While every other blog is commending (or questioning*) the selection of Geraldine Brooks's March for this year's Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, I want to highlight another category: the "Special Citation to Edmund S. Morgan for a creative and deeply influential body of work as an American historian that spans the last half century."
These lifetime achievement-type awards usually go unnoticed. This one shouldn't. Morgan's American Slavery, American Freedom remains the premier investigation of the rise of slavery in the South and of the development of racial attitudes during the 1700s. (I just went hunting for my copy, and there will be hell to pay, because it seems to have taken a walk.) And his Visible Saints: The History of a Puritan Idea was one of the brainier highlights of my bleary, NoDoz-fueled collegiate years. Yale University has every reason to brag about his career, as they do here.
* Jeff Mariotte strangely insists that March is a "tie-in" novel, because it features a fictional character mentioned in another book (even though John March appears only briefly in Alcott's "Little Women"). I'm not sure what his point (or objection) is, but I wonder what he thinks of such modern-day classics as John Gardner's Grendel or Nicholas Meyer's The Seven-Per-Cent Solution or Marc Estrin's Insect Dreams or Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea (which was included on the Modern Library's top 100 list for the 20th century) or, for that matter, T. H. White's The Once and Future King. His comments about Alcott's literary estate are irrelevent: there is no such thing. Her works have been in the public domain for decades, as have the equally fictional stories of Beowulf, Sherlock Holmes, Gregor Samsa, and King Arthur (or anything published before 1922).
I haven't read March yet, so I can't offer an opinion on its literary worth. But I recently read Brooks's Year of Wonders, which was a pretty impressive, if overwritten, debut novel about modern-day personalities trapped in 17th-century bodies.