Books: Unexpected Prizewinner

PURITAN VILLAGE by Sumner Chilton Powell. 215 pages. Wesleyan. $15.

The award of the Pulitzer Prize for history this month startled many historians and most publishers simply because the winning book and its author were almost unknown. In fact, Sumner Chilton Powell's Puritan Village had almost gone unpublished: scholarly presses, including Harvard, had turned it down as "too specialized" before it was accepted by Wesleyan in Connecticut. With its $15 price tag, many bookstores had not bothered to stock it; hardly more than 1,000 copies had been sold; immediately after the Pulitzer announcement the book was almost unobtainable.

Conflicting Traditions. The book that...

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