Civil War historian to discuss best-selling book at Vanderbilt

Adam Goodheart, author of 1861: The Civil War Awakening, will speak and answer questions March 21

Adam Goodheart (courtesy of Vanderbilt CLS)
Adam Goodheart (courtesy of Vanderbilt CLS)

Award-winning historian, essayist and journalist Adam Goodheart will discuss his book 1861: The Civil War Awakening on Thursday, March 21, at Vanderbilt University. Goodheart will speak for approximately 20 minutes, followed by a 20-minute question-and-answer session with the audience to be moderated by Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos.

The lecture and Q-and-A will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Vanderbilt Central Library Community Room, preceded by a reception and book signing beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the Central Library lobby. Both events are free and open to the public. Seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-seated basis.

Goodheart’s 2011 book introduces readers to a little-known cast of Civil War characters, including an acrobatic militia colonel, an explorer’s wife, an idealistic band of German immigrants, a regiment of New York City firemen, a community of Virginia slaves, and a young college professor who would one day become president. The author shifts focus away from the power centers of the day to examine the culture, rather than military, clashes among citizens, traveling from the corridors of the White House to the slums of Manhattan, from the mouth of the Chesapeake to the deserts of Nevada, from Boston Common to Alcatraz Island and more. The book is a New York Times and national best seller.

Goodheart is director of the 
C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College in Chestertown, Md., where he has taught courses in American studies, English, history, anthropology and art. He is a frequent contributor of essays and reviews to the New York Times, where he also served as deputy editor of the op-ed page; the American Scholar, of which he is a contributing editor and former editorial board member; the Atlantic Monthly; National Geographic; Smithsonian; the Washington Post; and the Wall Street Journal.

He has received the Lowell Thomas Award from the Society of American Travel Writers (2004), the Henry Lawson Award for Travel Writing (2005), and the A.D. Emmart Award for excellence in the humanities (2007). He is director of the American Pictures Distinguished Lecture Series at the Smithsonian and a member of the board of directors of the Maryland Humanities Council.

Video of Goodheart’s lecture will stream live during the lecture on the Vanderbilt news website and be available later on the Chancellor’s Lecture Series website.

Parking for the event will be available in the Wesley Place Garage, located at 21st Avenue South and Scarritt Place. For questions about parking, call (615) 322-2554.

Goodheart’s appearance is part of the Chancellor’s Lecture Series at Vanderbilt, which brings to the university and to the wider Nashville community intellectuals who are shaping the world today. For more information, visit the Chancellor’s Lecture Series website, email, call (615) 322-0885 or follow on Twitter @VUCLS.