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UM News
October 05, 2012


Renowned historian, author and Princeton University Professor Emeritus James McPherson will deliver the inaugural University of Montana Arnold Swanberg Lecture on Military History titled “Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief” at 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15, in The George and Jane Dennison Theatre.

McPherson also will deliver a seminar earlier the same day titled “Why Military History? Antietam as a Case Study” from 3:10 to 4:30 p.m. in Gallagher Business Building Room 123.

McPherson is known as the “dean” of American Civil War scholars and has written 21 books including the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era.” During a teaching career spanning more than 40 years, McPherson served as the president of the Society of American Historians and the American Historical Association, received the Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medal, Samuel Eliot Morrison Prize, the Pritzker Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing and was awarded honorary degrees from ten colleges and universities.

The Arnold Swanberg Lecture on Military History is a new annual lecture presented by the UM History Department. Swanberg earned a bachelor’s degree in history from UM in 1970. A Seattle resident, he is the former publisher of Flightline Magazine – a publication devoted to North American military aviation after 1945 – has amassed an extensive collection of military aircraft photos and also writes nonfiction.

Swanberg worked with the UM History Department to create the annual lecture, which he hopes will stimulate public interest in military history and an appreciation for its importance. UM history Professor Richard Drake said McPherson, whose book “Battle Cry of Freedom” has sold more than 700,000 copies, was the perfect inaugural speaker.

 “We were looking for a master military historian who also possessed the power to reach and to inspire a town-grown audience,” Drake said. “To an extent unrivaled by any other living historian, Professor McPherson met both of these requirements.”

The afternoon seminar is presented in collaboration with the UM Philosophy Forum. For more information contact Drake at 406-243-2981 or email



Contact: Richard Drake, UM history professor, 406-243-2981,