The House of the Dead: Siberian Exile under the Tsars
by Daniel Beer
A ground-breaking new study of how the 19th century Tsars turned Siberia into a vast and brutal prison camp.
‘Daniel Beer has done extraordinary research, using underappreciated and unexamined sources, to show what exile meant to generations of Russians and other nationalities within the Russian Empire. He gives a moving and heart-rending account of what happened to these people, most of whom never returned from Siberia. The House of the Dead is a haunting and important contribution to Russian history, and a hugely deserving winner of the 2017 Cundill History Prize.’ Margaret MacMillan, Chair of the Jury
‘Daniel Beer has a universality of approach that is both innovative and important. He tells the story of an immense tragedy, spanning hundreds of years. The House of the Dead uses a huge canvas, but Beer is able to bring out individual stories and a real sense of what it means to be human. This book is a triumph.’ Juror Amanda Foreman
‘Daniel Beer’s The House of the Dead reads like a tragic Russian novel, which is apposite since Dostoevsky and, indeed, Chekhov figure in the story of Siberia. The book shows the tragedy of the people who were sent marching east, and the extraordinary variety of the lives they made, and lost, there: Russian revolutionaries, Polish nationalists, and all sorts of felons and outcasts. While beautifully written, and a riveting read, it is quarried out of an extraordinary range of sources, hitherto unavailable, and is a work of great scholarship.’ Juror Roy Foster
‘The Cundill History Prize is given to a book that marks a particular excellence in the quality of history, and what I mean by that is ‘craft’; providing something for the writing and the study of history that shows a particular sort of ambition, scope and dedication. Daniel Beer has combined meticulous use of archives with a gripping narrative drive. This is a book that shows the historian’s craft at the highest level.’ Juror Rana Mitter
‘The Cundill History Prize looks for outstanding historical scholarship, but also accessibility: a reader who is not an expert should be able to read and understand the book it chooses. And the winner must teach us something we can profit from today, as we grapple with contemporary problems.’ Juror Jeffrey Simpson
Administered by McGill University in Montreal, the Cundill History Prize generously rewards the leading historians of our time, with US$75,000 going to the winner, and the two runners up each receiving a Recognition of Excellence Award, together with US$10,000. A distinguished jury is seeking the book that embodies historical scholarship, originality, literary quality and broad appeal. Previous winners include Thomas W. Laqueur, Susan Pedersen, Lisa Jardine, Anne Applebaum, and Diarmaid MacCulloch.
The House of the Dead: Siberian Exile Under the Tsars by Daniel Beer
Vietnam: A New History by Christopher Goscha
Princeton University Press
Will be announced in April 2018.
Don't miss your chance to attend the Cundill History Prize Gala in Montreal in November 2018.