allawi has served as minister of defense and minister of finance in Iraq's postwar governments. The author of the highly praised Occupation of Iraq, he is senior visiting fellow at Princeton University.

Martin Indyk
Martin Indyk is the director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. Born in England and educated in Australia, he migrated to the United States in 1982. As President Bill Clinton's Middle East advisor on the National Security Council, as assistant secretary for Near East affairs in the State Department, and as one of America's leading diplomats, he has helped develop Middle East policy in Washington's highest offices, as well as implement it on the region's front lines. In March 1995, President Clinton dispatched Indyk to Israel as U.S. amabassador to work with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on the peace process. He returned to Israel as ambassador in March 2000 to work with Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat on a renewed effort to achieve comprehensive peace and served in that capacity through the first six months of George W. Bush's presidency.


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