Monday, October 15, 2007

Book Awards

I am struck by the number of ACW book awards*, most of which don't really register with me until I see their mention in the 'About the Author' page at the rear of a particular book. While announcement of the more prominent ones (e.g. the Lincoln Prize) is covered in the mainstream media, many others seem to pass under the radar. Perhaps on the opposite end of the visibility spectrum from the Lincoln Prize is the A.M. Pate Jr. Award. Organized by the Fort Worth Civil War Round Table, the honor is conferred upon the work considered by their committee to be the best book on the Trans-Mississippi region published over a two year period. The $1000 prize is intended to encourage further T-M scholarship, and past winners include Gary Joiner, Donald Frazier, and Jerry Thompson [a fine lineup, IMO].

A recent email correspondent from the U.K. reminded me of how difficult it can be to find lists of past winners for many such awards. While it is an easy enough google search for the one he was interested in, the Douglas Southall Freeman History Award, others require some digging or the search fails altogether. I have always thought how nice it would be for readers to have access to some sort of clearinghouse website listing past winners of known Civil War book awards. As far as I know, no such thing exists. If anyone knows otherwise, please comment below.

* = For me, it is mainly an issue of curiosity. Agendas undoubtedly abound in any kind of award system. I have no illusions that winners are chosen solely on scholarly merit.


  1. Sounds like a great idea. If you could give us a list of awards that you believe are worth listing, we'd be glad to work on a complete list of past winners. We currently list several dozen awards at, and we are always looking for more awards worth tracking.

  2. Speaking of Civil War book awards, as the Chairman of the Robert E. Lee Civil War Library & Research Center, I would like to announce that this year's winner of the Dr. James I. Robertson Jr. Literary Prize for Confederate History is Brian D. McKnight for his book "Contested Borderland: The Civil War in Appalachian Kentucky and Virginia.
    The Robertson Prize, which honors Dr. James I. Robertson, was established in 2000 and confers the award to the author of the best orignial work of published scholarship in the field of Confederate History for a calendar year.
    Past winners of the Robertson Prize have included Rod Gragg, Frank O'Reilly, G. Ward Hubbs, John Fox, Earl Hess, and Kent Masterson Brown.

    Lawrence Korczyk
    Chairman-Robertson Prize


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