Oren Kessler has won the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature for his book Palestine 1936: The Great Revolt and the Roots of the Middle East Conflict, the award’s organizers announced in a news release.

Kessler’s book, published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2023, is the nonfiction account of the Great Revolt, in which Palestinian Arabs demanded independence from the British, who controlled Mandatory Palestine at the time and allowed Jewish immigration to the territory. The revolt was quashed in 1939.

The book was previously a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award and for the American Library Association’s Sophie Brody Medal.

In the book, prize organizers said, “Kessler masterfully navigates the complex landscape of historical events, providing readers with a thought-provoking analysis of the actions and perspectives of the remarkable individuals involved in the conflict. Through meticulous research and compelling storytelling, he sheds light on a pivotal period in history, offering a deeper understanding of the forces that have shaped the region to this day.”

In a statement, Kessler said, “I’m humbled and grateful beyond words for this tremendous honor, and to be joining this family of extraordinary authors whom I’ve read and admired for so long.”

The Sami Rohr Prize, named after the businessman and philanthropist, was established in 2007. The award alternates annually between fiction and nonfiction. Previous winners include Sana Krasikov for One More Year, Idra Novey for Ways To Disappear, and Benjamin Balint for Kafka’s Last Trial.

Michael Schaub is a contributing writer.