AHA Members Take Top History and Nonfiction Prizes

AHA Staff, May 2000

AHA members dominated the nation's top prizes for history and nonfiction writing this spring, capturing two Pulitzers, three Bancroft Prizes, and the National Book Award for Nonfiction Writing.

John W. Dower (Massachusetts Inst. Tech.), received all three awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction Writing for his book Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (W.W. Norton and the New Press, 1999). Dower received his PhD from Harvard in 1972, and has also authored War without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for general nonfiction in 1986.

Also honored with the Pulitzer Prize for the best work of history, was David M. Kennedy for his book Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-45 (Oxford University Press, 1999). Kennedy received his PhD from Yale in 1968, and has previously authored Birth Control in America: The Career of Margaret Sanger (1970), which won the Bancroft Prize, Over Here: The First World War and American Society (1980), and the textbook, The American Pageant (11th ed., 1998) with Thomas A. Bailey and Lizabeth Cohen.

In addition to Dower, Linda Gordon (Univ. of Wisconsin at Madison) also won a Bancroft Prize for The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction (Harvard Univ. Press), and James H. Merrell (Vassar Coll.) received his second Bancroft for Into the American Woods: Negotiators on the Pennsylvania Frontier (W.W. Norton).