The $50,000 Tom Watson Brown Book Award is presented annually by the Watson-Brown Foundation and the Society of Civil War Historians to the author or authors of the best book “on the causes, conduct, and effects, broadly defined, of the Civil War,” published in the preceding year.
Each year Tad Brown, president of the Watson-Brown Foundation, presents the Tom Watson Brown Book Award at a special banquet during the annual meeting of the Southern Historical Association, where the winner delivers a formal address that will be published in a subsequent issue of the Journal of the Civil War Era.
2019 Winner of the Tom Watson Brown Book AwardThe Society of Civil War Historians and the Watson-Brown Foundation are proud to announce that Amy Murrell Taylor is the recipient of the Tom Watson Brown Book Award. Dr. Taylor, Associate Professor at the University of Kentucky, earned the award for Embattled Freedom: Journeys Through the Civil War’s Slave Refugee Camps which was published in 2018 by the University of North Carolina Press. The $50,000 award is funded by the Watson-Brown Foundation in honor of Tom Watson Brown, a dedicated student of the Civil War. In making its selection, the prize committee praised Taylor for her “original, nuanced view of slave refugee camps and the relationship of the US Army to the process of emancipation.” Offering a “detailed spatial analysis of the camps” along with compelling stories “about the fate of so-called contraband slaves”, Embattled Freedom, the prize committee explains, “is one of the very best books written in the field of Civil War studies in the last decade and perhaps longer than that.” The Watson Brown Book Award jury consisted of Carole Emberton, Associate Professor, University at Buffalo; Ari Kelman, Chancellor’s Leadership Professor of History at the University of California at Davis; Joshua Rothman, Professor, University of Alabama; and Tad Brown, President of the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc. Tad Brown will present the award to Dr. Taylor at the Tom Watson Brown Book Award dinner, which will be held on November 8 at the Southern Historical Association’s annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky.
2018: Andrew Lang, Assistant Professor of History, Mississippi State University, for In the Wake of War: Military Occupation, Emancipation, and Civil War America (Louisiana State University Press, 2017)
2017: Christopher Phillips, John and Dorothy Hermanies Professor of American History and University Distinguished Research Professor in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, University of Cincinnati, for The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border (Oxford University Press, 2016)
2016: Earl J. Hess, Stewart W. McClelland Chair in History, Lincoln Memorial University, for Civil War Infantry Tactics: Training, Combat, and Small-Unit Effectiveness. (Louisiana State University Press, 2015)
2015: Shauna Devine, Professor, Schulich School of Medicine and Department of History, Western University, for Learning from the Wounded: The Civil War and the Rise of American Medical Science. (The University of North Carolina Press, 2014)
2014: Ari Kelman, Chancellor’s Leadership Professor of History, University of California, Davis, for A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek (Harvard University Press, 2013).
2013: John Fabian Witt, Allen H. Duff Class of 1960 Professor of Law at Yale Law School and a Professor of History in the Yale History Department, for Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History (Simon & Schuster, 2012).
2011: Mark W. Geiger, a 2011-12 Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University Library of Congress and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Sydney, for Financial Fraud and Guerrilla Violence in Missouri’s Civil War, 1861-1865 (Yale University Press, 2010).
2010: Daniel E. Sutherland, Distinguished Professor of History, University of Arkansas, for A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War (University of North Carolina, 2009).