In his own words

A Brief Self-Serving Bio

I’m a journalist turned historical reporter:

  • 1956–1973, staff correspondent and bureau chief on The Christian Science Monitor. Honors included the American Bar Association’s 1972 Silver Gavel Award for the best national reporting, for a series on American prisons.
  • 1973–1976, media specialist on the staff of Republican Vice President Nelson Rockefeller of New York.
  • 1983–1988, press secretary to Democratic U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico.
  • Since 1989, writing about history full-time — books on the Civil War era.

Covering the past is not unlike covering the present, except all my sources are dead (I prefer it that way). It also means I can return to my favorite century, the 19th, on a daily basis.

Between stints in the newspaper and political worlds, and since, I’ve contributed to periodicals, including Civil War History, American Heritage, Civil War Times Illustrated, Columbiad, The Washington Post Book World, The New York Times, The New Republic, The Nation, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald American, and Country Magazine.

Over the years I’ve also been a consultant to various organizations — National Archives and Records Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Atlantic Richfield Company, President’s Council on Environmental Quality, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), and West Virginia Public Radio.

My first book, The Class of 1846, published in 1994, won the New York Civil War Round Table’s Fletcher Pratt Literary Award for the best non-fiction book of that year.

I have now written 12 books since flunking retirement in 1989. And I ain’t done yet. I have discovered over the years that if you put one word after another long enough, they add up.

I was born in California, reared in Arizona, and now live in North Texas. I’m a product of the Tucson public schools and the University of Arizona (1951, journalism major, history minor) plus graduate work in history and political science at UCLA and St. Johns College. I’m married to Kathleen Dianne Lively, a social work administrator and a Texan. We have two grown children, Daniel, a lawyer in Providence, Rhode Island, recently retired, and Eliza, a teacher in Austin, Texas, and four grandchildren.