Robert M. Utley Prize

The Western History Association announces the Utley Book Award to be given annually for the best book published on the military history of the frontier and western North America (including Mexico and Canada) from prehistory through the twentieth century. The award grants $500 to the author and a certificate to the publisher. The prize is supported by contributions from publishers and individuals, and administered by the Western History Association. Books published in the previous calendar year are eligible for submission.

Publishers may submit more than one title from their list. Publishers or authors should submit a letter of nomination and a copy of the book to each member of the award committee listed below.

2017 Committee

Karl Jacoby - Chair

15 Claremont Ave. #33

New York, NY 10027

Andrew R. Graybill

Clements Center for Southwest Studies

Southern Methodist University

P.O. Box 750176

Dallas, TX 75275-0176

Lance Blyth

2020 Oak Way
Colorado Springs, CO 80906


Robert Marshall Utley (1929 - ) is an American author and historian of the American West. He is a former chief historian for the National Park Service. Photo Courtesy of  Robert Utley.

The following is an article by published in 2010 from the  University of Oklahoma Press blog.

In Praise of Bob Utley, historian of the West

"Our friend Robert M. Utley has left his mark on western history in ways unmatched by perhaps any other contemporary author. In 1942 at the age of twelve Bob sat mesmerized in a darkened movie theatre watching Errol Flynn channel George Armstrong Custer in They Died with Their Boots On. Thus began a fascination with the West, its legends, and its preservation that has never wavered.

At seventeen his hard-earned savings from after-school work paid for a trip from Indiana to Crow Agency, Montana. Somehow age restrictions were circumvented and, donning the uniform of the National Park Service, he stood on Custer Hill to regale all who came with the story of the iconic 1876 battle. Following college and military service, he joined and quickly moved up the ranks of the National Park Service, where he became chief historian. His work in Washington helped shape the goals of the organization in ways that still resonate. Since his retirement from the NPS in 1980 he has devoted himself to research, writing, consulting and speaking.

As author of eighteen books, four of which are published by the University of Oklahoma Press, and well over a hundred articles, introductions, and the like, he has tackled a wide range of western history, from the military to the fur trade, Sitting Bull to Billy the Kid, Texas Rangers to his forthcoming biography of Geronimo.

Perhaps most importantly, Bob’s generosity to friends and fellow historians is legendary. His work in building connections between historians and enthusiasts, in mentoring new authors, in contributing to the evaluation and promotion of new writing on the West is inestimable.

We are proud to have shared this historical path with Bob. We hope you, too, have had the opportunity to enjoy his fine contributions. We invite you to visit him at his new website."

–Robert Clark, Publisher, Arthur H. Clark Company

Past Winners

2016 | Michael McDonnell for Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of North America (Hill and Wang, 2015)

2015| Boyd Cothran for Remembering the Modoc War: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014). Click here to read more.

2014 | Ari Kelman for A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2013). Click here to read more.

2013 | Amy S. Greenberg for A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico (New York: Vintage Books, 2012). Click here to read more.

2012 | No Award Given

2011 | William Chalfant for Hancock's War: Conflict on the Southern Plains (Norman: Arthur H. Clarke Company, 2010). Click here to read more.

2010 | Robert Wooster for The American Military Frontiers: The US Army in the West 1783-1900 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2009). Click here to read more.

2009 | Brian DeLay for War of a Thousand Deserts: Indian Raids and the U.S.-Mexican War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008). Click here to read more.

2008 | Robert W. Larson for Gall: Lakota War Chief (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007). Click here to read more.

2007 | Ned Blackhawk for Violence Over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006). Click here to read more.

2006 | R. Allen Radbourne for Mickey Free: Apache Captive, Interpreter, and Indian Scout (Tucson: Arizona Historical Society, 2005). Click here to read more.

2005 | R. Eli Paul for Blue Water Creek and the First Sioux War, 1854-1856 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2004). Click here to read more.

2004 | Jerome A. Greene for Morning Star Dawn: The Powder River Expedition and the Northern Cheyennes, 1876 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2003). Click here to read more.

2003 | William A. Dobak and Thomas D. Phillips for The Black Regulars, 1866-1898 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2001). Click here to read more.

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