ALAN TAYLOR is an American historian specializing in early United States history. He is the author of several books about the colonial history of the United States, the American Revolution, and the early American Republic. Since 1995, he has won two Pulitzer Prizes, the Bancroft Prize, and the National Book Award for non-fiction for his work. He is the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He taught previously at the University of California, Davis, and Boston University.
Taylor is best known for his contributions to microhistory, exemplified in his William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early American Republic (1996). Using court records, land records, letters and diaries, He reconstructed the background of founder William Cooper from Burlington, New Jersey, and the economic, political, and social history related to the land speculation, founding and settlement of Cooperstown, New York after the American Revolutionary War.
Taylor is among 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."
His book, American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804, is a finalist for the 2017 George Washington Prize. Taylor's The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution (2006) explored the history of the borders between Canada and the United States in the aftermath of the American Revolution, as well as Iroquois attempts to keep control of some lands.
He authored The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies (2010) also addressed this borderland area and strategies pursued by various groups. The War of 1812 has also been characterized as a continuation of the Revolutionary War, one of what Kevin Phillips described as Cousins' Wars (1999) in his book by the same title.
In addition to writing books for the general public, he is a regular contributor of essays and book reviews.