The Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize

See also: Recent Awards | Book of the Year Citations | The Virginia and Warren Stone Prize

The Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize honors the memory of Thomas J. Wilson, director of Harvard University Press from 1947 to 1967. It is awarded to an author’s first book manuscript, approved for publication by the Board of Syndics of Harvard University Press in a given calendar year, that is judged outstanding in content, style, and mode of presentation.

The author’s mastery of his or her field of interest and ability to fit his or her special contribution into some major problem in that field are a determining factor in the award of the prize. Eligible books are judged in terms of effective achievement of the author’s purpose.

Year Title Author
2022 Rosewood: Endangered Species Conservation and the Rise of Global China Annah Lake Zhu
No prize was awarded in 2021.
2020 The Education Trap: Schools and the Remaking of Inequality in Boston Cristina Viviana Groeger (Co-Winner)
Tata: The Global Corporation That Built Indian Capitalism Mircea Raianu (Co-Winner)
2019 Spies and Scholars: Chinese Secrets and Imperial Russia’s Quest for World Power Gregory Afinogenov (Co-Winner)
The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution Lindsay M. Chervinsky (Co-Winner)
2018 The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students Anthony Abraham Jack
2017 Winner: The Second Creation: Fixing the American Constitution in the Founding Era Jonathan Gienapp
Honorable Mention: Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, by Kathleen BelewThe Limits of Blame: Rethinking Punishment and Responsibility, by Erin I. KellyThe Art of Being: Poetics of the Novel and Existentialist Philosophy, by Yi-Ping OngElements of Surprise: Our Mental Limits and the Satisfactions of Plot, by Vera Tobin
2016 The Republic of Arabic Letters: Islam and the European Enlightenment Alexander Bevilacqua
2015 From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America Elizabeth Hinton (Co-Winner)
The Lyric in the Age of the Brain Nikki Skillman (Co-Winner)
2014 After Roe: The Lost History of the Abortion Debate Mary Ziegler
2013 Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United Zephyr Teachout
2012 Marching into Darkness: The Wehrmacht and the Holocaust in Belarus Waitman Wade Beorn
2011 Righteous Republic: The Political Foundations of Modern India Ananya Vajpeyi
2010 Worlds of Dissent: Charter 77, The Plastic People of the Universe, and Czech Culture under Communism Jonathan Bolton
2009 So Great a Proffit: How the East Indies Trade Transformed Anglo-American Capitalism James R. Fichter
2008 The Dialectic of Counter-Enlightenment Christian Thorne (Co-Winner)
Settler Sovereignty: Jurisdiction and Indigenous People in America and Australia, 1788–1836 Lisa Ford (Co-Winner)
2006 Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America Matthew Avery Sutton
2005 A Most Amazing Scene of Wonders: Electricity and Enlightenment in Early America James Delbourgo
2004 Saving Persuasion: A Defense of Rhetoric and Judgment Bryan Garsten
2003 Born Losers: A History of Failure in America Scott A. Sandage
2002 To Stand and Fight: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Postwar New York City Martha Biondi
2001 The Accidental Republic: Crippled Workingmen, Destitute Widows, and the Remaking of American Law John Fabian Witt
2000 Who Owns Academic Work? Battling for Control of Intellectual Property Corynne McSherry
1999 The Uses of Variety: Modern Americanism and the Quest for National Distinctiveness Carrie Tirado Bramen (Co-Winner)
Joseph Schumpeter’s Two Theories of Democracy John Medearis (Co-Winner)
1998 Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market Walter Johnson
1997 Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe Brad S. Gregory
1996 Shifting the Color Line: Race and the American Welfare State Robert C. Lieberman
1995 Ghost Dancing the Law: The Wounded Knee Trials John William Sayer
1994 Nietzsche: The Ethics of an Immoralist Peter Berkowitz
1993 Narrative Ethics Adam Newton
1992 The Invention of the Restaurant: Paris and Modern Gastronomic Culture, With a New Preface Rebecca L. Spang
1991 Orthodoxies in Massachusetts: Rereading American Puritanism Janice Knight
1990 Deciding to Decide: Agenda Setting in the United States Supreme Court H.W. Perry, Jr.
1989 The First Amendment, Democracy, and Romance Steven Shiffrin
1988 Unruly Eloquence: Lucian and the Comedy of Traditions Bracht Branham
1987 Francis Bacon and the Rhetoric of Nature John C. Briggs
1986 Law and Social Change in Postwar Japan Frank K. Upham
1985 The Fate of Reason: German Philosophy from Kant to Fichte Frederick C. Beiser
1984 The Self as Mind: Vision and Identity in Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Keats Charles J. Rzepka
1983 Shakespeare and the Hazards of Ambition Robert N. Watson
1982 Lenin Lives! The Lenin Cult in Soviet Russia Nina Tumarkin
1981 The Puritan Moment: The Coming of Revolution in an English County William Hunt
1980 The Creative Imagination: Enlightenment to Romanticism James Engell
1979 The Intellectual Resistance in Europe James D. Wilkinson
1978 The Politics of Landscape: Rural Scenery and Society in English Poetry, 1630–1660 James G. Turner
1977 The Healthy Body and Victorian Culture Bruce Haley
1976 The Transformation of American Law, 1780–1860 Morton J. Horwitz
1975 The Wild Boy of Aveyron Harlan Lane
1974 Browning’s Youth John Maynard
1973 The Seventh Hero: Thomas Carlyle and the Theory of Radical Activism Philip Rosenberg
1972 Experience and Artistic Expression in Lope de Vega: The Making of La Dorotea Alan S. Trueblood
1971 Six Existential Heroes: The Politics of Faith Lucio P. Ruotolo
1970 The Kurbskii–Groznyi Apocrypha: The 17th-Century Genesis of the “Correspondence” Attributed to Prince A.M. Kurbskii and Tsar Ivan IV Edward L. Keenan

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The Seventy-Five Folios and Other Unpublished Manuscripts, by Marcel Proust, edited by Nathalie Mauriac Dyer, translated by Sam Taylor, with a Preface by Jean-Yves Tadié, from Harvard University Press

From Our Blog

Jacket: Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500, by Peter Wilson, from Harvard University Press

A Lesson in German Military History with Peter Wilson

In his landmark book Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500, acclaimed historian Peter H. Wilson offers a masterful reappraisal of German militarism and warfighting over the last five centuries, leading to the rise of Prussia and the world wars. Below, Wilson answers our questions about this complex history,