Archie Brown wins Pushkin House Book Prize 2021

Archie Brown at home

Archie Brown, Emeritus Professor of Politics, has won the Pushkin House Book Prize 2021 for The Human Factor: Gorbachev, Reagan, and Thatcher, and the End of the Cold War.

The award–open to English-language books worldwide that relate to Russia–is given each year for ‘original, insightful and well-written books and to encourage public understanding and intelligent debate about Russia and its culture’.

Reviewing the book, Emeritus Professor of International Relations at Cambridge Christopher Hill described it as being ‘as much a fine work of foreign policy analysis as it is Cold War history’.

The focus is on American and British foreign policy processes vis-à-vis the Soviet Union as well as on the transformation of Soviet foreign policy.

Archie has been at Oxford for the last 50 years, having been appointed University Lecturer in Soviet Institutions and elected a Fellow of St Antony’s in 1971. From 1989 until his retirement from teaching in 2005, he was Professor of Politics. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1991, chairing its Political Studies Section (1999-2002), and as an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003.

The Human Factor is the fourth book he has published (along with numerous articles) since his ‘retirement’. His other books include the 2009 publication The Rise and Fall of Communism, for which he was awarded (for a second time) the W.J.M. Mackenzie Prize of the Political Studies Association for best politics book of the year.

Of his new award of the Pushkin House Book Prize, Archie said: “I was both very surprised and gratified to win this prize, because there was keen competition from other excellent books on the shortlist of six.

“I appreciate the award the more because it came from a distinguished international panel of judges, chaired by Fiona Hill. It should go without saying that she is an excellent specialist on the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia and now a prominent American in-and-outer, having served in several different US Administrations.”

In announcing the prize, Dr Fiona Hill (former Senior Director for European and Russian Affairs on the US National Security Council) said, ‘The overall winner represents the very best in western scholarship on Russia and comparative politics’.

She added that The Human Factor contains ‘a lifetime’s achievement of wisdom and insight’ and is ‘in many respects the culmination of Archie Brown’s long and distinguished career as a scholar and writer’