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The Western History Association announces the Hal K. Rothman Book Prize given annually for the best book in western environmental history defined in its broadest sense. The award consists of $500 and a certificate to the author, and a certificate to the press. The award is supported by contributions from individuals and publishers, and administered by the WHA. Publishers may submit more than one title from their list. In 2017 the prize changed from a biennial award to an annual award. 

All submissions must have a 2023 copyright date. While the formal process requires presses/journals to submit the work of their authors, the WHA strongly recommends that authors check with the award committee chair a week before the deadline to see if they received a copy of their work. Presses should submit nominations and a copy of the book to each member of the award committee listed below. 

-2024 Awards Cycle opens January 15, 2024

-2024 Award Submission (Postmark) Deadline: April 15, 2024

The WHA office sends notifications to selected award recipients at the end of August. 


Marsha Weisiger, Chair
University of Oregon

540 W. 24th Ave.
Eugene, OR 97405

Theresa Salazar
The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

P.O. Box 6806
Albany, CA 94706

Traci Brynne Voyles

North Carolina State University 

Campus Box 8108

Withers Hall 352

Raleigh, NC 27695



2023 | Robert Michael Morrissey, People of the Ecotone: Environment and Indigenous Power at the Center of Early America (University of Washington Press, 2022)

2022 | Finis Dunaway, Defending the Arctic Refuge: A Photographer, an Indigenous Nation, and a Fight for Environmental Justice (University of North Carolina Press, 2021)

2021 | Adam Sowards, An Open Pit Visible from the Moon: The Wilderness Act and the Fight to Protect Miners Ridge and the Public Interest (University of Oklahoma Press, 2020)

2020 Bathsheba Demuth, Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait (W.W. Norton, 2019)

2019 James E. Sherow, The Chisholm Trail: Joseph McCoy’s Great Gamble (University of Oklahoma Press, 2018)

2018 | Terence Young for Heading Out: A History of American Camping (Cornell University Press, 2017)

2017 | Frederick Brown for The City is More Than Human: An Animal History of Seattle (University of Washington Press, 2016)

2015 | Andrew Needham for Power Lines: Phoenix and the Making of the Modern Southwest (Princeton University Press, 2014) 

2013 | Lissa K. Wadewitz for The Nature of Borders: Salmon, Boundaries, and Bandits on the Salish Sea (University of Washington Press, 2012).

2012 | Brian Frehner for Finding Oil: The Nature of Petroleum Geology, 1859-1920 (University of Nebraska Press, 2011)

2011 | Marsha Weisiger for Dreaming of Sheep in Navajo Country (University of Washington Press, 2010)

2009 | Richard A. Walker for The Country in the City: The Greening of the San Francisco Bay Area (University of Washington Press, 2008)

2007 | Robert Righter for The Battle Over Hetch Hetchy: America's Most Controversial Dam and the Birth of Modern Environmentalism (Oxford University Press, 2006)

Western History Association

University of Kansas | History Department

1445 Jayhawk Blvd. | 3650 Wescoe Hall

Lawrence, KS 66045 | 785-864-0860 

The WHA is located in the Department of History at the University of Kansas. The WHA is grateful to KU's History Department and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for their generous support!