American Battlefield Trust Launches 'Prize for History'

New, $50,000 annual book award honors exceptional works in early American military history

Mary Koik, (202) 367-1861 x7231
Melissa Winn, (202) 367-1861 x7252

(Washington, DC) — The American Battlefield Trust on Wednesday is launching a new program to call attention to the integral connection between the grounds on which the nation’s formative conflicts were decided and the fundamental role these landscapes play today as primary resources by which scholars and historians come to more deeply understand the past: the $50,000 American Battlefield Trust Prize for History.

The Prize will be made annually to a work of military history or biography that underscores the essential role of the nation’s military conflicts on the founding, formation and perpetuation of our exceptional country. In creating this award, sponsored entirely by a generous donor, the Trust is encouraging authors to create works that showcase the rich research potential of historic battlefields. 

“This award is a natural extension of our work to protect our nation’s hallowed grounds,” said David Duncan, president of the American Battlefield Trust. “As we near the 250th anniversary of the nation’s founding — and of the battles in which citizen soldiers secured independence and liberty — our hope is to galvanize readers to action on behalf of these threatened sites, introducing the pressing need for preservation to audiences already interested in American history.

An acceleration of commercial and residential development and the proliferation of data centers across states that played pivotal roles in these conflicts adds urgency to the Trust’s work to educate and protect these lands from being erased from our history. 

This book award will be presented to a work published in the previous calendar year focused on history or biography related to the three conflicts that are central to the Trust’s mission: the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and the Civil War, the conflicts for which the Trust has now protected 57,000 acres at more than 155 sites in 25 states since its founding in 1987. Demonstrating its commitment to providing high-quality, impactful and inspiring resources to tell the American story, the Trust now provides free educational content to millions of teachers and students annually.

An initial selection committee for the inaugural Prize is led by noted Civil War historian Gary Gallagher who helped found the Trust nearly 40 years ago. The titles meriting highest evaluation will be forwarded to the distinguished judging panel: James Kirby Martin (Cullen Professor Emeritus, University of Houston), James McPherson (Pulitzer Prize winner, George Henry Davis ‘86 Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University) and Joan Waugh (Professor Emeritus, UCLA). 

The winner and two runner-up finalists will be announced this spring, with the award presented during a special evening event as part of the Trust’s Grand Review Weekend, September 21, 2024, in Raleigh, N.C.

Nominations must be made by December 31, 2023. Two finalists will receive $2,500 each, while the winning author will receive $50,000 and an invitation to join the subsequent year’s judging panel. Publishers inquiring about submission guidelines and official rules may email

About the American Battlefield Trust

From a grassroots organization started by historians nearly 40 years ago, the American Battlefield Trust has grown into one of the most successful nonprofit, heritage land preservation organizations in the nation. The Trust is dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 57,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War, representing more than 155 sites in 25 states from Massachusetts to New Mexico. Its 350,000 members and supporters believe in the power of place and the continued relevance of our shared history to modern American society. Learn more at