Alan Taylor (historian)

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Alan Shaw Taylor (born in 1955) is a historian specializing in early American history. He is the author of a number of books about colonial America, the American Revolution, and the Early American Republic. He has won two Pulitzer Prizes and the Bancroft Prize for his work.

Life[edit]

Taylor graduated from Colby College, in Waterville, Maine, in 1977 and earned his Ph.D. from Brandeis University in 1986. His thesis advisor was Marvin Meyers, a historian of Jacksonian America,[1] whom Taylor praised in the preface of his book Writing Early American History (2005).[2] Currently, he is the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor of History at the University of Virginia, having taught previously at the University of California, Davis and Boston University. Taylor is best known for his contributions to microhistory, best exemplified in his William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic (1996,) which won the Bancroft, Beveridge and Pulitzer prizes. Using court records, land records, letters, and diaries, Taylor painstakingly reconstructs the economic, political and social history related to the land speculation, founding and settlement of Cooperstown, New York after the American Revolutionary War.

Taylor is part of a generation of historians committed to the revival of narrative history, rejecting the method-driven, quantitative work of the previous generation of "new social historians" and the theory-laden work of more recent "new cultural historians." In addition to writing books for a wide public readership, he is a regular contributor of book reviews and essays to The New Republic.

Taylor's current research includes a borderlands history of Canada and the United States in the aftermath of the American Revolution.[3] His book The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies was published by Alfred A. Knopf in October 2010.[4]

Taylor is a devoted Boston Red Sox fan, and is known for always wearing historically themed neckties.

Awards[edit]

  • 1996 Bancroft Prize for William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic
  • 1996 Beveridge Award for William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic
  • 1996 Pulitzer Prize for William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic
  • 2013 National Book Award for Nonfiction finalist for The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832[5][6]
  • 2014 Pulitzer Prize for The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia: 1772-1832[7]

Works[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]