John Ferren's Salt of the Earth, Conscience of the Court: The Story of Justice Wiley Rutledge (University of North Carolina Press, 2004), which he worked on while a Wilson Center Fellow in 2000-2001, was awarded the Langum Project for Historical Literature Prize for American legal history and legal biography.

The Langum Project's press release noted the following about the book: "This is a truly satisfying biography, not merely arcane discussion, and by the end of the book the reader feels that he truly understands Rutledge, both the man and his work. Ferren gives us a richly textured description and nuanced
evaluation of Rutledge's entire life...the educated general
reader will be borne along through these seemingly arcane matters by Ferren's wonderfully lucid and accessible writing." Ferren will receive the prize this month.

About the Prize

The Langum Proejct seeks to make the rich history of the American colonial and national periods more accessible to the educated general reader. The Project was founded by David J. Langum, Sr. out of a conviction that far too many historians write only for each other's reading and not for the educated general public. This was not always true, and in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries many historians successfully wrote for the consumption of the general public. Such historians as Hubert Howe Bancroft, Francis Parkman, and Will and Ariel Durant wrote excellent histories that enjoyed widespread public readership.

The prize is an attempt to encourage such writing by offering two annual David J. Langum, Sr. Prizes in the amounts of $1,000 each, for the best books published by a university press in the preceding year, as selected by the Langum Project Selection Committee. Prizes are awarded in two categories that meet the following requirements: historical fiction and American Legal history or biography.

John Ferren is a senior judge on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

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