Friday, February 11, 2011

Lincoln Prize: Eric Foner Awarded Coveted Prize for "Fiery Trial"

Gettysburg College's Civil War Institute has announced the 2011 Lincoln Prize winner. See press release below. (The Washington Post has coverage here)

Gettysburg College News Release

Book that explores Lincoln’s views on slavery wins 2011 Lincoln Prize

GETTYSBURG, Pa. – A compelling and insightful book that explores Abraham Lincoln’s evolving ideas about the institution of slavery and the roles of African-Americans was chosen out of 106 top-notch submissions as the 2011 Lincoln Prize recipient.

Eric Foner will receive the $50,000 Lincoln Prize for his book, “The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery” (Norton), as well as a bronze replica of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ life-size bust, "Lincoln the Man." Foner is the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University. The Prize, sponsored by Gettysburg College and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, will be awarded May 11 at the Union League Club in New York, less than a month after the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War....

In the book, Foner offers a nuanced analysis of a man willing and able to change in response to forces beyond his control. He depicts the sweep of Lincoln’s career as a fascinating collision of moral judgments, political expediency, and military necessity. Foner traces the way that Lincoln grew and developed and was ultimately able to accept a biracial democracy when so many other Americans did not. He also deals subtly with Lincoln’s views on race, demonstrating that we are far too presentist in focusing on Lincoln and race and that Lincoln is less concerned about it than we are.

“Eric Foner has written an outstanding book focused on Lincoln and slavery from Lincoln’s earliest days until the day of his assassination,” said Lewis Lehrman. “In it he sums up the finest historical research on the subject, unearthing interesting new material. ‘The Fiery Trial’ is beautifully written, in a clear, direct style characteristic of the author’s work.”

"I am pleased that Eric Foner's book, ‘The Fiery Trial,’ on Lincoln and the end of American slavery, has been honored as the 2011 Lincoln Prize recipient," said Gettysburg College President Janet Morgan Riggs. "Foner provides great insight into Lincoln’s developing position on slavery and rise as leader of the new Republican Party."

Honorable Mentions this year included:
  • Robert Bray (Reading Lincoln Southern Illinois University Press), 
  • Lorien Foote (The Gentlemen and the Toughs: Violence, Honor, and Manhood in the Union Army New York University Press), 
  • Mark W. Geiger (Financial Fraud and Guerilla Violence in Missouri’s Civil War, 1861-1865 Yale University Press), 
  • Stanley Harrold (Border War: Fighting Over Slavery Before the Civil War University of North Carolina Press), 
  • Kate Masur (An Example for All the Land: Emancipation and the Struggle over Equality in Washington, D.C. University of North Carolina Press)
  • Howard Jones (Blue and Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations University of North Carolina Press)

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