Two Princeton University Press books are among eight titles shortlisted for the 2021 Cundill History Prize: Emma Rothschild’s An Infinite History: The Story of a Family in France Over Three Centuries and Tyler Stovall’s White Freedom: The Racial History of an Idea.
Rothschild’s An Infinite History is an innovative telling of social and economic changes in France, as seen through the stories of a single extended family. Stovall’s White Freedom traces the complex relationship between freedom and race from the eighteenth century to today, revealing how being free has meant being white. A third PUP book, Judith Herrin’s Ravenna: Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe, a riveting history of the city that led the West of out the ruins of the Roman Empire, was longlisted for the 2021 Prize.
PUP books that have previously received Prize recognition include: Peter Brown’s Through the Eye of the Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350–550 AD (Honorable Mention); James E. Lewis Jr.’s The Burr Conspiracy: Uncovering the Story of an Early American Crisis (Longlist); Robert J. Gordon’s The Rise and Fall of American Growth (Longlist); Stuart Schwarz’s Sea of Storms: A History of Hurricanes in the Caribbean (Shortlist); and Walter Scheidel’s The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century (Shortlist).
Thomas Laqueur’s The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains—a richly detailed account of how and why the living have cared for the dead, from antiquity to the twentieth century—won the prize in 2016.
The prestigious Cundill History Prize is administered by McGill University in Montreal and is awarded annually in recognition of a book, “that embodies historical scholarship, originality, literary quality, and broad appeal.” The 2021 Prize is overseen by Michael Ignatieff, Chair, with fellow jurors Eric Foner, Sunil Khilnani, Jennifer L. Morgan, and Henrietta Harrison, whose book The Perils of Interpreting: The Extraordinary Lives of Two Translators between Qing China and the British Empire is forthcoming from PUP in November.