Dennis Frye Wins National Award for Book “September Suspense”

Austin, Texas – Dennis Frye, a resident of Washington County, and the Chief Historian of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, has won the eighteenth annual Daniel M. & Marilyn W. Laney Book Prize given by the Austin Civil War Round Table, Inc., for his important new work, September Suspense: Lincoln’s Union in Peril, published by Antietam Rest Publishing.  The Laney Prize is one of the most prestigious awards granted for a Civil War book.

Frye is a prominent Civil War historian and writer who has appeared numerous times on PBS, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel and A&E.  He was also an associate producer of the epic Civil War film Gods and Generals.

September Suspense captures the crucial military and political moments of one of the most pivotal months of the Civil War as reported by contemporary newspapers.  Frye describes how fragile the idea and reality of the United States were during that crucial month, as Washington, Wall Street and the entire nation hung anxiously in the balance, watching to see what would happen during Robert E. Lee’s first invasion of the north.  The outcome of that invasion would at the least affect the upcoming November elections and possibly even the viability of the republican form of government in the world.

In a review of the book for Civil War News, Professor George Khoury of the Florida Institute of Technology wrote that “each chapter of Frye’s excellent book sparkles with information and citations that lead readers to new understandings about topics we thought had been exhausted.”  Civil War blogger Rea Andrew Redd noted, “In September Suspense: Lincoln’s Union in Peril Frye achieves his goal of having the reader ‘feel history’, enter ‘a time machine’ and ‘live the moment’ with those who passed, day by day, through a suspenseful month when the Union was in peril.”

The Laney Prize money of $2,000 will be awarded to Frye at the June 20, 2013 meeting of the Austin Civil War Round Table, Inc.

The Daniel M. & Marilyn W. Laney Prize is awarded each year to the author of the book that best advances the knowledge of the Civil War’s military or political events and the Americans who took part in those events.  Established by the membership of the Round Table, the Prize honors the Laneys for their splendid efforts on behalf of the Austin Civil War Round Table, Inc. and especially, for their many efforts to protect the endangered battlefields of the Civil War.

Previous winners of the Laney Prize are: Daniel Sutherland for Seasons of War (Free Press), William C. Davis for The Cause Lost (University Press of Kansas), Gary Gallagher for The Confederate War (Harvard University Press), Jeffry D. Wert for A Brotherhood of Valor (Simon & Schuster), Joseph Harsh for Taken at the Flood: Robert E. Lee & Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 (Kent State University Press), Richard McMurry for Atlanta: 1864 (University of Nebraska Press),  Dr. Richard B. McCaslin for Lee in the Shadow of Washington (Louisiana State University Press), Gordon C. Rhea for Cold Harbor (Louisiana State University Press), Frank A. O’Reilly for The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War on the Rappahannock, (Louisiana State University Press), Edward T. Cotham, Jr. for Sabine Pass: The Confederacy’s Thermopylae (University of Texas Press), Jeffry D. Wert for The Sword of Lincoln, The Army of the Potomac, (Simon & Schuster), A. Wilson Greene for Civil War Petersburg: Confederate City in the Crucible of War (University of Virginia Press), Nelson D. Lankford for Cry Havoc!: The Crooked Road to Civil War, 1861 (Viking), Craig L. Symonds for Lincoln and His Admirals (Oxford University Press), Donald S. Frazier for Fire in the Cane Field (State House Press),  Edwin Bearss and J. Parker Hills for Receding Tide (National Geographic) and Gary Gallagher for The Union War (Harvard University Press).

For more information about the Laney Award, contact the President of the Austin Civil War Round Table, Inc., David White, at (512) 497-4832

Dennis E. Frye is the Chief Historian at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.  Writer, lecturer, guide, and preservationist, Dennis is a prominent Civil War historian. Dennis has numerous appearances on PBS, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, and A&E as a guest historian, and he helped produce award-winning television features on the Battle of Antietam and abolitionist John Brown.  Dennis served as an Associate Producer for the Civil War movie Gods and Generals, during which he recruited and coordinated nearly 3,000 reenactors for the film.  Dennis also is one of the nation’s leading Civil War battlefield preservationists.  He is co-founder and first president of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation, and he is co-founder and a former president of today’s Civil War Trust, from whom he received the Trust’s highest honor - the Shelby Foote Award.  Dennis is a tour guide in demand, leading tours for organizations such as the Smithsonian, National Geographic, numerous colleges and universities, and Civil War Round Tables.  Dennis also is a well-known author, with 88 articles and eight books.  Harpers Ferry Under Fire (released in March 2012) received the national book of the year award from the Association of Partners for Public Lands, and September Suspense:  Lincoln’s Union in Peril, awarded the 2013 Laney Book Prize for distinguished scholarship and writing on the military and political history of the war.  Dennis has written for prestigious Civil War magazines such as Civil War Times Illustrated, America’s Civil War, Blue & Gray Magazine, North and South Magazine, and Hallowed Ground, and is a guest contributor to the Washington Post.  Dennis resides near the Antietam Battlefield in Maryland, and he and his wife Sylvia have restored the home that was used by General Burnside as his post-Antietam headquarters.