MONTREAL – British historian Daniel Beer’s account of life in a Siberian penal colony has won the US$75,000 Cundill History Prize.
“The House of the Dead: Siberian Exile under the Tsars” beat out works by Montreal historian Christopher Goscha and Stanford University Prof. Walter Scheidel.
The award, which is run by McGill University, rewards non-fiction history writing in English.
Beer was announced as the winner by jury chairwoman Margaret MacMillan at a gala at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts on Thursday evening.
Jury members said “The House of the Dead,” which includes many previously unknown sources from Russian and Siberian archives, “reads like a tragic Russian novel.”
The book has also been shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize, the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize and the Longman-History Today Prize.