May 20, 2010 — Marc J. Selverstone of the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs has won the 2010 Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize for his book, "Constructing the Monolith: The United States, Great Britain, and International Communism, 1945-1950." The prize is presented annually by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations in recognition of distinguished research and writing in the field.
"It's an honor to be recognized by my peers, and I'm very pleased to have made a contribution to the literature in my field," Selverstone said.
In his book, Selverstone explores American and British efforts to define global communism. As the Cold War emerged during the late 1940s, the United States and Great Britain tended to see communism as a "monolithic" conspiratorial movement controlled from Moscow. As a result, both countries came to view all Communists, regardless of their native land or political program, as tools of the Kremlin. This mindset would shape international relations for much of the 20th century.
The prize, which is awarded for an author's first book, was presented to Selverstone during the society's luncheon on April 10 at the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians in Washington, D.C.
Prize committee chair John Prados described Selverstone's book as "a far-reaching, deeply researched study that combines close comparative analysis and subtle yet compelling arguments."
Selverstone is an associate professor with the Miller Center's Presidential Recordings Program. His interests include U.S. foreign relations post-1945, the culture of the Cold War and the Vietnam War. Selverstone is presently writing another book, "The Kennedy Withdrawal: Camelot and the American Commitment to Vietnam."
An archived webcast of Selverstone's 2009 Virginia Festival of the Book presentation on "Constructing the Monolith" is available here.