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Central Washington University

Western History Book Wins Second National Prize

Dan Herman's Rim County Exodus: A Story of Conquest, Renewal, and Race in the Making has been awarded the Charles Redd Center-Phi Alpha Theta Book Award in Western History. The book previously won the prestigious Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award.

Herman, a Central Washington University history professor, is an Arizona native who specializes in American cultural history, American Indian history, the American West, Jacksonian America, and the Civil War. Rim Country Exodus examines the bloody and contradictory history of Apaches, Yavapais, settlers, and Bureau of Indian Affairs agents in Arizona between 1864 and 1940.

“It's a big award,” said Herman. “I'm very, very glad to get it. There were probably quite a few books nominated, since any book on Western history is eligible.”

The biennial award requires that the book must be on some aspect of the American West, and that its author must be a member of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honors organization.

“In a sense, this award comes directly out of our department's collaborative work with undergrads,” said Herman. “I would not be a member of Phi Alpha Theta had I not been taking undergrads to that conference every year from 2002-2005.” 

CWU's history department sends a substantial contingent of students, both graduate and undergraduate, to Phi Alpha Theta's annual Pacific Northwest regional conference. [Herman’s colleague Jason Knirck now accompanies students to the conference.] 

Through the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University, Phi Alpha Theta offers a $500 prize for the best book on any aspect of the history of the American West. Herman will receive the prize at the Phi Alpha Theta Biennial Convention in January 2014.

Herman’s previous book, Hell on the Range: A Story of Honor, Conscience, and the American West (Yale University Press, 2010) was chosen as a Pima County Library Southwestern Book of the Year. His first book, Hunting and the American Imagination (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001), won the 2002 American Historical Society/Pacific Coast Branch book prize and became a History Book Club selection.


Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518, valeriec@cwu.edu