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The New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH), a nonprofit organization, was established in 1973 as the state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Thier programs are free and open to the public. A twenty-five member board of trustees, drawn from academia, business, and public life, oversees their work.

Each year NJCH selects for its Book Award a work of nonfiction in the humanities that encourages critical reflection and makes scholarly knowledge accessible to a general audience. The author needs a New Jersey connection either by birth, residence, or occupation at the time of submission, or the book is concerned primarily with a significant New Jersey subject. In either case, the author must clearly possess and display knowledge of the subject.The award will be presented at ceremony in the fall.

2009 Award Winners

NJCH Book Award
The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed

Annette Gordon-Reed is professor of history at Rutgers University and professor of law at New York Law School. In The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (WW Norton, 2008), Gordon-Reed marshals her exhaustive research to tell the story of the Hemings family, recreating the world of 18th and 19th century slavery with a nuanced and careful eye. Her first book, Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy (University of Virginia Press, 1997) focused specifically on the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemings.

Honor Books

John Fea, The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian and the Rural Enlightenment in Early America (University of Pennsylvania Press)

Arthur Lefkowitz, Benedict Arnold's Army: The 1775 American Invasion of Canada

During the Revolutionary War (Savas Beatie)
W. Barksdale Maynard, Woodrow Wilson: Princeton to the Presidency (Yale University Press)

James M. McPherson, Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief (The Penguin Press)

Michael Robertson, Worshipping Walt: The Whitman Disciples (Princeton University Press)

2008 NJCH Book Award Winner

Michael B. Oren, Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present, W. W. Norton & Company

Read more

2008 NJCH Honor Books

Perdita Buchan, Utopia, New Jersey: Travels in the Nearest Eden, Rutgers University Press

Thomas Fleming, The Perils of Peace: America's Struggle for Survival After Yorktown, HarperCollins

Walter Isaacson, Einstein: His Life and Universe, Simon and Schuster

Alan Mallach, The Autumn of Italian Opera: From Verismo to Modernism, 1890-1915, University Press of New England

William Rosen, Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire and the Birth of Europe, Penguin Group

(For a complete list of winners, including Honor Books, contact NJCH.)

2008 Michael B. Oren, Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present   (W. W. Norton & Company, 2007)
2007 Jonathan Alter, The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope  (Simon and Schuster, 2006)
2006 Patricia Tyson Stroud, The Man Who Had Been King: The American Exile of Napoleon's Brother Joseph (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005)
2005 David Hackett Fisher, Washington's Crossing (Oxford University Press, 2004)
2004 Suzanne Lebsock, A Murder in Virginia: Southern Justice on Trial (W.W. Norton & Company, 2003).
2003 Arthur Hertzberg, A Jew in America: My Life and People's Struggle for Identity (Harper San Francisco, 2002).
2002 Jonathan Rose, The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (Yale University Press, 2001)
2001 Hendrik Hartog, Man and Wife in America: A History (Harvard University Press, 2000)
2000 Gina Kolata, Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It (Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 1999)


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