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2009 Cundill Prize

GRAND PRIZE WINNER 2009

Lisa Jardine Winner

Lisa Jardine wins 2009 Cundill International Prize in History

$75,000 U.S. awarded to author of Going Dutch: How England Plundered Holland's Glory

Going Dutch : How England Plundered Holland's Glory
(Harper Publishers)
On November 5, 1688, William of Orange, Protestant ruler of the Dutch Republic, landed at Torbay in Devon with a force of twenty thousand men. The Glorious Revolution that followed forced James II to abdicate, and William and his wife, Mary, were jointly crowned king and queen on April 11, 1689. How was it that this almost bloodless coup took place with such apparent ease yet was not recognized as the full-blooded invasion and conquest it undoubtedly was? In this wide-ranging book, Lisa Jardine assembles new research in political and social history, together with the histories of art, music, gardening, and science, to show how Dutch tolerance, resourcefulness, and commercial acumen had effectively conquered Britain long before William and his English wife arrived in London. Going Dutch is the remarkable story of the relationship between two of Europe's most important colonial powers at the dawn of the modern age. Throughout the seventeenth century, Holland and England were engaged in an energetic commercial and cultural exchange that survived three Anglo-Dutch wars. Dutch influence also permanently reshaped England's cultural landscape. Whether through scientific discoveries, the design of royal palaces and gardens, or the introduction of works by the greatest painters of the age—Rubens, Rembrandt, and Van Dyck among them—the England we know today owes an extraordinary amount to its fierce competitor across the "narrow sea." Going Dutch demonstrates how individuals, such as Christopher Wren, Isaac Newton, and successive generations of the remarkable Huygens family, who were usually represented as isolated geniuses working in the enclosed environment of their native country in fact developed their ideas within a context of the easy Anglo-Dutch relations that laid the vital groundwork for the European Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution. Above all, Lisa Jardine tests the traditional view that the rise of England as a world power took place at the expense of the Dutch. She finds that it was a "handing off" of the baton of cultural and intellectual supremacy to a Britain expanding in international power and influence.

Author's Biographical Notes: Lisa Jardine CBE is Director of the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters and Centenary Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary, University of London. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an Honorary Fellow of King's College, Cambridge and Jesus College, Cambridge. She holds honorary doctorates from the University of St Andrews, Sheffield Hallam University and the Open University. She is a Trustee of the V&A Museum and was for five years a member of the Council of the Royal Institution. She is Patron of the National Council on Archives. For the academic year 2007-8 she was seconded to the Royal Society as Advisor to its Collections. In 2008 she became Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the arms-length body that regulates assisted reproduction in the UK. She was the 2009 winner of the Cundill Prize.


RECOGNITION OF EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNER 2009

DAVID HACKETT FISCHER

Champlain's Dream
(Knopf Canada)

In this sweeping, enthralling biography, acclaimed Pulitzer Prize–winner David Hackett Fischer magnificently brings to life the visionary adventurer who has straddled our history for 400 years. Champlain’s Dream reveals, with rare immediacy and drama, the story of a remarkable man: a leader who dreamed of humanity and peace in a world riven by violence; a man of his own time who nevertheless strove to build a settlement in Canada that would be founded on harmony and respect. With consummate narrative skill and comprehensive scholarship, Fischer unfolds a life shrouded in mystery, a complex, elusive man among many colorful characters. Born on France’s Atlantic coast, Samuel de Champlain grew up in a country bitterly divided by religious wars. But, like Henry IV, one of France’s greatest kings whose illegitimate son he may have been and who supported his travels from the Spanish Empire in Mexico to the St. Lawrence and the unknown territories, Champlain was religiously tolerant in an age of murderous sectarianism. Soldier, spy, master mariner, explorer, cartographer, and artist, he maneuvered his way through court intrigues in Paris, supported by Henri IV and, later, Louis XIII, though bitterly opposed by the Queen Regent Marie de Medici and the wily Cardinal Richelieu. Drawing on Champlain’s own diaries and accounts, as well as his exquisite drawings and maps, Fischer shows him to have been a keen observer of a vanished world: an artist and cartographer who drew and wrote vividly, publishing four invaluable books on the life he saw around him. This superb biography (the first full-scale biography in decades) by a great historian is as dramatic and richly exciting as the life it portrays. Deeply researched, it is illustrated throughout with 110 contemporary images and 37 maps, including several drawn by Champlain himself.

Author's Biographical Notes: David Hackett Fischer, University Professor at Brandeis University, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for Washington’s Crossing, which was also a New York Times bestseller. His other acclaimed books include Albion’s Seed and Paul Revere’s Ride.

RECOGNITION OF EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNER 2009

PEKKA HÄMÄLÄINEN

The Comanche Empire
(Yale University Press)
In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, at the high tide of imperial struggles in North America, an indigenous empire rose to dominate the fiercely contested lands of the American Southwest, the southern Great Plains, and northern Mexico. This powerful empire, built by the Comanche Indians, eclipsed its various European rivals in military prowess, political prestige, economic power, commercial reach, and cultural influence. Yet, until now, the Comanche empire has gone unrecognized in historical accounts. This compelling and original book uncovers the lost story of the Comanches. It is a story that challenges the idea of indigenous peoples as victims of European expansion and offers a new model for the history of colonial expansion, colonial frontiers, and Native-European relations in North America and elsewhere. Pekka Hämäläinen shows in vivid detail how the Comanches built their unique empire and resisted European colonization, and why they fell to defeat in 1875. With extensive knowledge and deep insight, the author brings into clear relief the Comanches’ remarkable impact on the trajectory of history.

Author's Biographical Notes: Pekka Hämäläinen, a native of Finland, earned his Ph.D. from the University of Helsinki in 2001. He was a fellow at the Clements Center for the Study of Southwestern America at the Southern Methodist University in 2001-2002, and an assistant professor of Early American History at Texas A&M University in 2002-2004. In 2003-2005 he was a fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. He joined the faculty of University of California at Santa Barbara in 2004 where he is currently an associate professor of North American borderlands and Native American History. In 2009, he won a prestigious fellowship at the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. His scholarship has appeared in the American Historical Review, Journal of American History, Western Historical Quarterly, and other journals. His first book, The Comanche Empire, has been honored with many awards and accolades, including the Bancroft Prize, the Merle Curti Award, the Norris and Carol Hundley Award, and the Caughey Prize. Pekka Hämäläinen lives with his wife and two children in Santa Barbara, California.


CUNDILL PRIZE LONG LIST FOR 2009

VINCENT BROWN

The Reaper's Garden : Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery
(Harvard University Press)
What did people make of death in the world of Atlantic slavery? In The Reaper's Garden, Vincent Brown asks this question about Jamaica, the staggeringly profitable hub of the British Empire in America--and a human catastrophe. Popularly known as the grave of the Europeans, it was just as deadly for Africans and their descendants. Yet among the survivors, the dead remained both a vital presence and a social force. In this compelling and evocative story of a world in flux, Brown shows that death was as generative as it was destructive. From the eighteenth-century zenith of British colonial slavery to its demise in the 1830s, the Grim Reaper cultivated essential aspects of social life in Jamaica--belonging and status, dreams for the future, and commemorations of the past. Surveying a haunted landscape, Brown unfolds the letters of anxious colonists; listens in on wakes, eulogies, and solemn incantations; peers into crypts and coffins, and finds the very spirit of human struggle in slavery. Masters and enslaved, fortune seekers and spiritual healers, rebels and rulers, all summoned the dead to further their desires and ambitions. In this turbulent transatlantic world, Brown argues, "mortuary politics" played a consequential role in determining the course of history. Insightful and powerfully affecting, The Reaper's Garden promises to enrich our understanding of the ways that death shaped political life in the world of Atlantic slavery and beyond.


JOHN BURROW

A History of Histories : Epics, Chronicles, Romances and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century
(Allen Lane, Penguin Press)
This unprecedented book, by one of Britain's leading intellectual historians, describes the intellectual impact that the study and consideration of the past has had in the western world over the past 2500 years, treating the practise of history not as an isolated pursuit but as an aspect of human society and an essential part of the cultural history of Europe and America. It magnificently brings to life the work of historians from the Greeks to the present, including Livy, Tacitus, Bede, Froissart, Clarendon, Gibbon, Macaulay, Michelet, Prescott and Parkman, explaining their distinctive qualities and allowing the modern reader to appreciate and enjoy them. But it also examines subjects as diverse as the new perspectives brought about by the rise of Rome, the interests of medieval chroniclers, the introduction into historical narratives of what the eighteenth century called 'sentiment', the effects of Romanticism and the emergence towards the end of the nineteenth century of an historical profession. It sets out to be not the history of an academic discipline, but a history of choice: the choice of pasts, and the ways they have been demarcated, investigated, presented and even sometimes learned from as they have changed according to political, religious, cultural and (often most importantly) patriotic circumstances.

WOODY HOLTON

Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution
(Farrar, Sraus and Giroux)
Average Americans were the true framers of the constitution. Woody Holton upends what we think we know of the Constitution’s origins by telling the history of the average Americans who challenged the framers of the Constitution and forced on them the revisions that produced the document we now venerate. The framers who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 were determined to reverse America’s post–Revolutionary War slide into democracy. They believed too many middling Americans exercised too much influence over state and national policies. That the framers were only partially successful in curtailing citizen rights is due to the reaction, sometimes violent, of unruly average Americans. If not to protect civil liberties and the freedom of the people, what motivated the framers? In Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution, Holton provides the startling discovery that the primary purpose of the Constitution was, simply put, to make America more attractive to investment. And the linchpin to that endeavor was taking power away from the states and ultimately away from the people. In an eye-opening interpretation of the Constitution, Holton captures how the same class of Americans that produced Shays’s Rebellion in Massachusetts (and rebellions in damn near every other state) produced the Constitution we now revere.


KARL JACOBY

Shadows at Dawn: A Borderlands Massacre and the Violence of History
(The Penguin Press)
In the predawn hours of April 30, 1871, a combined party of Americans, Mexicans, and Tohono O’odham Indians gathered just outside an Apache camp in the Arizona borderlands. At the first light of day they struck, murdering nearly 150 Apaches, mostly women and children, in their sleep. In its day, the atrocity, which came to be known as the Camp Grant Massacre, generated unparalleled national attention—federal investigations, heated debate in the press, and a tense criminal trial. This was the era of the United States’ “peace policy” toward Indians, and the Apaches had been living on a would-be reservation, under the supposed protection of the U.S. Army. President Ulysses Grant decried the act as “purely murder,” but American settlers countered that the distant U.S. government had failed to protect them from Apache attacks, and they were forced to take justice into their own hands. In the past century, the massacre has largely faded from memory. Now, drawing on oral histories, newspaper reports, and the participants’ own accounts, prizewinning author Karl Jacoby brings this horrific incident and tumultuous era to life. What brought this party together on that fateful April morning, and what led them to commit such a stunning act of violence? Shadows at Dawn traces the escalating conflicts, as well as the alliances, that transpired among the Americans, Mexicans, Apache, and Tohono O’odham living in the borderlands over the course of several hundred years, beginning with the seventeenth-century arrival of the first Spanish missionaries. The American presence brought further transformations, especially after the Gadsden Purchase transferred a large swath of Mexican territory to the United States, leaving many Mexicans feeling like foreigners in their own land. By recounting the events from the perspective of each of the four parties involved, Jacoby challenges the dominance of the American version of the western story and also reveals the way each group has remembered, or forgotten, the massacre. Prodigiously researched and powerfully written, Shadows at Dawn examines a forgotten atrocity and in doing so paints a sweeping panorama of the southwestern borderlands—a world far more complex, culturally diverse, and morally ambiguous than the traditional portrayals of the Old West.


DAVID LEVERING LEWIS

God's Crucible : Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215
(W. W. Norton Publishers)
At the beginning of the eighth century, the Arabs brought a momentous revolution in power, religion, and culture to Dark Ages Europe. David Levering Lewis’s masterful history begins with the fall of the Persian and Roman empires, followed by the rise of the prophet Muhammad and the creation of Muslim Spain. Five centuries of engagement between the Muslim imperium and an emerging Europe followed, from the Muslim conquest of Visigoth Hispania in 711 to Latin Christendom’s declaration of unconditional warfare on the Caliphate in 1215. Lewis’s narrative, filled with accounts of some of the greatest battles in world history, reveals how cosmopolitan, Muslim al-Andalus flourished—a beacon of cooperation and tolerance between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity—while proto-Europe, defining itself in opposition to Islam, made virtues out of hereditary aristocracy, religious intolerance, perpetual war, and slavery. A cautionary tale, God’s Crucible provides a new interpretation of world-altering events whose influence remains as current as today’s headlines.


ALEX ROSS

The Rest Is Noise : Listening to the Twentieth Century
(Farrar, Sraus and Giroux)
In this sweeping and dramatic narrative, Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, weaves together the histories of the twentieth century and its music, from Vienna before the First World War to Paris in the twenties; from Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia to downtown New York in the sixties and seventies up to the present. Taking readers into the labyrinth of modern style, Ross draws revelatory connections between the century's most influential composers and the wider culture. The Rest Is Noise is an astonishing history of the twentieth century as told through its music.


MOSHIK TEMKIN

The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair : America on Trial
(Yale University Press)
What began as the obscure local case of two Italian immigrant anarchists accused of robbery and murder flared into an unprecedented political and legal scandal as the perception grew that their conviction was a judicial travesty and their execution a political murder. This book is the first to reveal the full national and international scope of the Sacco-Vanzetti affair, uncovering how and why the two men became the center of a global cause célèbre that shook public opinion and transformed America’s relationship with the world. Drawing on extensive research on two continents, and written with verve, this book connects the Sacco-Vanzetti affair to the most polarizing political and social concerns of its era. Moshik Temkin contends that the worldwide attention to the case was generated not only by the conviction that innocent men had been condemned for their radical politics and ethnic origins but also as part of a reaction to U.S. global supremacy and isolationism after World War I. The author further argues that the international protest, which helped make Sacco and Vanzetti famous men, ultimately provoked their executions. The book concludes by investigating the affair’s enduring repercussions and what they reveal about global political action, terrorism, jingoism, xenophobia, and the politics of our own time.

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