Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Prize Watch: Cundill noms

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

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