Tracy Campbell, author of “The Year of Peril: America in 1942” Has been named winner of the New York Historical Society’s Barbara and David Zalaznik Book Prize, which is awarded each year for the best work in the field of American history or biography.
The book, published by Yale University Press, challenges the public memory of the war years as a time of national unity and resolution. Instead, Campbell sees fractures deep within American society a year after Pearl Harbor, as a series of defeats in the Pacific and the struggle to build beaches in Europe seem to bring the country to the brink of military defeat. Was.
When the book was released last May, its resonance with the epidemic, which was accompanied by sudden and traumatic events such as Pearl Harbor, was not lost on critics. George F. Will writes in the Washington Post, The book is called a challenge “There is a sacred myth that all this is happening in a nation united by the feeling of ‘everything has changed’.”
In the book, Campbell, a professor at the University of Kentucky, wrote that he started thinking about the book on the first national setback of the 2008 financial crisis. In a statement about the award, he said he hoped the book contained “the central importance of a working government, working towards something larger than the people themselves, and the resilience and fragility of democracy”.
“We live in a moment that shows that we need to move past comfortable and reassuring myths, and to confront our history with a critical eye,” he said. “A fundamental premise of the book is that we can best understand a society by looking at it under its greatest stress.”