Mark Finlay Earns National Book Award


(July 22, 2010) Mark R. Finlay, professor of history and assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Armstrong Atlantic State University, has received the 2009 Theodore Saloutos Memorial Award for his book, "Growing American Rubber: Strategic Plants and the Politics of National Security," (Rutgers University Press, 2009) presented by the Agricultural History Society.

The annual award was established in 1982, in memory of the distinguished historian and past president of the Agricultural History Society, and is presented to the author of a book voted to be the year’s best on any aspect of agricultural history in the United States.

Finlay’s book explores America’s search to identify a dependable source of domestic rubber during tense decades of the twentieth century, straddling world wars and revolutions across the globe. Researched over a period of eight years, the book weaves the stories of national figures, including Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, and provides an analysis of the intersection of military and economic national security and access to rubber—a vital strategic national resource.

“Finlay casts the story by placing rubber at the intersection of agricultural science and plant breeding, national farm policy, American national security interests, and global politics,” said Jane Pederson of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a member of the review committee that chose Finlay’s book from among about two dozen works nominated for the award.

Finlay, who joined Armstrong in 1992 as an assistant professor, is the author of numerous articles on the history of science and technology, including “chemurgy,” the intersection of agriculture and industry.

The 2008 Saloutos Memorial Award went to Shane Hamilton of the University of Georgia, for “Trucking Country: The Road to America's Wal-mart Economy” (Princeton University Press, 2008).

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