Laura Shannon Prize Winner

Bourke Empire Revolution

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Publication Year: 2015

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Empire & Revolution: The Political Life of Edmund Burke

by Richard Bourke

2018 Silver Medalist in Humanities

Jury Statement (Honorable Mention)

Richard Bourke’s Empire & Revolution: The Political Life of Edmund Burke is a significant and carefully researched study of a towering figure in eighteenth-century European history and politics: Edmund Burke, the great rhetorician, politician, and political theorist. While some have dismissed Burke as irredeemably conservative, Bourke has recovered the political reformer, the opponent of colonial exploitation and royal overreach, and the unstinting advocate for oppressed peoples. To the image of Burke as a supporter of class distinctions, an “open aristocracy,” and a parliamentary monarchy, Bourke brings a great deal of nuance. One of the great achievements of this book is the author’s attention to Burke’s remarkable style and rhetoric—treating them not merely as secondary matters, but as integral components of his message. Well-grounded in the sources, clear in its methodological approach, and elegantly written, Empire & Revolution richly repays the effort of those willing to engage a study of this detail and density. It is a paragon of intellectual history.

Final Jury

James Chandler
William B. Ogden Distinguished Service Professor
University of Chicago

William Collins Donahue
John J. Cavanaugh, C.S.C. Professor of the Humanities
University of Notre Dame

Dennis Doordan
Professor of Architecture and Design, Emeritus
University of Notre Dame

Heather Dubrow
John D. Boyd, S.J. Chair in the Poetic Imagination
Fordham University

Mark Lilla
Professor of Humanities
Columbia University