James M. McPherson on “Why the Civil War Still Matters” Posted on March 30th, 2016 by

An interesting and timely interview with Gustavus’s own distinguished alum and leading historian of the Civil War, Prof. James M. McPherson. The interviewer, who writes and edits for History News Network (HNN) where the interview appears, mentions Gustavus. As McPherson notes, there was no Civil War history course when he attended. There is now, and Prof. McPherson has visited it a couple of times. Students this semester are reading McPherson’s recent book on (subtitle) _Why the Civil War Still Matters_.

Prof. McPherson and his wife Patricia generously sponsored Greg Kaster’s Beck Hall office, a gift that is recognized by a plaque at Greg’s door.

As historian Stephen Whitfield of Brandeis once observed to Greg in an email, perhaps no other liberal arts college not on either coast can claim two great historians as alums. The other alum is Sydney Ahlstrom (1919-1984) a leading scholar of American religious history who went from Gustavus to Harvard and long taught at Yale (where, coincidentally, he was one of the professors who taught Greg’s and Kate Wittenstein’s PhD advisor at Boston University).

In short, the History Department at Gustavus has _long_ been distinguished by the outstanding education it provides its majors and minors.

The Civil War and its Persistent Resonance: An Interview with James McPherson
Robin Lindley is a Seattle-based writer and attorney, and the features editor of the History News Network (hnn.us). His articles have appeared in HNN, Crosscut,…



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