Cambridge resident and former Harvard fellow Daniel Yergin won a Pulitzer prize on Monday. But he's still stunned.
"I didn't think it was possible," he said in an interview yesterday. "I heard about it from a newspaper reporter who called. I'm still stunned."
Yergin, a well-known expert on energy and international affairs, was awarded the 1992 Pulitzer Prize in the general non-fiction category.
Yergin, president of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, received recognition this week for his narrative history. The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power.
In The Prize, Yergin combines his interests in international relations, history and energy issues with his enjoyment of narration.
"There's a reason that history is the mother of disciplines. It's about storytelling," Yergin said. "Narrative is basic to human existence. It's way of making sense of reality and that's what a historian does...I think that's a high calling."
Yergin said he is aware that his view are controversial in the academic world, but insisted that history should not be an isolate field.
"Historians should learn not only from historians, but from the likes of Charles Dickens," he said.
Yergin also he enjoyed writing his prize-winning book.
"When it was going well, I would get a runner's high--quite appropriately since I was in for a long marathon."
Yergin said he spent seven years working on The Prize, and he added that he never had a problem maintaining his interest.
"There are so many fascinating things I discovered along the way. You couldn't have a better cast of characters if you invented them," he said.
Yergin received his B.A. in English from Yale in 1968. He was a Marshall Scholar at Cambridge University for two years and then went on to receive a Ph.D. in history and international relations from Cambridge in 1973.
In the mid-1970s, Yergin was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard where he first became interested in energy questions.
Yergin's connection with Harvard continued from 1976 to 1979, during which time he studied at the Business School. He then lectured at the Kennedy School until 1983.
And in 1982 Yergin co-founded the cambridge Energy Research Associates. He has served as the president of the firm since that time.
Yergin released his first book, Shattered Peace: The Origins of the Cold War, in 1977. Two years later he co-edited a book entitled Energy Future with Wilson Professor of Business Administration Robert B. Stobaugh.
Yergin said that he has no immediate ideas for a new book, and that he will relax a bit in the near future. "I feel a need to catch my breath," he said.