Thomas Pinney Wins Oscar Lewis Award

On July 12, The Book Club of California, a San Francisco-based society devoted to promoting an appreciation of the writing, design, and printing of fine books among collectors, scholars, and the public, presented one of its 16th annual Oscar Lewis Awards to UC Press author Thomas Pinney for his contributions to western history. A noted Rudyard Kipling scholar, Pinney is also a respected historian of wine whose two-volume A History of Wine in America is the definitive work on the subject. The second volume, covering the period from Prohibition to the present, received the 2006 International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Award for Wine, Beer, or Spirits.

In accepting the award, Pinney acknowledged the crucial assistance of fellow wine historian Charles Sullivan (author of A Companion to California Wine and Zinfandel: A History of a Grape and its Wine), of UC Davis librarian Axel Borg, and of wine book collectors and curators Gayle Unzelman and Nina Wemyss. He praised UC Press for having “the largest and finest list of wine books of any publisher in the country.”

A second award was presented to artist Charles Hobson for his contributions to the book arts. Award namesake Oscar London served as the Book Club’s secretary from 1921-1946 and was the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including San Francisco: Mission to Metropolis and Bay Window Bohemia.

2 thoughts on “Thomas Pinney Wins Oscar Lewis Award

  1. In reading this book I was struck by how comprehensive it was until I got to Chapter 12 -” California to the End of the Century.” I was pleased at first to see that the winery experiment of my great, great grandfather, Remi Nadeau, was included. That pleasure soon evaporated when I came across 2 glaring errors – errors that any careful historian should have caught and corrected. The first was when he was said to be one of the mayors of Los Angeles – not that I would have minded that, but it is simply not true and is a fact that is easily checked against any list of L.A. mayors. The second error is when it was stated that Remi committed suicide – not a charge that one would hope to have leveled against a family member – especially when it is completely untrue. I cannot even imagine how Mr.Pinney came to this conclusion. I have in my possession his death certificate, court records and, of course, our own family stories that contradict that statement. He died of an acute kidney ailment, nephritis. Of course, these errors are ones that involve only my family, but because they are ones that are easily researched, it makes me wonder how many other errors are imbedded in the text of this book.

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