Roberts, Klibanoff win Pulitzer in history
The Race Beat, a masterfully researched account of civil-rights-era journalism by Gene Roberts, former executive editor of The Inquirer, and Hank Klibanoff, a former Inquirer deputy managing editor who is now a top editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has won the Pulitzer Prize for history, the Pulitzer Prize Board at Columbia University announced yesterday in presenting its annual awards in arts, letters and journalism.
Subtitled The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation (Alfred A. Knopf), the Roberts/Klibanoff book took its two coauthors almost 15 years to complete.
The history prize, which is restricted to books dealing with "the history of the United States," normally goes to noted academics in the field, such as C. Vann Woodward and Bernard Bailyn. It is unusual, though not unprecedented, for it to go to a history by journalists. Earlier journalist/authors who have won the prize include Stanley Karnow in 1990 for In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines, and Rick Atkinson in 2003 for The Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-43.
Klibanoff, asked how it felt to suddenly be a historian as well as a journalist, laughed and said, "I felt like I was one as I was digging through the archival material and previously unseen letters. . . . It also made me feel regret that I didn't pay more attention to history in school."
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