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Annual Prize Recognizes the Best Book in the Field of Military History

New York, NY, March 2, 2017 – The New-York Historical Society and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History announced today that Peter Cozzens has been awarded the annual Gilder Lehrman Prize for Military History for his book, The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West (Knopf). The $50,000 prize is bestowed annually in recognition of the best book in the field of military history published in English during the previous calendar year. A program celebrating the winner, featuring a conversation between Cozzens and noted historian Andrew Roberts, will take place on Monday, March 27, 2017, at the New-York Historical Society.

“The judges recognized The Earth Is Weeping as an instant classic of military history,” said Andrew Roberts, committee chair of the judging panel. “His ambitiously broad sweep both geographically and chronologically, his diligent research, his masterful grasp of both strategy and tactics, but above all his beautiful written style made Peter Cozzens our unanimous winner.”

“We are deeply honored to collaborate together on the Gilder Lehrman Prize for Military History at the New-York Historical Society,” said Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society, and James Basker, president of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. “Peter’s book sheds light on an important period in our nation’s history that has had long-reaching effects and remains relevant today.”

“I am deeply honored to receive the Gilder Lehrman Prize,” said author Peter Cozzens . “Also, I am highly gratified that the Indian Wars of the American West will receive far wider attention as a consequence of the prestige this award carries.”

With the end of the Civil War, the nation recommenced its expansion onto traditional Indian tribal lands, setting off a wide-ranging conflict that would last more than three decades. In his exploration of the wars and negotiations that destroyed tribal ways of life—even as they made possible the emergence of the modern United States—Peter Cozzens gives readers both sides in comprehensive and singularly intimate detail. In The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West, he illuminates the encroachment experienced by the tribes and the tribal conflicts over whether to fight or make peace and explores the lives of soldiers posted to the frontier and the ethical quandaries faced by generals who often sympathized with their native enemies.

Peter Cozzens is the author or editor of 17 books on the American Civil War and the American West. He also recently retired from a 30-year career as a Foreign Service Officer, U. S. Department of State. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he served as a captain in the U. S. Army. Cozzens was a frequent contributor to the New York Times “Disunion” series, and he has written for America’s Civil War, Civil War Times Illustrated, MHQ, Cowboys & Indians, BBC World Histories, and Smithsonian, among other publications. Cozzens is a member of the Advisory Council of the Lincoln Prize and of the Literary Society of Washington, D.C. In 2002, Cozzens received the American Foreign Service Association’s highest award, given annually to one Foreign Service Officer for exemplary moral courage, integrity, and creative dissent.

More than 75 books published in 2016 were nominated for the Gilder Lehrman Prize for Military History, which aims to encourage public attention to the importance of military history for general educational purposes. The other finalists for the 2016 prize were Walter R. Borneman, MacArthur at War: World War II in the Pacific (Little Brown); Ben Macintyre, Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS, Britain’s Secret Special Forces Unit that Sabotaged the Nazis and Changed the Nature of War (Crown); and Ronald C. White, American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant (Random House).

The judging panel for the prize was composed of Andrew Roberts, Ph.D., visiting professor at the War Studies Department of King’s College London, committee chair; Flora Fraser, author, chair of the Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography, and founder of the Elizabeth Longford Grants for Historical Biography; Josiah Bunting III, author and educator; and Brig. Gen. Charles F. Brower IV, author, Henry King Burgwyn Professor of Military History, Virginia Military Institute.

The prize was previously awarded to Allen Guelzo for his bestselling book, Gettysburg: The Last Invasion (Knopf); Alexander Watson for Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I (Basic Books); and David Preston for Braddock’s Defeat: The Battle of the Monongahela and the Road to Revolution (Oxford University Press). Funding for the prize is provided jointly by the Gilder Lehrman Institute and the New-York Historical Society.

The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s preeminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research and presenting history and art exhibitions and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered history of New York City and State and the country, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.

Founded in 1994 by philanthropists Richard Gilder and Lewis E. Lehrman, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is the nation’s leading American history organization dedicated to K-12 education. The Institute’s mission is to promote the knowledge and understanding of American history through educational programs and interactive resources. Drawing on the 65,000 documents in the Gilder Lehrman Collection and its vast network of eminent historians, the Institute provides teachers, students, and the general public with direct access to invaluable primary source materials.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is supported through the generosity of individuals, corporations, and foundations. The Institute’s programs have been recognized by awards from the White House, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Organization of American Historians.

Press Contacts
Ines Aslan, (212) 873-3400 x263, ines.aslan@nyhistory.org
Marybeth Ihle, (212) 873-3400 x326, marybeth.ihle@nyhistory.org

Thursday, March 2, 2017
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