Peace, They Say, by Jay Nordlinger


Peace, They Say, by Jay Nordlinger


Jay Nordlinger, a senior editor of National Review, gives a fascinating history of the Nobel Peace Prize — which, as his subtitle says, is "the most famous and controversial prize in the world."

This is a big, handsome, hardcover book, approximately 450 pages. Beautifully written, it reads fast.

The peace prize begins in 1901, meaning that you have a sweeping history of the 20th century, plus about a decade beyond. The prize takes us through World War I, the Depression, World War II, the Cold War, the Arab-Israeli conflict, apartheid, environmentalism, the War on Terror — almost everything.

You confront some of the biggest questions there are: war and peace, freedom and tyranny, etc.

And you meet a parade of people — more than a hundred laureates, not a dullard in the bunch. Some of these people are historic statesmen: Roosevelt (Teddy), Mandela. Some are 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, of course, Obama (to name just a handful).

Probably no figure in Peace, They Say 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. How about Gandhi?

Peace, They Say is enlightening, enriching — 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.

You can have your own copy of Peace, They Say for $27.99, direct from National Review. The author is happy to personally sign and inscribe it. Please give the relevant info where it says "Gift note," in the order form.

And why not order two copies? Peace, They Say will make a great gift for anyone interested in history, biography, world affairs — life itself.


"Jay Nordlinger is one of America’s most versatile and pungent writers."
Paul Johnson
Author of Modern Times, etc.

"Nordlinger offers a unique combination of depth and accuracy of knowledge with clarity and elegance of style. It is a pleasure to read sophistication without affectation."
Bernard Lewis
Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Emeritus
Princeton University

"Few writers are well qualified to write about the world’s cultures, and none more so than Jay Nordlinger. His fascinating history of the Nobel Peace Prize is deeply researched and wittily rendered — like a crowd of contradictory characters in a Shakespeare tragedy? comedy?"
Robert Conquest
Author of The Great Terror, etc.

"Jay Nordlinger’s book is an authoritative and fair account of the most controversial of the Nobel prizes. Very readable, it sets the picture straight."
Richard Pipes
Baird Professor of History, Emeritus
Harvard University


Lou Cannon at RealClearBooks: "This is a delightful book with something of value on every page. It at once entertained me and enriched my knowledge. How many books do that? If you pick it up, I defy you to put it down until you’ve finished it."

Andrew Roberts in the Washington Times: "In an absorbingly well-researched, well-written and thoughtful history of the Peace Prize . . . Nordlinger looks with a critical but not jaundiced eye at the laureates. . . . In the course of his deliberations he has thought deeply about what genuinely constitutes peace."

Bruce Bawer at FrontPage Mag: " . . . at once highly judicious and deliciously readable."

Solomon Volkov, Radio Liberty / Radio Free Europe: "A masterly book, which dissects its notoriously controversial subject with precision, elegance, and wit. A splendid job!"

John J. Miller, director of journalism at Hillsdale College: ". . . like a history of the modern world, told through the prism of the prize, full of characters both familiar and unfamiliar, and well written in the style we’ve come to expect."

Robert Low in Standpoint: ". . . entertaining and readable."

Mona Charen in her syndicated column: "Nordlinger is an engaging and wise tour guide."

Scott Johnson at Power Line: " . . . a brilliant, thought-provoking, enraging, inspirational, fascinating, moving book."

John Bolton in The Weekly Standard: "The Nobel Peace Prize is the world's most prestigious award, as Jay Nordlinger argues in this erudite and insightful history. He has written not only the go-to reference book for the prize and its laureates but also an important philosophical reflection on the nature of 'peace' in modern times. . . . Had this book been a one-sided screed, the prize's acolytes would have far less trouble in scoffing or ignoring it. Unfortunately for them, Peace, They Say is irreproachably temperate."