Image: G-Man by Beverly Gage cover; Beverly Gage by Kathleen Cei

Prize Includes $50,000 and Title of American Historian Laureate

Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang, chair of the New-York Historical Society’s Board of Trustees, and Dr. Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of New-York Historical, announced today that Beverly Gage will be honored with New-York Historical’s annual Barbara and David Zalaznick Book Prize in American History for G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century (Viking, 2022). The award recognizes the best book of the year in the field of American history or biography. Beverly Gage will receive a $50,000 cash award, an engraved medal, and the title of American Historian Laureate, which will be presented at New-York Historical’s annual Chairman’s Council Weekend with History on April 14. 

“Reading Beverly Gage’s biography of Edgar Hoover is like viewing a chiaroscuro masterpiece painting,” said Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang, chair of New-York Historical’s Board of Trustees. “Gage deftly illuminates one of the most complicated personalities in modern American history through descriptive gradations of light and shadow—creating a full-fleshed portrait of complexity and gravitas. New-York Historical is pleased to award this masterful work the 2023 Barbara and David Zalaznick American History Book Prize.”

“The New-York Historical Society is a treasure to historians in countless ways, including this award, which recognizes works of deep research and scholarship written for a general audience,” said Beverly Gage. “I am honored to be among the remarkable group of historians who have received the Zalaznick prize.”

G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century is a major new biography of J. Edgar Hoover that draws from never-before-seen sources to create a groundbreaking portrait of a colossus who dominated half a century of American history and planted the seeds for much of today’s conservative political landscape. The book explores the full sweep of Hoover’s life and career, from his birth in 1895 to a modest Washington civil-service family through his death in 1972. Gage shows how Hoover was more than a one-dimensional tyrant and schemer who strong-armed the rest of the country into submission. G-Man places Hoover back where he once stood in American political history—not at the fringes but at the center—and uses his story to explain the trajectories of governance, policing, race, ideology, political culture, and federal power as they evolved over the course of the 20th century.

Beverly Gage is professor of 20th-century American history at Yale. She is the author of The Day Wall Street Exploded, which examined the history of terrorism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She writes frequently for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and The New Yorker, among other publications.

G-Man was selected by a prize committee comprising historians and New-York Historical leadership from a field of more than 150 submissions. Previous winners of the book prize in American History include Alan Taylor for American Republics: A Continental History of the United States, 1783-1850; Tracy Campbell for The Year of Peril: America in 1942; Rick Atkinson for The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777; Benn Steil for The Marshall Plan: Dawn of the Cold War; John A. Farrell for Richard Nixon: The Life; Jane Kamensky for Revolution in Color: The World of John Singleton Copley; Eric Foner for Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad; Jill Lepore for The Secret History of Wonder Woman; Doris Kearns Goodwin for Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln; David Nasaw for Andrew Carnegie; Daniel Walker Howe for What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848; Drew Gilpin Faust for This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War; Gordon S. Wood for Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815; Ron Chernow for George Washington: A Life; John Lewis Gaddis for George F. Kennan: An American Life; Robert Caro for Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power; and Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy for The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire.

About the New-York Historical Society
Experience 400 years of history through groundbreaking exhibitions, immersive films, and thought-provoking conversations among renowned historians and public figures at the New-York Historical Society, New York’s first museum. A great destination for history since 1804, the Museum and the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library convey the stories of the city and nation’s diverse populations, expanding our understanding of who we are as Americans and how we came to be. Ever-rising to the challenge of bringing little or unknown histories to light, New-York Historical will soon inaugurate a new wing housing its Tang Academy for American Democracy as well as the American LGBTQ+ Museum. These latest efforts to help forge the future by documenting the past join New-York Historical’s DiMenna Children’s History Museum and Center for Women’s History. Digital exhibitions, apps, and our For the Ages podcast make it possible for visitors everywhere to dive more deeply into history. Connect with us at nyhistory.org or at @nyhistory on FacebookTwitterInstagramTikTokYouTube, and Tumblr.