Random House Author Deborah Cohen Wins the Mark Lynton History Prize for LAST CALL AT THE HOTEL IMPERIAL


Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard recently announced the winners of the 2023 J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Awards, including the Mark Lynton History Prize for Deborah Cohen’s LAST CALL AT THE HOTEL IMPERIAL: The Reporters Who Took On a World at War, published by Random House. Established in 1998, the J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project honors the best in American nonfiction writing. Co-administered by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, and sponsored by the family of the late Mark Lynton, a historian and senior executive at the firm Hunter Douglas in the Netherlands, the Lukas Prize Project annually presents four awards in three categories. Ms. Cohen will receive her $10,000 prize at the awards ceremony on Wednesday, May 3rd, which will be held at Columbia Journalism School.

Judges praised LAST CALL AT THE HOTEL IMPERIAL in the following citation:

Now available in paperback.

“Cohen’s brilliant ensemble drama features American newspaper correspondents John Gunther, Dorothy Thompson, Vincent “Jimmy” Sheean, and H.R. Knickerbocker as each arrives in Europe after World War I and chases stories that lead readers at home to reimagine their place in a changing world. Perceptive and unabashedly inquisitive, Cohen has written not only a rich cultural history but a commanding and inspiring account of war and politics in the 1930s. As they witnessed the rise of fascism and debated communism, these reporters shared a conviction that the idea of journalistic objectivity should be set aside. Truth was more important, as Sheean put it, than a “litany of facts.” They wrote what they felt and thought about the world in crisis. Cohen’s extraordinary narrative combines distinctive literary style and deep archival revelations to illuminate the personal as political. She captures these writers as passionate idealists facing a world in crisis, their messy lives caught in a swirl of infidelity and loyalty, love and rivalry, pride and loss. Last Call is to be savored like a dry martini at Vienna’s Hotel Imperial bar.”

Deborah Cohen, © Becca Heuer Photography.

Deborah Cohen is the Richard W. Leopold Professor of History at Northwestern University. Her previous books include THE WAR COME HOME and FAMILY SECRETS, and she writes for the Atlantic,  the New York Review of Books, and the Wall Street Journal. LAST CALL AT THE HOTEL IMPERIAL was also awarded the Goldsmith Book Prize for the best book on democratic governance and the media by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center.

See our Penguin Random House winners and finalists here and view the full list of 2023 J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Award winners here. 

Posted: April 6, 2023