George Fredrickson, 73, Historian, Dies (NYT obit.)





George M. Fredrickson, a historian who cast new light on the study of race and who helped define the field of comparative history with a penetrating examination of racial relations in the United States and South Africa, died on Feb. 25 at his home in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 73.

The cause was heart failure, his wife, Hélène, said.

Mr. Fredrickson is often credited with breaking ground in the use of comparative history to escape provincialism and suggest broader, more thematic judgments about historical forces. This was particularly evident in his book “White Supremacy: A Comparative Study in American and South African History” (1981), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

David Brion Davis, a Yale historian, said in an interview Thursday that “White Supremacy” was “a landmark book and a model that has not been superseded” in the field of comparative history.


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