ISI’s Conservative Book of the Year Award

ISI’s Conservative Book of the Year Award recognizes thoughtful books that contribute to the rich debate about important conservative ideas. The winner receives a $10,000 cash prize along with ISI’s Paolucci Book Award.


Honoring Important Contributions to the Conservative Intellectual Tradition

Each year, ISI’s community of thoughtful readers puts together a list of the most significant contributions to the conservative canon published in the past year. A panel of judges then selects one author who will receive ISI’s prestigious Paolucci Book Award and a $10,000 cash prize.

The winner of the 2022 Conservative Book of the Year award is Victor Davis Hanson for his book, The Dying Citizen: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America. 

Hanson will receive this award at ISI’s Conservative Book of the Year Award Dinner on Friday, May 13, at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington, Delaware. This Dinner is part of ISI’s second annual Homecoming Weekend. Tickets for both the Dinner and the entire weekend are available.



To be considered for the Conservative Book of the Year award, a book must:

  • Have been published during the previous calendar year, up to and including December 31
  • Advance our understanding of conservative principles
  • Make an outstanding contribution to the literature of the subject
  • Avoid factional or partisan argumentation

Recent winners of ISI’s Conservative Book of the Year award include Victor Davis Hanson for The Dying Citizen, Yuval Levin for A Time to Build, Wilfred M. McClay for Land of Hope, Yoram Hazony for The Virtue of Nationalism, Rod Dreher for The Benedict Option, and Bradley J. Birzer for Russell Kirk: American Conservative. A distinguished panel of judges will select the year’s winner, taking considerations based on a general vote for each year’s finalists.

About this year's winner

In The Dying Citizen, Victor Davis Hanson explores the history of citizenship—and how rare of an idea “the citizen” has been throughout human history. Hanson argues that citizenship was one of America’s most valued ideas until recent decades. Today, the American citizen is on life support thanks to fifty years of fractured social institutions, a decaying middle class, open borders, an increased dependence on the federal government, and a dwindling understanding of the constitution. And, as Hanson explains, as goes the American citizen, so goes American liberty. Is there hope? Hanson thinks so, but it will take nothing short of “shock treatment” on a national scale.

“ISI is pleased to recognize Victor Davis Hanson’s The Dying Citizen as an impressive contribution to the conservative intellectual tradition in America,” noted ISI President and CEO, Jonny Burtka. “As Daniel Mahoney wrote in National Review, Hanson’s book is a ‘welcome corrective to those influential forces and doctrines in our midst that conspire to delegitimize the citizen’ and a call to restore the central role of citizenship in American society.”

About the Author: Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow in military history at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a professor emeritus of classics at California State University, Fresno. He is the author of over two dozen books, most recently The Case for Trump. He lives in Selma, California.



You can hear Victor Davis Hanson talk about his book, The Dying Citizen, at ISI’s Conservative Book of the Year Award Dinner. The Dinner will be held Friday, May 13, at the Hotel duPont in Wilmington, Delaware, and is part of ISI’s second annual Homecoming Weekend. Tickets for both the Dinner and the entire weekend are available.

About the Award

ISI honors the Conservative Book of the Year with the Paolucci Book Award. The award is named in memory of Henry and Anne Paolucci, distinguished scholars, teachers, and writers who exemplified the ideal of the public intellectual.
The award winner’s lecture is routinely aired on C-SPAN’s Book TV. See links below for previous broadcasts. Past winners of the award include:

About Henry and Anne Paolucci

Henry Paolucci
Henry Paolucci, PhD (1921–1999)

Henry Paolucci was a prolific scholar of classical politics and literature. He was a professor of government and politics at St. John’s University and also taught ancient Greek and Roman history at Iona College, Brooklyn College, and the City College of New York, as well as a graduate course on Dante and medieval culture at Columbia University. Dr. Paolucci wrote or edited more than 30 books and was a frequent contributor to national magazines and newspapers. He is well known for his studies of the political thought of Aristotle, Saint Augustine, Machiavelli, and Hegel.

The founding president of the Walter Bagehot Council on National Sovereignty, Dr. Paolucci served for many years as vice chairman of the Conservative Party of New York State. In 1964 he ran as the Conservative candidate for the U.S. Senate against Democrat Robert F. Kennedy and the Republican incumbent, Kenneth Keating.

Anne Paolucci
Anne Paolucci, PhD (1926–2012)

Anne Paolucci displayed a wide range of intellectual interests in her long and distinguished scholarly career. Born in Rome, she settled with her family in New York at the age of eight and went on to earn a PhD from Columbia University. Dr. Paolucci taught English at the City College of New York before joining the faculty of St. John’s University as its first University Research Professor. A prolific writer on Renaissance drama, dramatic theory, Hegelian aesthetics, Spenser, Dante, Machiavelli, and classical and Shakespearean tragedy, she was perhaps best known for her work on the plays of Pirandello and Edward Albee.

Dr. Paolucci was the founding president of the Council on National Literatures. For nearly a decade, she served on the National Council on the Humanities, and she became the first woman to chair the Board of ­Trustees of the City University of New York (CUNY).