James Carroll for his book House of War (Houghton Mifflin)

The PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award is a biennial award given to a distinguished book of general nonfiction possessing notable literary merit and critical perspective and illuminating important contemporary issues which has been published in the United States during the previous two calendar years. It is intended that the winning book possess the qualities of intellectual rigor, perspicuity of expression, and stylistic elegance conspicuous in the writings of author and economist John Kenneth Galbraith, whose four dozen books and countless other publications continue to provide an important and incisive commentary on the American social, intellectual and political scene.

2007 Judges

Jane Kramer, Jeffery Madrick, and David Nasaw

From the Judges’ Citation

“Mr. Carroll has given us…[an] important and…enduring book about the role of one of our most powerful institutions—the Pentagon—during the 50 historic years of the Cold War. In doing so, he has put to rest a half-century of myths about the period and the institution.  He has presented the people in his story—from the villains to the heroes—with insight and sympathy, never separating those men from the parts they played nor from the sweep of the history they helped to shape. Nor does he separate that history from his own personal history—the story of an evolving awareness of the immensely  complicated and often damning relationship  between our  military-industrial complex  and the foreign policy it drove. House of War is in the best American—or should we say Galbraithian?—tradition of  honorable, muckraking scholarship and narrative passion,  made memorable by  the warm, critical, and never hidden heart of a man who loves his country enough to demand the best from it.”


Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff
for The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation (Knopf)

Thomas E. Ricks
for Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq (The Penguin Press)