Peace, They Say by Jay Nordlinger
A History of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Most Famous and Controversial Prize in the World

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In this book, Jay Nordlinger gives a history of what the subtitle calls “the most famous and controversial prize in the world.” The Nobel Peace Prize, like the other Nobel prizes, began in 1901. So we have a neat, sweeping history of the 20th century, and about a decade beyond. The Nobel prize involves a first world war, a second world war, a cold war, a terror war, and more. It contends with many of the key issues of modern times, and of life itself.

It also presents a parade of interesting people—more than a hundred laureates, not a dullard in the bunch. Some of these laureates have been historic statesmen, such as Roosevelt (Teddy) and Mandela. Some have been heroes or saints, such as Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa. Some belong in other categories—where would you place Arafat? Controversies also swirl around the awards to Kissinger, Gorbachev, Gore, and Obama, to name just a handful.

Probably no figure in this book is more interesting than a non-laureate: Alfred Nobel, the Swedish scientist and entrepreneur who started the prizes. The book also addresses “missing laureates,” people who did not win the peace prize but might have, or should have (Gandhi?).

Peace, They Say is enlightening and enriching, and sometimes even fun. It has its opinions, but it also provides what is necessary for readers to form their own opinions. What is peace, anyway? All these people who have been crowned “champions of peace,” and the world’s foremost—should they have been? Such is the stuff this book is made on.

About Jay Nordlinger

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Jay Nordlinger is a senior editor of National Review. He writes about a variety of subjects, including politics, foreign affairs, and the arts. He is music critic for The New Criterion and City Arts (New York), as well as for NR. He has won awards for his work on human rights, in particular. Some 100 pieces are gathered in Here, There & Everywhere: Collected Writings of Jay Nordlinger. A native Michigander, the author lives in New York.
Published March 27, 2012 by Encounter Books. 478 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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New York Journal of Books

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“Peace, They Say makes us consider the complexity of war and peace. The fact that the Nobel Peace Prize is still so highly valued speaks to a yearning the world over for the absence of war—and the ongoing struggle for lasting peace.”

Mar 20 2012 | Read Full Review of Peace, They Say: A History of...

National Review Online

She wrote a totemic memoir, or had one written for her.

Sep 07 2015 | Read Full Review of Peace, They Say: A History of...

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