Martha A. Sandweiss Articles

2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalists

History Finalists
  • Richard Holmes, Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science (Pantheon)
  • Martha A. Sandweiss, Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line (The Penguin Press)
  • Kevin Starr, Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance 1950 – 1963 (Oxford University Press)
  • Amy Louise Wood, Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940 (University of North Carolina Press)
  • Gordon S. Wood, Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic 1789 – 1815 (Oxford University Press)

To see the finalists in the other categories, click here.

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Guest post by Martha A. Sandweiss, Author of NBCC finalist Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line

Researching and writing Passing Strange presented many challenges, not the least of which was making my two main protagonists – Clarence King and Ada Copeland – equally vivid characters in the book.

King’s life is well-documented in the historical record. An intrepid explorer and brilliant geologist, he led the fortieth Parallel Survey that helped map the West in the years following the Civil War and in 1879 became the first director of the United States Geological Survey. A talented essayist and celebrated wit,  he made his mark among the elites of Gilded Age...

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From :

On Saturday, January 23, 2010, the National Book Critics Circle announced the finalists for its book awards for the publishing year 2009 at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in New York.

Blake Bailey, Cheever: A Life (Knopf)
Brad Gooch, Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor (Little, Brown)
Benjamin Moser, Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector (Oxford University Press)
Stanislao G. Pugliese, Bitter Spring: A Life of Ignazio Silone (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Martha A. Sandweiss, Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line (Penguin Press)

For the rests of the finalists, click here.

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Martha A. Sandweiss's PASSING STRANGE continues to receive year-end honors as one of the Best Nonfiction Books of 2009!

From the Chicago Tribune:

"Mind-boggling tale of a famous white geologist who secretly passes as black in his personal life in order to marry and father children with his true love-to whom he doesn't reveal this secret until his death."

From the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

"The strange and intriguing tale of a prominent white American from an old New England family who lived a double life in the 19th century, "passing" as an African American in order to marry and live with a black woman. Above all, a love story well told."

The paperback edition of PASSING STRANGE...

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