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Cundill History Prize Jurors Bring History to the Present with 2023 Shortlist

From clean energy’s “battery problem” to revelations on China’s Cultural Revolution, from US state secrets to new takes on religion and mental health – the shortlist for the 2023 Cundill History Prize celebrates books that create “dialogues between dilemmas of yesterday and today."


Juror Sol Serrano said: “As a reader of history, I have never travelled as far, or as intensely, as I did whilst reading these books."


The 2023 Shortlist:


The Huxleys: An Intimate History of Evolution, Alison Bashford | The University of Chicago Press

Red Memory: Living, Remembering and Forgetting China’s Cultural Revolution, Tania Branigan | Faber & Faber

The Declassification Engine: What History Reveals About America’s Top Secrets, Matthew Connelly | Pantheon Books

The Perfection of Nature: Animals, Breeding, and Race in the Renaissance, Mackenzie Cooley | The University of Chicago Press

Queens of a Fallen World: The Lost Women of Augustine’s Confessions, Kate Cooper | Basic Books

Dust on the Throne: The Search for Buddhism in India, Douglas Ober | Navayana

Charged: A History of Batteries and Lessons for a Clean Energy Future, James Morton Turner | University of Washington Press

The Madman in the White House: Sigmund Freud, Ambassador Bullit, and the Lost Psychobiography of Woodrow Wilson, Patrick Weil | Harvard University Press



Lisa Shapiro, Dean of Arts at McGill University, said: “This stellar shortlist demonstrates just what the best history writing can do for us in the present. We are delighted to announce it here, in New York City, and to have the Cundill History Prize visit the US for the first time since 2019. We are already looking forward to a packed calendar of events in November at the Cundill History Prize Festival and winner announcement in Montreal. I don’t envy the jurors and the tough decisions they have to make.”


The 2023 finalists will be announced in mid-October, and the winner will be named as part of the Cundill History Prize Festival on 8 November. For the latest news on these and the wider events programme, sign up to the newsletter and follow the Cundill History Prize on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. For further information, and to join the conversation visit: www.cundillprize.com


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