Alan Taylor (historian)

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Alan Shaw Taylor
Born 1955 (age 62–63)
Portland, Maine
Occupation Historian
Years active 1977-
Notable work William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic,
The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832
Awards 1996 Bancroft Prize, 1996 Beveridge Award, 1996 Pulitzer Prize, 2014 Pulitzer Prize

Alan Shaw Taylor (born June 17, 1955) is an American historian specializing in early United States history. He is the author of a number of books about the colonial history of the United States, the American Revolution and the early American Republic. Since 1995, he has won two Pulitzer Prizes and the Bancroft Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Award for non-fiction.


Taylor was born in Portland, Maine, the son of Ruel Taylor, Jr. and author Virginia C. Taylor. He graduated from Colby College, in Waterville, Maine, in 1977, and earned his Ph.D. from Brandeis University in 1986.


Taylor is the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor of History at the University of Virginia.[1] He taught previously at the University of California, Davis[2] and Boston University.

Taylor is best known for his contributions to microhistory, exemplified in his William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic (1996). Using court records, land records, letters and diaries, Taylor reconstructed the background of founder William Cooper from Burlington, New Jersey, and 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 among a generation of historians committed to the revival of narrative history, incorporating many historical methods (political, social, cultural, and environmental, among others) to understand humans' experiences of the past.

Taylor's The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution (2006) explored the history of the borders between Canada and the United States in the aftermath of the American Revolution, as well as Iroquois attempts to keep control of some lands.[3] His book The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies (2010) also addressed this borderland area and strategies pursued by various groups.[4] The War of 1812 has also been characterized as a continuation of the Revolutionary War.

Professor Taylor is the most recent addition to an exclusive group of five authors to have twice been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for History.




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