Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

American journalist Robert F. Worth wins 2017 Lionel Gelber Prize

Robert F. Worth is the author of A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS.


American journalist Robert F. Worth is the winner of this year's $15,000 Lionel Gelber Prize.

Worth won the literary award on Tuesday for his book "A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

Founded by Canadian diplomat Lionel Gelber in 1989, the prize honours the world's best English-language non-fiction book on foreign affairs that aims to enrich public debate on significant international issues.

Story continues below advertisement

Born and raised in New York, Worth is the former Beirut bureau chief for the New York Times, and spent 14 years as a foreign correspondent for the paper.

The Washington, D.C.-based journalist is a two-time finalist for the National Magazine Award, and is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine and the New York Review of Books.

In his prize-winning book, Worth explores the legacy of the Arab Spring uprising, which swept across the Middle East in 2011.

"Worth traverses the countries that shook the Middle East to its core, telling the region's political conflicts through the eyes of individuals who tried to bend the course of history," said jury chairman John Stackhouse in a statement.

"Through courageous reporting and empathetic writing, Worth makes clear that the popular will behind the Arab Spring has not receded, nor has the power behind its suppression abated."

Joining Stackhouse on the 2017 jury were last year's Lionel Gelber Prize winner American journalist Scott Shane, along with Astrid Tuminez of Singapore, and professors Allison Stanger (U.S.) and Antje Wiener (Germany.)

Other shortlisted finalists were:

Story continues below advertisement

  • Rosa Brooks for “How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon” (Simon & Schuster)
  • Shadi Hamid for “Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle Over Islam Is Reshaping the World” (St. Martin’s Press)
  • Arkady Ostrovsky for “The Invention of Russia: From Gorbachev’s Freedom to Putin’s War” (Viking)
  • Laura Secor for “Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran” (published by Allen Lane Canada)

Now in its 27th year, the award is presented annually by the Lionel Gelber Foundation, in partnership with Foreign Policy magazine and the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.

Report an error

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at