He was raised in Richmond, Indiana. He graduated from Harvard College, magna cum laude, and from Yale University, with an MA and Ph.D. in 2001. He taught at Princeton University, where he held the Richard Allen Lester University Preceptorship. He teaches at Rutgers University.
- 1998-1999 Whiting Fellowship
- 2001 John Addison Porter Prize
- 2008 Bancroft Prize, Our Savage Neighbors
- 2008 Mark Lynton History Prize, Our Savage Neighbors
- Our Savage Neighbors: How Indian War Transformed Early America. New York: W. W. Norton & Co. 2007. ISBN 978-0-393-06248-9.
- A Rotten Colossus: Spanish and British America in the War of Jenkins's Ear.
- "J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project winners". Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Retrieved 16 March 2011.
- "Author's website"
- "The Older South?", Reviews in American History, Volume 31, Number 2, June 2003
- "Book Reviews: Our Savage Neighbors", Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, July 2008
- Appearances on C-SPAN
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