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C.V. Starr Center for the


Study of the American Experience

2017 George Washington Prize Lecture: Nathaniel Philbrick


Date: 5:30pm EDT September 19

Author Nathaniel Philbrick discusses his award-winning book Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution.

Nathaniel Philbrick, whose Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution, won the 2017 George Washington Prize, will visit Washington College on Sept. 19 to discuss his book and the craft of writing narrative nonfiction.

Hosted by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, all events are free and open to the public.

The full schedule for the Washington Prize celebration follows: 

  • 4:15 – 5:15 p.m. Book signing with Nathaniel Philbrick, Underwood Lobby, Gibson Center for the Arts;
  • 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. “Making History: A Conversation with Nathaniel Philbrick and Adam Goodheart,” Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts;
  • 6:45 p.m. Public reception, Underwood Lobby.

Valiant Ambition is a complex, controversial, and dramatic portrait of a people in crisis and the war that gave birth to a nation. The hero and the anti-hero, George Washington and Benedict Arnold, loom large in the story of our nation’s founding. These charismatic men shared traits like ambition and an obsession with honor, yet while one rose to lead the revolution and win the war, the other tragically fell to traitorous notoriety.

A best-selling and prizewinning author, Philbrick is well-known for his works that bring to life America’s history including In the Heart of the Sea (National Book Award) Mayflower (Pulitzer Prize finalist), Bunker Hill, and Sea of Glory. A maritime historian and former collegiate sailing champion, Philbrick earned a BA in English from Brown University and an MA in American Literature from Duke University, where he was a James B. Duke Fellow. He lives on Nantucket with his wife Melissa.

The George Washington Prize campus celebration is co-sponsored by Washington College Department of History, American Studies Program, Department of English, Sophie Kerr Committee, Rose O’Neill Literary House, Center for Environment & Society, and the History Society, Phi Alpha Theta.