Liberalism and Its Discontents by Francis Fukuyama Wins Inaugural Edwards Book Award

The Rodel Institute is pleased to announce that Francis Fukuyama’s book Liberalism and Its Discontents has won the inaugural Edwards Book Award. The prize was conferred on October 13, 2023 at the Rodel Institute’s Fellowship Reunion in Washington, D.C., where Dr. Fukuyama gave the keynote address to 140 Rodel Fellows and guests. The Edwards Book Award is given annually to a book that contributes to the understanding and practice of democracy and American politics.

Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2022, Liberalism and Its Discontents offers a compelling defense of classical liberalism and liberal democracy in the face of growing authoritarianism around the globe. Over the past several decades, certain liberal ideas have been pushed to extremes resulting in calls from both the left and the right to abandon liberalism. Dr. Fukuyama chronicles challenges from the left over liberalism’s embrace of neoliberal policies that have exacerbated inequality as well as critiques from the right that denounce the elevation of individual autonomy and identity politics as threats to traditional religious and cultural beliefs. He argues that recovering a sense of individual and communal moderation is crucial for reviving liberalism and strengthening democracy.

Lizzy McCourt Noonan, Executive Director of the Edwards Book Award, said “the Award Committee ultimately found Dr. Fukuyama’s call to work across the political spectrum to restore trust in government and rebuild a shared political community to be an inspiring message for today’s elected leaders.”

Dr. Fukuyama is a renowned political scientist who serves as the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and a faculty member of FSI’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law. He is also the Directory of Stanford’s Ford Dorsey Master’s in International Policy. Dr. Fukuyama is the author of a dozen books and numerous essays and articles on domestic and international politics.

Liberalism and Its Discontents was among three finalists for the Edwards Book Award shortlist of more than 60 books that were nominated and considered for the Award. The other shortlist finalists were Richard Bensel’s The Founding of Modern States and William J. Novak’s New Democracy: The Creation of the Modern American State.

The Edwards Book Award is named in honor of Marvin Henry “Mickey” Edwards, who has inspired generations of American public servants and students as a Member of Congress, faculty member at HarvardPrinceton, and American Universities, author of multiple scholarly books on the American political process, and founding Executive Director of the Rodel Fellowship.

Please visit the Edwards Book Award webpage for more information about the award, its selection committee, and this year’s longlist and shortlist finalists. You can submit a nomination for the 2024 Award here.