Congratulations to Christopher Phillips - Winner of the 2017 Tom Watson Brown Book Award

Barby Singer's picture
January 31, 2018
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Military History, Political History / Studies, Borderlands, Slavery

The Society of Civil War Historians and the Watson–Brown Foundation are proud to announce that Christopher Phillips is the recipient of the Tom Watson Brown Book Award. Dr. Phillips, Professor and Department Head at the University of Cincinnati, earned the award for The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border, which was published in 2016 by Oxford University Press. The $50,000 award is funded by the Watson-Brown Foundation in honor of the broadcaster, philanthropist, and Civil War enthusiast Tom Watson Brown. In making its selection, the prize committee praised Phillips for weaving together “discussions of geography, politics, culture, religion, economy, and racial attitudes” to craft a “complex, fully realized, and provocative depiction of the ‘middle border’ states” in the Civil War era. Redirecting our view from the simplistic North vs. South binary, The Rivers Ran Backward traces the rise of regionalism as a postwar political force and offers “a deeper understanding of the failure of the Reconstruction (and beyond) to realize emancipationist goals while preserving a country still divided by race, class, and region.” The Society of Civil War Historians and the Watson-Brown Foundation will present the Tom Watson Brown Book Prize to Dr. Phillips at the Southern Historical Association’s annual meeting in Dallas, Texas on November 10.

Call for Nominations

The Society of Civil War Historians solicits nominations for the Tom Watson Brown Book Award for books published in 2017.

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, 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.

The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2018. Submission instructions can be found on the SCWH website at

Contact Info: 

Society of Civil War Historians

Contact Email: