Douglas Rooks


Winning major prizes can have a chilling effect on unprepared authors who worry that their next book might not measure up. When Alan Taylor '77 won both the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes in 1996 for his book William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic, he was stunned. "I didn't even know I was a finalist, much less that I could be a winner," he said.

Though he almost saw the initial press attention spin out of control, the University of California at Davis professor of history recovered and has suffered no writer's cramp in the aftermath of the prizes. Moreover, the acclaim brought some prestigious opportunities, which he has fielded nimbly- as lead-off author in an important book series, as a contributor to a top national magazine and as the recipient of what may be the most enviable job offer in all of academe.


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