George Washington Book Prize

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The George Washington Book Prize was instituted in 2005 and is awarded annually to the best book on the United States; especially ones that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of American history. It is administered by Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience; it is sponsored by Washington College in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and George Washington’s Mount Vernon. At $50,000, the George Washington Book Prize is one of the largest book awards in the United States.

Each year the sponsors appoint a jury of three historians or other qualified scholars who are asked to read all submitted books and narrow the field to three finalists. The finalists are announced at Washington College on or near George Washington's birthday in February. A seven-member committee, made up of two representatives of each of the three sponsoring institutions plus an independent historian, reviews the finalists and chooses a winner. The winner is announced at a gala dinner at Mount Vernon in May honoring the finalists.

Sponsoring organizations[edit]

Established in 2000 with a grant from the New York-based Starr Foundation, the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience draws on the special historical strengths of Washington College and the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Through educational programs, scholarship, and public outreach, the Starr Center explores the early republic, the rise of democracy, and the manifold ways in which the founding era continues to shape United States culture. In partnership with other institutions and with leading scholars and writers, the Center works to promote innovative approaches to the study of history, and to bridge the gaps between historians, contemporary policymakers, and the general public. Washington College was founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, and was the first college chartered in the new nation.

Founded in 1994, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History promotes the study and love of American history among audiences ranging from students to scholars to the general public. It creates history-centered schools and academic research centers, organizes seminars and enrichment programs for educators, produces print and electronic publications and traveling exhibitions, and sponsors lectures by eminent historians. In addition to the George Washington Book Prize, the Institute also sponsors the Lincoln Prize in conjunction with the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, and the Frederick Douglass Prize in cooperation with the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens, open to the public since 1858, communicates the character and leadership of Washington to millions of Americans each year through a variety of interpretive programs on the Estate and in classrooms across the nation. Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, founded in 1853, making it the oldest national preservation organization in the United States. The George Washington Book Prize is an important element of the Association’s outreach program, which engages millions of teachers and students throughout the nation.

2014 George Washington Book Prize[edit]

The winner of the 2014 Washington Prize is The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire by Andrew Jackson O'Shaughessy. The announcement was made at a black-tie gala at Mount Vernon on May 20, 2014.[1] The other finalists were also honored that evening. The jury selected three books as finalists in 2014. The other two books are The First Presidential Contest: 1796 and the Founding of American Democracy by Jeffrey L. Pasley, and The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 by Alan Taylor.[2]

2013 George Washington Book Prize[edit]

The winner of the 2013 Washington Prize is George Washington: Gentlemen Warrior by Stephen Brumwell. The announcement was made at a black-tie gala at Mount Vernon on May 21, 2013. The other finalists were also honored that evening. The jury selected four books as finalists in 2013. The other three books are Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of a New World Empire by Eliga H. Gould, Martha Jefferson Randolph, Daughter of Monticello: Her Life and Times by Cynthia A. Kierner, and Thomas Jefferson and American Nationhood by Brian Steele.

Table of Past Winners[edit]

Year Author Book Ref(s)
2005 Ron Chernow Alexander Hamilton
2006 Stacy Schiff A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America
2007 Charles Rappleye Sons of Providence: The Brown Brothers, the Slave Trade, and the American Revolution
2008 Marcus Rediker The Slave Ship: A Human History
2009 Annette Gordon-Reed The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family
2010 Richard Beeman Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution
2011 Pauline Maier Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution: 1787-1788
2012 Maya Jasanoff Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World
2013 Stephen Brumwell George Washington: Gentleman Warrior
2014 Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution and the Fate of the Empire [3]

Table of Past Finalists[edit]

Blue ribbon = winner

year author book
2005 Ron Chernow Blue ribbon Alexander Hamilton
Rhys Isaac Landon Carter's Uneasy Kingdom
Gordon Wood The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin
2006 Edward G. Lengel General George Washington: A Military Life
Stacy Schiff Blue ribbon A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France and the Birth of America
Stanley Weintraub America's Battle for Freedom, Britain's Quagmire: 1775-1883
2007 Catherine Allgor A Perfect Union
Francois Furstenberg In the Name of the Father
Charles Rappleye Blue ribbon Sons of Providence: The Brown Brothers, the Slave Trade and the American Revolution
2008 Woody Holton Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution
Jon Latimer 1812: War With America
Marcus Rediker Blue ribbon The Slave Ship: A Human History
2009 Annette Gordon-Reed Blue ribbon The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family
Kevin J. Hayes The Road to Monticello: The Life and Mind of Thomas Jefferson
Jane Kamensky The Exchange Artist: A Tale of High-Flying Speculation and America's First Banking Collapse
2010 Richard Beeman Blue ribbon Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution
R. B. Bernstein The Founding Fathers Reconsidered
Edith Gelles John and Abigail: Portrait of a Marriage
2011 Pauline Maier Blue ribbon Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788
Jack Rakove Revolutionaries: A New History of the Invention of America
Alan Taylor The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, and Indian Allies
2012 John Fea Was America Founded As A Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction
Benjamin H. Irvin Clothed in Robes of Sovereignty: The Continental Congress and the People Out of Doors
Maya Jasanoff Blue ribbon Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World
2013 Stephen Brumwell Blue ribbon George Washington: Gentleman Warrior
Eliga H. Gould Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of a New World Empire
Cynthia A. Kierner Martha Jefferson Randolph, Daughter of Monticello: her Life and Times
Brian Steele Thomas Jefferson and American Nationhood

References[edit]

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