Previous winners of the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize

Previous winners of and finalists for the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize.


First Place: Frances M. Clarke and Rebecca Jo Plant, “Of Age: Boy Soldiers and Military Power in the Civil War Era”


  • Frank J. Cirillo, “The Abolitionist Civil War: Immediatists and the Struggle to Transform the Union”
  • John C. Rodrigue, “Freedom’s Crescent: The Civil War and the Destruction of Slavery in the Lower Mississippi Valley”
  • Yael A. Sternhell, “War on Record: The Archive and the Afterlife of the Civil War”
  • Ronald C. White, “On Great Fields: The Life and Unlikely Heroism of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain”


First Place: Jon Meachem, “And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle,” and Jonathan W. White, “A House Built by Slaves: African American Visitors to the Lincoln White House”


  • Elizabeth D. Leonard, “Benjamin Franklin Butler: A Noisy, Fearless Life”
  • Roger Lowenstein, “Ways and Means: Lincoln and His Cabinet and the Financing of the Civil War”
  • Rita Roberts, “I Can’t Wait to Call You My Wife: African American Letters of Love and Family in the Civil War Era”


First Place: Caroline E. Janney, "Ends of War: The Unfinished Fight of Lee's Army after Appomattox"


  • Andrew F. Lang, “A Contest of Civilizations: Exposing the Crisis of American Exceptionalism in the Civil War Era”
  • Kate Masur, “Until Justice Be Done: America’s First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction”
  • James Oakes, “The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln and the Antislavery Constitution”
  • Alaina Roberts, “I’ve Been Here All the While: Black Freedom on Native Land”
  • John M. Sacher, “Confederate Conscription and the Struggle for Southern Soldiers”
  • Kevin Waite, “West of Slavery: The Southern Dream of a Transcontinental Empire”


First Place: David S. Reynolds, “Abe: Abraham Lincoln in His Times”


  • Alice Baumgartner, “South to Freedom: Runaway Slaves to Mexico and the Road to the Civil War”
  • Adrian Brettle, “Colossal Ambitions: Confederate Planning for a Post-Civil War World”
  • Thavolia Glymph, “The Women’s Fight: The Civil War’s Battles for Home, Freedom, and Nation”
  • Kenneth W. Noe, “The Howling Storm: Weather, Climate, and the American Civil War”


First Place: Elizabeth R. Varon, “Armies of Deliverance: A New History of the Civil War”


  • Eric Foner, “The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution”
  • Matthew Fox-Amato, “Exposing Slavery: Photography, Human Bondage, and the Birth of Modern Visual Politics in America”
  • Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers, “They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South”
  • W. Caleb McDaniel, “Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America”
  • Jessie Morgan-Owens, “Girl in Black and White: The Story of Mary Mildred Williams and the Abolition Movement”
  • Joseph P. Reidy, “Illusions of Emancipation: The Pursuit of Freedom and Equality in the Twilight of Slavery”
  • David Silkenat, “Raising the White Flag: How Surrender Defined the American Civil War (University of North Carolina Press)”


First Place: David Blight, “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom”


  • Richard J. M, Blackett, “The Captive’s Quest for Freedom: Fugitive Slaves, the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, and the Politics of Slavery”
  • William W., Freehling, “Becoming Lincoln”
  • Joanne B., Freeman, “The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War”
  • Diane Miller, Sommerville, “Aberration of Mind: Suicide and Suffering in the Civil War–Era South”


First Place: Edward Ayers, “The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America”


  • Ron, Chernow, “Grant”
  • Tera, Hunter, “Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth Century”
  • Cate, Lineberry, “Be Free or Die: The Amazing Story of Robert Smalls' Escape from Slavery to Union Hero”
  • Graham A., Peck, “Making an Antislavery Nation Lincoln, Douglas and the Battle over Freedom”
  • Rhea, Gordon, “On to Petersburg: Grant and Lee, June 4-15, 1864”
  • Adam I. P., Smith, “The Stormy Present: Conservatism and the Problem of Slavery in Northern Politics, 1846–1865”


First Place:

  • James B. Conroy, “Lincoln’s White House: The People’s House in Wartime”
  • Douglas R. Egerton, “Thunder at the Gates: The Black Civil War Regiments That Redeemed America”


  • D. H. Dilbeck, “A More Civil War: How the Union Waged a Just War”
  • Chandra Manning, “Troubled Refuge: Struggling for Freedom in the Civil War”
  • Charles B. Strozier, “Your Friend Forever, A. Lincoln: The Enduring Friendship of Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Speed”

Special Achievement Award: Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, eds., “Herndon on Lincoln: Letters”


First Place: Martha Hodes, “Mourning Lincoln”


  • Michael Anderegg, “Lincoln and Shakespeare”
  • Eric Foner, “Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad”
  • Richard Wightman Fox, “Lincoln’s Body: A Cultural History"
  • Earl J. Hess, “Civil War Infantry Tactics: Training, Combat, and Small-Unit Effectiveness”
  • Jonathan D. Sarna and Benjamin Shapell, “Lincoln and the Jews: A History”
  • John Stauffer, Zoe Trodd, and Celeste-Marie Bernier, “Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century’s Most Photographed American”


First Place: Harold Holzer, “Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion”


  • William Blair, “With Malice Toward Some: Treason and Loyalty in the Civil War Era”
  • Richard Brookhiser, “Founders’ Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln”
  • James B. Conroy, “Our One Common Country: Abraham Lincoln and the Hampton Roads Peace Conference of 1865”
  • Jonathan W. White, “Emancipation, the Union Army, and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln”
  • Joshua Zeitz, “Lincoln’s Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay, and the War for Lincoln’s Image”


First Place:

  • Allen C. Guelzo, “Gettysburg: The Last Invasion”
  • Martin P. Johnson, “Writing the Gettysburg Address”

Special Achievement Award: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln


  • Christopher Hager, “Word by Word: Emancipation and the Act of Writing”
  • Margaret Humphreys, “Marrow of Tragedy: The Health Crisis of the American Civil War”
  • Robert E. May, “Slavery, Race, and Conquest in the Tropics: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Future of Latin America”
  • John Stauffer and Benjamin Soskis, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic: A Biography of the Song That Marches On”


First Place: James Oakes, “Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States,1861–1865”


  • Stephen Kantrowitz, “More Than Freedom: Fighting for Black Citizenship in a White Republic, 1829–1889”
  • Yael A. Sternhell, “Routes of War: The World of Movement in the Confederate South”


First Place:

  • William C. Harris, “Lincoln and the Border States: Preserving the Union”
  • Elizabeth D. Leonard, “Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally: Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt of Kentucky”

Honorable Mention: Barbara A. Gannon, “The Won Cause: Black and White Comradeship in the Grand Army of the Republic”


First Place: Eric Foner, “The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery”

Honorable Mentions:

  • Robert Bray, “Reading with Lincoln”
  • Lorien Foote, “The Gentlemen and the Roughs: Violence, Honor and Manhood in the Union Army”
  • Mark W. Geiger, “Financial Fraud and the Guerilla Violence in Missouri’s Civil War, 1861–1865”
  • Stanley Harrold, “Border War: Fighting Over Slavery Before the Civil War”
  • Kate Masur, “An Example of All the Land: Emancipation and the Struggle over Equality in Washington D.C.”
  • Howard Jones, “Blue and Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations”


First Place: Michael Burlingame, “Abraham Lincoln: A Life”


  • Robert McGlone, “John Brown’s War Against Slavery”
  • Mark Wahlgren Summers, “A Dangerous Stir: Fear, Paranoia, and the Making of Reconstruction”


First Place:

  • James McPherson, “Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief”
  • Craig Symonds, “Lincoln and His Admirals: Abraham Lincoln, the U.S. Navy, and the Civil War”

Honorable Mentions:

  • Jacqueline Jones, “Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War”
  • Fred Kaplan, “Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer and William Lee Miller,” “President Lincoln: The Duty of a Statesman”


First Place:

  • James Oakes, “The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics”
  • Elizabeth Brown Pryor, “Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters”

Finalist: Robert Cooke, “Troubled Commemoration: The American Civil War Centennial, 1961–1965”

Honorable Mention: Chandra Manning, “What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War”


First Place: Douglas L. Wilson, “Lincoln’s Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words”


  • Martha Hodes, “The Sea Captain’s Wife: A True Story of Love, Race, and War in the Nineteenth Century”
  • Harry S. Stout, “Upon the Alter of the Nation: A Moral History of the Civil War”


First Place: Doris Kearns Goodwin, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”


  • Ronald White, “The Eloquent President: A Portrait of Lincoln Through his Words”
  • Steven Woodworth, “Nothing But Victory: The Army of Tennessee 1961–1865”
  • Sean Wilentz, “The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln”

Honorable Mentions:

  • Carol Bundy, “The Nature of Sacrifice: A Biography of Charles Russell Lowell, Jr., 1835–1864”
  • Margaret Creighton, “The Colors of Courage: Gettysburg’s Forgotten History - Immigrants, Women, and African Americans in the Civil War’s Defining Battle”
  • Richard F. Miller, “Harvard’s Civil War: A History of the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry”


First Place: Allen C. Guelzo, “Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation”

Second Place: Harold Holzer, “Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President”


  • Jonathan D. Martin, “Divided Mastery: Slave Hiring in the American South”
  • Jane A. Schultz, “Women at the Front: Hospital Workers in Civil War America”


First Place: Richard J. Carwardine, “Lincoln”

Special Achievement Award: John Y. Simon for editing 26 volumes—to date—of “The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant”

Finalist: Steven Hahn, “A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration”


First Place: George C. Rable, “Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!”

Second Place: John Stauffer, “The Black Hearts of Men: Radical Abolitionists and the Transformation of Race”

Honorable Mention: Michael Fitzgerald, “Urban Emancipation: Popular Politics in Reconstruction Mobile, 1860–1890”

E-Lincoln Prize: John Adler for “HarpWeek Presents Lincoln and the Civil” (website)


First Place: David Blight, “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory”

Honorable Mention:

  • Alice Fahs, “The Imagined Civil War: Popular Literature of the North & South, 1861–1865”
  • Kenneth J. Winkle, “The Young Eagle: The Rise of Abraham Lincoln”


First Place: Russell F. Weigley, “A Great Civil War: A Military and Political History, 1861–1865”

Second Place: Leonard L. Richards, “The Slave Power: The Free North and Southern Domination, 1780–1860”

Finalist: Mark L. Bradley, “This Astounding Close Road to Bennett Place”

E-Lincoln Prize Winner: Edward L. Ayers, Anne S. Rubin, and William G. Thomas for “Valley of the Shadow: The Eve of War” (CD-ROM)

E-Lincoln Prize Second Place: Stephen Railton for “Uncle Tom’s Cabin and American Culture” (website)


First Place:

  • John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger, “Runaway Slaves: Rebels in the Plantation”
  • Allen C. Guelzo, “Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President”

Second Place: Michael Holt, “The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War”

Lifetime Achievement Award: Richard N. Current, University Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro


First Place: Douglas L. Wilson, “Honor’s Voice: The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln”

Second Place: J. Tracy Power, “Lee’s Miserables: Life in the Army of Northern Virginia, from the Wilderness to Appomattox”


First Place: Jim McPherson, “For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War”

Second Place: William C. Harris, “With Charity For All: Lincoln and the Restoration of the Union”

Honorable Mentions:

  • Gary Gallagher, “The Confederate War: How Popular Will, Nationalism, and Military Strategy Could Not Stave off Defeat”
  • James Robertson, Jr., “Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend”


First Place: Don Fehrenbacher, Lifetime Achievement with special recognition of “Prelude to Greatness: Lincoln in the 1850s” and “The Dred Scott Case: Its Significance in American Law and Politics”


First Place: David Donald, “Lincoln”

Second Place: Mark Grimsley, “ The Hard Hand of War: Union Military Policy Toward Southern Civilians 1861–1865”

Finalist: Michael Fellman, “Citizen Sherman: A Life of William Tecumseh Sherman”


First Place: Phillip Shaw Paludan, “The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln”

Second Place: William Marvel, “Andersonville: The Last Depot”

Finalist: Charles B. Dew, “Bond of Iron: Master and Slave at Buffalo Forge”


First Place: Ira Berlin, Barbara Fields, Steven Miller, Joseph Reidy, Leslie Rowland, eds., “Free at Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War”

Second Place: Reid Mitchell, “The Vacant Chair: The Northern Soldier Leaves Home”


  • Winthrop D. Jordan, “Tumult and Silence at Second Creek: An Inquiry into a Civil War Slave Conspiracy”
  • John Evangelist Walsh, “The Shadows Rise: Abraham Lincoln and the Anne Rutledge Legend”


First Place: Kenneth Stampp, Lifetime Achievement with special recognition of “The Peculiar Institution”

Second Place: Albert Castel, “Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864”


  • John F. Marszalek, “Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order” (Vintage Books)
  • Craig L. Symonds “Joseph E. Johnston, A Civil War Biography”


First Place:

  • William S. McFeely, “Frederick Douglass”
  • Charles Royster, “The Destructive War: William Tecumseh Sherman, Stonewall Jackson, and the Americans”

Finalist: Ira Berlin, et al., “Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation 1861–1867: Series I, Volume III, The Wartime Genesis of Free Labor: The Lower South”


First Place: Ken Burns, “The Civil War”


  • Mark E. Neely, Jr., “The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties”
  • Warren Wilkinson, “Mother May You Never See The Sights I Have Seen: The Fifty-Seventh Massachusetts Veteran Volunteers in the Last Year of the Civil War”