For immediate release August 12, 2019

2019 Book Awards Short List

 

'Short Lists' announced for
Christian Gauss Award, Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, and Ralph Waldo Emerson Award

WASHINGTON, DC – The Phi Beta Kappa Society is pleased to announce the fifteen books, chosen by a panel of experts, that make up the 2019 Phi Beta Kappa Book Awards Short List.

The Society will announce the winning titles on October 1st, 2019. The winning authors will be honored at a gala dinner on December 6th, 2019 in Washington, DC, at The Carnegie Institution for Science.

The Christian Gauss Award

The Christian Gauss Award recognizes books in the field of literary scholarship or criticism. The 2019 Christian Gauss Award short list titles are:

  • Elements of Surprise: Our Mental Limits and the Satisfactions of Plot, by Vera Tobin (Harvard University Press)
  • Facing the Abyss: American Literature and Culture in the 1940s, by George Hutchinson (Columbia University Press)
  • Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry, by Imani Perry (Beacon Press)
  • Paper Minds: Literature and the Ecology of Consciousness, by Jonathan Kramnick* (The University of Chicago Press)
  • Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion, by Michelle Dean (Grove Press)

The Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science

The Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science honors outstanding contributions by scientists to the literature of science, encouraging literate and scholarly interpretations of the physical and biological sciences and mathematics. The 2019 Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science short list titles are:

  • Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees, by Thor Hanson (Basic Books)
  • Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto, by Alan Stern and David Grinspoon (Picador)
  • Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth, by Adam Frank (W. W. Norton and Company)
  • Spying on Whales: The Past, Present, and Future of Earth's Most Awesome Creatures, by Nick Pyenson (Viking Press)
  • Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World​, by Marcia Bjorenrud (Princeton University Press)

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Award

The Ralph Waldo Emerson Award presents scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity, including works in the fields of history, philosophy and religion as well as such fields as anthropology and the social sciences. The 2019 Ralph Waldo Emerson short list titles are:

  • Action Versus Contemplation: Why Ancient Debate Still Matters, by Jennifer Summit* and Blake Vermeule (University of Chicago Press)
  • The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War​, by Joanne Freeman* (Farra, Straus, and Giroux)
  • The Known Citizen: A History of Privacy in Modern America, by Sarah E. Igo (Harvard University Press)
  • The Schoolhouse Gate: Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind​, by Justin Driver (Knopf | Pantheon)
  • When Montezuma Met Cortés: The True Story of the Meeting that Changed History, by Matthew Restall (Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins)

Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees is featured in the Phi Beta Kappa magazine, The American Scholar.
Spying on Whales: The Past, Present, and Future of Earth's Most Awesome Creatures is featured in the Phi Beta Kappa's American Scholar podcast, Smarty Pants.

Action Versus Contemplation: Why an Ancient Debate Still MattersChasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Plutoand Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion are featured in the Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Magazine The Key Reporter


For more information on the Phi Beta Kappa book awards, click here or contact Jen Horneman at jhorneman@pbk.org.
 
*Phi Beta Kappa member

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About The Phi Beta Kappa Society

Founded on Dec. 5, 1776, The Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation's most prestigious academic honor society. It has chapters at 286 colleges and universities in the United States, 50 alumni associations, and more than half a million members worldwide. Noteworthy members include 17 U.S. Presidents, 41 U.S. Supreme Court Justices and more than 140 Nobel Laureates. The mission of The Phi Beta Kappa Society is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, foster freedom of thought, and recognize academic excellence. For more information, visit www.pbk.org.