News

David Hackett Fischer Receives Pulitzer Prize

AHA Staff, May 2005

David Hackett FischerDavid Hackett Fischer, professor of history at Brandeis University and a long-standing member of the AHA, has received the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for history for his book, Washington's Crossing (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 2004). Fischer, who is a modern proponent of the "history of events" perspective on history, is well-known for his meticulous and methodologically rigorous reconstruction of famous events. One example is the bestselling Paul Revere's Ride. Through his microscopic reexamination of the historical basis for older, almost mythological narratives, Fischer invests them with new historiographic power. Washington's Crossing, published as part of the Oxford University Press series, Pivotal Moments in American History (a series that Fischer coedits with James McPherson) is no Washington's Crossingexception. Taking a new look at the Christmas night crossing of the Delaware by Washington and his weary band of soldiers, Fischer brings the moment alive in what Publisher's Weekly called an "impeccably researched, brilliantly executed military history." Characteristically, Fischer goes beyond the singular event to examine the strategies, tactics, and the background to provide a complete picture of the crossing and its meaning in American history.

Fischer has been teaching at Brandeis University since he received his PhD in 1962 from Johns Hopkins University. He has written several books many of which are as accessible to the general reader as any novel. Among these are, Liberty and Freedom: A Visual History of America's Founding Ideas, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America, The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History, and Historians' Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought.

Fischer told the Waltham, Massachusetts, Daily News Tribune that he used to think of himself as a professor and historian but that now he would like to think of himself as a "teacher and a storyteller."