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American Today


Lichtman Book Nominated for Top Award

By Sally Acharya

Only 30 books are finalists for a 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award, and only five are nominated in nonfiction. Allan Lichtman’s is one of them.

White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement examines the growth of the modern conservative movement. A decade of research went into the in-depth look at the origins, evolution, triumphs, and tribulations of modern conservatism. The AU history professor explores the pivotal roles played by numerous right-wing personalities, from those in the public eye—such as Strom Thurmond, Phyllis Schlafly, and Bill Kristol—to critical insiders, such as financiers Frank Gannett and J. Howard Pew.

Lichtman traces the roots of today’s conservative movement to the 1920s, disproving the conventional wisdom it began with Goldwater. He also dissects tactics that conservatives have used for generations to impact policy and culture and make their mark in business, media, and the U.S. government.

“Allan Lichtman’s book breaks important ground,” says Robert Griffith, chair of the Department of History in American University’s College of Arts and Sciences. “He reminds us that conservatism is not the recent product of Ronald Reagan or Karl Rove, but deeply embedded in more than a century in American politics and culture.”

Awards will be given in six categories: fiction, poetry, criticism, biography, autobiography, and nonfiction. Lichtman’s nonfiction competition includes Harvard president and Civil War historian Drew Gilpin Faust’s much-publicized book, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the Civil War. The other finalists are The Forever War, The Dark Side, and From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations Since 1776.

Award winners will be announced on March 12.