Saturday, July 17, 2010

Congratulations to Daniel Sutherland (and Wm. Shea and Earl Hess, too)

There are so many book prizes for which Civil War related books are eligible that I've given up trying to keep track of them all. However, a new one deserves mention. Kevin Levin mentioned the announcement on the UNC Press Blog of the inaugural winner of the Tom Watson Brown Book Award. Prof. Daniel ("I always have to go back and erase 'Donald'") Sutherland's A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War is a wonderful book [see my review and interview] and its author is richly deserving of the award. With prize win announcements for fellow UNC Press authors William Shea (Fletcher Pratt Award) and Earl Hess (Harwell Book Award) undoubtedly fresh in his memory, I'll forgive UNCP editor-in-chief David Perry's outdated cliche statement basing part of the significance of Sutherland's win on his work not being a "book on a battle or a military leader" (as if those remain overrepresented on the major award circuit).

$50,000 is a top level honorarium as Civil War book prizes go, and should give the new Watson Brown Award an immediate leap in prestige. That's good news for authors, as the field has long needed more inclusive Civil War history awards to match in at least monetary scale the heavily Abe-centered Lincoln Prize.

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