Former President Richard M. Nixon knew he didn't like journalist Stanley Karnow.
This was one of Karnow's proudest achievements and he treasures the White House memos, complete with Nixon's handwritten margin notes proving this fact.
Long-time Potomac resident Karnow recently received the Shorenstein Award from Harvard and Stanford universities last month.
The annual award, which carries a cash prize of $10,000, honors a journalist for a distinguished body of work and the way it has helped American readers understand the complexities of Asia.
"It would not be too much to say that Karnow has done more than any other living American to illuminate Asia and its complex history," said Orville Schell, dean of the graduate school of journalism at UC Berkeley, and a member of the jury that selected Karnow for the award.
"And, because he has done so with experience, insight and intelligence, it is more than fitting that he become the first recipient of this award."
Karnow, 77, said he has had four big honors during his career.
"I was on Nixon's enemies list; Nixon tried and failed to keep me from going with him to China when I was working for the Post; winning the Pulitzer; and, of course, the Shorenstein Award," said Karnow, making coffee in his kitchen in Potomac where he has lived 30 years.
<mh>1.5 Million Sold
<bt>Karnow is a great neighbor who happens to have a distinguished career in journalism, said Sen. Jean Roesser (R-15).
"Stanley is very active in community issues." said Roesser, who intends to take Karnow up on his offer to go door to door with her during her campaign as part of his research for his next book on Asian Americans.
Karnow won a Pulitzer in 1991 for "Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines," and his book "Vietnam: A History" has sold 1.5 million copies. His most recent book, "Paris in the Fifties," was published in 1997. He is also the recipient of three Overseas Press Club awards and six Emmys.
"As I said in my acceptance speech, I received this award because of longevity; all the others I could think of who should be getting this award are dead," said Karnow, who was presented the award on Jan. 17 at a ceremony at Stanford University. It is awarded jointly by The Shorenstein Forum for Asia-Pacific Studies at Stanford University, and the Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University, part of the Kennedy School of Government.
<mh>Hong Kong to Potomac
<bt>For 23 years before moving to Potomac, Karnow wrote for Time magazine, first in Paris and then in Hong Kong. Karnow was assigned by Time to cover Vietnam in the 1950s.
Over the course of his career, Karnow has written for Life, The Saturday Evening Post, London Observer and The Washington Post, and reported for NBC News.
A graduate of Harvard University, Karnow grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. He met his wife while covering the war in Algeria (she was working for the American foreign service) and they raised two of their three children in Potomac. The oldest was already in boarding school when they moved from Hong Kong in 1970.
Karnow could have won an award for lifetime achievement 30 years ago, said Del. Jean B. Cryor (R-15), who has worked with Karnow on local issues.
"Stanley is brilliant and kind and he's one of the people that makes Potomac a very special place to live," said Cryor. "He can walk among giants, but will never forget to help out his community."
Karnow's home is a visual history of his life of journalism and travel.
Objets d'art from Asia rest comfortably with his wife's paintings, family photos, and collections of books and eastern antiques.
Working from his basement office, Karnow is far from retiring.
"Who needs to retire?" said Karnow, "I would die." He is now working on another book about Asian Americans in the United States.