THE CHRISTIAN GAUSS AWARD
Henry David Thoreau: A Life
By Laura Dassow Walls (ΦBK, University of Washington),
University of Chicago Press
Drawing on Thoreau’s copious writings, published and unpublished, Laura Dassow Walls presents a Thoreau vigorously alive in all his quirks and contradictions: the young man shattered by the sudden death of his brother, the ambitious Harvard College student, the uncompromising abolitionist, and the ecstatic visionary who closed Walden with an account of the regenerative power of the Cosmos.
THE ΦBK AWARD IN SCIENCE
Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst
By Robert Sapolsky (ΦBK, Harvard College), Penguin Press
In Behave, the celebrated neurobiologist and primatologist Robert Sapolsky asks: Why do we do the things we do? As he explores this question, he starts by looking at the factors that bear on a person’s reaction in the precise moment a behavior occurs, and then hops back in time from there, in stages, ultimately ending up at the deep history of our species and its evolutionary legacy.
THE RALPH WALDO EMERSON AWARD
Greater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919
By Mike Wallace, Oxford University Press
Within the first two decades of the 20th century, New York City exploded into the air with skyscrapers and dove deep into the bedrock to develop the massive infrastructure necessary to support its surging population. During this period, New York was transformed into the city we recognize today, the world’s second-largest city and its financial capital, thriving and sustained by its seemingly unlimited potential.