LBJ Foundation names The American Warfare State winner of 28th D.B. Hardeman Prize

Jul 25, 2016

CONTACT: Anne Wheeler, [email protected], 512-721-0216

Photo caption: L-R:  Luci Baines Johnson, Dr. Rebecca U. Thorpe, Lynda Johnson Robb
Photo Credit: LBJ Library photo by Jay Godwin


AUSTIN, TX – The Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation awards the D.B. Hardeman Prize to Dr. Rebecca U. Thorpe for her book, The American Warfare State, published by the University of Chicago Press.  The $10,000 prize is given to the author(s) of the most significant book on the U.S. Congress, as chosen by the Hardeman Prize National Selection Committee.

President Lyndon Johnson’s daughters, Luci Baines Johnson and Lynda Johnson Robb,  presented the prize to Dr. Thorpe at the LBJ Presidential Library on April 28th in conjunction with the Summit on the Vietnam War.

Rebecca U. Thorpe (Ph.D., University of Maryland, 2010) joined the faculty at the University of Washington as an Assistant Professor in the Fall of 2010. She was a Research Fellow at The Brookings Institution from 2008-2009. During the 2009-2010 academic year she worked on Capitol Hill as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow. Her research focuses on national political institutions, policymaking and American political development.

In The American Warfare State, Dr. Thorpe argues that there are profound relationships among the size and persistence of the American military complex, the growth in presidential power to launch military actions, and the decline of congressional willingness to check this power. Drawing on an impressive cache of data, Thorpe reveals how this new incentive structure has profoundly reshaped the balance of wartime powers between Congress and the president, resulting in a defense industry perennially poised for war and an executive branch that enjoys unprecedented discretion to take military action.

The D.B. Hardeman Prize is awarded for the best book on the U.S. Congress, from the fields of biography, history, journalism and political science. Candidates are judged on their contribution to scholarship and to the public's understanding of Congress as well as literary craftsmanship, originality and depth of research.

Currently, the LBJ Foundation is accepting nominations for books published in 2016 to be considered for the next Hardeman Prize. Applications must be submitted by February 28, 2017. The Prize will be awarded in 2018. For more information, contact Samantha Stone, deputy director, at [email protected] or (512) 721-0263.

About the D.B. Hardeman Prize
D. Barnard Hardeman Jr. was a teacher, politician, and political advisor. He was a member of the Texas legislature before moving to Washington, D.C. in 1957 to serve as assistant to Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn. After Rayburn’s death in 1961, Hardeman worked for Majority Whip Hale Boggs of Louisiana, and in 1964 the American Political Science Association named him the first Honorary Congressional Fellow.  Upon his death in 1981, Hardeman bequeathed the seed money to create the prize that bears his name as well as his extensive collection of books on American history and biography to the LBJ Presidential Library.