Mount Vernon to award $50,000 book prize


The fourth annual $50,000 George Washington Book Prize will be awarded at Mount Vernon to the author of the most important book on Americas founding era published in 2007.  

The black-tie event on May 29 will celebrate the works of the three finalists with fireworks, candlelit tours of George Washingtons Mansion and dinner under an elegant tent overlooking the Potomac River.  

The three finalists, announced in February at Washington College include: Woody Holton for Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution (Hill and Wang); Jon Latimer for 1812: War with America (Belknap); and Marcus Rediker for The Slave Ship: A Human History (Viking).  

The books were selected by a three-person jury of prominent American historians that included Robert L. Middlekauff of the University of California at Berkeley, chair; Elizabeth A. Fenn of Duke University; and Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy, director of Monticello’s International Center for Jefferson Studies and professor of history at the University of Virginia.  

The George Washington Book Prize, at $50,000, is one of the most generous in the United States, with a monetary award greater than the Pulitzer Prize for History ($7,500) and the National Book Award ($10,000).  

Washington College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York City, and the Mount Vernon Ladies Association collaborated in 2005 to create the prize, awarded in its inaugural year to Ron Chernow for Alexander Hamilton, in 2006 to Stacy Schiff for A Great Improvisation: Franklin.