Today’s mail brought Vol. XXII, No. 2 of the newsletter of the Society of Civil War Historians. I guess that’s a good sign in that it means they haven’t kicked me out yet. Included in this issue: the organization welcomed its new president, James Marten, who takes the helm from George Rable; three book reviews (a little dated with two from 2008 and one from 2007); an announcement of a new series from Southern Illinois University Press, Legal History of the Civil War Era; and a call for papers for the 2nd Annual SCWH conference coming up June 17-19, 2010 in Richmond, VA.
Most interesting was the announcement of the new Tom Watson Brown Book Award. This will present a $50,000 prize “annually to the author of the outstanding book on the causes, conduct, and effects, broadly defined, of the Civil War. All genres of scholarship within the field will be eligible, including, but not exclusive to monographs, synthetic works presenting original interpretations, and biographies.” The emphasis is mine, placed on what I hope is a good sign regarding this award, considering recent book awards to synthetic works that, as far as I could tell, did not present original interpretations. Let’s see if they stick to the guidelines.