Annal: 2009 Pulitzer Prize for History

Results of the Pulitzer Prize in the year 2009.

Book:The Hemingses of Monticello

The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family

Annette Gordon-Reed

This epic work tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. Now, historian and legal scholar Annette Gordon-Reed traces the Hemings family from its origins in Virginia in the 1700s to the family’s dispersal after Jefferson’s death in 1826. It brings to life not only Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson but also their children and Hemings’s siblings, who shared a father with Jefferson’s wife, Martha. The Hemingses of Monticello sets the family’s compelling saga against the backdrop of Revolutionary America, Paris on the eve of its own revolution, 1790s Philadelphia, and plantation life at Monticello. Much anticipated, this book promises to be the most important history of an American slave family ever written.

Book:The Liberal Hour

The Liberal Hour: Washington and the Politics of Change in the 1960s

G. Calvin Mackenzie, Robert S. Weisbrot

An engaging be hind-the-scenes look at the lesser-known forces that fueled the profound social reforms of the 1960s.

Provocative and incisive , The Liberal Hour reveals how Washington, so often portrayed as a target of reform in the 1960s, was in fact the era’s most effective engine of change. The movements of the 1960s have always drawn the most attention from the decade’s chroniclers, but it was in the halls of government—so often the target of protesters’ wrath—that the enduring reforms of the era were produced. With nuance and panache, Calvin Mackenzie and Robert Weisbrot present the real-life characters—from giants like JFK and Johnson to lesser-known senators and congressmen—who drove these reforms and were critical to the passage of key legislation. The Liberal Hour offers an engrossing portrait of this extraordinary moment when more progressive legislation was passed than in almost any other era in American history.

Book:This Republic of Suffering

This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War

Drew Gilpin Faust

An illuminating study of the American struggle to comprehend the meaning and practicalities of death in the face of the unprecedented carnage of the Civil War.

During the war, approximately 620,000 soldiers lost their lives. An equivalent proportion of today’s population would be six million. This Republic of Suffering explores the impact of this enormous death toll from every angle: material, political, intellectual, and spiritual. The eminent historian Drew Gilpin Faust delineates the ways death changed not only individual lives but the life of the nation and its understanding of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. She describes how survivors mourned and how a deeply religious culture struggled to reconcile the slaughter with its belief in a benevolent God, pondered who should die and under what circumstances, and reconceived its understanding of life after death. …[more]

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