George Washington Prize 2017
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The George Washington Prize recognizes the year’s best works on the nation’s founding era, especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of American history. Nathaniel Philbrick, the 2017 George Washington Prize winner for Valiant Ambition, will speak at Washington College on September 19.
Nathaniel Philbrick, whose Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution, won the 2017 George Washington Prize, visited Washington College on Sept. 19 to discuss his book and the craft of writing narrative nonfiction. 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. The Washington Prize jurors praised Valiant Ambition for its “narrative bravura.” Adam Goodheart, the Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, describes Philbrick’s work as “an impressive feat of research” that transforms “dramatic episodes largely forgotten into a heart-racing adventure story.” 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 America Literature from Duke University, where he was a James B. Duke Fellow. He lives on Nantucket with his wife Melissa.
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