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LSE historian wins US Bancroft book award

Professor Odd Arne Westad of LSE's International History Department has been awarded a major US prize for his book on the Cold War.

Professor Westad, also a director of the School's Cold War Studies Centre, was announced yesterday (Tuesday 14 March) as one of the three winners of the 2006 Bancroft Prize.

His book The Global Cold War: Third World interventions and the making of our times (Cambridge University Press) was named one of the winners alongside Dwelling Place: a plantation epic (Yale University Press) by Erskine Clarke and The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln (Norton) by Sean Wilentz.

One of the most coveted honours in the field of history, the Bancroft is awarded annually by the trustees of Columbia University to the authors of books of exceptional merit in the fields of American history, biography and diplomacy. The 2006 awards are for books published in 2005.

Columbia University president Lee C Bollinger will present the awards to the recipients at a formal dinner on 26 April at the University's Low Memorial Library, hosted by the Department of History and the University Libraries.

The Bancroft Prize, which includes an award of $10,000 to each author, is administered by James Neal, vice president for Information Services and University librarian at Columbia.

'Over 200 books were nominated for consideration by the Bancroft jury this year,' James Neal said. 'Once again, we were very impressed by the number of excellent submissions covering a broad range of themes, and are proud to announce this year's winners.'

Bancroft jurors noted that '[t]he book shows how the ideological commitments of the United States (and the Soviet Union) led them to unexpected interventions in the Third World....Westad shows how central the Third World's ambitions for development were to the global conflict between the two superpowers, and how that contest shaped what we now call the 'global South'. The result is a humane and bold history of the United States as a global force in the twentieth century, one that explains better than the standard histories the troubled post-Cold War world in which we live.'

Professor Westad is convenor of the Department of International History at LSE and a director of the Cold War Studies Centre. He studied history, philosophy and modern languages at the University of Oslo and received his PhD in history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Dr Westad served for eight years as director of research at the Norwegian Nobel Institute. He has taught at LSE since 1998, mostly on Cold War history and the modern history of East Asia.

He has previously co-authored of The Cold War: a history in documents and eyewitness accounts (Oxford, 2003) and author of Decisive Encounters: the Chinese civil war, 1945-1950 (Stanford, 2003). He has held visiting fellowships at Cambridge University, Hong Kong University, and New York University, and has been the recipient of major grants from the John D and Catharine T MacArthur Foundation and the British Arts and Humanities Research Board. He has served as the international co-ordinator of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Advisory Group on Declassification and Archival Access and has advised several other governments on such issues. In 2000, Professor Westad was awarded the Bernath Lecture Prize from the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations. He is a founding editor of the journal Cold War History, and, with Melvyn Leffler, the general editor of the forthcoming Cambridge History of the Cold War.


Bancroft contact: Anne Burt, (001) +212 854 7884, email: ab2673@columbia.edu|


The Bancroft Prizes were established at Columbia in 1948 with a bequest from Frederic Bancroft, the historian, author and librarian of the Department of State, to provide steady development of library resources, to support instruction and research in American history and diplomacy and to recognize exceptional books in the field.

15 March 2006