Public historians write for a general audience. Their job is to be true to academic standards while telling a compelling story. They make sense of the past for those living in the present. Bruce Catton was master of the craft. His Civil War is marked by insight and compassion, and reads like high drama. The same could be said of Rick Atkinson’s Liberation Trilogy Guns at Last Light tells the familiar story of D-Day and the Bulge but Army at Dawn brings alive the less well known but savage fighting in North Africa (his new book, The British are Coming, will be here soon). Jean Edward Smith began his career as an academic, but branched out into popular biogrpahy. His profiles of Grant and Eisenhower are excellent
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Quotable“The precise role of the artist is to illuminate that darkness, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of our purpose, which is to make the world a more human dwelling place.” James Baldwin