James M. McPherson was born in North Dakota and grew up in Minnesota, where he attended Gustavus Adolphus College and graduated magna cum laude in 1958. He did his graduate study in history at the Johns Hopkins University, where he received his Ph. D. with distinction in 1963. From 1962 to 2004 he taught at Princeton University, where he is now the George Henry Davis '86 Professor of American History Emeritus. He is a member of the advisory boards of the National Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar and the Gettysburg Foundation.
He is the author of fifteen books and the editor of another dozen, most of them on the era of the American Civil War. His books have won several prizes, most notably the Pultizer Prize in History (1989) and the Lincoln Prize (1998). His latest book is "This Mighty Scourge: Perspectives on the Civil War".
In their recommendation, the screening committee for the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award wrote:
James McPherson is our premier living Civil War historian. McPherson's masterwork, "Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era", is still considered, nearly twenty years after its publication, the finest one volume study of the Civil War. In "For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War", McPherson used evidence from more than 25,000 letters and 250 private diaries to argue - controversially, yet convincingly--that both Union and Confederate soldiers were driven by a deeply-felt patriotic and ideological commitment. McPherson has written nine other books on the Civil War and related topics. His most recent scholarly study, "Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam", brings fresh insight to one of the most important battles in American history.
McPherson's exhaustively researched, vividly written books and essays have made him one of the most widely read historians in the country, with enormous appeal to popular as well as academic audiences. But perhaps his greatest strength as a scholar and writer is his ability to fuse military history with political, social, and diplomatic history, thereby creating a unique and impressive synthesis.
This live webcast is sponsored by FGMK, Certified Public Accountants and Consultants; Joseph and Patricia DuCanto of Securatex; and the Tawani Foundation. McPherson will accept the award at the Liberty Gala on Saturday, October 6, 2007, and return to the Pritzker Military Library for a free, public interview in March 2008.
If you would like to support the free, public programs of the Pritzker Military
Library, please consider becoming a member
or making a donation