Stephen Brumwell wins George Washington Book Prize

Stephen Brumwell's 'George Washington: Gentleman Warrior' (Quercus, 2012)
Stephen Brumwell’s ‘George Washington: Gentleman Warrior’ (Quercus, 2012)

The British are coming!

And winning.

Stephen Brumwell has won the $50,000 George Washington Book Prize for his biography of the first president, George Washington: Gentleman Warrior (Quercus).

A historian who was born in Portsmouth, England, and now lives in Amsterdam, Brumwell received the award at a ceremony last night at Mount Vernon.

The jurors’ citation said, “In the hands of this fine biographer, Washington emerges as a flesh and blood man, more impressive than the mythical hero could ever be.”

The other finalists for this year’s prize were:

  • Eliga H. Gould’s “Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of a New World Empire” (Harvard).
  • Cynthia A. Kierner’s “Martha Jefferson Randolph, Daughter of Monticello: Her Life and Times” (UNC).
  • Brian Steele’s “Thomas Jefferson and American Nationhood” (Cambridge).

The Washington Book Prize, one of the largest cash prizes for a work of literature, honors the year’s best book for a general audience about America’s founding era. It is sponsored by Washington College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and George Washington’s Mount Vernon.


Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post's Book World. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest, but finally switched to journalism when he realized that if he graded one more paper, he'd go crazy.
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