A new award-winning history

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John F
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A new award-winning history

Post by John F » Sat Feb 13, 2016 3:54 am

W.W. Norton has had a prominent and distinguished record as a publisher of books on history going back to when I worked there in the '70s. Now they've scored again. This one sounds fascinating. Who among New Yorkers knew that before the Civil War, our city had a substantial pro-slavery body of opinion that forced the Underground Railway to stay underground as it passed through the city, on the way to abolitionist New England?

Drew Gilpin Faust, named in the last paragraph, is not only an award-winning historian but Harvard University's first woman president. She's doing fine.

Eric Foner Wins Historical Society Book Prize
By Jennifer Schuessler
February 11, 2016

Eric Foner, the much-decorated Columbia University historian, will take on the title American Historian Laureate in April when the New-York Historical Society presents him with its annual American History Book Prize for “Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad.”

The book, published by W.W. Norton, reconstructs the clandestine efforts by black and white abolitionists to help fugitive slaves passing through New York, a city with deep connections to the Southern cotton trade and the textile industry. The book also takes a broader view, exploring how these slaves and their allies in the Underground Railroad, while small in number, powerfully shaped national politics, playing a major role in sectional conflict and the coming of the Civil War.

“Eric Foner’s riveting, inspiring story of fugitive slaves and the individuals who helped them to reach freedom contributes to our understanding of the history of Amercian slavery,” Louise Mirrer, the society’s president and chief executive said in a statement. The book’s emphasis on New York and the North as centers both of abolitionist activity and pro-slavery sympathies, she added, also “echoes our institution’s rich museum and library collections and programming,” including its major 2005 exhibition “Slavery in New York.”

In a statement, Mr. Foner called the honor, which comes with a $50,000 award and engraved medal, “a wonderful surprise.” The prize, whose other recent winners include Drew Gilpin Faust, Gordon S. Wood and Jill Lepore, will be presented at a black-tie dinner on April 8, during the society’s Weekend With History event.
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Re: A new award-winning history

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Feb 14, 2016 3:55 pm

Perhaps this is why they eventually called the transit system the subway instead of the underground. OK, that was a weak joke. Thanks to John F for bringing this book to our attention. I did know that Union Army camps disliked being entertained by traveling troupes with an abolitionist theme because in general the northern soldiers couldn't have cared less about slavery.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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