Paul Scharre has won the 2019 William E. Colby Award for his book, Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War (Norton). He will receive the $5,000 prize, awarded by Norwich University, funded by the Pritzker Military Foundation and honoring "a first solo work of fiction or non-fiction that has made a major contribution to the understanding of military history, intelligence operations or international affairs," at Norwich University during the Norwich University Military Writers' Symposium, September 24-25, in Northfield, Vt.
Organizers described Army of None as an exploration of "what could happen when next-generation weapons change warfare in a fast-paced and exciting non-fiction narrative. Scharre examines the role of artificial intelligence, autonomous weapons, the complex legal and ethical issues involved, and their growing use worldwide. Combining military history, philosophy, science, and global policy with interviews with defense experts, activists, analysts, and psychologists, Scharre argues that technology should be utilized when it provides benefits and makes war more humane, spares civilian lives, and increases precision, but that autonomous technology is no replacement for human empathy, judgment, and decision-making."
Colby Symposium co-founder Carlo D'Este called Army of None "an important, thoughtful and timely appraisal of the future of warfare and how autonomous weapons may well affect how wars are fought and possibly decided by artificial intelligence. Army of None is also a sober warning that we're embarking on an age of dangerous and uncharted waters."
A former U.S. Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Scharre is a senior fellow and director of the technology and national security program at the Center for a New American Security. He had a leading role in establishing policies on unmanned and autonomous systems and emerging weapons technologies while working in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2008-2013.
Finalists for the 2019 Colby Award included: A Spy Named Orphan by Roland Phillips (Norton), Brotherhood of Mamluks by Brad Graft (Sager Group), The China Mission by Daniel Kurtz-Phelan (Norton), Facts and Fears by James R. Clapper (Viking) and War on Peace by Ronan Farrow (Norton).
The Rabbit Listened, written and illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld (Dial Books), has won the third annual Anna Dewdney Read Together Award, sponsored by Penguin Young Readers, the Children's Book Council and Every Child a Reader and honoring "a picture book that is both a superb read-aloud and also sparks compassion, empathy, and connection."
Doerrfeld will be awarded a prize of $1,000 from the Children's Book Council, and Penguin will purchase and donate 250 copies of The Rabbit Listened to a school, library, or literacy organization of her choice. A reading by Doerrfeld and the award presentation will take place at the Red Balloon Bookstore in St. Paul, Minn., on May 2 at 10:30 a.m.
The 2019 Honor Books are: Drawn Together by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat (Disney Hyperion); Dreamers by Yuyi Morales (Holiday House); I Am Enough by Grace Byers, illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo (Balzer & Bray); Julian Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love (Candlewick); and Thank You, Omu! by Oga Mora (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers).
The winner and honor books were chosen by voting over the last two months by librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country.