Alan Taylor (historian)

Alan Taylor (Historian)

Alan Taylor (historian)

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Alan Shaw Taylor (born 1955 Portland, Maine) is a Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian specializing in early American history. He is the author of a number of books about Colonial America, the American Revolution, and the Early American Republic.

Life

Taylor graduated from Colby College, in Waterville, Maine, in 1977 and earned his Ph.D. from Brandeis University in 1986. His thesis advisor was Marvin Meyers, a historian of Jacksonian America, whom Taylor praised in the preface of his book Writing Early American History (2005). Currently he is a professor of history at the University of California, Davis, having taught previously at Boston University.

Taylor is best known for his contributions to microhistory, best exemplified in his Pulitzer-Prize winning history of William Cooper and the settlement of Cooperstown, New York. Using court records, land records, letters, and diaries, Taylor painstakingly reconstructs the economic, political and social history of New England and the settlement of New York. Taylor is also part of a generation of historians committed to the revival of narrative history, rejecting the method-driven, quantitative work of the previous generation of "new social historians" and the theory-laden work of more recent "new cultural historians." In addition to writing books for a wide public readership, Taylor is a regular...
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