UNH prof's book finalist for acclaimed award

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DURHAM, N.H. - "Revolutions Without Borders: The Call to Liberty to the Atlantic World" by Janet Polasky, presidential professor of history at the University of New Hampshire, has been named one of seven finalists for the 2016 George Washington Book Prize, a $50,000 award that recognizes the best book on the nation's founding era.

Created in 2005 by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, George Washington's Mount Vernon, and Washington College, the George Washington Prize is one of the nation's largest and most notable literary awards. Past recipients have included Pulitzer Prize-wining historian Annette Gordon-Reed and playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda.

"I'm honored to be a finalist for this prize that recognizes work on our nation's founding, especially because my book argues that our founding fathers did not live in isolation," said Polasky. "I contend that the American Revolution was one among a multitude of revolutions erupting on four continents. I was completely surprised because I write about the revolutionaries who crossed borders rather than settled and founded nation states. My history depicts an interconnected world, not unlike our own global society, but without an Internet."

This year's finalists represent both the depth of new scholarship and the broad expanse of inquiry into the diversity of people and the political, geographic, economic, and social forces that shaped the American Revolution and the early republic. The books, written to engage a wide public audience, provide a "go-to" reading list for anyone interested in learning more about George Washington and his times.

"It's especially meaningful to win recognition for a book that was inspired by the enthusiasm of my students," Said Polasky. "I've watched my students -- engineering, nursing, music majors -- become historians themselves when we go to the Boston Public Library and they discover pamphlets from the Haitian revolution or work in the Houghton Rare Books library at Harvard and compare letters written by husbands and wives who crossed the Atlantic or sermons commemorating the founding fathers. That's why documents-- pamphlets, letters, newspapers, memoirs-are at the center of each of the chapters of my book.

The winner will be announced at a dinner on May 25 at George Washington's Mount Vernon. Nearly 60 books were considered for the honor.

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