Annal: 1993 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction

Results of the Pulitzer Prize in the year 1993.

Book:Lincoln at Gettysburg

Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America

Garry Wills

The power of words has rarely been given a more compelling demonstration than in the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln was asked to memorialize the gruesome battle. Instead, he gave the whole nation “a new birth of freedom” in the space of a mere 272 words. His entire life and previous training, and his deep political experience went into this, his revolutionary masterpiece.

By examining both the address and Lincoln in their historical moment and cultural frame, Wills breathes new life into words we thought we knew, and reveals much about a president so mythologized but often misunderstood. Wills shows how Lincoln came to change the world and to effect an intellectual revolution, how his words had to and did complete the work of the guns, and how Lincoln wove a spell that has not yet been broken.

Book:A Chorus of Stones

A Chorus of Stones: The Private Life of War

Susan Griffin

Written by one of America’s most innovative and articulate feminists, this book illustrates how childhood experience, gender and sexuality, private aspirations, and public personae all assume undeniable roles in the causes and effects of war.

Book:Days of Obligation

Days of Obligation: An Argument With My Mexican Father

Richard Rodriguez

When I was fourteen and my father was fifty, we toyed with the argument that had once torn Europe, South from North, Catholic from Protestant, as we polished the blue DeSoto. “Life is harder than you think, boy.” “You’re thinking of Mexico Papa.” “You’ll see.”

A fragment of dialogue can summarize the “argument” of Richard Rodriguez’s new book, though the book contains five centuries, beginning with the conquest of Mexico by Hernan Cortes; ending in 1992, in San Francisco—an American Asian city, during the years of plague. In Days of Obligation, Mexico and the United States are portrayed as moral rivals upon the landscape of Mr. Rodriguez’s beloved California. Mexico wears the mask of tragedy, the United States wears the mask of comedy. By the end of the book the reader recognizes an historical irony: The United States is becoming a culture of tragedy; Mexico, meanwhile,…[more]

Book:Where the Buffalo Roam

Where the Buffalo Roam

Anne Matthews

On computer printouts, this brainchild of a faculty couple, he a land-use expert and she a geographer, sounds intellectually inspired but of course impractical, a pipe dream; yet when the calmly audacious plan of Frank and Deborah Popper to return millions of devastated acres in ten Plains states to their natural condition and to the buffalo was described in an article by Anne Matthews in the New York Times Magazine in the summer of 1990, the reaction was international and explosive.

Where the Buffalo Roam is the first and fascinating account of a plan that, whether it rewrites American environmental history or is trampled underfoot by herds of developers, politicians, and local inhabitants, has stirred pro and anti forces everywhere to believe that it could happen. From the Dakotas to Texas, and from Wyoming to Nebraska, the Poppers have earmarked what they see as the core of their Buffalo Commons: 139,000 square miles drawn from 109 counties, now inhabited by a decreasing population…[more]

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