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Colgate professor Ray Douglas wins award for book about expulsion of Germans after WWII

By Tim O'Keeffe on November 4, 2013

Ray DouglasR.M. (Ray) Douglas, professor of history at Colgate, has been selected as the winner of the 2013 George Louis Beer Prize for his book Orderly and Humane: The Expulsion of the Germans after the Second World War (Yale Univ. Press, 2012).

The Beer Prize is awarded annually by the American Historical Association (AHA) in recognition of outstanding historical writing in European international history since 1895. The prize will be awarded during a ceremony  in Washington, D.C., in January.

Douglas’s book was selected by a prize review committee of AHA members including Herrick E. Chapman, Chair (New York University), Ruth Ben-Ghiat (New York University), Guenter J. Bishof (University of New Orleans), Zachary Shore (Stanford University), and Lora Wildenthal (Rice University).

“Douglas offers a compelling account of the expulsion from Eastern Europe of 12 to 14 million Germans, mostly women and children, after World War II,” noted Chapman, the 2013 Beer Prize committee chair and associate professor of history at New York University. He continued, “Douglas writes eloquently about this suffering without minimizing in the least what the Germans had wrought during the war.”


The Beer Prize was established in accordance with the terms of a bequest by George Louis Beer (1872–1920), historian of the British colonial system before 1765. It is awarded annually for the best work on any phase of European international history since the year 1895 that is submitted by a scholar who is a United States citizen or permanent resident.

Douglas is the author of four other books. At Colgate, he studies and teaches modern Britain and Ireland, and 20th century European history and is currently leading Colgate’s off-campus study group to Geneva, Switzerland. He was listed in Princeton Review’s Best 300 Professors 2012.


  • Jane said:

    A very deserved prize for a very respectable professor. Congratulations David.

  • Jack Bridges said:

    A wonderful honor for one of Colgate’s best. Truly. Prof. Douglas made a profound difference in my life, and I’ll always be grateful for his patience, guidance, and undeniable brilliance.

    Note to the History Dept. Chair and Deans in Colgate Hall: Please, see that Harvard or Yale do not poach Prof. Douglas. His impact in the classroom and on campus goes far beyond this over-due recognition.
    JDB ’00

  • David Downing said:

    An incredible man wins a prize he so surely deserves. Congratulations, Professor!