Book Award


The Society of Civil War Historians and the Watson–Brown Foundation are proud to announce that Ari Kelman, McCabe-Greer Professor of the American Civil War Era, The Pennsylvania State University, is the recipient of the $50,000 Tom Watson Brown Book Award for 2014. Kelman received the award for his book A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek, which was published by Harvard University Press, 2013. The book explores how generations of Americans have struggled to come to terms with the 1864 Sand Creek massacre and its aftermath. In November 1864 Colonel John Chivington, commanding Colorado volunteers, surprised and slaughtered more than 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho people, the great majority of them women, children, and the elderly who were camped on the banks of Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado Territory. Kelman tells the stories of those who lived through the massacre as well as the succeeding generations impacted by the destruction wrought by the Civil War and the conquest of the American West. Examining competing memories of this horrific event, he deftly shows how Native Americans, Colorado residents, National Park Service employees, historians, and politicians debated how the event should be memorialized at the 2007 opening of the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site. In doing so, he reveals the varied ways in which different groups of Americans come to know a shared past.

Kelman received the $50,000 award at the Tom Watson Brown Book Award dinner held at the Hilton Atlanta, on Friday, November 14. The Hilton Atlanta served as the conference hotel for the annual meeting of the Southern Historical Association in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 13-16, 2014. The SCWH holds its annual banquet in conjunction with the Southern.


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


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).