Jonathan Eig Wins American History Prize

“The New-York Historical Society honor goes to Jonathan Eig, whose “King: A Life” presents the civil rights leader as a brilliant, flawed 20th-century “founding father.”

Original Piece by Jennifer Schuessler

Published by The New York Times

March 19th, 2024

Jonathan Eig, Author of King: A Life has received the 19th annual Barbara and David Zalaznick Book Prize in American History. This prize is awarded annually for the best work of American history or biography and seeks to promote the reading and study of American History. Eig will be honored this April with a $50,000 cash prize and the title of American Historian Laureate.

“Billed as the first major biography of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in decades, Eig’s book draws on recently declassified government records and other new sources to take a panoramic yet intimate look at Dr. King. The book places him in the context of the many figures, inside and outside the civil rights movement, who shaped his thinking and actions.”

With exhaustive research, Eig’s biography has generated new perspectives, humanity and understanding of the complicated life that Dr. King led. King: A Life was nominated for The National Book award and has been hailed by The New York Times as the “definitive” biography of Martin Luther King Jr.