The purpose of the award is to recognize and encourage distinguished research and writing by scholars of American foreign relations. The prize of $2,500 is awarded annually to an author for his or her first book on any aspect of the history of American foreign relations.
Eligibility: The prize is to be awarded for a first book (including all previously authored or co-authored books but excluding edited volumes). The book must be a history of international relations. Biographies of statesmen and diplomats are eligible. General surveys, autobiographies, editions of essays and documents, and works that represent social science disciplines other than history are not eligible.
Procedures: Books may be nominated by the author, the publisher, or any member of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. A nominating letter explaining why the book deserves consideration must accompany each entry in the competition. Books will be judged primarily in regard to their contributions to scholarship. Winning books should have exceptional interpretative and analytical qualities. They should demonstrate mastery of primary material and relevant secondary works, and they should display careful organization and distinguished writing. Five copies of each book must be submitted according to the procedure laid out below along with a letter of nomination. The award will be announced during the SHAFR annual conference. The prize will be divided only when two superior books are so evenly matched that any other decision seems unsatisfactory to the selection committee. The committee will not award the prize if there is no book in the competition that meets the standards of excellence established for the prize.
Nomination procedures for the 2018 prize (for books published in 2017) will be forthcoming.
The Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize Recent Winners:
- 2016 Nancy Kwak, A World of Homeowners: American Power and the Politics of Housing Aid
- 2015 Adam Ewing, The Age of Garvey: How a Jamaican Activist Created a Mass Movement and Changed Global Black Politics
- 2014 Andrew Friedman, Covert Capital: Landscapes of Denial and the Making of the U.S. Empire in the Suburbs of Northern Virginia
- 2013 Lien-Hang T. Nguyen, Hanoi’s War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam
- 2012 Sarah Snyder, Human Rights Activism and the End of the Cold War: A Transnational History of the Helsinki Network
- 2011 David Ekbladh, The Great American Mission: Modernization and the Construction of an American World Order
- 2010 Marc Selverstone, Constructing the Monolith: The United States, Great Britain, and International Communism, 1945–1950
- 2009: Jason Parker, Brother's Keeper: The United States, Race, and Empire in the British Caribbean, 1937-1962
- 2008: Erez Manela, The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism
- 2007: Paul A. Kramer, The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, The United States, & The Philippines.
- 2006: Seth Jacobs, America's Miracle Man in Vietnam: Ngo Dinh Diem, Religion, Race, and U.S. Intervention in Southeast Asia, 1950-1957; Elizabeth Borgwardt, A New Deal for the World: America's Vision for Human Rights
- 2005: Christopher Endy, Cold War Holidays: American Tourism in France
- 2004: David Engerman, Modernization from the Other Shore: American Intellectuals and the Romance of Russian Development
- 2003: Matthew Connelly, A Diplomatic Revolution: Algeria's Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era
- 2002: Mary Renda, Taking Haiti: Military Occupation and the Culture of U.S. Imperialism, 1915-1940
- 2001: Joseph Henning, Outposts of Civilization: Race, Religion, and the Formative Years of American-Japanese Relations; Gregory Mitrovich, Undermining the Kremlin: America's Strategy to Subvert the Soviet Bloc, 1947-1956
- 2000: Jessica Gienow-Hecht, Transmission Impossible: American Journalism as Cultural Diplomacy in Postwar Germany, 1945-1955; Fredrik Logevall, Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam
- 1999: Eric Roorda, The Dictator Next Door: The Good Neighbor Policy and the Trujillo Regime in the Dominican Republic, 1930-1945; Kurkpatrick Dorsey, The Dawn of Conservation Diplomacy: U.S.-Canadian Wildlife Protection Treaties in the Progressive Era
- 1998: Penny Von Eschen, Race Against Empire: Black Americans and Anticolonialism, 1937-1957
- 1997: Carolyn Eisenberg, Drawing the Line: The American Decision to Divide Germany, 1944-1949
- 1996: Robert Buzzanco, Masters of War: Military Dissent and Politics in the Vietnam Era
- 1995: Reinhold Wagnleitner, Coca-colonization and the Cold War: The Cultural Mission of the United States in Austria after the Second World War; James Hershberg, James B. Conant: Harvard to Hiroshima and the Making of the Nuclear Age
- 1994: Tim Borstelmann, Apartheid's Reluctant Uncle: The United States and Southern Africa in the Early Cold War
- 1993: Elizabeth Cobbs, The Rich Neighbor Policy: Rockefeller and Kaiser in Brazil
- 1992: Thomas Schwartz, America's Germany: John J. McCloy and the Federal Republic of Germany
- 1991: Gordon Chang, Friends and Enemies: The United States, China, and the Soviet Union, 1948-1972
- 1990: Walter Hixson, George F. Kennan: Cold War Iconoclast; Anders Stephanson, Kennan and the Art of Foreign Policy