Tucker’s Work Wins American Library Award

A collection of articles and documents on the Cold War edited by retired Virginia Military Institute professor Spencer Tucker was recently named winner of the American Library Association’s Dartmouth Medal for “most outstanding reference work” of 2020.

The ALA calls Tucker “the pre-eminent military historian of our time.”

“The Cold War: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection,” edited by Tucker and published by ABC-CLIO, won the medal, an annual award presented by the expert reference and collection development librarians of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of ALA.

“From the German invasion of Poland in 1939 until the dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 31, 1990, what has come to be known as the Cold War raged on a global scale and became the defining ethos of the twentieth century,” the ALA explained in its announcement. “Here, the preeminent military historian of our time, Spencer C. Tucker, three editors, and a cast of 227 contributors from more than 25 countries combine talents to describe the incidents and key players from around the world that defined this half century of ‘east-west’ struggle for world domination.

“In addition to its clear and authoritative articles, volume 5 of the set introduces and describes 119 primary documents that altered the course of history, from Ho Chi Minh’s 1945 Declaration of the Independence of Vietnam to Civil Defense Instructions for Home Fallout Shelters in 1980,” the ALA statement continued. “A detailed chronology, glossary of military terms, 47 maps, an extensive bibliography with many international web sites, and several thoughtful opening essays contribute to make this the outstanding reference source of 2020.”

Tucker is retired from the VMI history department, where he held the John Biggs chair in military history, and is a 1959 VMI graduate. Before joining the VMI faculty in 1997, he taught for 30 years at Texas Christian University. He’s married to Beverly Tucker, painter and two-term past president of Historic Lexington Foundation.

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