Every year thousands of political books hit the shelves, and Americans are treated to new theories of political ideology, tell-all stories from insiders, and autobiographical books written to set the stage for future campaigns. Each year, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) chooses its “Conservative Book of the Year,” and this year it has gone to Victor Davis Hanson’s The Dying Citizen: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America. ISI summarizes the book, writing:
In The Dying Citizen, Victor Davis Hanson explores the history of citizenship—and how rare of an idea “the citizen” has been throughout human history. Hanson argues that citizenship was one of America’s most valued ideas until recent decades. Today, the American citizen is on life-support thanks to fifty years of fractured social institutions, a decaying middle class, open borders, an increased dependence on the federal government, and a dwindling understanding of the constitution. And, as Hanson explains, as goes the American citizen so goes American liberty. Is there hope? Hanson thinks so, but it will take nothing short of “shock treatment” on a national scale.
“ISI is pleased to recognize Victor Davis Hanson’s The Dying Citizen as an impressive contribution to the conservative intellectual tradition in America,” noted ISI President and CEO, Jonny Burtka. “As Daniel Mahoney wrote in National Review, Hanson’s book is a ‘welcome corrective to those influential forces and doctrines in our midst that conspire to delegitimize the citizen’ and a call to restore the central role of citizenship in American society.”
What Makes the Conservative Book of the Year?
The ISI’s criteria for winners of its Conservative Book of the Year are:
- Have been published during the previous calendar year, up to and including December 31
- Advance our understanding of conservative principles
- Make an outstanding contribution to the literature of the subject
- Avoid factional or partisan argumentation
In Good Company
Hanson’s book lands among a group of prestigious past winners.
ISI honors the Conservative Book of the Year with the Paolucci Book Award. The award is named in memory of Henry and Anne Paolucci, distinguished scholars, teachers, and writers who exemplified the ideal of the public intellectual.The award winner’s lecture is routinely aired on C-SPAN’s Book TV. See links below for previous broadcasts. Past winners of the award include:
- 2021: Yuval Levin, A Time to Build
- 2020: Wilfred M. McClay, Land of Hope
- 2019: Yoram Hazony, The Virtue of Nationalism
- 2017–18: Rod Dreher, The Benedict Option
- 2016: Bradley J. Birzer, Russell Kirk: American Conservative
- 2015: Richard Brookhiser, Founders’ Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln
- 2014: Daniel Hannan, Inventing Freedom
- 2013: Brad S. Gregory, The Unintended Reformation
- 2012: John Fonte, Sovereignty or Submission
- 2011: Pauline Maier, Ratification
- 2010: Angelo M. Codevilla, Advice to War Presidents
- 2009: Philip Hamburger, Law and Judicial Duty
- 2008: Charles Taylor, A Secular Age
- 2007: Andrew Roberts, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples since 1900
- 2006: William Daugherty, Executive Secrets
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