Empires, Nations, and Families: A History of the North American West, 1800-1860, by Anne F. Hyde, published in 2011 by the University of Nebraska Press, has been awarded the 2012 Bancroft Prize.
The Bancroft Prize is awarded annually by the trustees of Columbia University to three books published on the subjects of American history and diplomacy. It is among the most prestigious prizes in the field.
"Anne F. Hyde's Empires, Nations, and Families is ambitious, meticulously researched and, above all, an innovative and important examination of the history of the American West," said University of Nebraska Press Director Donna Shear. "This is a wonderful example of the caliber of research the University of Nebraska Press has strived to publish since it was founded in 1941, and the Bancroft Prize is validation that we are succeeding."
Empires, Nations, and Families is an exploration of the American West just after the Louisiana Purchase, tracing family stories from the Canadian North to the Spanish and Mexican borderlands and from the Pacific Coast to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Hyde’s narrative moves from the earliest years of the Indian trade to the Mexican War and the gold rush era. Her work reveals how, in the 1850s, immigrants to these newest regions of the United States violently wrested control from Native and other powers, and how conquest and competing demands for land and resources brought about a volatile frontier culture—not at all the peace and prosperity that the new power had promised.
Hyde is a professor of history at Colorado College. She is the author of An American Vision: Far Western Landscape and National Culture and coauthor, with William Deverell, of The West in the History of the Nation. She has won the W. Turrentine Jackson Award from the Western History Association and has held office in the Western History Association, the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association, and the Organization of American Historians.
The other recipients of the 2012 Bancroft Prize are Age of Fracture, by Daniel T. Rodgers (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011); and Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement, by Tomiko Brown-Nagin (Oxford University Press, 2011). Each of the winning authors will receive a $10,000 prize, which will be awarded during a ceremony next month.
This is the second Bancroft Prize awarded to a book published by the University of Nebraska Press in the past three years. In 2010, White Mother to a Dark Race: Settler Colonialism, Maternalism, and the Removal of Indigenous Children in the American West and Australia, 1880-1940, by University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Margaret D. Jacobs was awarded the prize.