A controversial thesis on inequality, a "myth-shattering" history of Vietnam, and a study of Siberian exile under the Tsars are the finalists for this year's $75,000 (£56,680) Cundill History Prize.
Run by Canada’s McGill University, the Cundill History Prize rewards the best history writing in English. The winner will be awarded $75,000, and the two runners up receive $10,000 (£7,600) each.
Shortlisted for the prize are The House of the Dead: Siberian Exile Under the Tsar by Daniel Beer (Allen Lane), Vietnam: A New History by Christopher Goscha (Allen Lane) and The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century by Walter Scheidel (Princeton University Press).
Judging the prize are Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan, British-American historian and author Amanda Foreman, award-winning Oxford Professor Roy Foster, UK historian and broadcaster Rana Mitter, and Canadian journalist and author Jeffrey Simpson. They chose this year’s contenders from a record 300 submissions.
MacMillan, chair of the Jury, said: “The three finalists for the 2017 Cundill History Prize are extraordinary works of history: beautifully crafted, well-researched, and ambitious. They tackle big issues and help us to know ourselves and our world better. We live in complicated times and the work of historians such as these provides us with the necessary background, understanding and insights to enable us to formulate the sorts of questions we ought to be asking.”
Mitter added: “One of the things that is most notable about this shortlist is how extensive, how global the questions that it deals with are. These studies speak to something even beyond the particular subjects that they look at.”
The winner will be announced at the Cundill History Prize Gala in Montreal on 16th November 16.
Photo: judges Margaret Macmillan, Antonia Maioni and Roy Foster