Book arguing war boosts equality up for $75,000 book prize

LONDON (AP) — A U.S.-based historian who argues that greater social equality requires violent conflict is among finalists for a $75,000 book prize.

Stanford University professor Walter Scheidel is a contender for the Cundill History Prize for “The Great Leveler.” The Austria-born author argues that, since the Stone Age, economic inequality has only declined at times of war, famine and other violent shocks.

Journalist Jeffrey Simpson, a judge for the prize, said it’s is a book “you have to grapple with, even if you don’t agree.”

The other finalists, announced Thursday, are British writer Daniel Beer’s “The House of the Dead: Siberian Exile Under the Tsars” and “Vietnam: A New History” by Canadian historian Christopher Goscha.

The prize is run by Montreal’s McGill University, and the winner will be announced Nov. 16.


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