Professor Elizabeth Varon wins inaugural American Battlefield Trust Prize for History

Thursday, June 27, 2024

The inaugural $50,000 American Battlefield Trust Prize for History has been awarded to historian Elizabeth Varon for “Longstreet: The Confederate General Who Defied the South,” a richly reported biography of the complicated Civil War leader who after the war encouraged an examination of the roots of the conflict and advocated for racial reconciliation.

Dr. James McPherson, Pulitzer Prize winning author of “Battle Cry of Freedom” and one of the prize’s three judges, called Varon’s work “a literary and research achievement.” “The special virtue of this book is it tells us the whole story of Longstreet, for the decades after the war as well as the war itself,” said McPherson, professor emeritus at Princeton University. “It’s beautifully crafted and original in its good many insights.”

Varon’s work was selected from among nearly 100 entries for the new prize, which seeks to underscore the irreplaceable perspective and primary research value of preserving the battlefields on which our nation was forged – during conflicts which we still seek to better understand today.

The works of two other authors also were recognized with $2,500 honorable mentions: D. Scott Hartwig’s “I Dread the Thought of the Place: The Battle of Antietam and the End of the Maryland Campaign” and Friederike Baer’s “Hessians: German Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War.”

Full announcement can be read here: