Civil War and Reconstruction Book Award

Recognizing the most original book on the coming of the Civil War, the Civil War years, or the Era of Reconstruction.



The Civil War and Reconstruction Book Award is given annually by the Organization of American Historians to the author of the most original book on the coming of the Civil War, the Civil War years, or the Era of Reconstruction.


Each entry must be published during the period January 1, 2024 through December 31, 2024.

Submission Process

One copy of each entry, clearly labeled “2025 Civil War and Reconstruction Book Award Entry,” must be mailed directly to the committee members listed below. Each committee member must receive all submissions postmarked by October 1, 2024.

Bound page proofs may be used for books to be published after October 1, 2024, and before January 1, 2025. If a bound page proof is submitted, a bound copy of the book must be sent to each committee member postmarked no later than January 7, 2025.

If a book carries a copyright date that is different from the publication date, but the actual publication date falls during the correct timeframe making it eligible, please include a letter of explanation from the publisher with each copy of the book sent to the committee members.

Please mail submissions to the committee members listed below: 

KT Shively, Chair
Email for mailing address and to provide title(s) you will submit for consideration so the committee can verify that all books have been received:

Lawrence McDonnell
1809 Ferndale Avenue
Ames, IA 50010

Past Winners


Dale Kretz, California Nurses Association. Administering Freedom: The State of Emancipation after the Freedmen’s Bureau 


Lorien Foote, Texas A&M University, Rites of Retaliation: Civilization, Soldiers, and Campaigns in the Civil War (University of North Carolina Press)

Honorable Mention: Brian K. Mitchell, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Barrington S. Edwards, teacher/artist/publisher of comics and graphic media, and Nick Weldon, The Historic New Orleans Collection, Monumental: Oscar Dunn and His Radical Fight in Reconstruction Louisiana (The Historic New Orleans Collection, publisher; University of Virginia Press, distributor)


Thavolia Glymph, Duke University, The Women’s Fight: The Civil War’s Battles for Home, Freedom, and Nation (The University of North Carolina Press)


W. Caleb McDaniel, Rice University, Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America (Oxford University Press)


Amy Murrell Taylor, University of Kentucky, Embattled Freedom: Journeys through the Civil War’s Slave Refugee Camps (The University of North Carolina Press)


Edward L. Ayers, University of Richmond, The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America (W. W. Norton & Company)


Manisha Sinha, University of Connecticut, The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition (Yale University Press)


Martha Hodes, New York University, Mourning Lincoln (Yale University Press)

Honorable Mention: Gregory P. Downs, University of California, Davis, After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War(Harvard University Press)


Edward E. Baptist, Cornell University, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (Basic Books)


Ari Kelman, University of California, Davis, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over the Memory of Sand Creek (Harvard University Press)

Honorable Mention: Caroline E. Janney, Purdue University, Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation(University of North Carolina Press)

Honorable Mention: Walter Johnson, Harvard University, River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press)


Jonathan Levy, Princeton University, Freaks of Fortune: The Emerging World of Capitalism and Risk in America (Harvard University Press)


Nicole Etcheson, Ball State University, A Generation at War: The Civil War Era in a Northern Community (University Press of Kansas)


Stephanie McCurry, University of Pennsylvania, Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South (Harvard University Press)

Honorable Mention: Ronald E. Butchart, University of Georgia, Schooling the Freed People: Teaching, Learning, and the Struggle for Black Freedom, 1861–1876 (University of North Carolina Press)

Honorable Mention: Kate Masur, Northwestern University, An Example for All the Land: Emancipation and the Struggle over Equality in Washington, D.C. (University of North Carolina Press)


Hannah Rosen, University of Michigan, Terror in the Heart of Freedom: Citizenship, Sexual Violence, and the Meaning of Race in the Postemancipation South (The University of North Carolina Press)


Edward B. Rugemer, Yale University, The Problem of Emancipation: The Caribbean Roots of the American Civil War (Louisiana State University Press)


Chandra Manning, Georgetown University, What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery and the Civil War (Alfred A. Knopf)


Mark Elliott, Wagner College, Color-Blind Justice: Albion Tourgée and the Quest for Racial Equality from the Civil War to Plessy v. Ferguson (Oxford University Press)


Anne Sarah Rubin, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, A Shattered Nation: The Rise and Fall of the Confederacy, 1861–1868(University of North Carolina Press)


C. Wyatt Evans, Drew University, The Legend of John Wilkes Booth: Myth, Memory, and a Mummy (University Press of Kansas)


Dylan C. Penningroth, Northwestern University, The Claims of Kinfolk: African American Property and Community in the Nineteenth-Century South (University of North Carolina Press)


John Stauffer, Harvard University, The Black Hearts of Men: Radical Abolitionists and the Transformation of Race (Harvard University Press)


Don E. Fehrenbacher, Stanford University, The Slaveholding Republic: An Account of the United States Government’s Relations to Slavery (Oxford University Press) [Dr. Fehrenbacher died in 1997, but Ward M. McAfee, California State University-San Bernardino, a former student of Fehrenbacher’s, completed and edited the book.]


Lyde Cullen Sizer, Sarah Lawrence College, The Political Work of Northern Women Writers and the Civil War, 1850–1872 (The University of North Carolina Press)


Walter Johnson, Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market (Harvard University Press)


Amy Dru Stanley, From Bondage to Contract: Wage Labor, Marriage, and the Market in the Age of Slave Emancipation (Cambridge University Press)


William G. Shade, Democratizing the Old Dominion: Virginia and the Second Party System, 1824–1861 (University Press of Virginia)

Mark M. Smith, Mastered by the Clock: Time, Slavery, and Freedom in the American South (University of North Carolina Press)


Drew Gilpin Faust, Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War (The University of North Carolina Press)


David L. Gollaher, Voice for the Mad: The Life of Dorothea Dix (The Free Press)


Julie Saville, The Work of Reconstruction: From Slave to Wage Laborer in South Carolina, 1860–1870 (Cambridge University Press)


Eric Lott, Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class (Oxford University Press)


Tyler Anbinder, Nativism and Slavery: The Northern Know Nothings and the Politics of the 1850s (Oxford University Press)


William S. McFeely, Frederick Douglass (W.W. Norton & Co.)


Grace Palladino, Another Civil War: Labor, Capital, and the State in the Anthracite Regions of Pennsylvania, 1840–1968 (University of Illinois Press)


Lewis P. Simpson, Mind and the American Civil War: A Meditation on Lost Causes (Louisiana State University Press)


Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863–1877 (Harper & Row Publishers)


William E. Gienapp, The Origins of the Republican Party 1852–1856 (Oxford University Press

Peter Kolchin, Unfree Labor: American Slavery and Russian Serfdom (Harvard University Press)


Clarence L. Mohr, On the Threshold of Freedom: Masters and Slaves in Civil War Georgia (University of Georgia Press)


Dan T. Carter, When the War Was Over: The Failure of Self-Reconstruction in the South 1865–1867 (Louisiana State University Press)


Michael Perman, Road to Redemption: Southern Politics, 1869–1879 (The University of North Carolina Press)