Each year the Center for Great Plains Studies presents a prize for the previous year's best book on the Great Plains. The Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize carries a cash award recently increased to $10,000. Publishers or authors may make nominations; each publisher may submit up to five titles. Only first edition, full-length, nonfiction books copyrighted in 2015 are evaluated for this year's award. The deadline for the 2016 book prize is Jan. 26, 2016. A winner will be selected May 2016.
The Cowboy Legend: Owen Wister's Virginian and the Canadian-American Frontier
John Jennings, University of Calgary Press
Metis and the Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People
Michel Hogue, University of Regina Press in Canada and University of North Carolina Press in the U.S.
Two books published by Canadian academic presses are finalists for this year's Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize from the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska. The two books selected by a panel of judges are:
“Metis and the Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People” by Michel Hogue (University of Regina Press in Canada and University of North Carolina Press in the U.S.)
“The Cowboy Legend: Owen Wister’s Virginian and the Canadian American Frontier” by John Jennings (University of Calgary Press)
“Metis and the Medicine Line” explores how communities of mixed Indigenous and European ancestry were profoundly affected by the efforts of nation-states to divide and absorb the North American West. The Medicine Line was called in the 1800s because it seemed to magically repel U.S. soldiers. Hogue is an Assistant Professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.
“This book is, in many ways, a story about the Great Plains and its transformation across the 19th Century, told through the experiences of the Plains Metis families whose lives were wound around the United States-Canada boundary,” Hogue said.
“The Cowboy Legend” details the evidence that a cowboy from Virginia named Everett Johnson was the prime inspiration for Owen Wister's cowboy (which transformed the notion of the cowboy for the public), and in the process shows that Johnson led a fascinating life in his own right. His memories of both the Wyoming and Alberta cattle frontiers provide insight into ranch life on both sides of the border while featuring legendary period figures such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp and Butch Cassidy. Jennings is a retired Associate Professor from Trent University Peterborough in Ontario, Canada.
“(The book’s) main focus is the creation of the cowboy mystique by western novelist Owen Wister and his two close friends, Theodore Roosevelt and the western painter Frederic Remington,” Jennings said. “The book is partly a biography of Everett Johnson, a Virginia cowboy, who was on the cattle frontiers of both Wyoming and Alberta, so that I was able to compare the customs and institutions of these two ranching frontiers, features which gave them their uniqueness.”
The Stubbendieck Distinguished Book Prize celebrates the most outstanding scholarship about the Great Plains during the past year.
The winner of the $10,000 cash prize will be announced May 4. The author will be invited to travel to UNL to present a lecture on the topic of the book. Only first-edition, full-length, nonfiction books published and copyrighted in 2015 were evaluated for the award. Nominations were made by publishers or authors.