Monticello Scholar Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy Wins 2014 George Washington Book Prize

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 21, 2014
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Amy Atticks, 434-984-7529

O'Shaughnessy accepting his award; photo by Matthew Spangler, Washington CollegeMONTICELLO, Charlottesville, VA—During a gala dinner at Mount Vernon on May 20, 2014, Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy, Vice President of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, was named Winner of the 2014 George Washington Book Prize for The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire (Yale).

O’Shaughnessy’s The Men Who Lost America weaves together the personal stories of ten prominent men who directed the British dimension of the American Revolutionary War. O’Shaughnessy dispels the myth that the British leaders were incompetent and uncovers the reasons that rebellious colonials were able to achieve their surprising victory. The book has already won several awards including the New York Historical Society American History Book Prize, Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award, the Cincinnati History Prize, and the 2013 Great Midwest Book Festival Award in Regional Literature.

The George Washington Book Prize recognizes the year’s best books on the nation’s founding era, especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of American history. George Washington’s Mount Vernon, Washington College, and The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History co-sponsor the award. A jury of three distinguished historians, chaired by Gordon S. Wood and joined by Joyce Appleby and Annette Gordon-Reed, selected the 2014 finalists from among 40 books published in the past year.  All three jurors are themselves renowned experts in the history of the founding era.

Cover of The Men Who Lost AmericaThe jury commented on O’Shaughnessy’s book, “In a series of deeply researched and clearly written chapters focused on the major British political and military figures, he persuasively demonstrates that the British leadership was remarkably talented and able. But he also shows the tremendous limitations under which these leaders had to operate, and in the process, he helps readers understand the eventual American victory.”  The jury praised the book as “ground-breaking” and “a major contribution to the history of the American Revolution.”

About the Author

Andrew O’Shaughnessy is Vice President of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and the Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, as well as a Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He is the author of An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean (2000) as well as his new work, The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire (2013). He has lectured widely to both scholarly and general audiences. He is an editor of the Jeffersonian American Series of the University of Virginia Press, a member of the advisory board of the Founding Fathers’ Libraries Project, a member of the advisory board of the Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He lives in Charlottesville, VA.

About The 2014 George Washington Book Prize Jurors

Dr. Joyce Appleby is professor emerita at University of California, Los Angeles. As past president of the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Society for the History of the Early Republic, she has long taken an interest in bringing history to a larger public. Her research on the 17th and 18th centuries in England, France, and America has focused on the impact of an expanding world market on the way people understood and talked about their society.  Among her principal publications are The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism (2010), Thomas Jefferson (2003), Inheriting the Revolution: The First Generation of Americans (2000), and Telling the Truth about History (1994).

Dr. Annette Gordon-Reed is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School, a professor of history in Harvard University’s History Department, and the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute. A renowned law professor and scholar of American history, she has published six books, among them The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (2008), which won the Pulitzer Prize in history, the National Book Award for nonfiction, and the George Washington Book Prize. Her earlier Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy (1997) examines the scholarly writing on the relationship between Jefferson and Hemings. Gordon-Reed’s honors include the National Humanities Medal for 2009, a Guggenheim Fellowship in the humanities (2009), a fellowship from the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library (2010–2011), and a MacArthur Fellowship (2010).

Dr. Gordon S. Wood, Jury Chair, is Alva O. Way University Professor Emeritus at Brown University. He is the author of many award-winning works, including The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 (1969), which won the Bancroft Prize and the John H. Dunning Prize, and The Radicalism of the American Revolution (1992), which won the Pulitzer Prize for History and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize. His 2004 book, The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin, was awarded the Julia Ward Howe Prize. His volume in the Oxford History of the United States, Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 (2009), won the Association of American Publishers Award for History and Biography, the American History Book Prize, and the Society of the Cincinnati History Prize. In 2011, he was awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Obama and the Churchill Bell by Colonial Williamsburg. He has also received the Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Award from the Society of American Historians and the John F. Kennedy Medal from the Massachusetts Historical Society.

About The Thomas Jefferson Foundation

 The Thomas Jefferson Foundation was incorporated in 1923 to preserve Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Today the Foundation seeks to advance its twofold mission of preservation and education by engaging a global audience in a dialogue with Jefferson’s ideas. Monticello is now recognized as a National Historic Landmark and a United Nations World Heritage Site. As a private, nonprofit organization, the Foundation’s regular operating budget is not supported by federal or state government funding.  About 450,000 people visit Monticello each year

The mission of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies (ICJS) is to foster scholarship on Thomas Jefferson and to disseminate findings through research and education. Founded in 1994 by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc., the ICJS has created a network of scholars, teachers, and students who engage a global audience in a dialogue with Jefferson’s ideas. Through a fellowship program, international scholarly conferences, panel discussions, teacher workshops, lectures, and curriculum-based tours, the ICJS establishes relationships with people from around the world. The ICJS encompasses the departments of archaeology, research, publications, adult enrichment, the 15,500-square foot Jefferson Library, and the editorial operations of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series.

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