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2009 Winner

Lisa Jardine - Going Dutch:
How England Plundered Holland’s Glory

Biography

Lisa Jardine CBE is Director of the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters and Centenary Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary, University of London. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an Honorary Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge and Jesus College, Cambridge. She holds honorary doctorates from the University of St Andrews, Sheffield Hallam University and the Open University. She is a Trustee of the V&A Museum and was for five years a member of the Council of the Royal Institution. She is Patron of the National Council on Archives. For the academic year 2007-8 she was seconded to the Royal Society as Advisor to its Collections. In 2008 she became Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the arms-length body that regulates assisted reproduction in the UK. She was the 2009 winner of the Cundill Prize.

Book Summary

Lisa Jardine CBE is Director of the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters and Centenary Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary, University of London. She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an Honorary Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge and Jesus College, Cambridge. She holds honorary doctorates from the University of St Andrews, Sheffield Hallam University and the Open University. She is a Trustee of the V&A Museum and was for five years a member of the Council of the Royal Institution. She is Patron of the National Council on Archives. For the academic year 2007-8 she was seconded to the Royal Society as Advisor to its Collections. In 2008 she became Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the arms-length body that regulates assisted reproduction in the UK. She was the 2009 winner of the Cundill Prize.

Going Dutch - Lisa Jardine
Lisa Jardine

Finalist

David Hackett Fischer - Champlain’s Dream

Biography

David Hackett Fischer, University Professor at Brandeis University, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for Washington’s Crossing, which was also a New York Times bestseller. His other acclaimed books include Albion’s Seed and Paul Revere’s Ride. Fischer received a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University (1957) and a Ph.D. in history from Johns Hopkins University (1962). Fischer was also noted for his continued dedication to teaching. In 1990 he was awarded the Louis Dembitz Brandeis Prize for Excellence in Teaching and was named Massachusetts Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He became a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995. In 2015 Fischer won the Pritzker Military Museum & Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing.

Book Summary

In this sweeping, enthralling biography, acclaimed Pulitzer Prize–winner David Hackett Fischer magnificently brings to life the visionary adventurer who has straddled our history for 400 years. Champlain’s Dream reveals, with rare immediacy and drama, the story of a remarkable man: a leader who dreamed of humanity and peace in a world riven by violence; a man of his own time who nevertheless strove to build a settlement in Canada that would be founded on harmony and respect. With consummate narrative skill and comprehensive scholarship, Fischer unfolds a life shrouded in mystery, a complex, elusive man among many colorful characters. Born on France’s Atlantic coast, Samuel de Champlain grew up in a country bitterly divided by religious wars. But, like Henry IV, one of France’s greatest kings whose illegitimate son he may have been and who supported his travels from the Spanish Empire in Mexico to the St. Lawrence and the unknown territories, Champlain was religiously tolerant in an age of murderous sectarianism. Soldier, spy, master mariner, explorer, cartographer, and artist, he maneuvered his way through court intrigues in Paris, supported by Henri IV and, later, Louis XIII, though bitterly opposed by the Queen Regent Marie de Medici and the wily Cardinal Richelieu. Drawing on Champlain’s own diaries and accounts, as well as his exquisite drawings and maps, Fischer shows him to have been a keen observer of a vanished world: an artist and cartographer who drew and wrote vividly, publishing four invaluable books on the life he saw around him. This superb biography (the first full-scale biography in decades) by a great historian is as dramatic and richly exciting as the life it portrays. Deeply researched, it is illustrated throughout with 110 contemporary images and 37 maps, including several drawn by Champlain himself.

Champlain’s Dream - David Hackett Fischer
David Hackett Fischer

Finalist

Peter Fritzsche - Life and Death in the Third Reich

Biography

Professor Fritzsche specializes in modern German and European history and is a former Guggenheim and Humboldt Fellow. Professor Fritzsche’s current research focuses on comparative questions of memory and identity and vernacular uses of the past in modern Europe. His most recent books are Life and Death in the Third Reich (2008), Nietzsche and the Death of God (2007), and Stranded in the Present: Modern Time and the Melancholy of History (2004); his other publications include Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in Weimar Germany (1990); A Nation of Fliers: German Aviation and the Popular Imagination (1992); Reading Berlin 1900 (1996); and Germans into Nazis (1998). With Charles C. Stewart, he edited Imagining the Twentieth Century (1997). Peter Fritzsche received his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1986. He is currently at work on “the twentieth-century lives of Franz von Göll, graphomaniac.” Professor Fritzsche is Professor of History at the University of Illinois.

Book Summary

On January 30, 1933, hearing about the celebrations for Hitler’s assumption of power, Erich Ebermayer remarked bitterly in his diary, “We are the losers, definitely the losers.” Learning of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935, which made Jews non-citizens, he raged, “hate is sown a million-fold.” Yet in March 1938, he wept for joy at the Anschluss with Austria: “Not to want it just because it has been achieved by Hitler would be folly.” In a masterful work, Peter Fritzsche deciphers the puzzle of Nazism’s ideological grip. Its basic appeal lay in the Volksgemeinschaft—a “people’s community” that appealed to Germans to be part of a great project to redress the wrongs of the Versailles treaty, make the country strong and vital, and rid the body politic of unhealthy elements. The goal was to create a new national and racial self-consciousness among Germans. For Germany to live, others—especially Jews—had to die. Diaries and letters reveal Germans’ fears, desires, and reservations, while showing how Nazi concepts saturated everyday life. Fritzsche examines the efforts of Germans to adjust to new racial identities, to believe in the necessity of war, to accept the dynamic of unconditional destruction—in short, to become Nazis. Powerful and provocative, Life and Death in the Third Reich is a chilling portrait of how ideology takes hold.

Life and Death in the Third Reich - Peter Fritzsche
Peter Fritzsche