Annual award seeks to encourage authors in showcasing preserved battlefields and historic sites as indispensable research and literary resources

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The American Battlefield Trust has announced its short list of finalists for its inaugural American Battlefield Trust Book Prize for History, an annual award that seeks to showcase the vital nature of historic battlefields as primary sources in literary works and amplify the pressing need for preservation to readers interested in American history.

Finalists announced for inaugural $50,000 American Battlefield Trust military history book prize

The award recognizes an outstanding published work focused on military history or a biography central to the nation’s formative conflicts – the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. The American Battlefield Trust has protected more than 58,000 acres at more than 155 sites related to these wars since its founding — but many more remain threatened.

“Each of these finalists demonstrate the irreplaceable research and perspective that come from the hallowed grounds of our nation’s battlefields,” said David Duncan, president of the Trust. “We hope this award helps to encourage more authors to create such works and galvanize audience support and interest around preservation.”

The award was endowed by a generous donor and diverts no funds from the Trust’s critical mission.

The 11 finalists were selected out of nearly 100 nominees from 24 different publishers, and are now being carefully considered by this year’s expert panel of judges: Dr. James Kirby Martin (Cullen Professor Emeritus, University of Houston), Dr. James McPherson (Pulitzer Prize winner, George Henry Davis ’86 Professor Emeritus of U.S. history at Princeton University) and Dr. Joan Waugh (Professor Emeritus, UCLA). 

“The finalists for the inaugural American Battlefield Trust Prize for History highlight the close relationship between preservation of historic sites and scholarship on crucial aspects of United States history,” said Gary W. Gallagher, who chaired the selection committee. “Historians writing about military history and biography benefit immeasurably from the descriptive and interpretive value of the places where transformative events occurred.”

The winner will be announced this spring with awards presented in September, during the Trust’s Grand Review weekend in Raleigh, N.C. The prize has been endowed by a generous donor, and smaller prizes will be awarded to two additional finalists in addition to the $50,000 for the winner.

Listed alphabetically, the finalists include:

  • Friederike Baer, Hessians: German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War (Oxford University Press)
  • David S. Hartwig, I Dread the Thought of the Place: The Battle of Antietam and the End of the Maryland Campaign (John’s Hopkins University Press)
  • Ricardo A. Herrera, Feeding Washington’s Army: Surviving the Valley Forge Winter of 1778, (University of North Carolina Press)
  • Mark Edward Lender, Fort Ticonderoga, The Last Campaigns: The War in the North, 1777–1783 (Westholme Publishing)
  • George Rable, Conflict of Command: George McClellan, Abraham Lincoln, and the Politics of War (Louisiana State University Press)
  • Timothy B. Smith, Early Struggles for Vicksburg: The Mississippi Central Campaign and Chickasaw Bayou, October 25-December 31, 1862 (University of Kansas Press)
  • Elizabeth Varon, Longstreet: The Confederate General Who Defied the South (Simon & Schuster)
  • Victor Vignola, Contrasts in Command: The Battle of Fair Oaks. May 31 – June 1, 1862 (Savas Beatie)
  • Jack Warren, Freedom: The Enduring Importance of the American Revolution (Lyons Press)
  • Jeffry D. Wert, The Heart of Hell: The Soldiers’ Struggle for Spotsylvania’s Bloody Angle (University of North Carolina Press)
  • Ronald C. White, On Great Fields: The Life and Unlikely Heroism of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain (Random House)

For more information on the prize, please visit American Battlefield Trust Prize for History | American Battlefield Trust ( Share your impressions of the finalists on social media using the hashtag #BattlefieldBookPrize.

About the American Battlefield Trust: From a grassroots organization started by historians 30 years ago, the American Battlefield Trust has grown into one of the most successful private heritage land preservation organizations in the nation. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 58,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War, representing more than 150 sites in 25 states. Its 350,000 members and supporters believe in the power of place and the continued relevance of history as a means to fully understand our rights and responsibilities as Americans.  Learn more at

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