Recent Award Winners


For Fear of an Elective King: George Washington and the Presidential Title Controversy of 1789 by Kathleen Bartoloni-Tuazon is a Choice Magazine 2015 Outstanding Academic Title

Class Lives: Stories from Across our Economic Divide, edited by Chuck Collins, Jennifer Ladd, Maynard Seider, and Felice Yeskel, was shortlisted for the C. L. R. James Award given by the Working-Class Studies Association

From Development to Dictatorship: Bolivia and the Alliance for Progress in the Kennedy Era by Thomas C. Field Jr. is a Choice Magazine 2015 Outstanding Academic Title

“No One Helped”: Kitty Genovese, New York City, and the Myth of Urban Apathy by Marcia M. Gallo is Finalist in the Gay & Lesbian Non-Fiction category of the 2015 USA Best Book Awards given by USA Book News

Forgotten Foundations of Bretton Woods: International Development and the Making of the Postwar Order by Eric Helleiner was Shortlisted for the International Political Economy Group of the British International Studies Association Book Prize

Zoned in the USA: The Origins and Implications of American Land-Use Regulation by Sonia A. Hirt is a Choice Magazine 2015 Outstanding Academic Title

Becoming Muslim in Imperial Russia: Conversion, Apostasy, and Literacy by Agnès Nilüfer Kefeli is Winner of the Reginald Zelnik Book Prize in History given by the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studie

Desperate Magic: The Moral Economy of Witchcraft in Seventeenth-Century Russia by Valerie Kivelson has won Honorable Mention for the Early Slavic Studies Association Book Prize

Revolution with a Human Face: Politics, Culture, and Community in Czechoslovakia, 1989–1992 by James Krapfl is Winner of the Czechoslovak Studies Association Book Prize

Northern Men with Southern Loyalties: The Democratic Party and the Sectional Crisis by Michael Todd Landis is a Choice Magazine 2015 Outstanding Academic Title

Emperor of the World: Charlemagne and the Construction of Imperial Authority, 800–1229 by Anne A. Latowsky is the winner of the Southeastern Medieval Association’s Award for Best First Book

Missing Class: Strengthening Social Movement Groups by Seeing Class Cultures by Betsy Leondar-Wright was shortlisted for the C. L. R. James Award given by the Working-Class Studies Association

What Galileo Saw: Imagining the Scientific Revolution by Lawrence Lipking is a Choice Magazine 2015 Outstanding Academic Title

Corruption as a Last Resort: Adapting to the Market in Central Asia by Kelly M. McMann has won Honorable Mention for the Ed A. Hewett Book Prize given by the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studie

“Who, What Am I?”: Tolstoy Struggles to Narrate the Self by Irina Paperno is the winner of the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Slavic Languages and Literatures given by the Modern Language Association

To Follow in Their Footsteps: The Crusades and Family Memory in the High Middle Ages by Nicholas L. Paul is the winner of the 2016 John Nicholas Brown Prize given by the Medieval Academy of America

Diplomacy’s Value: Creating Security in 1920s Europe and the Contemporary Middle East by Brian C. Rathbun is the winner of the DPLST Book Prize given by the Diplomatic Studies Section of the International Studies Association

Networks of Rebellion: Explaining Insurgent Cohesion and Collapse by Paul Staniland is the winner of the Joseph S. Lepgold Book Prize given by Georgetown University

The Baron’s Cloak: A History of the Russian Empire in War and Revolution by Willard Sunderland has won Honorable Mention for the Reginald Zelnik Book Prize in History given by the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Birth Certificate: The Story of Danilo Kis by Mark Thompson is the winner of the Jan Michalski Prize for Literature given by the Jan Michalski Foundation

Life and Death in Captivity: The Abuse of Prisoners during War by Geoffrey P. R. Wallace is a Choice Magazine 2015 Outstanding Academic Title

Priest, Politician, Collaborator: Jozef Tiso and the Making of Fascist Slovakia by James Mace Ward is the winner of the 2016 Slovak Studies Association Book Prize and received Honorable Mention for the Czechoslovak Studies Association Book Prize


Recent Award Winners

It’s a Wonderful Life of Books

cornell-guideI stopped into The Bookery on Tuesday after lunch at The Moosewood Café a few blocks down from our offices at The Sage House here in Ithaca. I discovered a book on Shakespearean actor Sir John Gielgud for $1.00 that I pulled from the discount rack. It referenced a friend of mine from my days in New York City. Ben Edwards lived in Chelsea and was a Broadway set designer. With his hickory-tinged Alabama accent, Ben would hold court over martinis with hints of ice skimming the surface in his brownstone telling stories about Tennessee Williams, Elia Kazan and Gielgud.

I noticed another book as I reached for my wallet. On the table was the “Guide to the Campus of Cornell University” published in 1920. The Cornell Press was on hiatus at the time, reopening in 1933. The trim size and feel of the book resembles our recent title, “The Inauguration of Elizabeth Garrett.” The “Guide” was advertised for fifty cents during its time. In 2015, the price had risen to $15.00. I gladly paid it.

The book contains many entertaining passages about the town and the university. We learn that it took seven hours to reach Ithaca by train from New York City in 1920 in the section entitled, “General Directions for a Stranger.” During the winter an “automobile omnibus plies daily from Elmira to Ithaca.”

There’s a section on “The Infirmary.” The Sage House was once an infirmary that contained “rooms, offices, and rooms for convalescent cases.” There were 75 beds in the house and “the number can be doubled in an emergency.” This is good to know for expansion possibilities.

In the “Biographies” section, Henry Williams Sage receives more than a page of copy for his contributions to Cornell. At the inauguration of the university in 1868 with tears in his eyes he told John McGraw, “We are scoundrels to stand doing nothing while those men are killing themselves to establish this university.”

It’s Christmas Eve 2015, and the Sage House is bustling with activity. It feels like seventy degrees outside. Our editor Roger Haydon is busily preparing manuscripts that will bring accolades to the university in areas that Cornell is known for and others that it is not. Mahinder Kingra is plying metadata as though he is wrapping gold chocolate coins to stuff in stockings. Ange Romeo Hall is readying her desk for another 50 or more titles to be published this Spring. Betty Kim is waiting for me to finish writing this.

In today’s volatile publishing industry, these folks and many others are striving to ensure the long-term survival of the Press. It’s an honor to work with them.

Please support your university press and have a tremendous 2016 filled with exciting literary discoveries.

—Dean Smith, Director

It’s a Wonderful Life of Books

Cornell University Press Receives NEH Grant for Open Access E-Book Initiative


ITHACA, NY, Dec. 17 — Cornell University Press is proud to announce it is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant worth $83,635. The grant will enable the Press to make classic out-of-print books available electronically and free of charge to teachers, students, scholars, and interested readers around the globe. The grant is one of the first in the NEH’s new Humanities Open Book Program, jointly sponsored by the NEH and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and part of nearly $2.5 million in NEH grants that are being awarded to projects in New York State this year.

“As America’s first university press we are extremely honored to receive this generous grant from the NEH and expand our role as a leader in open access scholarship,” said Cornell University Press Director Dean Smith. “Our close collaboration with the Cornell University Library and noted scholars in the field ensured that the Cornell books chosen for this project are ones that will truly make a significant global impact in each of their respective fields—literary criticism and theory, Slavic studies, and German studies.”

“The National Endowment for the Humanities is pleased to join with the Mellon Foundation in announcing the first round of Humanities Open Book grants,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “These ten projects will put important out-of-print books into the hands of the public, widening access to the ideas and information they contain, and inspiring readers, teachers, and students to use them in exciting new ways.”

“The NEH project builds on a successful six-year collaboration among the Library, the Press, and Cornell scholars on book publishing in the Signale program, which also includes an open access component four years after publication,” said Kizer Walker, Director of Collections for Cornell University Library. “Signale publishes new English-language scholarship on the literature, culture, criticism, and intellectual history of the German-speaking world and several of the titles that will be opened up with NEH support will closely complement our Signale books.”

Oya Rieger, Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Resources and Preservation Services at Cornell University Library, added, “We are delighted to hear the news and look forward to partnering with the Press in exploring how to turn outstanding out-of-print books in the humanities into freely accessible e-books. This new program will be instrumental in expanding the reach of terrific books written by scholars throughout the years.”

NEH’s official announcement on the Humanities Open Book Program is available here:

Cornell University Press Receives NEH Grant for Open Access E-Book Initiative

Bill Gates names Eradication one of “The Best Books I Read in 2015”

Eradication: Ridding the World of Diseases Forever? by Nancy Leys Stepan is one the six best books Bill Gates read in 2015. You can watch his video review of the book here. Gates writes on his blog:

“Stepan’s history of eradication efforts gives you a good sense of how involved the work can get, how many different kinds of approaches have been tried without success, and how much we’ve learned from our failures. She writes in a fairly academic style that may make it hard for non-experts to get to her valuable arguments, but it’s worth the effort. You come away from it with a clearer sense of how we can use the lessons of the past to guide future efforts to save lives.”

Bill Gates names Eradication one of “The Best Books I Read in 2015”

Hear My Sad Story reviewed in the New York Times Book Review

The Holiday Books issue of the New York Times Book Review features a review of Hear My Sad Story: The True Tales That Inspired “Stagolee,” “John Henry,” and Other Traditional American Folk Songs by Richard Polenberg. Here’s an excerpt:

“I never knew that ‘Railroad Bill,’ which I used to sing at summer camp, is about an African American outlaw (real name Morris) who terrorized Alabama in the 1890s. People had good reason to fear Bill, but that fear was also used as an excuse for the blatantly racist treatment of people whose only connection to him seems to have been the color of their skin. (‘A number of Negroes have been arrested,’ Polenberg quotes an 1895 news report. ‘None of them will be permitted to go about for fear that they might sneak some information to Railroad.’) Many of Polenberg’s stories shed similar light on the uglier aspects of American history, and he tells them well.”—Peter Keepnews, New York Times Book Review

Hear My Sad Story reviewed in the New York Times Book Review

Mark Thompson wins 2015 Jan Michalski Prize for Literature

Mark Thompson, author of Birth Certificate: The Story of Danilo Kiš, has been named as the winner of the 2015 Jan Michalski Prize for Literature given by the Jan Michalski Foundation.

From the Foundation’s press release: “The Jan Michalski Prize for Literature is awarded each year by the Foundation to crown a work of world literature. An original feature of the Prize is its multicultural nature. It is open to authors from the world over and is intended to contribute to their international recognition. The Prize is awarded for a work of fiction or non-fiction, irrespective of the language in which it is written. The winner receives an amount of CHF 50,000 [USD 48,600 at today’s exchange rate], offering the possibility of greater dedication to her or his writing. To make up the jury, the Foundation has invited exceptional writers who are multilingual, selected for their knowledge of various literary genres, but particularly for their cultural openness.”

Mark Thompson wins 2015 Jan Michalski Prize for Literature

“Beyond the Academy”: An Interview with Senior Anthropology Editor Jim Lance

Jim Lance joined Cornell University Press this year as senior acquiring editor for anthropology and social science. A graduate of Haverford College, he earned a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in African history from Stanford University. Lance came to Cornell from Kumarian Press, where he served as editor and publisher, acquiring books in comparative politics, international development, and globalization. Prior to that, he served as the African Studies Editor for Greenwood-Heinemann.

IMG_0967Sage House: Your academic background was initially in international relations and African history. Can you tell us what led you to your new role as acquiring editor in anthropology at Cornell University Press?

Jim Lance: Academia is a very critical profession. In publishing, although it’s necessarily critical, by and large the goal is to be supportive [of the author], and to make something. I really like that. For me, personally, the academy felt too hermetic, with people talking to each other and not talking to a broader community. And among university presses Cornell is definitely geared not only for the academic community, but toward other purposes and missions.

SH: What’s the broader purpose or mission of Cornell University Press as you see it?

JL: I think there’s a definite sense of social justice at Cornell. ILR Press is obviously the most visible presence, but Roger Haydon’s books, many of them, have a component that asks, “What does this mean for society as a whole?” Michael [McGandy]’s and certainly Kitty [Liu]’s books as well. There’s a sense that these books are bigger than the book itself; they’re about what kind of society we want to live in.  Continue reading ““Beyond the Academy”: An Interview with Senior Anthropology Editor Jim Lance”

“Beyond the Academy”: An Interview with Senior Anthropology Editor Jim Lance

Witnessing “The Witness” – A Film Review by Marcia Gallo

the_witness_croppedThe Witness, directed and produced by James Solomon, William Genovese, and Melissa Jacobson, with Trish Govoni as director of photography, is an evocative tribute to Kitty Genovese, one of America’s most infamous and enduring crime victims. It is an intense, surprising and at times disturbing account of her brother Bill’s eleven-year search to learn the truth about the cold night in 1964 when 28-year-old Kitty was fatally assaulted near her home in Kew Gardens, Queens. It also is a poignant portrait of a man on a mission to make peace with a horrible family trauma that became an international symbol of apathy.

Bill is a thoughtful and soft-spoken man in his late 60s who conducts his search from his wheelchair, an indirect result of his response to a cultural call to action that his sister’s death immediately generated. After joining the Marines a few years later, he lost his legs in an explosion while leading his troops on a dangerous mission in Vietnam. “But I had people who helped me,” he says in the film. “I survived.” Continue reading “Witnessing “The Witness” – A Film Review by Marcia Gallo”

Witnessing “The Witness” – A Film Review by Marcia Gallo