Annal: 2008 Pulitzer Prize for History

Results of the Pulitzer Prize in the year 2008.

Book:What Hath God Wrought

What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America 1815-1848

Daniel Walker Howe

Historian Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era when the United States expanded to the Pacific and won control over the richest part of the North American continent.

Howe’s panoramic narrative portrays revolutionary improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated the extension of the American empire. Railroads, canals, newspapers, and the telegraph dramatically lowered travel times and spurred the spread of information. These innovations prompted the emergence of mass political parties and stimulated America’s economic development from an overwhelmingly rural country to a diversified economy in which commerce and industry took their place alongside agriculture. In his story, the author weaves together political and military events with social, economic, and cultural history. He examines the rise of Andrew Jackson and his Democratic party, but contends that John Quincy Adams and other Whigs—advocates…[more]

Book:The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War

The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War

David Halberstam

Up until now, the Korean War has been the black hole of modern American history. The Coldest Winter changes that. Halberstam gives us a masterful narrative of the political decisions and miscalculations on both sides. He charts the disastrous path that led to the massive entry of Chinese forces near the Yalu, and that caught Douglas MacArthur and his soldiers by surprise. He provides astonishingly vivid and nuanced portraits of all the major figures—Eisenhower, Truman, Acheson, Kim, and Mao, and Generals MacArthur, Almond, and Ridgway. At the same time, Halberstam provides us with his trademark highly evocative narrative journalism, chronicling the crucial battles with reportage of the highest order.

At the heart of the book are the individual stories of the soldiers on the front lines who were left to deal with the consequences of the dangerous misjudgements and competing agendas of powerful men. We meet them, follow them, and see some of the…[more]

Book:Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power

Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power

Robert Dallek

From one of our most distinguished historians comes an epic biography of two unlikely leaders who came together to dominate American and world affairs.

Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger were two of the most compelling, contradictory, and important leaders in America in the second half of the twentieth century. Both were largely self-made men, brimming with ambition and often ruthless in pursuit of their goals.

Tapping into recently disclosed documents and tapes, Robert Dallek uncovers fascinating details about Nixon and Kissinger’s tumultuous personal relationship—their collaboration and rivalry—and the extent to which they struggled to outdo each other in the reach of foreign policy achievements. He also brilliantly analyzes their dealings with power brokers at home and abroad,…[more]

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