Annal: 1999 Pulitzer Prize for History

Results of the Pulitzer Prize in the year 1999.

Book:Gotham

Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898

Edwin G. Burrows, Mike Wallace

To European explorers, it was Eden, a paradise of waist-high grasses, towering stands of walnut, maple, chestnut, and oak, and forests that teemed with bears, wolves, raccoons, beavers, otters, and foxes. Today, it is the site of Broadway and Wall Street, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, and the home of millions of people, who have come from every corner of the nation and the globe.

In Gotham, Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace have produced a monumental work of history, one that ranges from the Indian tribes that settled in and around the island of Manna-hata, to the consolidation of the five boroughs into Greater New York in 1898. It is an epic narrative, a story as vast and as varied as the city it chronicles, and it underscores that the history of New York is the story of our nation. Readers will relive the tumultuous early years of New Amsterdam under the Dutch West India Company,…[more]

Book:In a Barren Land

In a Barren Land: American Indian Dispossession and Survival

Paula Mitchell Marks

Marks dramatically illustrates how, across the nation and over the course of nearly four centuries, America’s original inhabitants were stripped of both their land and their way of life by a series of broken promises and bloody persecutions. Here, of course, are such well-known events as the Battle of Little Big Horn, the Trail of Tears, and the massacre at Wounded Knee. And here, too, are such equally well-known personalities as Chief Joseph, Geronimo, Cochise, and Andrew Jackson, a president whose perfidies to the Indians still retain the power to shock and dismay. But also recounted are such comparable but less famous episodes as the Navajos’ Long Walk of removal from their homelands in the last half of the nineteenth century, the fervent Snake Indian resistance to the allotting of Indian lands early in this century, and the disastrous effects of government dam projects on Indian communities in the 1950s, as well as a discussion of the benefits and draw-backs of legalized gambling on Indian reservations in…[more]

Book:This New Ocean

This New Ocean: The Story of the First Space Age

William E. Burrows

It was all part of man’s greatest adventure—landing men on the Moon and sending a rover to Mars, finally seeing the edge of the universe and the birth of stars, and launching planetary explorers across the solar system to Neptune and beyond.

The ancient dream of breaking gravity’s hold and taking to space became a reality only because of the intense cold-war rivalry between the superpowers, with towering geniuses like Wernher von Braun and Sergei Korolyov shelving dreams of space travel and instead developing rockets for ballistic missiles and space spectaculars. Now that Russian archives are open and thousands of formerly top-secret U.S. documents are declassified, an often startling new picture of the space age emerges:

  • the frantic effort by the Soviet Union to beat the United States to the Moon was doomed from the beginning by gross inefficiency and by infighting so treacherous that Winston Churchill likened it to “dogs fighting under a carpet”; …[more]
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