Intercollegiate Studies Institute Announces the 2021 Winner of Its Prestigious Conservative Book of the Year Award: Yuval Levin’s A Time to Build

On June 25, Levin will receive $10,000 prize for his “moving call to recommit to the great project of our common life” 

WILMINGTON, Del., March 18, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), an organization that teaches college students core conservative principles, has announced the winner of the 2021 Conservative Book of the Year award: Yuval Levin’s A Time to Build: From Family and Community to Congress and the Campus, How Recommitting to Our Institutions Can Revive the American Dream (Basic Books).

This annual award recognizes a thoughtful book that contributes to the rich debate about important conservative ideas.

An outside panel of eight judges—including bestselling authors Amity Shlaes and Angelo Codevilla—chose McClay’s book from among six outstanding finalists. Levin will be honored at ISI’s Conservative Book of the Year award dinner on Friday, June 25, at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington, Delaware. He will receive ISI’s Paolucci Book Award as well as a $10,000 cash prize.

ISI president John A. Burtka, IV, said: “With American politics so bitterly divided, it is tempting to fall into despair or anger. But Yuval Levin reminds us that there is a path forward. The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan may have said it best when she called A Time to Build ‘exactly what America needs right now’—‘a moving call to recommit to the great project of our common life.’”

This year, ISI received more than 140 nominations for Conservative Book of the Year. In addition to Yuval Levin’s book, the finalists for the award included:

  • Christopher Caldwell, The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties 
  • Ross Douthat, The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success 
  • Rod Dreher, Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents 
  • Robert R. Reilly, America on Trial: A Defense of the Founding 
  • Bradley C. S. Watson, Progressivism: The Strange History of a Radical Idea 

The Conservative Book of the Year award has been in place for well over a decade. Notable past winners include Wilfred M. McClay’s Land of Hope, Yoram Hazony’s The Virtue of Nationalism, Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option, Bradley J. Birzer’s Russell Kirk: American Conservative, and Richard Brookhiser’s Founders’ Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln.

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About the Intercollegiate Studies Institute

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute inspires college students to discover, embrace, and advance the principles and virtues that make America free and prosperous. Too many college students feel isolated or attacked for questioning progressive orthodoxy and the ever-narrowing range of debate on campus. ISI introduces them to the American tradition of liberty and to a vibrant community of students and scholars. Our students get an education and a community they don’t find at their universities—and in the process they become articulate voices for conservative principles. ISI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization. For more information, visit

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Jed Donahue
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