History Buzz April 14, 2014: Historian Alan Taylor Wins 2014 Pulitzer for Book on Slaves and War


History Buzz


U.Va. Historian Alan Taylor Wins 2014 Pulitzer for Book on Slaves and War

University of Virginia historian Alan Taylor, one of the nation’s premier experts in Colonial America and the early U.S. republic, has received a Pulitzer Prize for his book, The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832.”….READ MORE

History Buzz April 14, 2014: 2014 Winners of the Pulitzer Prize for History, Non-Fiction & Biography


History Buzz


The 2014 Winners of the Pulitzer Prize

Source: The Wire, 4-14-14

The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 by Alan Taylor (W.W. Norton)

Biography or Autobiography
Margaret Fuller: A New American Life by Megan Marshall (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

General Nonfiction
Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin (Bantam Books)

History Buzz February 16, 2014: Finalists Announced for 2014 George Washington Book Prize


History Buzz


Two Univ. of Virginia professors among finalists for George Washington Book Prize

Source: WaPo, 2-16-14

(Courtesy of W.W. Norton) Two professors at the University of Virginia — Alan Taylor and Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy — are among the three finalists for this year’s George Washington Book prize. The $50,000 award, one of the country’s most lucrative literary prizes, recognizes the best new book about early American history….READ MORE

Alan Taylor, “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832” (Norton)

Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy, “The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire” (Yale)

Jeffrey L. Pasley, “The First Presidential Contest: 1796 and the Founding of American Democracy” (Kansas)

University Musings December 15, 2013: McGill University awards Cundill History Prize to Anne Applebaum’s Iron Curtain




McGill University awards Cundill History Prize to Anne Applebaum’s Iron Curtain

By Bonnie K. Goodman

This year McGill University in Montreal chose to award journalist and Pulitzer Prize winning author Anne Applebaum the 2013 Cundill Prize in Historical Literature for her book Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956. The prestigious award also…READ MORE

History Buzz April 15, 2013: Top Young Historian Fredrik Logevall: Cornell History Professor, Wins Pulitzer Prize for Book on Vietnam War


History Buzz


Fredrik Logevall, Cornell History Professor, Wins Pulitzer Prize for Book on Vietnam War

Source: Cornell Sun, 4-15-13

Top Young Historian Profile, 45: Fredrik Logevall, 2-26-07

Prof. Fredrik Logevall, history,  was “stunned” when he learned Monday that he had been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his book, Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam.

“It was a shock to get the news,” said Logevall, who is also the director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. ..

Embers of War is a history of the early years in the Vietnam struggle, beginning at the end of World War I and examining the next 40 years in the country’s history, Logevall said. The book is a prequel to Choosing War, Logevall’s Ph.D. dissertation — which was published as a book in 2001 — about heavy U.S. involvement in Vietnam….READ MORE

History Buzz April 15, 2013: 2013 Pulitzer Prizes for Letters, Drama and Music


History Buzz


2013 Pulitzer Prizes for Letters, Drama and Music

Source: NYT, 4-15-13



The Orphan Master’s Son” (Random House)

Finalists Nathan Englander, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank”; Eowyn Ivey, “The Snow Child.”




Finalists Gina Gionfriddo, “Rapture, Blister, Burn”; Amy Herzog, “4000 Miles.”



Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam” (Random House)

Finalists Bernard Bailyn, “The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675; John Fabian Witt, “Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History.”



The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo” (Crown)

Finalists Michael Gorra, “Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece”; David Nasaw, “The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy.”



“Stag’s Leap” (Alfred A. Knopf)

Finalists Jack Gilbert, “Collected Poems”; Bruce Weigl, “The Abundance of Nothing.”



“Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America” (Harper)

Finalists Katherine Boo, “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity”; David George Haskell, “The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature.



“Partita for 8 Voices” (New Amsterdam Records)

Finalists Aaron Jay Kernis, “Pieces of Winter Sky”; Wadada Leo Smith, “Ten Freedom Summers.”

History Buzz February 28, 2013: Robert Caro Wins National Book Critics Circle 2012 Award for Biography


History Buzz


Caro wins National Book Critics Circle bio prize

Source: AP, 2-28-13

‘The Passage of Power’

'The Passage of Power'

Random House via Bloomberg

“The Passage of Power,” by Robert A. Caro, who won the National Book Critics Circle’s 2012 award for biography.

Author Robert Caro is again the critics’ choice.

Caro’s fourth Lyndon Baines Johnson book, “The Passage of Power,” won the National Book Critics Circle biography prize on Thursday night. The 77-year-old historian has won virtually every literary honor for his Johnson series, from the Pulitzer Prize to the National Book Award to three prizes from the critics circle, founded in 1974, around the time he started on the LBJ books…..READ MORE

History Buzz February 21, 2013: Robert Caro wins $50,000 American History Book Prize from the New York Historical Society


History Buzz


Robert Caro wins $50,000 history prize

Source: AP, 2-21-13

  Historian Robert Caro.

Historian Robert Caro

Robert Caro has won yet another literary prize, this one worth $50,000.

The New-York Historical Society announced Thursday that Caro had won its American History Book Prize for the fourth volume of his Lyndon Johnson series, The Passage of Power….READ MORE

History Buzz April 16, 2012: Historians Manning Marable & John Lewis Gaddis Win Pulitzer Prizes for History & Biography


History Buzz


The Times and New Media Outlets Win Pulitzers

Source: NYT, 4-16-12

2012 Journalism Pulitzer Winners (April 17, 2012)
2012 Pulitzer Prizes for Letters, Drama and Music (April 17, 2012)

The prizes, celebrating achievement in newspaper and online journalism, literature, nonfiction and musical composition, were announced at Columbia University in New York. Given annually since 1917, they are awarded in 21 categories. Here are this year’s winners.


PUBLIC SERVICE: The Philadelphia Inquirer

BREAKING NEWS REPORTING: The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News Staff

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING: Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley of The Associated Press and Michael J. Berens and Ken Armstrong of The Seattle Times

EXPLANATORY REPORTING: David Kocieniewski of The New York Times

LOCAL REPORTING: Sara Ganim and members of The Patriot-News Staff, Harrisburg, Pa.

NATIONAL REPORTING: David Wood of The Huffington Post

INTERNATIONAL REPORTING: Jeffrey Gettleman of The New York Times

FEATURE WRITING: Eli Sanders of The Stranger, a Seattle weekly

COMMENTARY: Mary Schmich of The Chicago Tribune

CRITICISM: Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe


EDITORIAL CARTOONING: Matt Wuerker of Politico

BREAKING NEWS PHOTOGRAPHY: Massoud Hossaini of Agence France-Presse

FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY: Craig F. Walker of The Denver Post


FICTION: No award

DRAMA: “Water by the Spoonful” by Quiara Alegría Hudes

HISTORY: “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention” by Manning Marable, awarded posthumously (Viking)

BIOGRAPHY: “George F. Kennan: An American Life” by John Lewis Gaddis (The Penguin Press)

POETRY: “Life on Mars” by Tracy K. Smith (Graywolf Press)

GENERAL NONFICTION: “The Swerve: How the World Became Modern” by Stephen Greenblatt (W. W. Norton and Company)

MUSIC: “Silent Night: Opera in Two Acts” by Kevin Puts, commissioned and premiered by the Minnesota Opera in Minneapolis on Nov. 12, 2011.

In this undated image released by The Penguin Press, "George F. Kennan: An American Life," by John Lewis Gaddis is shown. On Monday, April 16, 2012, Gaddis won the Pulitzer Prize for biography for "George F. Kennan: An American Life." Photo: The Penguin Press / AP
In this undated image released by The Penguin Press, “George F. Kennan: An American Life,” by John Lewis Gaddis is shown. On Monday, April 16, 2012, Gaddis won the Pulitzer Prize for biography for “George F. Kennan: An American Life.” Photo: The Penguin Press / AP

Pulitzer Prize for history, but not for fiction

The late Manning Marable won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for history, honored for a Malcolm X book. But no Pulitzer Prize was awarded for fiction.

Source: CS Monitor, 4-16-12

The late Manning Marable won the Pulitzer Prize for history Monday, honored for a Malcolm X book he worked on for decades, but did not live to see published. For the first time in 35 years, no fiction prize was given.

Marable, a longtime professor at Columbia University, died last year just as “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention” was being released. Years in the making, the book was widely praised, although some of Malcolm X’s children objected to the troubled portrait Marable offered of the activist’s marriage to Betty Shabazz.

Another long-term project, John Lewis Gaddis’ “George F. Kennan: An American Life,” won the Pulitzer for biography. Gaddis is a Yale University professor and leading Cold War scholar who began work on the Kennan book in the early 1980s. The project was delayed by Kennan’s longevity. Kennan, a founding Cold War strategist and a Pulitzer winner, was in his 70s at the time he authorized the book. He asked only that Gaddis wait until after his death.

Kennan lived to 101.

“He was a prize-winning author himself, so he would have been pleased,” said Gaddis, whose biography also won the National Book Critics Circle award….READ MORE

Gaddis wins Pulitzer for Kennan biography

Source: Yale Daily News, 4-16-12

History Prof. John Lewis Gaddis received the National Humanities Medal in 2005.

History Prof. John Lewis Gaddis received the National Humanities Medal in 2005. Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

History professor John Lewis Gaddis can add yet another accolade to his biography of American diplomat George Kennan: the Pulitzer Prize, America’s most prestigious award for letters.

Gaddis won the 2012 biography Pulitzer for “George F. Kennan: An American Life,” which was published in November after nearly two decades of research. In naming Gaddis the winner, the Pulitzer jurors called his work “an engaging portrait of a globetrotting diplomat whose complicated life was interwoven with the Cold War and America’s emergence as the world’s dominant power.”

Mary Gabriel’s “Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution” and Manning Marble’s “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention” were named as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Biography.

In March, Gaddis’ biography took home the American History Book Prize, earning him $50,000 and the title of American Historian Laureate. The Kennan biography also won the National Book Critics Circle Award….READ MORE

History Buzz March 19, 2012: Geoffrey Parker: Ohio State University professor awarded the Dr. A.H. Heineken Prize for History


History Buzz


OSU professor awarded top international prize

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, 3-19-12

Ohio State University history professor Geoffrey Parker has been awarded the Dr. A.H. Heineken Prize for History by the 200-year old Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The prize is given biennially to recognize international scholars in five fields who exemplify the highest levels of accomplishment in their areas. Recipients will receive a $150,000 cash award at a special ceremony later this year in Amsterdam. Although several of the past Heineken History Prize winners teach at American universities, Parker is the first Ohio State historian to be selected.

The selection committee cited Parker’s “outstanding scholarship on the social, political and military history of Europe between 1500 and 1650, in particular Spain, Phillip II, and the Dutch revolt; for contributions to military history in general; and for research in the role of climate in world history.”
“This is the sort of honor that, if it comes at all, only comes once,” Parker said. “It’s a particular privilege for me to join my OSU colleague and friend earth scientist Lonnie Thompson, who won a Heineken Prize for his work in environmental sciences back in 2002”
Parker was nominated for the award by history department chairman Peter Hahn, who said Parker has published 36 books, is perhaps the world’s foremost authority on early modern European history, and has an established record of expertise in military history and world history.  “Moreover, he has shaped the minds and won the hearts of thousands of students over his 45 years in the classroom,” Hahn said….READ MORE

History Buzz February 29, 2012: John Lewis Gaddis: Historian wins annual American History Book Prize for “George F. Kennan: An American Life”


History Buzz


Gaddis Wins History Prize for Kennan Biography

Source: NYT, 2-29-12

The historian John Lewis Gaddis has won the annual American History Book Prize for “George F. Kennan: An American Life,” the New-York Historical Society announced. Roger Hertog, the chair of the society’s board of trustees, praised Mr. Gaddis for bringing to life “the story of the grand strategist who shaped foreign policy over the last 60 years.”

Mr. Gaddis, a professor at Yale University and the author of numerous books about the cold war, began researching his biography back in 1982, when Kennan, best known for outlining the containment strategy against the Soviet Union in his famous 1946 “Long Telegram” from Moscow, was 78. (He died in 2005, at age 101.) The book, published by the Penguin Press, received respectful attention from critics when it finally appeared last November, including a 4,400-word assessment in the New York Times Book Review by Henry Kissinger, who called the book “as close to the final word as possible on one of the most important, complex, moving, challenging and exasperating American public servants.”

The prize, which comes with a cash award of $50,000 and the official title of American Historian Laureate, will be awarded on April 13 as part of the historical society’s “Weekend With History” event in Manhattan. Past winners have included Gordon S. Wood, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Ron Chernow.

Gaddis wins national award for Kennan biography

After winning high praise among reviewers for his biography of George F. Kennan, history professor John Lewis Gaddis has won the seventh annual American History Book Prize for his work, the New York Times reported.

The prize, which has been handed out by the New-York Historical Society, is awarded for a nonfiction American history book “that is distinguished by its scholarship, its literary style and its appeal to a general as well as an academic audience,” according to the society’s website. Gaddis will receive a cash award of $50,000 and the title of American Historian Laureate.

Yale’s Cold War star began research on Kennan — the American diplomat known for articulating the United States’ “containment” strategy against the Soviet Union — back in 1982. The book finally appeared in print last November.

Gaddis is also in the running for a National Book Critics Circle Award.

History Buzz February 27, 2012: Maya Jasanoff: Harvard historian is finalist for $50,000 George Washington Book Prize


History Buzz


Harvard historian Maya Jasanoff is finalist for $50,000 George Washington Book Prize

Source: Cambridge Chronicle, 2-27-12

Harvard University Prof. Maya Jasanoff is one of three finalists for the $50,000 George Washington Book Prize. Administrators of the prize at Washington College announces that Jasanoff earned the honor with “Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World,” published by Knopf.

The prize, which is co-sponsored by Washington College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and George Washington’s Mount Vernon, recognizes the past year’s best books on the nation’s founding era, especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of American history. Three distinguished historians served as jurors for the 2012 prize — Richard Beeman, the John Welsh Centennial Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and the 2010 winner of the George Washington Book Prize; Thomas Fleming, distinguished historian and author; and Marla R. Miller of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

In praising Jasanoff’s “Liberty’s Exiles,” the jury applauded the book’s “impressive archival research, its sweeping conceptualization, perspectives and aims, its enviable prose style and the penetrating insights it yields into its characters’ lives.”…READ MORE

History Buzz February 10, 2012: William C. Harris & Elizabeth D. Leonard: 2012 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize Awarded Books That Explore Lincoln’s Relationship with Border States, Jag Joseph Holt


History Buzz


2012 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize Awarded Books That Explore Lincoln’s Relationship with Border States, Jag Joseph Holt

Source: Gettysburg College Newswise, 2-10-12

The 2012 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize, which includes an award of $50,000, will go to co-winners William C. Harris of North Carolina State University, for “Lincoln and the Border States: Preserving the Union,” (Kansas) and Elizabeth D. Leonard of Colby College, for “Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally: Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt of Kentucky” (UNC Press).

The Prize is awarded by Gettysburg College and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. The winners were chosen from 116 nominations. Each will receive $25,000 and a bronze replica of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’s life-size bust, “Lincoln the Man” in a ceremony April 11 in New York City.

The Prize was co-founded in 1990 by businessmen and philanthropists Richard Gilder and Lewis Lehrman, co-chairmen of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York and co-creators of the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the largest private archives of documents and artifacts in the nation. The Institute is devoted to history education, supporting history theme schools, teacher training, digital archives, curriculum development, exhibitions and publications, and the national History Teacher of the Year Award program.

In his book, Harris covers Lincoln’s often desperate efforts to keep the border states within the Union during the first months of the Civil War, with a focus on three states: Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. Harris’s study is thorough and well researched, and emphasizes Lincoln’s careful moderation in dealing with an issue that he himself believed was crucial to the survival of the country. Harris clearly develops the various aspects of loyalty in the three states under examination, and illuminates Lincoln’s emerging management style.

In her book, Leonard provides a thorough biography of a man who played a role in four presidential administrations, Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt of Kentucky. She portrays Holt as an interesting personality with strengths, weaknesses, quirks and integrity, and provides a new perspective on emancipation in Kentucky, as evidenced by Holt himself, a slave-owner, who later supported emancipation. The discussion of Holt’s role as judge advocate general in the Lincoln administration provides information about Lincoln’s wartime efforts regarding emancipation and civil liberties.

“This year’s winners — William Harris’s ‘Lincoln and the Border States’ and Elizabeth Leonard’s ‘Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally’ — both tell important stories in wonderfully readable prose, while deepening our understanding of Lincoln and the Civil War era,” said Gilder Lehrman Institute President James G. Basker. “These are both ‘must reads’ for anyone who cares about the complex political challenges Lincoln and his government faced during the worst crisis in our country’s history.”

“Gettysburg College is proud to have the opportunity to partner with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in the presentation of the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize to these two excellent books that extend our understanding of Abraham Lincoln’s leadership and the role played by of one of his most loyal supporters,” said Gettysburg College President Janet Morgan Riggs.

The three-member 2012 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize jury — United States Naval Academy Professor Emeritus and 2011-2012 Class of 1957 Distinguished Professor of American Naval Heritage Craig L. Symonds, who won the 2009 Lincoln Prize for “Lincoln and His Admirals: Abraham Lincoln, the U.S. Navy, and the Civil War”; American diplomat and historian Elizabeth Brown Pryor, who won the 2008 Lincoln Prize for “Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee through his Private Letters”; and Professor of History at South Carolina State University Stanley Harrold, who received a 2011 Lincoln Prize honorable mention for “Border War: Fighting over Slavery before the Civil War” — considered 116 titles before recommending the finalists to the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize Board which makes the final decision.

In addition to Gilder, Lehrman, Basker and Riggs, the Board includes Gettysburg College Trustees Emeritus Edwin T. Johnson and James R. Thomas.

Past Lincoln Prize winners include Ken Burns in 1991 for his documentary, “The Civil War,” Allen Guelzo for his books, “Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President” in 2000 and “Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America” in 2005 and Doris Kearns Goodwin in 2006 for her book, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.”

About Harris

A prominent Lincoln and Civil War historian, Professor Emeritus of History at North Carolina State University William C. Harris is the author of ten books, including “With Charity for All: Lincoln and the Restoration of the Union,” Abraham Lincoln Institute Book Award winner “Lincoln’s Last Month,” and Henry Adams Prize winner “Lincoln’s Rise to the Presidency.” He is also the recipient of The Lincoln Diploma of Honor presented by Lincoln Memorial University.

About Leonard

A Civil War and American women’s history expert, Elizabeth D. Leonard is the John J. and Cornelia V. Gibson Professor of History at Colby College and the author of five books, including “All the Daring of the Soldier: Women of the Civil War Armies” and “Lincoln’s Avengers: Justice, Revenge, and Reunion after the Civil War,” both selections for the History Book Club. She is a member of the American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians and Southern Historical Association.

About the Honorable Mention Recipient

In addition to the two winners, Barbara A. Gannon, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Central Florida, was awarded an honorable mention for “The Won Cause: Black and White Comradeship in the Grand Army of the Republic” (UNC Press).

Gannon’s book examines how black Union veterans crafted their own narrative of the Civil War, and how they reinforced this narrative with one another at their post-war Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) meetings. Gannon examines not only the activities of black GAR chapters, but also notes the rather startling fact that there were a number of racially integrated chapters. She demonstrates how shared suffering and sentimentalism counteracted racism, to a degree, among veterans in what was a profoundly racist era.

About the Finalists

William A. Dobak, “Freedom by the Sword: The U.S. Colored Troops, 1862-1867” (U.S. Army Center for Military History) is a comprehensive history of black Union troops during the Civil War and Reconstruction. The book concentrates on the formation, training and operations of black troops, as well as the social, political and racial context.

Amanda Foreman, “A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War” (Random House) covers not only the perception of Britons about what was going on in the United States 1861-65, but also offers views of the war itself through the prism of a number of British subjects who were volunteers on one side or the other.

William G. Thomas, “The Iron Way: Railroads, the Civil War, and the Making of Modern America” (Yale) is an outgrowth of the “Railroads and the Making of Modern America” digital archive project. This book illuminates the critical impact of railroad construction, railroad management and the boost railroads provided to regional development during and after the Civil War era.

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college, which enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students, is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, founded in 1994, is a not-for-profit organization that oversees the Gilder Lehrman Collection and conducts history education programs in all fifty states, serving more than 150,000 teachers, their students and communities, across the country every year.

History Buzz February 9, 2012: Jeffrey Gould: Indiana University historian awarded fellowship to work at Institute for Advanced Study Princeton


History Buzz


Source: Indiana University News Room, 2-9-12

Jeffrey Gould, Rudy Professor of History at Indiana University Bloomington, has been selected as a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., for 2012-13.

Gould, whose research deals with Central American social movements, ethnic conflicts and political violence, will spend the yearlong residence working on a book about politics and grass-roots social movements in the Salvadoran revolution of the 1970s.

He was chosen on the recommendation of the faculty of the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, one of the world’s leading centers for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry.

Each year, nearly 200 scholars from dozens of countries study at the four schools within the institute. The visiting scholars, known as members and visitors, interact with fellow scholars within and across disciplines and conduct research unencumbered by teaching and administrative obligations.

Gould will be writing a book that deals with the problematic relations between the Latin American political left and its grassroots bases during the latter part of the 20th century. The book will focus on minor utopian experiments promoted by peasants and urban workers in El Salvador during the late 1970s and the ways in which the left leadership reacted to those movements….READ MORE

History Buzz January 25, 2012: Lyman Van Slyke: Historian awarded Lyman Award from Stanford University alumni association


History Buzz


Historian Lyman Van Slyke awarded Lyman Award from alumni association

An annual service award named for former Stanford President Richard Lyman this year goes to a Chinese historian whose leadership of 35 alumni travel/study trips totals more than a year.

Source: Stanford Report, 1-25-12

Lyman Van Slyke, professor emeritus of history, has been named the 2011 winner of the Richard W. Lyman Award, given annually by the Stanford Alumni Association (SAA) for exceptional service to alumni by a faculty member.

The award recognizes Van Slyke’s participation in SAA’s Travel/Study program, which provides educational travel to more than 80 countries each year, led by members of the Stanford faculty.

Van Slyke, who joined the Stanford faculty in 1963, has led 35 tours of China and Southeast Asia. As a faculty member, Van Slyke helped establish the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies in Taipei, Taiwan, and directed Stanford’s Center for East Asian Studies. He won the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1984.

“Van has repeatedly shown an inspiring amount of generosity to ensure travelers have a finely tuned, thoughtful and educational trip,” said Brett Thompson, director of Travel/Study programs. “He helps us craft each itinerary from scratch and happily speaks off-the-cuff during bus rides, at museums or any other time he has something to share.”

Thompson added, “Of particular note is Van’s willingness to go back time and time again to the same places to show new sets of alumni travelers the places and people he knows so well. He has led the China Yangtze trip alone a dozen times. And, if one were to count up the hours of his service to Travel/Study alone, it would total over a year.”…READ MORE

History Buzz November 17, 2011: Steven Volk: Oberlin College history professor named one of country’s top professors


History Buzz


Steven Volk: Oberlin College history professor named one of country’s top professors

Source: Cleveland Plain-Dealer, 11-17-11

View full size Tanya Rosen-Jones

Steven Volk, a history professor at Oberlin College, is one of the U.S. Professors of the Year.

Steven Volk, a history professor and chair of the Latin American Studies committee at Oberlin College, was honored Thursday as a U.S. Professor of the Year.

The award, sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and administered by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, honors outstanding teaching and commitment to undergraduate students.

Obviously, I’m very thrilled and blessed . . . . I am incredibly thankful,” said Volk, who has been teaching at Oberlin for 26 years.

Judges called Volk an “extraordinarily dedicated undergraduate teacher, who is skilled in engaging students with history — even the ‘back-row boys.'”

Volk said that to maximize discussion time in class, he posts video lectures on the web so that students can watch them ahead of time.

“Every class is a discussion, because that is the way that students can construct their own comprehension and knowledge,” he said. “History is not all about learning dates and the names of places. In fact, students need to participate actively to become a historian.”

Volk said that becoming a good teacher is a process.

“In some ways I obviously taught for many years, but in other ways I didn’t really begin to teach until I had a greater understanding of what teaching and learning was all about,” he said. “I began to understand that teaching is not this transfer of content from my head to somebody else’s, but it’s the creation of an environment that students can learn in.”

Volk, who founded the Center for Teaching Innovation and Excellence at Oberlin College to help faculty develop their teaching skills, said he and his colleagues must act as facilitators to help students learn.

Much of Volk’s academic focus has been in Chile, where he worked on his dissertation in the early 1970s and remained involved for years to help restore democracy there.

He was honored as the top professor at the nation’s baccalaureate colleges. Also recognized Thursday were three other outstanding professors – representing community colleges, doctoral and research universities, and master’s universities….READ MORE

Stephanie McCurry: University of Pennsylvania Professor Wins $25,000 Frederick Douglass Book Prize


History Buzz



Source: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, 10-18-11

Stephanie McCurry, Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, has been selected as the winner of the 2011 Frederick Douglass Book Prize for her book, Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South (Harvard University Press). The Douglass Prize is awarded annually by Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition for the best book written in English on slavery or abolition. The $25,000 prize will be presented to McCurry at a dinner sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York City in February 2012.

In addition to McCurry, the other finalists for the prize were Nicholas Draper for The Price of Emancipation: Slave-Ownership, Compensation, and British Society at the End of Slavery (Cambridge University Press) and Christina Snyder for Slavery in Indian Country: The Changing Face of Captivity in Early America (Harvard University Press).

This year’s finalists were selected from a field of over ninety entries by a jury of scholars that included Edward Alpers (UCLA), Thavolia Glymph (Duke University), and Seth Rockman (Brown University). The winners were selected by a review committee of representatives from the Gilder Lehrman Center, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and Yale University.

“McCurry’s Confederate Reckoning traces the rise and fall of ‘a modern proslavery and antidemocratic state, dedicated to the proposition that all men were not created equal,'” noted Rockman, the 2011 Douglass Prize Jury Chair and Associate Professor of History at Brown University. “McCurry unravels the deadly consequences of the Confederate project to build a slaveholding nation. What previous scholars would have called the social history of the homefront, McCurry reconceptualizes as the political history of the Confederacy wherein ‘unfranchised’ white women and slaves drove events in ways never anticipated by the slaveholding regime’s architects. McCurry deepens our understanding of the slaves’ self-emancipation, while also clarifying the radical nature of the Confederate project. Deeply researched and rich in analytical and comparative insights, McCurry offers a dramatic account befitting this year’s observance of the Civil War sesquicentennial.”

History Buzz October 13, 2011: Jerome “Jerry” Reel: Clemson historian receives Governor’s Award


History Buzz



Source: Anderson Independent Mail, 10-13-11

The Humanities CouncilSC presented a Governor’s Award in the Humanities to Clemson historian and professor emeritus Jerome “Jerry” Reel on Wednesday in Columbia.

Established in 1991, the Governor’s Award in the Humanities recognizes outstanding achievement in humanities research, teaching and scholarship; institutional and individual participation in community-based programs that promote public understanding of ideas and issues related to the humanities; excellence defining South Carolina’s cultural life to the nation or world; and exemplary support for public humanities programs.

Reel is being honored for a career that began at Clemson University in 1963. He has a Ph.D. in history from Emory University and has touched the lives of hundreds of students and served Clemson as dean of undergraduate studies, senior vice provost and university historian.

His academic publications include “Women and Clemson University: Excellence—Yesterday and Today” and “The High Seminary, Volume 1: A History of the Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina, 1889-1964.” In 2007, Reel headed the bicentennial celebration of Thomas G. Clemson’s birth, and recently he was the major contributing author to the biography “Thomas Green Clemson.” He was the second professor to be named by Clemson’s Student Alumni Association as an alumni master teacher.

History Buzz October 11, 2011: Cundill Prize in History at McGill University – Long List Announcement


History Buzz



Source: McGill University Press Release, 10-11-11

World’s largest history book award selects top new must-reads

The jury for the Cundill Prize in History at McGill has announced the six titles that will compete for the world‘s largest non-fiction history book award, which offers the winning author a US$75,000 grand prize.

The Prize, now in its fourth year, accepts published books in English— or translated to English— in the area of history. In addition to the grand prize, two ‗Recognition of Excellence‘ awards of US$10,000 each are granted to the runners-up.

―The award is designed, in part, to welcome outstanding history books that are accessible to the wider public – books that can be read and understood by experts and are appealing to informed readers alike,‖ explained Christopher Manfredi, Dean of Arts at McGill University. ―We seek out potential bestsellers,‖ he added.

The long-list of books was selected from 132 eligible entries submitted by various publishing houses around the world. The five-member jury deliberated a longer list established in September, choosing the following titles as top historical literature:

  • Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World (Knopf, distributed by Random House of Canada) by Maya Jasanoff;
  • Padre Pio: Miracles and Politics in a Secular Age (Metropolitan Books) by Sergio Luzzatto;
  • You Are All Free: The Haitian Revolution and the Abolition of Slavery (Cambridge University Press) by Jeremy Popkin;
  • Dressing Up: Cultural Identity in Renaissance Europe (Oxford University Press) by Ulinka Rublack;
  • Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (Basic Books) by Timothy Snyder;
  • The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, and Indian Allies (Alfred A. Knopf) by Alan Taylor.

*See below for more information.

―Six superb books, whose subjects range from the cultural patterns of the Renaissance as reflected in clothes of the era to the upheaval and dispossession of war [were selected],‖ said Jeffrey Simpson, National Affairs Columnist at The Globe and Mail, who also served as one of the jury members. This year, adds Simpson, four of six of the books touch on themes of military conflict. In addition to Simpson, this year‘s esteemed members of the Cundill jury include Anthony Cary, Executive Director of the Queen’s-Blyth Educational Programs; McGill history professor Catherine Desbarats; Ramachandra Guha, Philippe Roman Chair of International Affairs and History at the London School of Economics; and Stuart Schwartz, Yale University history professor and winner of the 2008 Cundill Prize.

Later this month, the Award‘s jury will select the three finalists. The grand prize winner will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held in London, England on November 13.

Last year‘s Cundill Prize was awarded to author Diarmaid MacCulloch for A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. As is customary with previous Cundill Prize winners, the British church historian will be giving a public lecture December 1, 2011 at McGill University.

Every year since 2008 the Cundill Prize in History at McGill University selects three finalists of any nationality and from any country, who have published a book determined to have had or is likely to have a profound literary, social and academic impact in the area of history.

The award was established by the late McGill alumnus F. Peter Cundill to recognize and promote literary and academic achievement in history. The Cundill Foundation supports a wide range of charities as well as research projects and educational gifts.

For more information: http://www.mcgill.ca/cundillprize

Cundill Prize in History at McGill
c/o McGill Institute for the Study of Canada
McGill University

2011 Cundill Prize Long-List – Book Details from Jeffrey Simpson

As the two-hundredth anniversary looms of the War of 1812, Alan Taylor delivered a sweeping re-interpretation of that conflict. His title, The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, and Indian Allies (Knopf) underscores that the war featured not only cross-border battles but pitted people on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border against themselves. In many ways, the War of 1812 was the last chapter of the American Revolution. Some British officials dreamed that the Americans would come to realize the mistake they had made in violently leaving the Empire; war-minded Americans imagined that north of the border people would eventually come to their sensesand join the Republic. Taylor explores the messy military contours of the conflict, with abiding attention to the tensions within each side to provide a colorful but careful reconstruction of the last war fought along the Canadian-U.S. border.
Some of those who resisted U.S. military ambitions in Canada were Loyalists to the British Crown who had left the United States during or after Britain‘s defeat in the Revolutionary War. Maya Jasanoff traces the travails of the Loyalists in the U.S. during the Revolutionary War, then follows them not just to the British colonies in Canada but to the Caribbean, Britain, Africa and India in a sweeping narrative of loyalty, dispossession, and re-settlement. Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World (Knopf) judiciously weaves case histories of individuals and families into a broad and compelling story of those for whom the Crown exemplified the right mixture of liberty and order, a conviction that brought about their exile to new lands they did not know, where governments often did not know what to do with them.

Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin knew what to do with millions of people who stood in the way of the realization of their evil dreams. They systemically killed millions of people in the Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (Basic Books), the title of Timothy Snyder‘s compendious account of the horrors wreaked upon the innocent in the vast geographic area from eastern Germany to the western Soviet Union. Starting with the Ukrainian famine and stretching until the end of World War Two, and with archival material drawn from many countries, Snyder paints a grim portrait of the motivations of the horrors‘ perpetrators and the travails and death of the victims. Ambitious in scope, meticulous in research, Bloodlands presents an unforgettable picture of a ghastly time in European history.

Jeremy Popkin‘s You Are All Free: The Haitian Revolution and the Abolition of Slavery (Cambridge University Press) delves into part of the Revolution in Saint Dominique (that later became Haiti), an epochal event in the history of slavery. Schooled in the history of Haiti and revolutionary France, Popkin uncovers how events in the two countries were interwoven in the course of the two revolutions. Replete with fascinating characters, French and Haitian, You Are All Free, offers an example of history that drills down into a series of specific events to offer lessons of wider applicability. Particularly fascinating is the role that contingency and chance played in events that from the rear view of mirror of history might have seemed pre-ordained but were anything but.
Padre Pio, an obscure Catholic priest who became a saint, remains even today a controversial, elusive figure in the history of twentieth-century Italy and Catholicism. How was it that this priest from a small parish, who claimed he had been touched by a stigmata (the scars of Christ), became a figure of adulation and scorn throughout Italy and beyond? In Sergio Luzzatto‘s book, Padre Pio: Miracles and Politics in a Secular Age (Metropolitan Books), the story of one priest becomes the story of Italy before and after World War Two, as political parties and movements read into him their visions for Italy, and as factions within the Catholic Church used or abused his priestly reputation to fight doctrinal battles. From obscurity to sainthood, the story of Padre Pio remains an arresting, bizarre, telling tale in the hands of a gifted writer.

Today, the fashion industry is all around us, but fashion before the Renaissance remained at the margin of society. With supreme skill, and with the help of superb illustrations, Ulinka Rublack takes us back to the emerging role that clothes, accessories and fashion played in the societies of Renaissance Europe. Her book, Dressing Up: Cultural Identity in Renaissance Europe (Oxford University Press), demonstrates that clothes can indeed make history and history can be about clothes. What people wore, what images they made for themselves, how they created different looks, all shaped the identity of women and men, and of the societies they inhabited. For those with a taste for cultural history, Rublack has provided a gourmet spread.

Allan Meltzer: Federal Reserve analyst and historian to receive Truman Medal


History Buzz

Allan Meltzer: Fed analyst and historian to receive Truman Medal

Andrew Harrer

Allan Meltzer, whose comprehensive “A History of the Federal Reserve” has made him a particularly adept Fed analyst and critic, will receive the 2011 Truman Medal for Economic Policy in October.

The medal, awarded every two years, recognizes Meltzer’s career in economic policy development, research and education. Meltzer has served on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and the Economic Policy Advisory Board, and he was chairman of the International Financial Institution Advisory Committee that proposed reforms to the International Monetary Fund.

Meltzer is a professor of political economy at Carnegie Mellon University and visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

His Fed history book began as an extensive first volume that covered the Fed from its founding in 1913 to 1951. Volume 2 has been published in two parts and extends the account to 1986….READ MORE

Pamela Crossley: Historian One 10 Dartmouth Professor Receiving College Awards


History Buzz

Ten Dartmouth faculty members received awards from the Office of the Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences for their successes in the classroom, scholarly achievements and one-on-one work with students in 2011. In addition, history professor Pamela Crossley was voted by the Class of 2011 as the winner of this year’s Jerome Goldstein Award for Distinguished Teaching, a College press release reported on July 27.

Crossley, the Charles A. and Elfriede A. Collis Professor of history, is a scholar of Chinese history whose research focuses on the Qing empire. She has taught at Dartmouth since 1985. The award for distinguished teaching was presented to Crossley on Class Day at the end of Spring term.

“The synergy between undergraduate teaching and preparing research for publication is widely recognized,” Crossley said in the release. “But at Dartmouth, we have an optimal chance to actually put it into practice.”….READ MORE

Phillip Caudill: Professor’s Passion for Texas History Evident in Award-Winning Book


History Buzz

Source: The Paper Magazine, 7-25-11 

Professor¹s Passion for Texas History Evident in Award-Winning Book

When it comes to the Civil War in Texas, Philip Caudill, an adjunct professor of history at Lone Star College-Montgomery, wrote the book—literally. And now his historical biography has been awarded the 2011 Summerfield G. Roberts Award, an honor presented by the Sons of the Republic of Texas, as the best book on the Civil War in Texas published in 2009.

It’s just one more accolade for Caudill, whose passion for Texas history is as deep as Texas is wide.

His book, “Moss Bluff Rebel: A Texas Pioneer in the Civil War” (Texas A&M University Press, 2009), has also been selected for the University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries 2010 annual collection; recommended by the American Association of School Librarians and the Public Library Association; included in the Sam Rayburn Series on Rural Life by Texas A&M University Press; and praised by several noted historians and professors.

“It’s a great honor to have been able to help a Texas pioneer leave his legacy,” said Caudill, who holds two masters’ degrees—one in journalism, the other in history. “It’s also a blessing for me to have added to the body of knowledge in Texas history.”

“Moss Bluff Rebel” recounts the life of William Berry Duncan, a 19th century Texas pioneer, cattle drover, and twice-elected Liberty County sheriff, who after much prompting and peer pressure reluctantly joined the Confederate Army to fight in the Civil War. In the book, Caudill combines his 35-year international career in journalism and business, his fervor for history, and more than 50 primary and 250 secondary sources to share Duncan’s story.

“I literally ‘cold-called’ libraries across Texas asking if they held any primary resources related to the Civil War,” explained Caudill. “I got a lot of no’s, until one day, a librarian at the Sam Houston Regional Library in Liberty told me there were two boxes of letters and business diaries kept by a Confederate cavalry officer in their collection. I asked her what time the library closed and drove to Liberty right away.”

In the first diary he opened, Caudill read: “I was not willing, but finally agreed….” Those words, written by Duncan in 1862 on his decision to join the Confederacy, challenged Caudill to begin an 18-month journey of meticulous research and writing to create the biography of a previously unknown Anglo-Texas pioneer cattleman.

“I ‘walked the walk’ with Duncan,” said Caudill. “I even followed his cattle trail to New Orleans and crossed rivers where he drove his herds. No historian had ever done anything with his records, and now it turns out I’ve contributed something to society that Texans can enjoy forever.”

Caudill uses “Moss Bluff Rebel” as one of two supplemental reading assignments in his Texas History (HIST 2301) course, offered this fall semester at LSC-Montgomery on Tuesday and Thursday from 10-11:20 a.m.

“It’s a wonderful book,” said Susan Mayer, an LSC-Montgomery student who holds a 4.0 GPA. “Caudill adds texture to the story by talking about what was going on in America around that time. You get the impression that Caudill knew Duncan, and most certainly, that he grew to respect him greatly as he wrote the book.”

Mayer, who plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in either history or English, said Caudill was interesting and engaging and his passion for Texas came through in each class.

“Now I appreciate Texas so much more,” she said. “I’ll be driving around the state with my husband and be able to tell him, ‘Here is what I know about that.’”

When not in the classroom, Caudill enjoys kayaking the bayous and swamps along Texas rivers, cycling, and spending time with his two grandsons that “love their crazy granddad.”

“I’ve been very fortunate in my life—I’ve had wonderful friends, worked hard, taken some risks and survived a few,” he said. “Now, I’m a teacher, and I love it. Writing ‘Moss Bluff Rebel’ and teaching are special ways for me to give back. I’m a lucky guy.”

For more information about Caudill’s book, visit www.mossbluffrebel.org <http://www.mossbluffrebel.org&gt; .

Nicholas Schlosser: Historian Wins Marine Corps Honor


History Buzz

Source: Arlington Sun Gazette, 7-23-11

Dr. Nicholas Schlosser of Arlington recently received the 2011 Brig. Gen. Edwin Simmons-Henry I. Shaw Award, which recognizes superior historical scholarship by a member of the Marine Corps History Division Staff.

Schlosser was honored for his work, “U.S. Marines in Iraq, 2004-2008: Anthology and Annotated Bibilography.”

The award was one of 18 presented this year to individuals and organizations that have contributed to advancing and preserving Marine Corps history. Both Marines and civilians are eligible for the award.

Dr. Peter Shulman: NARA Names First Recipient of Legislative Archives Fellowship


History Buzz

Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero has announced the appointment of Dr. Peter Shulman as the recipient of the 2011 Legislative Archives Research Fellowship.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Shulman to the National Archives as the first recipient of this generous fellowship funded by the Foundation for the National Archives. His appointment grows out of our commitment on many different levels to foster research and inquiry into the historical records of Congress housed in the National Archives Center for Legislative Archives. We look forward to having him share the results of his research with the community at large,” said Mr. Ferriero.

Dr. Shulman’s research will focus on a reinterpretation of 19th and early 20th century American foreign relations. He is exploring the complex interplay between technological change, the rise of fossil fuels, and the emergence of the United States as a global power. His research will expand on his 2007 dissertation, “Empire of Energy: War, Environment, and Geopolitics before the Age of Oil,” in which Dr. Shulman made extensive use of the collections at the National Archives.

Dr. Shulman studies technology, science, and American politics in the 19th and 20th centuries, with special interests in the history of energy, environmental history, communication and transportation, and the history of American foreign relations. As an Assistant Professor of History at Case Western Reserve University, he teaches courses in the history of technology, energy and the environment, historical methods, and contemporary history.

As part of the fellowship, Dr. Shulman will make an initial presentation to National Archives staff and local historians concerning the proposed plan of work, and a second presentation on research findings in the first quarter of 2012.

Pauline Maier Awarded George Washington Book Prize for “Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788”


History Buzz

Source: PRNewswire-USNewswire, 5-25-11

The seventh annual George Washington Book Prize, co-sponsored by Washington College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and George Washington’s Mount Vernon, honoring the year’s best book about America’s founding era, has been awarded to Pauline Maier for Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788 (Simon & Schuster, 2010). Maier, author of five previous books on the history of revolutionary America, received the $50,000 prize Wednesday evening, May 25, at a black-tie dinner at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.

“This book will really prove to be an eye-opener to many people who think that drafting the Constitution was the end of a long road to creating a strong and effective government,” said Mount Vernon’s president, James C. Rees. “But getting the document ratified was an uphill struggle most historians ignore, and on more than one occasion, the entire unification process was almost doomed to failure.”

The debates over drafting the Constitution that took place in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 have long been enshrined in American history. But Maier’s book reveals an equally dramatic and essential — though almost forgotten — series of debates that played out during the year that followed, as citizens, journalists, and politicians argued state-by-state over whether to ratify the nation’s founding document.

“This debate was not a secretive discussion among a few gentlemen in Independence Hall, but rather a bare-knuckles, open-air contest throughout the young United States,” said Adam Goodheart, director of Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, which administers the prize. “Pauline Maier has captured it in all its political and intellectual vigor. And as she makes clear, the struggle over ratification could easily have turned out differently — and forever changed the course of American history.”

The George Washington Book Prize is sponsored by a partnership of three institutions devoted to furthering scholarship on America’s founding era: Washington College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon. The $50,000 prize is among the nation’s largest literary awards. “We found Ratification to be a rich and very readable book that paints the process elegantly,” says James G. Basker, president of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, which funds the award.

Maier is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of American History at MIT. She is the author of several books on American history, including From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776 (W.W. Norton, 1992); The Old Revolutionaries: Political Lives in the Age of Samuel Adams (Knopf, 1980); and American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence, (Knopf, 1997), which was on the New York Times Book Review “Editor’s Choice” list of the best 11 books of 1997 and a Finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award.

The jury that chose Ratification as a finalist from among 59 entries called it “a tour de force of extraordinary research and scholarship.”…READ MORE

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