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 2023 Conservative Book of the Year Award is Dr. Daniel J. Mahoney for his book, The Statesman as Thinker: Portraits of Greatness, Courage, and Moderation.

Mahoney will receive this award at ISI’s Conservative Book of the Year Award Dinner on Friday, June 2, 2023, 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

About this year's winner

In The Statesman as Thinker, Daniel J. Mahoney provides thoughtful and elegant portraits of statesmen who struggled to preserve freedom during times of crisis: Cicero using all the powers of rhetoric to preserve republican liberty in Rome against Caesar’s encroaching autocracy; Burke defending ordered liberty against Jacobin tyranny in revolutionary France; Tocqueville defending liberty and human dignity against blind reaction, democratic impatience, and revolutionary fanaticism; Lincoln preserving the American republic and putting an end to chattel slavery; Churchill defending liberty and law and opposing Nazi and Communist despotism; and Havel fighting Communism before 1989 and then leading the Czech Republic with dignity and grace.

Mahoney makes sense of the mixture of magnanimity and moderation that defines the statesman as thinker at his or her best. That admirable mixture of greatness, courage, and moderation owes much to classical and Christian wisdom and to the noble desire to protect the inheritance of civilization against rapacious and destructive despotic regimes and ideologies.

About the Author: Daniel J. Mahoney is a professor emeritus at Assumption University (where he taught from 1986 until 2021), a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, and a senior writer at Law and Liberty.



You can hear Daniel J. Mahoney talk about his book, The Statesman as Thinker, at ISI’s Conservative Book of the Year Award Dinner. The Dinner will be held Friday, June 2nd, 2023, at the Hotel duPont in Wilmington, Delaware, and is part of ISI’s 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).