For Immediate Release: May 13, 2002
UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA HISTORIAN WINS
The Harry S. Truman
Book Award of $1,000 recognizes the best book written within a two-year
period that deals primarily and substantially with some aspect of the
history of the United States between April 12, 1945 and January 20, 1953,
or with the public career of Harry S. Truman. The award is given biennially
in even-numbered years.
Dr. Frederickson's book was selected from a field of twenty-five submitted entries including Thomas Borstelmann's The Cold War and the Color Line: American Race Relations in The Global Arena, (Harvard University Press, 2001); Zachary Karabell's The Last Campaign: How Harry Truman Won the 1948 Election, (Alfred A. Knopf, 2000); and David F. Rudgers's Creating the Secret State: The Origins of the Central Intelligence Agency, 1943-1947, (University Press of Kansas, 2000).
"We were impressed
with this book on many fronts," said Dr. Jeffrey Gall, chair of the
Harry S. Truman Book Award subcommittee. "To begin with, Frederickson
is an excellent writer who tells a compelling story. She begins her account
in the 1930s and has a closing section that takes her conclusions into
the late 1960s. The heart of her book focuses squarely on the Truman era
and the pivotal attempt of the Dixiecrats to use a third party campaign
to throw the 1948 election into the House of Representatives and thus
get a president with whom they would be more satisfied. Frederickson gives
considerable attention to Strom Thurmond, but also to other Dixiecrat
leaders such as Fielding Wright, the governor of Mississippi and Thurmond's
running mate. She presents a convincing case that the Dixiecrats were
not just responding to civil rights pronouncements and actions by the
national Democratic Party and the federal government, but were also responding
to the grass-roots efforts for equality by labor leaders and African-Americans
in their own region. Ultimately, Frederickson shows clearly how the Dixiecrat
revolt cracked the foundation of a one-party rule in the South and led
the way to a two party system in the region with the Republican Party
becoming a true force there. Finally, it is worth noting that one of our
committee members remarked, "of all of the finalists, this is the
book that will impact the way I teach the period."
Dr. Gall is an Assistant
Professor of History and M.A.E. Director for Social Science with Truman
State University. Other members of the Harry S. Truman Book Award subcommittee
are Susan M. Hartmann, Professor of History and Women's Studies, Ohio
State University; R. Crosby Kemper, III, Chairman and CEO, UMB Bank, N.A.;
Steve Neal, Political Editor, Chicago Sun-Times; and Ellen W. Schrecker,
Professor of History, Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University.
The Harry S. Truman Library Institute for National and International Affairs is the private, not-for-profit organization that supports the Truman Presidential Museum & Library in Independence, Missouri. The Truman Presidential Museum & Library is one of ten presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.
About Kari Frederickson: