Book on Ben Franklin wins $50,000 prize


MOUNT VERNON, Va. (AP) – “Franklin, France, and the Birth of America,” an account of the years between the Declaration of Independence and the end of the Revolutionary War when Benjamin Franklin represented the new American republic in Paris, has won the second annual $50,000 George Washington Prize.

The author, Stacy Schiff, won a Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for her biography of Vera, the wife of Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov. The George Washington award was created last year by Washington College in Chestertown, Md., the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York City, and the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, which runs the first president’s home.

The prize was won last year by Ron Chernow with his biography “Alexander Hamilton.”

Finalists this year were Edward Lengel’s “General George Washington: A Military Life” and Stanley Weintraub’s “Iron Tears: America’s Battle for Freedom, Britain’s Quagmire, 1775-1783.”

The choice for the year’s best book on the period was made by scholars of early American history. They include Carol Berkin of Baruch College, City University of New York; Walter Isaacson of the Aspen Institute; and Gordon Wood of Brown University.