The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



Saint Mary’s professor wins CHOICE award

Justin Tardiff | Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Saint Mary’s political science professor Sean Savage joined an elite group of authors last month, winning the 2005 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award for his 2004 book, “JFK, LBJ and the Demo-cratic Party.”

CHOICE, a professional journal used in college libraries acr-oss America, announces the annual award in each year’s January issue. The journal honored fewer than 10 percent of the field of 6,964 titles reviewed, including Savage’s work.

“I honestly don’t know [how I won],” Savage said of being distinguished from such a large pool.

CHOICE bases its judging criteria on three elements – the evaluation of the overall work, the author’s knowledge of the field and the author’s previous record of works.

CHOICE described Savage’s work as “a richly detailed, comprehensive, and provocative account of presidential party leadership in the turbulent 1960s.”

The Journal of American History also offered a strong review of “JFK, LBJ and the Democratic Party.”

“Sean Savage’s thoroughly researched work offers a new perspective,” the journal read. “The reader will be rewarded by a closely argued thesis, some new revelations about JFK and LBJ and an extraordinary collection of rare photographs.”

This is not the first time the professor’s work has been recognized. Savage received two other awards for his writing in past years. In 1993, he won the “Emerging Scholar Award” presented by the American Political Science Organization for his book, “Roosevelt, the Party Leader, 1932-1945.” In 1997, he won an award for his book, “Truman and the Democratic Party.”

“There is a definite satisfaction in seeing your books in bookstores,” Savage said. “I do have a Y chromosome. The feeling of validation by your peers and public is something to be proud of.”

Savage described the writing experience as one of solitude.

“An author lives several years in a private world,” he said. “Once your works are released, it’s natural to wonder how the public will react to it.”

Savage is working on two smaller projects. The first book focuses on the relationship between Kennedy, as a senator, and the geographic area of New England. The other work focuses on the ideological policy changes in the Democratic Party from 1968-1972 on Cold War policy.

Editors and authors alike view Savage’s work as a literary and historical success. Thomas Patterson, another author in the field, wrote, “Sean Savage’s book is a must read for scholars and students of American politics and history.”

Even though Savage may not identify a particular reason for his most recent success, it is clear his colleagues at CHOICE can pinpoint his work’s distinguishing characteristics.

“[The book is] a masterful work which sparks an interest in studying the politics of the sixties in a broader context than just presidential personalities,” the journal read.