Columbia Announces 2009 Bancroft Prize Winners

(NEW YORK, March 19, 2009) The authors of three acclaimed books—a study of the 1914 massacre of striking coal miners in Colorado, an analysis of the impact of death and dying in the Civil War, and a reinterpretation of the Comanches in the southwestern borderland in the 18th and 19th centuries—will be awarded the Bancroft Prize for 2009, Columbia University announced.


The winners are Thomas G. Andrews for Killing for Coal: America’s Deadliest Labor War (Cambridge: Harvard University Press); Drew Gilpin Faust for This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf); and Pekka Hämäläinen for The Comanche Empire (New Haven: Yale University Press).

One of the most coveted honors in the field of history, the Bancroft is awarded annually by the trustees of Columbia University to the authors of books of exceptional merit in the fields of American history, biography and diplomacy. The 2009 awards are for books published in 2008.


Columbia Provost Alan Brinkley will present the awards at a formal dinner next month at the university’s Low Memorial Library, hosted by the department of history and University Libraries. The Bancroft Prize, which includes an award of $10,000 to each author, is administered by James Neal, vice president for information services and University Librarian.

“Over 200 books were nominated for consideration by the Bancroft jury this year,” said Neal. “Once again, we were very impressed by the number of excellent submissions covering a broad range of themes, and are proud to honor this year’s winners. The Bancroft prize is a celebration and affirmation of historical scholarship, the library, the book, the academic press, and the reportedly threatened scholarly monograph.”


Thomas G. Andrews, author of Killing for Coal: America’s Deadliest Labor War, is assistant professor of history at the University of Colorado, Denver. It is his first book.

Drew Gilpin Faust, author of This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, is president of Harvard University and the Lincoln Professor of History on Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She is the author of six books, including Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996).

Pekka Hämäläinen, author of The Comanche Empire, is associate professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He writes on North American borderlands and Native American history.The Comanche Empire is his first book.

The Bancroft Prizes were established at Columbia in 1948 with a bequest from Frederic Bancroft, the historian, author and librarian of the Department of State, to provide steady development of library resources, to support instruction and research in American history and diplomacy and to recognize exceptional books in the field. Click here to view a list of previous winners.

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