Books

Canadian Christopher Goscha shortlisted for $75K US history prize

The Université du Québec à Montréal professor is on the Cundill History Prize shortlist for Vietnam: A New History.
Vietnam: A New History by Quebec professor Christopher Goscha is a finalist for the Cundill Prize. (cgoscha.uqam.ca)

Christopher Goscha, a professor at Université du Québec à Montréal, has been shortlisted for one of the world's richest history prizes for his book Vietnam: A New History. 

Administered by McGill University, the Cundill History Prize recognizes the best nonfiction history book in English. It is open internationally and offers a $75,000 US ($93,585 Cdn) purse for the winning author.

Goscha's Vietnam: A New History has been referred to as the "definitive history of modern Vietnam," exploring with meticulous detail the historical forces that have shaped the diverse nation as it stands today.

"Christopher Goscha's Vietnam was a revelation to me," said Roy Foster, a prize juror and professor at University of Oxford.

Goscha "has immersed himself in the sources, learned the languages, studied the cultures and constructed the story of a country, the story of individuals and people, often tragically, often inspiringly."

The other two shortlisted authors are U.S.-based historian Walter Scheidel for The Great Leveler, an examination of how the dream of equality has failed and will likely continue to do so, and British writer Daniel Beer for The House of the Dead, which explores how Siberia was turned into a vast and haunted prison camp by the czars.

The winner of the prize will be announced on Nov. 16, 2017 in Montreal. The two titles that do not win will each receive $10,000 US ($12,478 Cdn).

"The three finalists for the 2017 Cundill History Prize are extraordinary works of history: beautifully crafted, well-researched, and ambitious," said Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan, who is the chair of the jury.

"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."

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