2007 Video Announcement
Visit the 2007 Pritzker Military Library Gala Website
Press ReleaseChicago, IL (July 16, 2007) - James M. McPherson, whose outstanding historical work on the American Civil War has placed him among the top writers of our time, has been selected to receive the first-ever Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. The $100,000 honorarium, citation and medallion, sponsored by the Chicago-based Tawani Foundation, will be presented at the Library’s black-tie Liberty Gala on October 6th at Chicago’s Drake Hotel (140 E. Walton Place). The announcement was made today via world-wide webcast by the Library’s founder and CEO, James N. Pritzker at www.pritzkermilitarylibrary.org.
The Pritzker Military Library Award recognizes a single living author for a body of work dedicated to enriching the understanding of American military history including military affairs. The recipient’s contributions may be academic, non-fiction, fiction or a combination of any of the three and their work should embody the values of the Pritzker Military Library.
“Our purpose in establishing the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement is to acknowledge the highest levels of scholarship and writing in a field that often does not gain appropriate recognition,” Pritzker said. “By providing an annual award to the most thoughtful and articulate scholar writing about war and military activities, we may in turn be lead to better solutions and perhaps a better life for all of us.”
James McPherson is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor of History Emeritus at Princeton University. He has published numerous volumes on the Civil War, including Lincoln and the Second American Revolution, Drawn with the Sword: Reflections on the American Civil War and For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War, which won the prestigious Lincoln Prize in 1998. He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his single-volume treatment of the Civil War, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era.
“I am profoundly honored to receive this award,” said McPherson in response to the announcement. “I started my career as a historian of the radical social and political consequences of the Civil War and soon discovered that these changes depended on the military course of the conflict.” McPherson would pursue his goal as a military historian in order to “explore and write about the complex and crucial interconnections between the battlefield and home front, not only in the Civil War, but in all wars. I am proud that my contributions to understanding these relationships is being recognized.”
James McPherson’s nomination was submitted by his publisher, Oxford University Press. "Oxford University Press warmly congratulates Jim McPherson on his receipt of the first Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing,” said Niko Pfund, Vice President and Publisher. “Few scholars more consistently combine first-rate scholarship with accessible historical writing, and few authors are more of a pleasure to publish. We are delighted that so richly deserving a writer and thinker has been chosen to inaugurate this prestigious award.”
A national panel of historians, writers and individuals related to the study of American history and heritage reviewed nominations and definitive works submitted by publishers, agents, book sellers and other professional literary organizations. The finalist recommendation was unanimously endorsed by the executive council of the Foundation established to oversee the award process.
The Pritzker Award will be presented on Saturday, October 6, 2007 during the Library’s annual Liberty Gala at Chicago’s historic Drake Hotel. The Library will also recognize veteran journalist John Callaway for his 50 year broadcast career. The evening will include a tribute to members of the armed forces and features a dramatic presentation by the Steppenwolf Theater Company. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the library website at: www.pritzkermilitarylibrary.org.
James M. McPhersonJames M. McPherson was born in North Dakota and grew up in Minnesota, where he attended Gustavus Adolphus College and graduated magna cum laude in 1958. He did his graduate study in history at the Johns Hopkins University, where he received his Ph. D. with distinction in 1963. From 1962 to 2004 he taught at Princeton University, where he is now the George Henry Davis '86 Professor of American History Emeritus.
He is the author of fifteen books and the editor of another dozen, most of them on the era of the American Civil War. His books have won several prizes, most notably the Pultizer Prize in History (1989) for BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM: THE CIVIL WAR ERA and the Lincoln Prize (1998) for FOR CAUSE AND COMRADES: WHY MEN FOUGHT IN THE CIVIL WAR. He was the Jefferson Lecturer of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2000. He has been active in Civil War battlefield preservation and served on the Congressional Civil War Sites Advisory Commission from 1991 to 1993 as well as on the boards of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites and the Civil War Preservation Trust. He is a member of the advisory boards of the National Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar and the Gettysburg Foundation. In 1999 - 2000 he was president of the Society of American Historians and in 2003 - 04 the president of the American Historical Association. In 2007 he received the Samuel Eliot Morison Award from the Society for Military History.
2007 Screening Committee
- Edward M. Coffman
- Carlo D'Este
- Joseph L. Galloway
- Gary T. Johnson
- Donald L. Miller
- Williamson Murray
- Carol Reardon
- Mark Stoler
- MG John Borling, USAF (Ret.)