Edwards Book Award

An annual prize recognizing books that make an outstanding contribution to the understanding and practice of democracy and American politics.

Edwards Book Award

The Edwards Award is presented annually by the Rodel Institute to a book published in the prior year that promises to make an outstanding contribution to the understanding and practice of democracy and American politics. The prize 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 Harvard, Princeton, and American University, author of multiple scholarly books on the American political process, and founding Executive Director of the Rodel Fellowship.

Created in 2005, the Rodel Fellowship is the nation’s premier leadership development program for elected leaders. Each year, the program selects 24 outstanding state and local-level leaders, balanced equally between the political parties, to come together for a series of seminars to read and discuss classic texts dealing with ethical values, democratic principles, and wise and effective leadership. The Rodel Fellowship helps America’s most promising leaders reach their full potential as public servants, deepen their commitment to democracy and the rule of law, and work together to address some of our nation’s most important domestic and international challenges.

The Edwards Book Award is presented annually and carries an honorarium of $10,000. The winner of the prize will be determined by a committee of eight persons comprised of four Rodel Fellows, two Rodel Institute staff members, and two outside academic advisors appointed by the Rodel President. The prize will be announced in even numbered years at the campus of a major university, which will host a lecture to be delivered by the winner. In odd numbered years, the prize will be awarded at the Rodel Fellowship Reunion, where the winner will be a featured speaker. Excerpts from the winning book will be read and discussed in relevant Rodel Institute Seminars.

Rodel Fellowship Founding Executive
Director Mickey Edwards

2024 Shortlist

Justice by Means of Democracy
University of Chicago Press
Danielle Allen

Consistent Democracy: The 'Woman Question' and Self-Government in Nineteenth-Century America
Oxford University Press
Leslie Butler

Democracy in Darkness: Secrecy and Transparency in the Age of Revolutions
Yale University Press
Katlyn Marie Carter

King: A Life
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Jonathan Eig

An Ordinary Man: the Surprising Life and Historic Presidency of Gerald R. Ford
Harper Collins
Richard Norton Smith

A Nation So Conceived: Abraham Lincoln and the Paradox of Democratic Sovereignty
University Press of Kansas
Michael Zuckert

2023 Winner

Liberalism and Its Discontents
Farrar, Straus, Giroux
Francis Fukuyama

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.

To read the full blog post on presentation of the 2023 award, click here.

Meet the Committee

John Kroger

Rodel President & Chief Executive Officer and Rodel Fellow Class of 2010

Lizzy McCourt Noonan

Executive Director of the Edwards Book Award 

Larry Obhof

Partner, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP. and Rodel Fellow Class of 2017

Jennifer Siegel

Bruce R. Kuniholm Distinguished Professor of History and Public Policy, Duke University

Mike Signer

North America Policy Director, Airbnb and Rodel Fellow Class of 2017

Miguel Solis

Chief of Staff, The Commit Partnership and Rodel Fellow Class of 2014

Ian Solomon

Dean, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, University of Virginia

Jamie Woodson

Member, University of Tennessee Board of Trustees and Rodel Fellow Class of 2009

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