Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Goodheart to Discuss His Acclaimed Civil War History "1861" in Easton on Thursday, Nov. 3

EASTON, MD—Historian and journalist Adam Goodheart will discuss his New York Times best-seller, 1861: The Civil War Awakening, at the Historical Society of Talbot County, 17 S. Washington Street, Easton, on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. A book signing and reception will follow the presentation. Co-sponsored by the Historical Society and the Talbot County chapter of the Washington College Alumni Association, the event is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested; please call 410-778-7215 or email to
Goodheart is the Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College, a top-tier liberal arts college in Chestertown. As he explains in 1861’s prologue, the book was originally inspired by a discovery of old family letters that he and his students made while exploring the attic of a centuries-old plantation house on the Eastern Shore. The narrative begins in 1860, with Abraham Lincoln’s campaign for president, and ends July 4, 1861, when President Lincoln sends a message to Congress outlining his plans for prosecuting the war.
Goodheart’s book was released in April by Alfred A. Knopf to critical acclaim and quickly jumped onto the best-seller list. Historian James McPherson wrote that “Adam Goodheart is a Monet with a pen instead of a paintbrush,” and literary critic Anne Fadiman described 1861 as “a time-travel device that makes a century and a half fall away and sets us down, eyes and ears wide open, in the midst of the chaos and the glory.”
The chair of the Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, Harold Holzer, summed up the book this way: “Combining a master historian’s sure command of original sources and a novelist’s deft touch with character and narrative, Adam Goodheart has produced the young century’s liveliest book about how a generation of remarkable and ordinary Americans alike variously provoked, resisted, and endured the dissolution of their country and the tragic march toward civil war. ... The result is that rarest of history books: a work of remarkable original scholarship crafted into an irresistible read.”
Goodheart's articles have appeared in National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, The American Scholar, and many other publications. He is a 1992 graduate of Harvard and a founder and senior editor of Civilization, the magazine of the Library of Congress. At Washington College, Goodheart has taught courses in American Studies, English, history, anthropology, and art. He also contributes regularly to the popular “Disunion” series about the Civil War on He has been invited to speak about 1861 at the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, the National Constitution Center, and many other venues, and has been interviewed on a number of radio programs, including National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air” and “The Diane Rehm Show.”
For more information about author and book: For details about the Historical Society of Talbot County and the Nov. 3 event:
Photo courtesy of Jim Graham.

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