Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

For Immediate Release: April 12, 2006
Contact: Holly Milledge, (816) 268-8245
Media Relations
Lisa Sullivan, (816) 268-8248
Book Award Administrator


(Independence, Mo.) - Dr. Michael J. Devine, President of the Harry S. Truman Library Institute for National and International Affairs announced today that The Cold War: A New History (The Penguin Press, 2005) by John Lewis Gaddis is the winner of the 2006 Harry S. Truman Book Award.

The Harry S. Truman Book Award recognizes the Institute's selection of the best book published within a two-year period that deals with some aspect of the public career of Harry S. Truman or the history of the United States during the Truman presidency.

Professor Gaddis's book was selected from a field of twenty-eight entries, which included such other important books such as American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin (Alfred A. Knopf, 2005) and Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan by Tsuyoshi Hasegawa (Belknap Harvard University Press, 2005).

Dr. Jeffrey Gall, chair of the Harry S. Truman Book Award subcommittee, explained why Professor Gaddis's book was the standout among such a notable field. "His work is balanced, thought provoking, and it is such a compelling read. At just over 250 pages Gaddis does not attempt to look at the era's key events and crises in depth, but rather to provide the reader with a broad chronology, notable themes, key turning points, and most of all, the role played by key individuals such as Harry
Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and Josef Stalin in the early years of the Cold War and John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa, and Mikhail Gorbachev in the waning years of the conflict. But in focusing on key individuals, he does not ignore the equally significant role of common people in the streets behind the iron curtain who ultimately refused to accept being imprisoned by the stability that containment and détente provided. He reminds us how shocking and dramatic the final chapter of the Cold War actually was. Events transpired in the course of months that for decades no one had thought possible. The Gaddis book was selected as the work that will do the most to impact a wide, educated audience on the critical era in which Harry Truman occupied center stage."

Dr. Gall is an Associate Professor of History, Truman State University. Other members of the Harry S. Truman Book Award subcommittee are Alonzo L. Hamby, Distinguished Professor of History, Ohio University; Susan M. Hartmann, Professor of History and Women's Studies, Ohio State University; R. Crosby Kemper, III, Executive Director, Kansas City Public Library System; and Bryan F. LeBeau, Professor of History, University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The Harry S. Truman Library Institute for National and International Affairs is a private, not-for-profit organization that supports the Truman Presidential Museum & Library in Independence, Missouri. The Truman Presidential Museum & Library is one of eleven presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.

About the Author:

John Lewis Gaddis
Robert A. Lovett Professor of History
Yale University

Professor Gaddis, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas in 1968, has published numerous books, including: 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); and Surprise, Security, and the American Experience (2004). Professor Gaddis teaches courses in Cold War history, grand strategy, international studies, and biography.


The Truman Presidential Museum & Library is one of eleven Presidential Libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration. It is located at U.S. Highway 24 and Delaware in Independence, Missouri. For more information on the Museum and programs, call (816)268-8200 or visit www.trumanlibrary.org.

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