Brandeis Alumni, Family and Friends

Alumnus Captures Second Pulitzer Prize in History

April 17, 2014

Historian Alan Taylor, PhD’86, won his second Pulitzer Prize in history, capturing honors for “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia: 1771-1832.”

The book, which chronicles how slaves assisted the British during the War of 1812, was called “a meticulous and insightful account of why runaway slaves in the Colonial era were drawn to the British side as potential liberators” by the Pulitzer committee.

“Drawn from new sources, Alan Taylor’s riveting narrative re-creates the events that inspired black Virginians, haunted slaveholders, and set the nation on a new and dangerous course,” the committee wrote.

This is the second Pulitzer for Taylor, who also captured history’s top prize for "William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic" in 1996.

Taylor earned his undergraduate degree at Colby and received his doctorate from the Irving and Rose Crown School of Graduate Studies in American Civilization at Brandeis. His thesis advisor was Marvin Meyers, a historian of Jacksonian America, whom Taylor praised in the preface of his book “Writing Early American History.” He is one of five Crown School faculty or students to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Taylor began his career at Boston University before joining the history department at the University of California, Davis in 1994. In August, he will become Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Chair in the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia.