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Richard Barksdale Harwell Book Award - 2009

Dr. James M. McPherson  

The Civil War Round Table of Atlanta Georgia has awarded its 21st annual Richard Barksdale Harwell Book Award to James M. McPherson for his book, Tried By War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief.  The Atlanta Roundtable has presented the Harwell Award annually since 1989 for the best book on a Civil War topic published in the preceding year. 

Dr. James M. McPherson is the George Henry Davis 1986 Professor Emeritus of U.S. History at Princeton University.  Professor McPherson has authored a number of books on the Civil War, including  For Cause and Comrades, Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam and the Pulitzer Prize winning Battle Cry of Freedom.  Dr. McPherson will speak at the March 2010 meeting of the Atlanta Civil War Round Table and be presented the Harwell Award. 

Tried by War, published by The Penguin Press, traces the story of how Abraham Lincoln, a man with virtually no military experience, shaped the president's role as commander in chief.  His roll in the development of national war aims and military strategy, mobilization of public opinion, and handling of reluctant generals and contrary politicians both preserved the Union and marks Lincoln as one of our greatest commanders in chief. 

The Harwell Award honors the late Richard B. Harwell, a nationally recognized librarian, bibliographer and historian as well as the first President of the Civil War Round Table of Atlanta. The award consists of monetary prize and engraved plaque recognizing the event. Dr. McPherson is the 21st  winner of the Harwell Award, joining previous recipients such as James I. "Bud" Robertson, Gary Gallagher, Robert K. Krick, Emory Thomas, William C. "Jack" Davis and Gordon Rhea.

Other nominated books selected as finalists for the 2008 Harwell Award included Jeffry Wert's Cavalryman of the Lost Cause, Noah Andre Trudeau's Southern Storm, Timothy B. Smith's The Golden Age of Battlefield Preservation and General Lee's Army by Joseph T. Glatthaar.