Cundill Prize in History at McGill short list announced

Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012

This year's short listed books for the 2012 Cundill Prize in History at McGill. / Photo: Photo: Joy Qiaoyi Wang

By McGill Reporter Staff

And then there were three.

The jury for the 2012 Cundill Prize in History at McGill, the world’s most lucrative award for a nonfiction book, has narrowed down the field to a trio of books. The competition, now in its fifth year, features a $75,000 U.S. grand prize.

This year, publishers from around the world submitted some 143 books to the competition. The three finalists are:

Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of our Nature: The Decline of Violence in History and Its Causes (Allen Lane).

Stephen Platt, Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, The West, And The Epic Story of The Taiping Civil War (Alfred A. Knopf).

Andrew Preston, Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy (Knopf Canada).

“Winning the Cundill Prize was the most rewarding experience of my academic career,” said Sergio Luzzatto, the Italian historian whose book Padre Pio: Miracles and Politics in a Secular Age won the 2011 Cundill.

The Prize, accepts published books in English – or translated to English – in the area of history. In addition to the grand prize, two “Recognition of Excellence” awards of $10,000 U.S. each are granted to the runners-up. The grand prize winner will be announced at the Cundill Prize Awards Ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 29, in Montreal.

This year’s Cundill Jury includes Garvin Brown, Executive Vice President of Brown-Forman Corporation; Charles R. Kesler, senior fellow of the Claremont Institute, editor of the Claremont Review of Books; Vanessa Ruth Schwartz, Professor of History, Art History and Film, University of Southern California, and The Globe and Mail’s national affairs columnist, Jeffrey Simpson.

The Cundill Prize in History at McGill was established in 2008 by McGill alumnus F. Peter Cundill, who passed away in January 2011. The prize is coordinated by the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC) on behalf of the Dean of Arts.

For more information go here.

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4 Responses to Cundill Prize in History at McGill short list announced

  1. Kevin says:

    Pinker please 🙂

  2. Aldous Angstein says:

    Steven Pinker, without a doubt.

  3. Jake says:

    Someone wrote a book about the The Decline of Violence in History? WOW. Although I guess Tom Friedman wrote a book called The World is Flat. The economics of the publishing industry is such that white men living in well policed neighborhoods of Western cities are the main purchasers of book. I think it would get laughed at pretty hard in the rest of the world, though.

  4. Richard says:

    Great review of Pinker here:

    “I started this book 99.5% sure violence had declined over time. I finished it 65% violence had declined over time and 100% sure that Steven Pinker needs a more aggressive editor.”

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