Monday, 20 October 2014

Cundill Prize: Serious Money for Serious History

This year's nominees for The Cundill Prize in History was announced this month on October 2. This is serious money at $75,000. It is the richest prize for historical writing in the world, and issued annually. Two 'Recognition of Excellence' Prize of US$10,000 are also given. The award is:

...coordinated by the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC) on behalf of the Dean of Arts, was established in 2008 to be offered each year by McGill University (Montreal, Canada) to an individual, of any nationality and from any country, who has published a book determined to have had (or likely to have) a profound literary, social and academic impact in the area of history.

Gary Bass for The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide. Ugh. Well written but crap on a cracker I'm done with Nixon and how he and the 1960s changed the world blah blah blah.

David Brion Davis for The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation. Awesome, asked hard questions like how it kept happening. Not for the faint of heart.

Andrew O’Shaughnessy for The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire. Never read it. Good luck.

Richard Overy for The Bombing War: Europe 1939-45 . ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...oh sorry. Ummm you say this is a new take on an old topic. Ok. Sure.

David Van Reybrouck for Congo: The Epic History of a People. Read this with King Leopold's Ghost and you will understand why that region is so fucked up now. Hope this wins.

Geoffrey Wawro for A Mad Catastrophe: The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire. LOVED IT!!! A must read. Why? Because it rounds up in a well written and actually understandable narrative the truly screwed up mess of pre-war Europe and the severely dysfunctional Empire leading to a war that never should have happened.

The three finalists for the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature be announced in mid-October. The grand prize winner will be announced at a Toronto awards ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 20.
The prize is named after F. Peter Cundill, a very wealthy investor, who decided that it was time to recognize and promote literary and academic achievement in history. In 2008, he created the Cundill Prize. He unfortunately died in 2011, but his estate keeps it going. I wish I could ask him why did they name it after him, and not some famous historian? I'd suggest the awesome Marie Therese Veronica "Terry" Goulet, a Metis historian, but maybe I am living in a fantasy world where we acknowledge publicly there's brilliant First Nations/Metis in our country. (Just sayin') 

Mini rant over...for now.

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