Book Award


The Society of Civil War Historians and the Watson-Brown Foundation are pleased to announce that Shauna Devine, research fellow at the Schulich School of Medicine and an assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of Western Ontario, is the recipient of the $50,000 Tom Watson Brown Book Award for 2015. Devine received the award for her book, Learning from the Wounded: The Civil War and the Rise of American Medical Science, published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2014.

Drawing on the copious reports of Union army physicians and surgeons, Learning from the Wounded recounts how the war presented an unprecedented opportunity to study and report on new methods of treatment and gain fresh understandings of the nature of disease and human anatomy. In her introduction, Devine notes that the Civil War “created the context for the most significant medical experience of the nineteenth century in the United States and in the process set American medicine on a new course.” Watson Brown Award jurors praised the book as “breathtaking in scope” and “ambitious, compelling, and original,” noting that it challenged many longstanding assumptions about the state of medicine during the Civil War while also making a major contribution to our understanding of the relationship between war and society.

The Watson Brown Book Award jury consisted of John Inscoe, Albert B. Saye Professor of History and University Professor at the University of Georgia; Judith Giesberg, Professor of History at Villanova University; James Huston, Regents Professor of History at Oklahoma State University; and Tad Brown, president of the Watson-Brown Foundation. Tad Brown will present the award to Devine at the Tom Watson Brown Book Award dinner, which will be held on Friday, November 13 at the annual meeting of the Southern Historical Association in Little Rock, Arkansas.


The Society of Civil War Historians is soliciting nominations for the Tom Watson Brown Book Award for books published in 2014. Publishers are asked to send books, along with a cover letter nominating the work for the Watson Brown Award, directly to the four jurors no later than January 31, 2015. Only books published in 2014 will be considered.

All genres of scholarship on the causes, conduct, and effects, broadly defined, of the Civil War are eligible. This includes, but is not exclusive to, monographs, synthetic works presenting original interpretations, and biographies. Works of fiction, poetry, anthologies, and textbooks will not be considered. Jurors will consider nominated works’ scholarly and literary merit as well as the extent to which they make original contributions to our understanding of the period.

John Inscoe, Albert B. Saye Professor of History, University of Georgia, will chair the prize jury. The other members are James L. Huston, Regents Professor, Oklahoma State University, and Judith Giesberg, Professor, Villanova University. Tad Brown, President of the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., will serve as a non-voting member of the jury.

The winner will be announced by August 1, 2015. The prize will be presented at the SCWH banquet at the Southern Historical Association meeting, where the winner will deliver a formal address that will be published in a subsequent issue of the Journal of the Civil War Era.

Nominated books with cover letters should be sent to:

1) John C. Inscoe, Department of History, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602

2) James L. Huston, Oklahoma State University, Department of History, 101 Murray, Stillwater, OK 74078-3054

3) Judith Giesberg, Villanova University, Department of History, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA 19085

4) Tad Brown, President, Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc., 310 Tom Watson Way, Thomson, GA 30824


2014: Ari Kelman, McCabe-Greer Professor of the American Civil War Era, The Pennsylvania State University, 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).

2012: Gary W. Gallagher, John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War at the University of Virginia, for The Union War (Harvard University Press, 2011).

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).