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David Finkel Wins 2010 Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism for "The Good Soldiers"


In 2007 when George W. Bush announced a new strategy for the war in Iraq, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist David Finkel hit the front lines with Battalion 2-16 in Baghdad to report a first-hand account of “the surge.” The result, The Good Soldiers (Sarah Crichton Books/FSG) has won critical acclaim and now the 2010 New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism. Finkel received the award last night at a reception in the Trustees Room at the Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The award was presented by Library President Paul LeClerc, Selection Committee Chair James F. Hoge, and Daily Beast Editor Tina Brown.  
“Sincere congratulations to David Finkel,” said Paul LeClerc, President of The New York Public Library. “It is vital that awards like this one honor journalism of the caliber demonstrated by Mr. Finkel and his fellow finalists. The dedication required in this level of journalism is an astounding feat. It is that dedication that literally puts one’s life on the line that makes an immeasurable contribution our society.”
Finkel was selected from over 100 nominees and four other finalists who received a $1,000 cash prize. The finalists were Peter Maass Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil (Knopf); Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty (PublicAffairs); John Cassidy How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities (Farrar Straus and Giroux); and Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Knopf).  
Established in 1988 the Bernstein Book Award is given annually to a journalist whose work has brought public attention to important issues and includes a $15,000 cash prize. Last year’s winner was Jane Mayer for The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals. Other past Bernstein Award winners include Lawrence Wright, Thomas Friedman, George Packer, Tina Rosenberg, David Remnick, and Nicholas Lemann.
About the Author
David Finkel is the National Enterprise Editor of The Washington Post. He was awarded the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for his series of stories about U.S.-funded democracy efforts in Yemen. Finkel has also won the 2010 J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Awards (at Columbia J School) for The Good Soldiers. Finkel lives with his wife and tow daughters in Silver Spring, Maryland.
About the Selection Committee
The 2010 Selection Committee, which selects the winner from among the five finalists, is chaired by James F. Hoge, Jr., Editor of Foreign Affairs, and Peter G. Peterson chair of the Council on Foreign Relations. The other 2010 committee members are: Harold McGraw III, Chairman, President and CEO, The McGraw-Hill Companies; Jack Rosenthal, Senior Fellow, The Atlantic Philanthropies; Lynn Povich, an independent media consultant who serves on the boards of the International Women’s Media Foundation and the Advisory Board of the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch; Charlie Savage, Washington Correspondent; The New York Times, and 2007 Bernstein Award recipient for his book Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy; and Elaine Sciolino, Paris Correspondent; The New York Times, and 2001 Bernstein Award recipient for her book Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran.
About The New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award
Established in 1987, The New York Public Library Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism annually honors an outstanding journalist whose book has drawn public attention to important current issues or events. The award was established with a gift from Joseph F. Bernstein in honor of Helen Bernstein, a journalist in Palm Beach, Florida. The gift also included an endowment for the position of the Helen Bernstein Librarian for Periodicals and Journals. The position is currently held by Karen Gisonny, who oversees a collection of over 10,000 periodicals in the DeWitt Wallace Periodical Room. The collection is used by thousands of researchers annually and is an invaluable resource for writers, artists, journalists, broadcasters, business people, and students. Ms. Gisonny also coordinates collection development activities for periodicals and small press materials across the Library and hosts the literary reading series Periodically Speaking and the annual Magathon - both held in the Periodicals Room. Information about the award and the nomination process is available online at
About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was created in 1895 with the consolidation of the private libraries of John Jacob Astor and James Lenox with the Samuel Jones Tilden Trust. The Library provides free and open access to its physical and electronic collections and information, as well as to its services. Its renowned research collections are located in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street; The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem; and the Science, Industry and Business Library at 34th Street and Madison Avenue. Eighty-eight branch libraries provide access to circulating collections and a wide range of other services in neighborhoods throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Research and circulating collections combined total more than 50 million items. In addition, each year the Library presents thousands of exhibitions and public programs, which include classes in technology, literacy, and English for speakers of other languages. All in all The New York Public Library serves more than 17 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at
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