The Christian Gauss Award


What We Talk About When We Talk About Books: The History and Future of Reading

By Leah Price (ΦΒΚ​, Harvard University), Basic Books

"Digital-age pundits warn that as our appetite for books dwindles, so too do the virtues in which printed, bound objects once trained us: the willpower to focus on a sustained argument, the curiosity to look beyond the day’s news, the willingness to be alone. English professor Leah Price finds scant evidence that a golden age of reading ever existed. From the dawn of mass literacy to the invention of the paperback, most readers already skimmed and multitasked. In encounters with librarians, booksellers and activists who are reinventing old ways of reading, Price offers fresh hope to bibliophiles and literature lovers alike." - Basic Books

The Phi Beta Kappa Award for Science


Archaeology From Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past

By Sarah Parcak, Henry Holt and Co.

"National Geographic Explorer and TED Prize-winner Dr. Sarah Parcak welcomes you to the exciting new world of space archaeology, a growing field remote-sensing technology that is sparking extraordinary discoveries from ancient civilizations across the globe. From surprise advancements after the declassification of spy photography, to a new map of the mythical Egyptian city of Tanis, she shares her field’s biggest discoveries, revealing why space archaeology is not only exciting, but urgently essential to the preservation of the world’s ancient treasures." - Henry Holt and Co.

Ralph Waldo Emerson Award


Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom

By Sarah Seo (ΦΒΚ​, Princeton University), Harvard University Press

"When Americans think of freedom, they often picture the open road. Yet nowhere are we more likely to encounter the long arm of the law than in our cars. Sarah Seo reveals how the rise of the automobile led us to accept—and expect—pervasive police power. As Policing the Open Road makes clear, this radical transformation in the nature and meaning of American freedom has had far-reaching political and legal consequences. Seo shows how procedures designed to safeguard us on the road ultimately undermined the nation’s commitment to equal protection before the law." - Harvard University Press

Read Interviews with the Winning Authors in The Key Reporter

About the Phi Beta Kappa Book Awards

The Phi Beta Kappa Book Awards are given annually to outstanding scholarly books published in the United States. Winning works, which are drawn from the fields of the humanities, the social sciences, the natural sciences and mathematics, must be of broad interest and accessible to the general reader. Each award carries a $10,000 prize and acceptance at the Annual Book Awards Dinner.  The winners were selected by panels of experts who reviewed five short-listed titles in each of the three award categories.

See the shortlist

Watch the Virtual Awards Event

The Book Awards Event gave Phi Beta Kappa members an opportunity to hear remarks by the winning authors and listen to them participate in a panel discussion with Phi Beta Kappa Secretary/CEO Frederick M. Lawrence. The virtual event took place on Thursday, December 3 at 7:00 p.m. ET. 

Book Reviews and Media

Staff Contact

Please email Aurora Sherman at with any inquiries or call (202) 745-3287

Nominate a Book

All nominations must be submitted by a publisher. Publishers seeking to nominate a book for the 2022 cycle can find more information here.