George Washington Book Prize Finalists Announced

Mount Vernon 2

Here is the press release from Mount Vernon:

MOUNT VERNON, VA – Seven books published in 2019 by the country’s most prominent historians have been named finalists for the George Washington Prize. The annual award recognizes the past year’s best works on the nation’s founding era, especially those that have the potential to advance broad public understanding of early American history.

“These seven books bring to life so many different aspects of our nation’s founding,” said Dr. Kevin Butterfield, Executive Director of the Washington Library at Mount Vernon. “Readers will find stories involving household names like Adams and Washington as well as accounts of fugitives from slavery and many other men and women, largely forgotten now, whose lives helped to shape our history. This is a fabulous reading list.”

Created by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and Washington College, the $50,000 George Washington Prize is one of the nation’s largest and most notable literary awards.

Written to engage a wide public audience, the selected books provide a “go-to” reading list for anyone interested in learning more about George Washington, his contemporaries, and the founding of the United States of America.

The 2020 George Washington Prize finalists are:

  • Rick Atkinson, The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777 (Henry Holt)
  • Richard Bell, Stolen: Five Free Boys Stolen into Slavery and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home (37Ink)
  • Matthew R. Costello, The Property of the Nation: George Washington’s Tomb, Mount Vernon, and the Memory of the First President (University of Kansas Press)
  • Douglas Egerton, Heirs of an Honored Name: The Decline of the Adams Family and the Rise of Modern America (Basic Books)
  • Richard Godbeer, World of Trouble: A Philadelphia Quaker Family’s Journey through the American Revolution (Yale University Press)
  • David Head, A Crisis of Peace: George Washington, the Newburgh Conspiracy, and the Fate of the American Revolution (Pegasus Books)
  • Martha Saxton, The Widow Washington: The Life of Mary Washington (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

More information about the George Washington Prize is available at

Listen to our interview with finalist Richard Bell on Episode 58 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast.

Martha Saxton visited the Author’s Corner to talk about The Widow Washington.