Battles of Lexington and Concord Dinner
& Fraunces Tavern® Museum
Book Award Presentation

Monday April 23, 2018.

2018 Winner and Guest Speaker
Russell Shorto

Honorable Mention
Harlow Giles Unger

Lifetime Achievement Award
Thomas Fleming

Since 1972 the Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award has been presented annually to the best author of a newly published work on the American Revolutionary War, combining original scholarship, insight, and good writing.

This award is one way the Museum fulfills the mission to educate the public about the Revolution and acknowledge the historical community dedicated to the study and public education regarding the American fight for freedom.

2018 Winner
Russell Shorto, Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom

Revolution Song.jpg

From the author of the acclaimed history The Island at the Center of the World, an intimate new epic of the American Revolution that reinforces its meaning for today. “…a decidedly refreshing approach… Shorto’s achievement is a remarkable one” — The New York Times Book Review. “A tour de force” — Gordon S. Wood, author of The Radicalism of the American Revolution.

Russell Shorto’s work has been praised as “first-rate intellectual history” (Wall Street Journal), “literary alchemy” (Chicago Tribune) and simply “astonishing” (New York Times). In his epic new book, Russell Shorto takes us back to the founding of the American nation, drawing on diaries, letters and autobiographies to flesh out six lives that cast the era in a fresh new light. They include an African man who freed himself and his family from slavery, a rebellious young woman who abandoned her abusive husband to chart her own course and a certain Mr. Washington, who was admired for his social graces but harshly criticized for his often-disastrous military strategy.

Through these lives we understand that the revolution was fought over the meaning of individual freedom, a philosophical idea that became a force for violent change. A powerful narrative and a brilliant defense of American values, Revolution Song makes the compelling case that the American Revolution is still being fought today and that its ideals are worth defending.

About the Author: Russell Shorto is the best-selling author of The Island at the Center of the World and a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine.

2018 Honorable Mention
Harlow Giles Unger, First Founding Father: Richard Henry Lee and the Call for Independence

Richard Henry Lee.jpg

Before Washington, before Jefferson, before Franklin or John Adams, there was Lee--Richard Henry Lee, the First Founding Father

Richard Henry Lee was first to call for independence, first to call for union, and first to call for a bill of rights to protect Americans against government tyranny. A towering figure in America's Revolutionary War, Lee was as much the "father of our country" as George Washington, for it was Lee who secured the political and diplomatic victories that ensured Washington's military victories. Lee was critical in holding Congress together at a time when many members sought to surrender or flee the approach of British troops. Risking death on the gallows for defying British rule, Lee charged into battle himself to prevent British landings along the Virginia coast--despite losing most of his left hand in an explosion.

A stirring, action-packed biography, First Founding Father will startle most Americans with the revelation that many historians have ignored for more than two centuries: Richard Henry Lee, not Thomas Jefferson, was the author of America's original Declaration of Independence.

About the Author: Acclaimed historian Harlow Giles Unger is a former Distinguished Visiting Fellow at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Named one of the nation’s premier presidential biographers for his biography of James Monroe (The Last Founding Father), Mr. Unger is the author of twenty-four books, including eleven biographies of America’s Founders and three histories of the early Republic.

2018 Lifetime Achievement Award
Thomas Fleming, The Strategy of Victory: How General George Washington Won the American Revolution

Thomas Fleming book.jpg

A sweeping and insightful grand strategic overview of the American Revolution, highlighting Washington's role in orchestrating victory and creating the US Army.

Led by the Continental Congress, the Americans almost lost the war for independence because their military thinking was badly muddled. Following the victory in 1775 at Bunker Hill, patriot leaders were convinced that the key to victory was the home-grown militia--local men defending their families and homes. But the flush of early victory soon turned into a bitter reality as the British routed Americans fleeing New York.

General George Washington knew that having and maintaining an army of professional soldiers was the only way to win independence. As he fought bitterly with the leaders in Congress over the creation of a regular army, he patiently waited until his new army was ready for pitched battle. His first opportunity came late in 1776, following his surprise crossing of the Delaware River. In New Jersey, the strategy of victory was about to unfold.

In The Strategy of Victory, preeminent historian Thomas Fleming examines the battles that created American independence, revealing how the creation of a professional army worked on the battlefield to secure victory, independence, and a lasting peace for the young nation.

About the Author: "How do you write a book?" 24 year old Thomas Fleming asked bestselling writer Fulton Oursler in 1951. "Write four pages a day," Oursler said. "Every day except Sunday. Whether you feel like it or not. Inspiration consists of putting the seat of your pants on the chair at your desk." Fleming has followed this advice to good effect. His latest effort, "The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers," is his 50th published book. Twenty three of them have been novels. He was the only writer in the history of the Book of the Month Club to have main selections in fiction and in nonfiction. Many have won prizes. Recently he received the Burack Prize from Boston University for lifetime achievement. In nonfiction he has specialized in the American Revolution. He saw Intimate Lives as a perfect combination of his double talent as a novelist and historian. "Novelists focus on the intimate side of life. This is the first time anyone has looked at the intimate side of the lives of these famous Americans, with an historian's eyes." Fleming was born in Jersey City, the son of a powerful local politician. He had a lifetime interest in American politics. He also wrote a history of West Point which the New York Times called "the best...ever written." Military history is another strong interest. He lived in New York with his wife, Alice Fleming, who is a gifted writer of books for young readers, until his death on June 23, 2017.

About the Book Award

Which Books Qualify?
All qualifying book submission's thesis must align with the Museum's mission: Fraunces Tavern Museum’s mission is to preserve and interpret the history of the American Revolutionary era through public education. This mission is fulfilled through the interpretation and preservation of the Museum's collections, landmarked buildings and varied public programs that serve the community. Books written specifically about a topic relating directly to the American Revolutionary War will be given greater consideration. Books must be published within the calendar year under review / date published.

How are Books Submitted?
Books are submitted to the Director of Education & Public Programs at Fraunces Tavern Museum. Only publishers, authors and similar book representatives may submit books. To contact the Director please email

Submissions must include the following:

  • Two copies of the book
  • Book synopsis
  • Author's bio
  • Publisher's name
  • Book representative's contact information
  • Author(s) must be able to attend the Book Award Ceremony in order to officially receive the award.

Mail Book Award submissions to:

Fraunces Tavern Museum
Attn: Book Award Committee
54 Pearl Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10004

When are winners announced?
The Book Award Winner, Runner-Up and Honorable Mention will be announced the last week in February after the close of the qualifying year. Recipients will be notified using the submitted contact information.

The Winner, Runner-Up and Honorable Mention will be invited to attend the Museum’s annual Battles of Lexington and Concord Dinner & Fraunces Tavern® Museum Book Award Presentation dinner in April, where they will be presented with the Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award. Recipients must be able to attend the ceremony in order to officially receive the Book Award.

Past Recipients of the Fraunces Tavern Museum Book Award

2017 Winner
Alan Taylor, American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804

2017 Honorable Mentions
Larrie D. Ferreiro, Brothers at Arms: American Independence and the Men of France and Spain Who Saved It
Mark Edward Lender & Garry Wheeler Stone, Fatal Sunday: George Washington, the Monmouth Campaign and the Politics of Battle

2016 Winner
John Ferling, Whirlwind: The American Revolution and the War that Won It

2016 Honorable Mentions
Derek W. Beck, Igniting the American Revolution: 1773-1775
Don Glickstein, After Yorktown: The Final Struggle for American Independence

2015 Winner
Nick Bunker, An Empire on the Edge: How Britain Came to Fight America

2015 Honorable Mentions
Philip Papas, Renegade Revolutionary: The Life of General Charles Lee
Tim McGrath, Give Me A Fast Ship: The Continental Navy and America's Revolution at Sea

View a full list of past award winners.