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C.V. Starr Center for the

Study of the American Experience

Washington Book Prize

The George Washington Book Prize recognizes the year’s best books on the nation’s founding era, especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of American history.

College celebrates Andrew O’Shaughnessy winner of the 2014 George Washington Book Prize

November 6



History glories in tales of victorious warriors and farsighted statesmen, yet quickly shunts aside the losers.  While many writers on the American Revolution celebrate the heroism of colonists overthrowing a despotic, overseas government, Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy, winner of the 2014 George Washington Book Prize, takes a different tack.  In The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire he tells us the story from the losers’ point of view — and shows that perhaps they weren’t such losers after all.” 

O’Shaughnessy will share his insights at this year’s George Washington Book Prize Celebration at Washington College on Thursday, November 6, at 5:00 p.m. in Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts.  Preceding his talk, a British High Tea reception and book signing will begin at 4:00 p.m. in the Gibson Center’s Underwood Lobby. Hosted by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, both events are free and open to the public. 

A full day of activities is planned for O’Shaughnessy’s visit to Chestertown, beginning with an informal coffee and conversation with the author from 10-11 a.m. at the Kent County Public Library.  Back on the College campus, a special British-themed lunch menu will be served in the dining hall, and the Maryland Loyalist Brigade will drill in Martha Washington Square starting at 3 p.m. and culminating at 3:55 p.m. with a musket salute to the award-winning author. 

Thursday, November 6 

10:00 a.m. – Coffee and Conversation with the author, Kent County Public Library, The Chestertown Library Inc. Building, 207 Calvert Street, Chestertown

3:00 p.m. – Maryland Loyalists Militia, Martha Washington Square, Washington College

4:00 p.m. – Book Signing and British High Tea,  Underwood Lobby, Gibson Center for the Arts

5:00 p.m. – “Making History,” a Conversation with Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy and Adam Goodheart, Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts

The Washington Prize jury praised The Men Who Lost America as “ground-breaking” and “a major contribution to the history of the American Revolution.” 

 “Countless popular books and Hollywood films have portrayed the Redcoats and their leaders as blundering nincompoops at best, sneering sadists at worst,” said Adam Goodheart, director of Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, which administers the Washington Prize. “O’Shaughnessy’s work ought to kill these stereotypes once and for all — and, in the process, give Americans a richer and more nuanced understanding of our nation’s origins.”

A dual citizen of Britain and the United States, O’Shaughnessy is the Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello and a professor of history at the University of Virginia. Garnering popular and critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, The Men Who Lost Americawas nominated for BBC’s History Magazine Book-of-the-Month and received the New-York Historical Society’s prize for American History, the Cincinnati History Prize, and the Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award.  A scholar who specializes in the 18th century Atlantic world and the British Empire, O’Shaughnessy previously authored An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean.

The award-winning book can be purchased through the Washington College Bookstore.

View an interview with Andrew O’Shaughnessy here.

About the Prize 

imageCreated in 2005, the George Washington Book Prize was presented that year to Ron Chernow for Alexander Hamilton. Other winners are Stacy Schiff (2006) for A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America, Charles Rappleye (2007) for Sons of Providence: The Brown Brothers, the Slave Trade, and the American Revolution, Marcus Rediker (2008) for The Slave Ship: A Human History,  Annette Gordon-Reed (2009) for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, which also won the Pulitzer Prize for History, the National Book Award and the Frederick Douglass Prize, and Richard Beeman (2010) for Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution. In 2011, the Prize was awarded to Pauline Maier for Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1789 and in 2012 the winner was Maya Jasanoff for Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World. The 2013 Prize was awarded to Stephen Brumwell for George Washington: Gentleman Warrior. The George Washington Book Prize recognizes the year’s best books on the nation’s founding era, especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of American history.

Contact Information

Jean Wortman, George Washington Book Prize Coordinator 
E-mail: jwortman2@washcoll.edu
Telephone: (410) 810-7165
Fax: (410) 810-7175

Submissions should be sent to: 
George Washington Book Prize 
101 South Water Street
Chestertown, MD 21620