Providence Public Library Welcomes National Humanities Medal Winner Gordon Wood -- Saturday, March 5

RI Author/Historian to Discuss and Sign Latest Book Empire of Liberty

Providence Public Library welcomes 2010 National Humanities Medal and Pulitzer Award-winning Gordon S. Wood on Saturday, March 5 from 2:00 -3:30 PM for a lecture and signing of his latest work Empire of Liberty: A History o the Early Republic, 1789 – 1815

Author, historian and Brown University professor emeritus Gordon S. Wood, named a winner of the 2010 National Humanities Medal, will visit the Library following his trip to Washington, DC, for a White House award ceremony with President Obama on Wednesday, March 2.

The National Humanities Medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened citizens’ engagement with the humanities or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities. Professor Wood’s citation is “for scholarship that provides insight into the founding of the nation and the drafting of the U.S. Constitution.”

Wood is the Alva O. Way University Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University.  A scholar of the American Revolution and the early American republic, Wood won the Pulitzer Prize for history for his 1992 book, The Radicalism of the American Revolution.  His 1969 work The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787, won the Bancroft Prize in history, and his 2004 The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin won the Julia Ward Howe Prize from the Boston Authors Club.  His Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815, published in 2009, was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in history.

The program is free, but the Library welcomes donations in support on ongoing lifelong learning programs.

Books will be available for purchase at the event by Brown Bookstore.

About the Book

Integrating all aspects of life, Wood’s magisterial new history of the early American republic, 1789 to 1815, from politics and law to the economy and culture, boom and transformation on our shores, and the rise and fall of Napoleon in the wider world, Empire of Liberty offers a marvelous account of this pivotal era when America took its first unsteady steps as a new and rapidly expanding nation.

In the words of Christopher Lydon, host of Open Source from Brown University: “Gordon Wood, the wonderfully plain-spoken Pulitzer and Bancroft prize historian at Brown, thinks that Thomas Jefferson would find Barack Obama obnoxiously, over-reachingly Hamiltonian... and that Alexander Hamilton would likewise dismiss Obama as a Jefferson dreamer.

“Empire of Liberty,” Jefferson’s phrase, is also a neat capsule of the contradiction between a republic of free and equal mostly rural yeomen and a hegemonic global idea wrapped into the American flag. But Jefferson, the libertarian and slave-holder, was nothing if not paradoxical: he was a small-government man and a devotee of peace, but he would have been happy to see the French Revolution invade England, end monarchy and free the world.