Ohio Wesleyan University to Host Civil War Expert Sept. 20

Eric Foner to Discuss His Pulitzer Prize-Winning Book ‘The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery’

Eric Foner

DELAWARE, OHIO – Eric Foner’s latest book, “The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery,” has been heralded as “an essential work for all Americans,” earning a 2011 Pulitzer Prize, Bancroft Prize, and Lincoln Prize for its examination of Lincoln’s thoughts and actions in dealing with the divisive issues of slavery and emancipation.

Foner, Ph.D., a professor of history at Columbia University, will discuss “The Fiery Trial” on Sept. 20 at Ohio Wesleyan University, when he presents OWU’s 2012 Richard W. Smith Lecture in Civil War History.

Foner will speak at 8 p.m. Sept 20 in the Benes Rooms inside OWU’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware. The event commemorates, nearly to the day, the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s first public announcement of his emancipation policy. The presentation is free and open to the public. It also will be streamed live online.

In reviewing “The Fiery Trial,” the Library Journal called Foner’s tome “original and compelling,” stating that “[i]n the vast library on Lincoln, Foner’s book stands out as the most sensible and sensitive reading of Lincoln’s lifetime involvement with slavery and the most insightful assessment of Lincoln’s – and indeed America’s – imperative to move toward freedom lest it be lost. An essential work for all Americans.”

In awarding it the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, the organization described the book as “a well orchestrated examination of Lincoln’s changing views of slavery, bringing unforeseeable twists and a fresh sense of improbability to a familiar story.”

Foner is the author of several books examining “the intersections of intellectual, political and social history, and the history of American race relations,” including “Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War;” “Tom Paine and Revolutionary America;” and “Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877,” which earned a Bancroft Prize, Parkman Prize, and Los Angeles Times Book Award.

In addition to his books, Foner has written for The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and other publications, and appeared on television and radio shows, including “Charlie Rose,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “The Colbert Report,” “Fresh Air,” and “All Things Considered.”

Ohio Wesleyan’s annual Smith Lecture is named in honor of emeritus history professor Richard W. Smith, and each year features a national Civil War scholar. Past lecturers in the series, which began in 2002, have included Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James M. McPherson and U.S. Civil War expert Gary Gallagher of the University of Virginia.

Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 47 states and 57 countries. Ohio Wesleyan was named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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