The $50,000 Tom Watson Brown Book Award is awarded annually by the Watson-Brown Foundation and the Society of Civil War Historians to the author or authors of the best book “on the causes, conduct, and effects, broadly defined, of the Civil War,” published in the preceding year.
Walter J. Brown, the broadcasting pioneer and founder of Spartan Communications, founded the Watson-Brown Foundation in 1970, naming it for his father, J. J. Brown, and the populist politician, Thomas E. Watson, the two men to whom Brown attributed his success. The Watson-Brown Foundation, through creativity, diligence and financial support, labors to improve education in the American South by funding its schools and students, preserving its history, and encouraging responsible scholarship. Today, the Foundation makes annual awards of more than $1 million in merit and need-based college scholarships to students from the Central Savannah River Area of Georgia and South Carolina. It also awards a year-long residential fellowship at the University of South Carolina for a graduate student in southern studies, as well as a number of short-term grants to scholars conducting research in regional repositories.
Each year Tad Brown, president of the Watson-Brown Foundation, presents the Tom Watson Brown Book Award at a special banquet during the annual meeting of the Southern Historical Association.
The 2015 Tom Watson Brown Book Award committee consists of
Tad Brown, President, Watson-Brown Foundation
Lorien Foote, Professor of History, Texas A & M University
Gary W. Gallagher (committee chair), John L. Naul III Professor in the History of the American Civil War, University of Virginia
James Marten, Professor and Chair of the Department of History, Marquette University
2016 – Earl J. Hess, Civil War Infantry Tactics: Training, Combat, and Small-Unit Effectiveness (LSU Press, 2015)
2015 – Shauna Devine, Learning from the Wounded: The Civil War and the Rise of American Medical Science (UNC Press, 2014). Learning from the Wounded also won the Wiley-Silver Prize from The Center for Civil War Research, University of Mississippi.
2014 – Ari Kelman, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek (Harvard University Press, 2013). A Misplaced Massacre also won the Bancroft Prize and the Avery O. Craven Award.
2013 – John Fabian Witt, Lincoln’s Code: the Laws of War in American History (Simon and Schuster, 2012). Lincoln’s Code also won the Bancroft Prize and the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award.
2012 – Gary Gallagher, The Union War (Harvard University Press, 2011)
2011 – Mark Geiger, Financial Fraud and Guerilla Violence in Missouri’s Civil War, 1861-1865 (Yale University Press, 2010)
2010 – Daniel Sutherland, A Savage Conflict: the Decisive Role of Guerillas in the American Civil War (UNC Press, 2009)