The Cundill Prize, the big money Montreal-based international prize for historical writing, announced its 2016 (not very) long list. Six titles:
Mary Beard, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
Robert J. Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living since the Civil War (Princeton University Press)
Thomas W. Laqueur, The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remain (Princeton University Press)
Philippe Sands, East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
David Wootton, The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution (Stuart Proffitt)
Andrea Wulf, The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt’s New World (Alfred A. Knopf, John Murray Publishers)Six titles. Two women authors. Probably more Eurocentric than some recent lists. History of science, cultural history, economic history, classics, a little politics....
One of the things I admire about the Cundill lists is frequently I have never heard of most of the nominees. This year I've actually read most of one of them (SPQR kinda disappointed me by the end) and am roughly familiar with a couple of others from reviews and discussions. Still, there looks to be a lot of new stuff here, if you like big challenging histories.
The jury meanwhile seems to be getting more "democratic:" i.e, fewer historians. I'm probably okay with that in principle, at least:
- Timothy James Brook, Republic of China Chair, University of British Columbia;
- John Darwin, Professor of Global and Imperial History; Director, Oxford Centre for Global History , University of Oxford;
- David Frum, Senior Editor, The Atlantic;
- Anna Porter, Co-founder, Key Porter Books