J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Winner and Finalists of the 2016 Washington Book Prize

Last week Mount Vernon, Washington College, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History announced the winner of the 2016 George Washington Book Prize, created to honor “the best new works on the nation’s founding era, especially those that engage a broad public audience.”

The winner was Flora Fraser for The Washingtons: George and Martha, “Join’d by Friendship, Crown’d by Love.” The award announcement says:
While many books have chronicled George Washington’s life and public service, no other has so thoroughly examined the marriage bonds between him and his wife. Few primary sources exist on the life of Martha Washington, who destroyed all but one of the couple’s personal letters. But Fraser’s diligent research has resulted in a more comprehensive understanding of the nation’s first First Lady—and through her important story, a fuller sense of the nation’s first President. Fraser portrays a couple devoted to each other and steadfast in their loyalty: from their short courtship, through raising a family at Mount Vernon, to the long years of the Revolutionary War, to the first U.S. Presidency, and to retirement at their beloved Virginia plantation.
Living in London, Fraser’s previous books have been about European women. She’s a third-generation biographer, a granddaughter of Elizabeth Longford and a daughter of Lady Antonia Fraser.

In addition to The Washingtons, the finalists for this year’s book prize were:
Plenty of good reading there.

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