Book Awards 1997

At the 1998 annual meeting in Seattle, the following prizes were announced. The committee's citations are recorded below.

Herbert Baxter Adams Prize

Pieter M. Judson (Swarthmore College) for Exclusive Revolutionaries: Liberal Politics, Social Experience, and National Identity in the Austrian Empire, 1848-1914 (University of Michigan Press, 1996). Pieter Judson has written a meticulously researched account of the evolution of liberal politics in the Austrian Empire from 1848 to the outbreak of World War I. Based on the extensive documentation from the Austrian State Archive and the Haus-, Hof-, und Staatsarchiv, as well as from regional and city archives, this study does for Austria what previous studies have done for Germany. The argument throughout is sophisticated and nuanced. Judson sees the liberals not as a monolithic group but rather as a polyglot collection divided by as many issues as united them. Judson situates the liberals within the empire’s political process, in regard to the nationality issue and to the many attempts at social and economic reform. Judson’s main argument that the process of fragmentation actually strengthened the German-speaking middle classes in maintaining their grip on power is at once original and challenging to previous scholarship and should stimulate discussion for some time to come.

George Louis Beer Prize

Vojtech Mastny (Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, Essen, Germany) for The Cold War and Soviet Insecurity: The Stalin Years (Oxford University Press, 1996). Vojtech Mastny’s impressive new work is the first major study to integrate documentation recently made available from Soviet archives with material from Western sources. A worthy sequel to the author's acclaimed earlier work, Russia’s Road to the Cold War (1979), this book presents a balanced analysis of the complex relationship between the Soviet Union and the West following World War II. It transcends the earlier simplisms of both standard Cold War and “revisionist” accounts to provide a penetrating treatment of motivations, policies, and outcomes, greatly improving our understanding of Soviet diplomacy during Stalin’s final decade.

Albert J. Beveridge Award

William B. Taylor (Southern Methodist University) for Magistrates of the Sacred: Priests and Parishioners in Eighteenth-Century Mexico (Stanford University Press, 1996). This masterful work inaugurates a new era in the study of church-state relations in late colonial Mexico as social history. Taylor’s study ranges from the details of everyday parochial life to diocesan and archdiocesan politics with an ease of conceptual vision. His work has implications far beyond late 18th-century Mexico.

James Henry Breasted Prize

Amelie Kuhrt (University College, London) for The Ancient Near East, c. 3000-330 BC., 2 vols. (Routledge, 1995). The enormous breadth and depth of Amelie Kuhrt’s work, her ability to elucidate even the most confused periods and deftly to incorporate both source problems and scholarly disagreements in her text, and her lucid prose make this volume a pleasure to read. Her copious illustrations, both traditional visual images and translations of original ancient texts, and her extensive and up-to-date bibliography enhance the book’s value for student and scholar alike. With this volume, she has expanded the parameters of the field of world history.

John H. Dunning Prize

Kathleen M. Brown (University of Pennsylvania) for Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia (University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1996). In this imaginative study, Kathleen Brown rereads colonial Virginia history from the perspective of gender. She examines the role of gender in creating racial slavery and traces the intensification of patriarchal forms in gentry family life, colonial culture, law, and politics. By the mid-18th century, Brown demonstrates, discourses of race and gender intertwined to sustain the political and social authority of the planter elite. Extensively researched and theoretically sophisticated, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs transforms our understanding of gender, patriarchy, race, slavery, and power in colonial Virginia.

John K. Fairbank Prize

Paul A. Cohen (Wellesley College) for History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth (Columbia University Press, 1997). This work is a fine example of a study that pushes historians beyond an event as a singular object of study. It challenges us to recognize the multiple voices within an event as well as the changing meaning of historical facts. In this sense, his study has many temporalities: the synchronic time of the Boxer rebellion, the changing historicity of the event, and the times of historians. Moreover, these layers are combined in an impressive craftsmanship—judicious interweaving of analysis with data and, above all, a graceful writing style—that reminds us of an earlier goal of history as both art and science.

Herbert Feis Award

D. Michael Quinn (Independent Scholar, Salt Lake City, Utah) for Same-Sex Dynamics among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example (University of Illinois Press, 1996). This thoroughly documented study of same-sex interactions among 19th-century Mormons is a welcome addition to the growing literature on American attitudes toward homosexuality. Confirming for Mormons what has been claimed for other groups—that behaviors later proscribed were once tolerated—Quinn’s bold and original book opens fresh vistas on the construction of sexuality in U.S. history. It also is a signal contribution to our understanding of the Mormon community.

Morris D. Forkosch Prize

Margaret R. Hunt (Amherst College) for The Middling Sort: Commerce, Gender, and the Family in England, 1680-1780 (University of California Press, 1996). This important book presents a richly textured social history of the progenitors of a capitalist middle class in late 17th- and 18th-century England. Drawing on an impressive array of archival evidence and informed by a sophisticated appreciation of theoretical and historiographical concerns, Hunt traces the ways that gender, family, commerce, and morality were woven together in the lives of the “middling sort,” creating a distinctive class identity. This is a work that manages to maintain intimate acquaintance with individual experience while addressing many of the larger questions that concern British social historians.

Leo Gershoy Award

Timothy Tackett (University of California at Irvine) for Becoming a Revolutionary: The Deputies of the French National Assembly and the Emergence of a Revolutionary Culture (1789-1790) (Princeton University Press, 1996). Timothy Tackett’s remarkable study challenges current understanding of the prior political experience and ideas of the Third Estate deputies in 1789. He casts doubt on the intellectual origins of their radicalism demonstrating that most of them arrived with traditional societal views, some anticlericalism, and few Enlightenment ideas. Most of the revolutionary proposals of that first year originated in the dynamic of the first six weeks—the ceremonial ordering by Estates, the procedural problems, the lack of royal leadership.

Joan Kelly Memorial Prize

Gail Hershatter (Merrill College, University of California at Santa Cruz) for Dangerous Pleasures: Prostitution and Modernity in Twentieth-Century Shanghai (University of California Press, 1997). This study of prostitution in Shanghai illuminates not only the various ways the institution is constructed but also the social and political history of 20th-century China. Characterized by careful research, a comparative perspective, sophisticated methodology, and lively presentation, this book shows the complex interaction between those involved, those who wrote about, and those who regulated the sex trade. Hershatter raises issues that stimulate the thinking of historians no matter what their special fields.

Littleton Griswold Prize

William J. Novak (University of Chicago) for The People’s Welfare: Law and Regulation in Nineteenth Century America (University of North Carolina Press, 1996). William Novak’s The People’s Welfare is a rich and provocative reinterpretation of the role of law and regulation in 19th-century America. Examining the wide application of the police power in five areas (health, safety, economy, morals, and public spaces), Novak argues that a distinctive mode of governance elevated the public good and community interests over individual rights and private profit. Sure to spark controversy and to change the terms of the debate about how law was used in the quest for a “well-regulated society,” The People’s Welfare marks a new epoch in the historiography of law in the 19th century.

Helen and Howard R. Marraro Prize

Carl Ipsen (Indiana University) for Dictating Demography: The Problem of Population in Fascist Italy (Cambridge University Press, 1996). Carl Ipsen has written a careful and original study of attempts to promote pronatalism in Mussolini’s Italy. In Dictating Demography he combines population theory, archival documentation, and policy pronouncements to show the ways by which government statistics in the inter-war period inflected high politics and public opinion. Ipsen dissects both the data and the ideology behind the “battle” for the birth rate, and he ties the fertility decline debate to ruralism, racism, and colonization in a cogent and compelling account.

Wesley-Logan Prize

W. Jeffrey Bolster (University of New Hampshire) for Black Jacks: African American Seamen in the Age of Sail (Harvard University Press, 1997). Diasporic in reach, Black Jacks provides fascinating insights into the range of contacts among people of African descent in the Americas. At the center of it all are black seamen. There are some memorable moments in this book, as when Bolster turns his gaze upon the black American seamen who were imprisoned in Dartmoor during the War of 1812.
Brenda Gayle Plummer (University of Wisconsin at Madison) for Rising Wind: Black Americans and U.S. Foreign Affairs, 1935-1960 (University of North Carolina Press, 1996). A book of considerable scope, depth, breadth, and quality of research, thoughtful interpretations and clarity of writing, Rising Wind brings to diplomatic history innovative conceptualizations that go beyond the traditionally narrow framework to include the impact of nongovernmental people and organizations upon issues of foreign policy.

Note: By committee decision, the Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award, established in 1986 to recognize outstanding teaching and advocacy for history teaching at two-year, four-year, and graduate colleges and universities, was not awarded in 1997.