Bernard Schwartz Book Award

2014 Award | 2013 Winner | 2013 Jury Members | Previous Winners

About the Award

The Bernard Schwartz Book Award is an international award recognizing nonfiction books that provide outstanding contributions to the understanding of contemporary Asia and/or U.S.-Asia relations. The award is designed to advance public awareness of the changes taking place in Asia and the implications for the wider world, and to raise the profile of authors making a meaningful contribution to this dialogue.

Asia Society established the Bernard Schwartz Book Award in 2009. The inaugural winner was Duncan McCargo, author of Tearing Apart the Land: Islam and Legitimacy in Southern Thailand (Cornell University Press). Each year, an independent jury comprised of experts in the fields of policy, media, academia, cultural affairs, and business select the winner. The winning author receives a $20,000 prize and is honored at a special event at Asia Society. Two honorable mentions are also selected and each receive a $2,000 prize.

2014 Bernard Schwartz Book Award

The nominating period for the 2014 Bernard Schwartz Book Award has ended. The winner of the 2014 award will be announced in Fall 2014.

Books are evaluated based on their ability to:

  • Provide special insights and new perspectives into understanding contemporary Asia and/or U.S.-Asia relations.
  • Describe and explain changes taking place in Asia and/or in U.S.-Asia relations and the implications for the wider world to a general audience.
  • Bring forth ideas that offer potential policy impacts relating to the region.

An independent jury comprised of experts in the fields of policy, media, academia, cultural affairs, and business will select the winner. The winning author will receive a $20,000 prize and be honored at a special event at Asia Society. Two honorable mentions will be selected and each will receive a $2,000 prize.

Rules & Eligibility

  1. The deadline for submitting nominations was February 28, 2014
  2. Books submitted must be published in English.
  3. The first English edition of the book must have been published between 1 January and 31 December 2013.
  4. Entries published in another language between 1 January and 31 December 2013 and translated into English and published during this same period are eligible for submission.
  5. Nominations by publishers (including non-U.S. publishers) or individuals are eligible.
  6. Biographies, autobiographies, and historical books are eligible if they meet the criteria of the award as described above.
  7. For the purposes of this award, “Asia” is defined by Asia Society as the area from Japan to Iran, and from Central Asia to New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
  8. Note that prize winnings are considered taxable income. 

Please do not mail books until contacted to do so. If selected for jury consideration, Asia Society will notify the publisher or individual and request up to 15 copies of the book.

2013 Winner: Odd Arne Westad's Restless Empire: China and the World Since 1750

Daniel H. Rosen

Restless Empire: China and the World Since 1750 by Odd Arne Westad (Basic Books) has won the 2013 Asia Society Bernard Schwartz Book Award. Dr. Westad was honored and presented with a $20,000 prize at a special event held at Asia Society’s headquarters in New York City on December 18, 2013.

The Asia Society Bernard Schwartz Book Award is the only award that recognizes nonfiction books for their outstanding contributions to the understanding of contemporary Asia or U.S.-Asia relations. Restless Empire was selected from over 130 nominations submitted by U.S. and Asia-based publishers for books published in 2012.

A jury co-chaired by Tommy T. B. Koh, Singapore’s Ambassador-at-Large, and Carol Gluck, George Sansom Professor of History at Columbia University, and composed of leading experts and figures from policy, academia, and journalism from Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States selected the winner and honorable mentions.

According to Dr. Gluck, Restless Empire is “a magnetic account of China over the past 300 years, showing that China has always been in the world and that the world has always been in China. The links between past and present are eye-opening, persuasive, and important.”

Ambassador Koh added, “The Chinese are a historically minded people. The way they think and act is strongly influenced by their history. Dr. Westad’s book will help the reader to better understand how a rising China relates to the world today.”

Two honorable mentions were also chosen: Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo (Random House) and From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia by Pankaj Mishra (Penguin Press UK). Each received a $2,000 prize.

Shop AsiaStore for the 2013 Bernard Schwartz Book Award winner and honorable mention titles.

2013 Jury Members

Carol Gluck

Carol Gluck (Jury Co-Chair) is the George Sansom Professor of History at Columbia University. She specializes in modern Japan from the late nineteenth century to the present, international relations, and historiography and public memory in Japan and the West. Her most recent book is Words in Motion: Toward a Global Lexicon (Duke University Press, 2009). Her next book, Thinking with the Past: Modern Japan and History, will be published by the University of California Press in 2013, and Past Obsessions: World War II in History and Memory (Columbia University Press) is forthcoming.

Tommy T.B. Koh

Tommy T.B. Koh (Jury Co-Chair) is Singapore’s Ambassador-At-Large, Special Adviser at the Institute of Policy Studies at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, and Chairman of the National Heritage Board. He is also Chairman of the Governing Board of the Centre for International Law at the the National University of Singapore. Among his many government appointments, he has served as Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, High Commissioner to Canada, and Ambassador to the United States and Mexico. He is a member of Asia Society’s Global Council.

Susan Glasser

Susan Glasser is editor of POLITICO magazine. Glasser joined POLITICO after several years as editor-in-chief of the award-winning magazine Foreign Policy, overseeing its relaunch in print and as a daily online magazine. Before that, Glasser worked for a decade at the Washington Post, where she was a foreign correspondent, editor, and political reporter. She and her husband, New York Times White House correspondent Peter Baker, spent four years as co-chiefs of the Post’s Moscow Bureau, throughout President Vladimir Putin’s first term. Their book Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the End of Revolution was published in 2005. Glasser also covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as a correspondent for the Post and held a number of senior positions, including assistant managing editor for national news and editor of Outlook, the Post’s weekly section of commentary and ideas.

Vali Nasr

Vali Nasr is Dean of the Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and a contributor at Bloomberg View. He served as Senior Advisor to U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, between 2009 and 2011. He is a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution; a member of the U.S. Department of State's Foreign Affairs Policy Board; a trustee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the National Democratic Institute; and a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Kazuo Ogoura

Kazuo Ogoura is currently serving as Secretary General of the Council of Tokyo 2020 Bid Committee. Prior to his appointment to the Committee, Ambassador Ogoura was President of the Japan Foundation in 2003–11. Before that, he was a Visiting Researcher at the National Institute for Research Advancement and an invited Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University. He worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan for 40 years before retiring in 2002. His key posts in the Ministry included Director-General of the Cultural Affairs Department, Director-General of the Economic Affairs Bureau, and Deputy Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was also Japan’s Ambassador to Vietnam, South Korea, and France.

Thitinan Pongsudhirak

Thitinan Pongsudhirak is Associate Professor of International Political Economy and Director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. His publications have focused on Thailand’s political economy, foreign policy, and media, as well as ASEAN and East Asian security and economic cooperation. His comments and op-eds have been featured in international and local media. With prior experience at BBC World Service and The Economist Intelligence Unit, he earned degrees from the University of California at Santa Barbara and Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His PhD at the London School of Economics received the UK’s best dissertation prize. He has held visiting positions at SAIS, Stanford University, and Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, serving on editorial boards of several academic journals.

Susan Shirk

Susan Shirk is Director of the University of California’s system-wide Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation and Ho Miu Lam professor of China and Pacific Relations at UC San Diego. From 2008–09, she was the Arthur Ross Fellow of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society. She also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs from 2000–03, with responsibility for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Mongolia. Her most recent publication is Changing Media, Changing China, which was published in 2011.

Rizal Sukma

Rizal Sukma is Executive Director of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is also Chairman of International Relations in the Muhammadiyah Central Executive Board, and a member of the Board of Governors of the implementing agency for the Bali Democracy Forum at the Institute for Peace and Democracy. He has served as a member of the National Committee on Strategic Defense Review at the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Indonesia, and the National Drafting Committee for the National Defense Bill and the Armed Forces Bill. He is the first Indonesian to receive the Nakasone Award and was named as one of 100 Top Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine in 2009.