Paul Birdsall Prize
Next Award Year: 2016
The Paul Birdsall Prize in European Military and Strategic History was established in 1985 by a generous gift from Professor Hans Gatzke, who remained anonymous until his death. Paul Birdsall (d. 1970) was a historian of European diplomatic and military affairs and a foreign service officer. See the list of past recipients.
The Birdsall Prize is awarded biennially for the most important work published in English on European military or strategic history since 1870. Preference will be given to the international aspects of military history (military/diplomatic), but the impact of technological developments, strategic planning, and military events on society—political, economic, social—will also qualify. Purely technical studies, divorced from historical context, will not. The general rules for submission are:
- Preference will be given to early-career academics, but established scholars and nonacademic candidates will not be excluded.
- Books published in English and bearing an imprint of 2014 or 2015 are eligible for the 2016 prize.
- Nominators must complete the online Data Collection Form for each book submitted.
- One copy of each entry must be sent to each of the following committee members and clearly labeled “Birdsall Prize Entry.” Electronic copies may be sent only to committee members who have indicated they will accept them.
Please Note: Entries must be postmarked or transmitted by May 15, 2016, to be eligible for the 2016 competition. Entries will not be returned. Recipients will be announced at the January 2017 AHA annual meeting in Denver.
For questions, please contact the Prize Administrator.
Review committee contact information for the next prize year will be posted by March 31.
2014 Birdsall Prize
Jacob Darwin Hamblin, Oregon State Univ.
Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism (Oxford Univ. Press)
Hamblin presents an innovative exploration of the ways in which Western military officials and scientists contemplated harnessing natural disasters as weapons of war during the Cold War. Hamblin has crafted an international history of the creation of “catastrophic environmentalism,” the idea that mankind could and should interfere with the environment to achieve strategic ends. The implications of his discoveries will reach beyond the fields of military and strategic history.