Sponsored by Washington College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the George Washington Book Prize is a $50,000 award given annually to honor a work of literature relating to our nation’s founding era that demonstrates the potential to provide a better understanding by the general public, of the history of American history.
The Prize was given to Stephen Brumwell for his book “George Washington: Gentleman Warrior,” published by Quercus Books, of London, and distributed in the U.S. by Random House.
The Mount Vernon website describes this award in further detail:
It particularly recognizes well-written books that speak to general audiences and contribute to a broad public understanding of the American past.
“Stephen Brumwell’s book is a pleasure to read from the very first pages, when he puts you right there, literally looking down the sights of a rifle held by a British officer who’s about to decide whether to kill George Washington,” said Adam Goodheart, Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, which administers the prize.
“He brings the frontier military experience to life—the vermin, the floggings, the constant fear of ambush and massacre. And readers get a vivid sense of Washington himself as a creation of eighteenth-century military culture.”
The prize was awarded on Tuesday evening at a black-tie event held at Mount Vernon, to Stephen Brumwell, a native of Portsmouth, an island city on the South coast of England, birthplace to Charles Dickens and home to the famous ships HMS Warrior and Lord Nelson’s flagship, the HMS Victory. Mr. Brumwell now resides in Amsterdam.
Other finalists for the prize included:
“Thomas Jefferson and American Nationhood,” by Brian Steele, from Cambridge University Press, which argues that Jefferson believed America was uniquely capable of actualizing the universal ideals to which all of mankind aspires.
“Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of a New World Empire,” by Eliga H. Gould, from Harvard University Press, argues that patriots of this new nation encountered headwinds among the other powers that held sway in the 18th century, often meeting with dangerous and unimagined obstacles, as they sought recognition as a nation.
“Martha Jefferson Randolph, Daughter of Monticello: Her Life and Times,” by Cynthia A. Kierner, from the University of North Carolina Press, providing a unique biography of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter who was a well-educated mother of eleven children and a significant model of grace and wisdom in her own right.