James MacGregor Burns Wins History Award
James MacGregor Burns will receive the 2010 Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Award for Distinguished Writing in American History of Enduring Public Significance, presented jointly by the Roosevelt Institute and the Society of American Historians.
Burns is author of Roosevelt: Soldier of Freedom 1940-1945, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. Among his many other books, Burns wrote Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox, The First Political Biography of F.D.R. and The Three Roosevelts: Patrician Leaders Who Transformed America (with Susan Dunn). He is Woodrow Wilson Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Williams College.
Burns' work on FDR meets any test of enduring public significance. Born in 1918, he continues to write and be inspired by Roosevelt. In 2006, Burns wrote a New York Times op-ed arguing for repeal of the 22nd Amendment, based on his career long study of leadership and the presidency. Just last year, he published Packing the Court: The Rise of Judicial Power and the Coming Crisis of the Supreme Court, which the Washington Post describes as "a readable and accessible history full of memorable details about the byzantine nominations and political peculiarities of famous and obscure justices during the past two centuries."
Burns was selected by unanimous vote for the Schlesinger Award by a committee chaired by Stanford historian David Kennedy, current president of the Society of American Historians. He will receive the award at a dinner hosted by the Society of American Historians in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, April 10, 2010.
Alongside his work on Roosevelt and the presidency, Burns is best known for his innovations in leadership theory -- shifting scholarship away from studying the traits of "great men" to focus on the context for leadership and the interaction among leaders in collaborative ways that can lead to mutual benefit. His book Leadership is still considered by many to be the definitive book on the subject, and the University of Maryland created the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership in his honor.