Finalists have been announced since 1980.


2015 Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People by Elizabeth A. Fenn (Hill and Wang)

An engrossing, original narrative showing the Mandans, a Native American tribe in the Dakotas, as a people with a history.

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2014 The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 by Alan Taylor (W.W. Norton)

A meticulous and insightful account of why runaway slaves in the colonial era were drawn to the British side as potential liberators.

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2013 Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam by Fredrik Logevall (Random House)

A balanced, deeply researched history of how, as French colonial rule faltered, a succession of American leaders moved step by step down a road toward full-blown war.

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2012 Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, by the late Manning Marable

An exploration of the legendary life and provocative views of one of the most significant African-Americans in U.S. history, a work that separates fact from fiction and blends the heroic and tragic.

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2011 The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner (W.W. Norton & Company)

For “The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery,” (W.W. Norton & Company), a well orchestrated examination of Lincoln’s changing views of slavery, bringing unforeseeable twists and a fresh sense of improbability to a familiar story.

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2010 Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed (The Penguin Press)

“Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World,” by Liaquat Ahamed (The Penguin Press), a compelling account of how four powerful bankers played crucial roles in triggering the Great Depression and ultimately transforming the United States into the world’s financial leader.

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2009 The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed (W.W. Norton & Company)

A painstaking exploration of a sprawling multi-generation slave family that casts provocative new light on the relationship between Sally Hemings and her master, Thomas Jefferson.

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2008 "What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848" by Daniel Walker Howe (Oxford University Press)
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2007 The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation by Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff (Alfred A. Knopf)
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2006 Polio: An American Story by David M. Oshinsky (Oxford University Press)
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2005 Washington's Crossing by David Hackett Fischer (Oxford University Press)
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2004 A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration by Steven Hahn (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press)
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2003 An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943 by Rick Atkinson (Henry Holt and Company)
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2002 The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America by Louis Menand (Farrar)
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2001 Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis (Alfred A. Knopf)
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2000 Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 by David M. Kennedy (Oxford University Press)
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1999 Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 by Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace (Oxford University Press)
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1998 Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion by Edward J. Larson (BasicBooks)
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1997 Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution by Jack N. Rakove (Alfred A. Knopf)
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1996 William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic by Alan Taylor (Alfred A. Knopf)
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1995 No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Simon & Schuster)
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1994 (No Award)
1993 The Radicalism of the American Revolution by Gordon S. Wood (Alfred A. Knopf)
1992 The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties by Mark E. Neely
1991 A Midwife's Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (Alfred A. Knopf)
1990 In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines by Stanley Karnow (Random House)
1989 Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James M. McPherson (Oxford University Press)
1989 Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-1963 by Taylor Branch (Simon and Schuster)
1988 The Launching of Modern American Science 1846-1876 by Robert V. Bruce (Alfred A. Knopf)
1987 Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution by Bernard Bailyn (Alfred A. Knopf)
1986 ...the Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age by Walter A. McDougall (Basic Books)
1985 Prophets of Regulation by Thomas K. McCraw (Belknap/Harvard)
1984 (No Award)
1983 The Transformation of Virginia, 1740-1790 by Rhys L. Isaac (U. North Carolina Press)
1982 Mary Chesnut's Civil War edited by C. Vann Woodward (Yale U. Press)
1981 American Education: The National Experience, 1783-1876 by Lawrence A. Cremin (Harper & Row)
1980 Been in the Storm So Long by Leon F. Litwack (Knopf)
1979 The Dred Scott Case by Don E. Fehrenbacher (Oxford Univ. Press)
1978 The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business by Alfred D. Chandler
1977 The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861 by David M. Potter, a posthumous publication. (Manuscript finished by Don E. Fehrenbacker (Harper)
1976 Lamy of Santa Fe by Paul Horgan (Farrar)
1975 Jefferson and His Time, Vols. I-V by Dumas Malone (Little)
1974 The Americans: The Democratic Experience by Daniel J. Boorstin (Random)
1973 People of Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Origins of American Civilization by Michael Kammen (Knopf)
1972 Neither Black Nor White by Carl N. Degler (Macmillan)
1971 Roosevelt: The Soldier Of Freedom by James MacGregor Burns (Harcourt)
1970 Present At The Creation: My Years In The State Department by Dean Acheson (Norton)
1969 Origins of the Fifth Amendment by Leonard W. Levy (Oxford Univ. Press)
1968 The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution by Bernard Bailyn (Harvard Univ. Press)
1967 Exploration and Empire: The Explorer and the Scientist in the Winning of the American West by William H. Goetzmann (Knopf)
1966 The Life of the Mind in America by the late Perry Miller (Harcourt)
1965 The Greenback Era by Irwin Unger (Princeton Univ. Press)
1964 Puritan Village: The Formation of a New England Town by Sumner Chilton Powell (Wesleyan Univ. Press)
1963 Washington, Village and Capital, 1800-1878 by Constance McLaughlin Green (Princeton Univ. Press)
1962 The Triumphant Empire: Thunder-Clouds Gather in the West 1763-1766 by Lawrence H. Gipson (Knopf)
1961 Between War and Peace: The Potsdam Conference by Herbert Feis (Princeton Univ. Press)
1960 In the Days of McKinley by Margaret Leech (Harper)
1959 The Republican Era: l869-1901 by Leonard D. White
1958 Banks and Politics in America by Bray Hammond (Princeton Univ. Press)
1957 Russia Leaves the War: Soviet-American Relations, 1917-192O by George F. Kennan (Princeton Univ. Press)
1956 The Age of Reform by Richard Hofstadter (Knopf)
1955 Great River: The Rio Grande in North American History by Paul Horgan (Rinehart)
1954 A Stillness at Appomattox by Bruce Catton (Doubleday)
1953 The Era of Good Feelings by George Dangerfield (Harcourt)
1952 The Uprooted by Oscar Handlin (Little)
1951 The Old Northwest, Pioneer Period 1815-1840 by R. Carlyle Buley (Towers)
1950 Art and Life in America by Oliver W. Larkin (Rinehart)
1949 The Disruption of American Democracy by Roy Franklin Nichols (Macmillan)
1948 Across the Wide Missouri by Bernard Devoto (Houghton)
1947 Scientists Against Time by James Phinney Baxter 3rd (Little)
1946 The Age of Jackson by Arthur Meier Schlesinger
1945 Unfinished Business by Stephen Bonsal (Doubleday)
1944 The Growth of American Thought by Merle Curti (Harper)
1943 Paul Revere and the World He Lived In by Esther Forbes (Houghton)
1942 Reveille in Washington, 1860-1865 by Margaret Leech (Harper)
1941 The Atlantic Migration, 1607-1860 by Marcus Lee Hansen (Harvard Univ. Press)
1940 Abraham Lincoln: The War Years by Carl Sandburg (Harcourt)
1939 A History of American Magazines by Frank Luther Mott (Harvard Univ. Press)
1938 The Road to Reunion, 1865-1900 by Paul Herman Buck (Little)
1937 The Flowering of New England 1815-1865 by Van Wyck Brooks (Dutton)
1936 A Constitutional History of the United States by Andrew C. McLaughlin (Appleton)
1935 The Colonial Period of American History by Charles McLean Andrews (Yale Univ. Press)
1934 The People's Choice by Herbert Agar (Houghton)
1933 The Significance of Sections in American History by Frederick J. Turner (Holt)
1932 My Experiences in the World War by John J. Pershing (Stokes)
1931 The Coming of the War 1914 by Bernadotte E. Schmitt (Scribner)
1930 The War of Independence by Claude H. Van Tyne (Houghton)
1929 The Organization and Administration of the Union Army, 1861-1865 by Fred Albert Shannon (A.H. Clark)
1928 Main Currents in American Thought, 2 vols. by Vernon Louis Parrington (Harcourt)
1927 Pinckney's Treaty by Samuel Flagg Bemis (Johns Hopkins)
1926 A History of the United States by Edward Channing (Macmillan)
1925 History of the American Frontier by Frederic L. Paxson (Houghton)
1924 The American Revolution -- A Constitutional Interpretation by Charles Howard McIlwain (Macmillan)
1923 The Supreme Court in United States History by Charles Warren (Little)
1922 The Founding of New England by James Truslow Adams (Little)
1921 The Victory at Sea by William Sowden Sims in collaboration with Burton J. Hendrick (Doubleday)
1920 The War with Mexico, 2 vols. by Justin H. Smith (Macmillan)
1919 (No Award)
1918 A History of the Civil War, 1861-1865 by James Ford Rhodes (Macmillan)
1917 With Americans of Past and Present Days by His Excellency J.J. Jusserand


2015 Empire of Cotton: A Global History by Sven Beckert (Alfred A. Knopf)

A work of staggering scholarship arguing that slavery was crucial to the dynamism of the industrial revolution.

2015 An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America by Nick Bunker (Alfred A. Knopf)

A bifocal perspective on the countdown to the American Revolution, placing the war within a broader crisis of globalization.

2014 A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama's America by Jacqueline Jones (Basic Books)

A deeply researched examination of how race as a social invention has retained its power to organize, mark and harm the lives of Americans.

2014 Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlosser (The Penguin Press)

A chilling history of the management of America’s nuclear arsenal, exploring the fateful challenges and chronicling the "near misses" that could have triggered a cataclysm.

2013 The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675 by Bernard Bailyn (Alfred A. Knopf)

A luminous account of how the British colonies took root amid raw brutality, often with terrible consequences for the settlers as well as the native population.

2013 Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History by John Fabian Witt (Free Press)

A striking work examining how orders issued by President Lincoln to govern conduct on battlefields and in prisons during the Civil War have shaped modern laws of armed conflict.

2012 Empires, Nations & Families: A History of the North American West, 1800-1860 by Anne F. Hyde (University of Nebraska Press)

A fresh work tracing how people created families and conducted business in a vast, fur-trading region newly part of an expanding United States.

2012 The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11 and Osama Bin Laden by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan (Ballantine Books)

A painstaking look at a catastrophic act of terrorism and the nagging questions that have swirled around it.

2012 Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America by Richard White (W.W. Norton & Company)

A myth-shattering book that shows how reckless but influential railroad corporations in the late 19th century often profited by failure as well as success.

2011 Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South by Stephanie McCurry (Harvard University Press)

An insightful work analyzing the experience of disenfranchised white women and black slaves who were left when Confederate soldiers headed for the battlefield.

2011 Eden on the Charles: The Making of Boston by Michael Rawson (Harvard University Press))

An impressive selection of case studies that reveal how Boston helped shape the remarkable growth of American cities in the 19th century.

2010 Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City by Greg Grandin (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt & Company)

An evocative, heavily researched examination of an industrial giant’s grandiose scheme to create a model rubber plantation deep in the Amazon forest.

2010 Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 by Gordon S. Wood ((Oxford University Press)

A lucid exploration of a turbulent era when a profoundly changing America, despite the sin of slavery, came to see itself as a beacon to the world, demonstrating human capacity for self-government.

2009 This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust (Alfred A. Knopf)

A deeply researched, gracefully written examination of how a divided nation struggled to comprehend the meaning and practical consequences of unprecedented human carnage.

2009 The Liberal Hour: Washington and the Politics of Change in the 1960s by G. Calvin Mackenzie and Robert Weisbrot (The Penguin Press)

An elegantly written account of a brief period in American history that left a profoundly altered national landscape.

2008 Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power by Robert Dallek (HarperCollins)
2008 The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War by David Halberstam (Hyperion)
2007 Middle Passages: African American Journeys to Africa, 1787-2005 by James T. Campbell (The Penguin Press)
2007 Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War by Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking)
2006 New York Burning by Jill Lepore (Alfred A. Knopf)
2006 The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln by Sean Wilentz (W.W. Norton)
2005 Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin Boyle (Henry Holt)
2005 Conjectures of Order: Intellectual Life and the American South, 1810-1860, volumes 1 & 2 by Michael O'Brien (The University of North Carolina Press)
2004 They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October1967 by David Maraniss (Simon & Schuster)
2004 Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center by Daniel Okrent (Viking)
2003 At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America by Philip Dray (Random House)
2003 Rereading Sex: Battles Over Sexual Knowledge and Suppression in Nineteenth Century America by Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz (Alfred A. Knopf)
2002 Deep Souths: Delta, Piedmont, and the Sea Island Society in the Age of Segregation by J. William Harris (The Johns Hopkins University Press)
2002 Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America by Daniel K. Richter (Harvard University Press)
2001 Way Out There in the Blue by Frances FitzGerald (Simon & Schuster)
2001 The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States by Alexander Keyssar (Basic Books)
2000 Into the American Woods: Negotiators on the Pennsylvania Frontier by James H. Merrell (W.W. Norton)
2000 The Cousins' Wars: Religion, Politics and the Triumph of Anglo-America by Kevin Phillips (Basic Books)
1999 The New Ocean: The Story of the First Space Age by William E. Burrows (Random House)
1999 In a Barren Land: American Indian Dispossession and Survival by Paula Mitchell Marks (William Morrow and Company)
1998 Big Trouble: A Murder in a Small Western Town Sets Off a Struggle for the Soul of America by J. Anthony Lukas (Simon & Schuster)
1998 Civic Ideals: Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History by Rogers M. Smith (Yale University Press)
1997 Founding Mothers and Fathers by Mary Beth Norton (Alfred A. Knopf)
1997 The Battle for Christmas by Stephen Nissenbaum (Alfred A. Knopf)
1996 The Sacred Fire of Liberty: James Madison and the Founding of the Federal Republic by Lance Banning (Cornell University Press)
1996 Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb by Richard Rhodes (Simon & Schuster)
1995 Stories of Scottsboro by James Goodman (Pantheon)
1995 Lincoln in American Memory by Merrill D. Peterson (Oxford University Press)
1994 Crime and Punishment in American History by Lawrence M. Friedman (Basic Books)
1994 Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK by Gerald Posner (Random House)
1994 William Faulkner and Southern History by Joel Williamson (Oxford University Press)
1993 The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction by Edward L. Ayers (Oxford University Press)
1993 Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America by Garry Wills (Simon & Schuster)
1992 Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West by William Cronon (W.W. Norton & Company)
1992 A Very Thin Line: The Iran-Contra Affairs by Theodore Draper (Hill & Wang)
1992 Profits in the Wilderness: Entrepreneurship and the Founding of New England Towns in the Seventeenth Century by John Frederick Martin (The University of North Carolina Press)
1992 The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815 by Richard White (Cambridge University Press)
1991 Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939 by Lizabeth Cohen (Cambridge University Press)
1991 The Civil Rights Era: Origins and Development of National Policy by Hugh David Graham (Oxford University Press)
1991 America in 1857: A Nation on the Brink by Kenneth M. Stampp (Oxford University Press)
1990 The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume IV: From the American Revolution to World War I by Hugh Honour (Harvard University Press)
1990 American Genesis: A Century of Invention and Technological Enthusiasm 1870-1970 by Thomas P. Hughes (Viking)
1989 Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 by Eric Foner (Harper & Row)
1989 A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam by Neil Sheehan (Random House)
1988 The Fall of the House of Labor by David Montgomery (Cambridge University Press)
1988 The Care of Strangers: The Rise of America's Hospital System by Charles E. Rosenberg (Basic Books)
1987 Eisenhower: At War, 1943-1945 by David Eisenhower (Random House)
1987 Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference by David J. Garrow (William Morrow)
1986 Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work and the Family from Slavery to the Present by Jacqueline Jones (Basic Books)
1986 Novus Ordo Seclorum: the Intellectual Origins of the Constitution by Forrest McDonald (University Press of Kentucky)
1986 Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America by Kerby A. Miller (Oxford University Press)
1985 The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians by Francis Paul Prucha (University of Nebraska)
1985 The Crucible of Race by Joel Williamson (Oxford University Press)
1983 The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 by Robert L. Middlekauff (Oxford University Press)
1983 Southern Honor: Ethics & Behavior in the Old South by Bertram Wyatt-Brown
1982 White Supremacy: A Comparative Study in American & South African History by George M. Frederickson (Oxford University Press)
1982 Power and Culture: The Japanese-American War, 1941-1945 by Akira Iriye (Harvard University Press)
1981 Over Here: The First World War and American Society by David M. Kennedy (Oxford)
1981 A Search for Power: The 'Weaker Sex' in Seventeenth Century New England by Lyle Koehler (Illinois)
1980 The Urban Crucible by Gary B. Nash (Harvard)
1980 The Plains Across by John B. Unruh (Illinois)