Scott A. Sandage Born Losers: A History of Failure in America

About the Author

Scott A. Sandage is a cultural historian who lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he teaches American history as an Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

Active as a public historian, he has been a consultant to the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives, the National Park Service, an off-Broadway play, and film and radio documentaries.

An expert on the Lincoln Memorial and its public uses, in 1999-2000, he chaired a panel of historians to choose an inscription for the wheelchair sculpture belatedly added to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. He serves on the board of directors for the Abraham Lincoln Institute.

His commentaries have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Industry Standard, and Fast Company Magazine, among other mainstream periodicals. He contributed an essay on loserdom to the catalog of the 2004 Whitney Biennial Exhibition.  

Born Losers: A History of Failure in America has been awarded the Thomas J. Wilson Prize, given annually for the best "first book" published by Harvard University Press. In addition, Sandage is the recipient of the 1998 Jameson Fellowship from the Library of Congress and the American Historical Association, a 1998 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, and the 1995-1996 Dissertation Prize from the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools. His earlier study, "A Marble House Divided: The Lincoln Memorial, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Politics of Memory, 1939-1963" (Journal of American History, June 1993) won best article prizes from the Organization of American Historians and from the Eugene V. Debs Foundation.  

He is editing a one-volume abridgement of Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America for 2005 publication by HarperCollins, and he is co-editor of the "American History and Culture" book series for New York University Press.

His next book project, Half-Breed Creek: A Tall Tale of Race on the Frontier, 1800-1941, focuses on mixed-blood Native Americans to show how family folklore has shaped racial identity in the United States.  

Sandage was born in 1964 in Mason City, Iowa. He graduated from the University of Iowa (B.A., 1985) and from Rutgers University (M.A., 1992; Ph.D., 1995) in New Brunswick, N.J.