Incoming U. Va. professor wins Pulitzer Prize

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Above: Alan Taylor. Photo Courtesy: U. Va.

A historian scheduled to start teaching at the University of Virginia this fall won a Pulitzer Prize today. Alan Taylor’s book, “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832” won a Pulitzer in the history category. The $10,000 prize in this category is awarded to a distinguished and appropriately documented book on the history of the United States.

Taylor is scheduled to begin teaching at U. Va. this fall and is already a member of the university’s history department faculty. He will be the fourth Thomas Jefferson Memorial Professor In History at U.Va. The first was Dumas Malone, a Pulitzer Prize winning biographer of Jefferson.

According to the Pulitzer Prize website, Taylor’s book is “a meticulous and insightful account of why runaway slaves in the colonial era were drawn to the British side as potential liberators.”

In a news release issued by U. Va. last November, Taylor said the book “tells the story of about 3,000 enslaved Africans from the Chesapeake region who escaped slavery by fleeing to the British and helping them to wage war on the United States during the War of 1812. The book sets that story in the context of the shifting nature of slavery after the American Revolution.”

Taylor also won a Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for his book “William Cooper’s Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic.”

Taylor has taught at the University of California at Davis for the past 20 years.

The other finalists in this year’s Pulitzer Prize history category were Jacqueline Jones’ “A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America” and Eric Schlosser’s “Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety.”

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