Dr. Joan Waugh will discuss her book, “U.S. Grant, American Hero, American Myth”. Professor Joan Waugh of the UCLA History Department researches and writes about nineteenth century America, specializing in the Civil War, Reconstruction and Gilded Age eras. Waugh has published many essays on Civil War topics. Chosen as main selection by the History Book Club, U.S. Grant, American Hero, American Myth was awarded the Jefferson Davis Book Prize from the Museum of the Confederacy and the William Hendry Seward Award for Excellence in Civil War Biography from the Civil War Forum of Metropolitan New York. Other books include Unsentimental Reformer: The Life of Josephine Shaw Lowell (Harvard University, 1998); The Memory of the Civil War in American Culture (University of North Carolina Press, 2004), and Wars Within A War: Controversy and Conflict Over the American Civil War (Uni9versity of North Carolina Press, 2009) Professor Waugh is often invited to give public lectures about the Civil War. She has been interviewed for many documentaries, including the PBS series, "American Experience" on Ulysses S. Grant first shown in 2002. Dr. Waugh teaches the "Civil War and Reconstruction," and "Gilded Age America, 1865-1900" lectures courses, and has been honored with three teaching prizes, including UCLA's prestigious Distinguished Teaching Award.
At the far end of the National Mall, far from the Lincoln Memorial, is another memorial to a Civil War leader with one word written on the pedestal: “Grant”. One word was all that was needed to identify the horseman in 1922 when the statue was erected. “Thus we have the question that stands at the heart of Joan Waugh's exceptionally thoughtful and valuable book: ‘Why did Grant's star shine so brightly for Americans of his own day, and why has it been eclipsed so completely for Americans since at least the mid-twentieth century?’ Though there can be no final, definitive answer to either part of the question, Waugh, professor of history at UCLA, provides intelligent, plausible suggestions. Not merely that, but at a time when too many professional historians employ unintelligible academic jargon, she writes clear prose that is readily accessible to the serious general reader.” (from: Jonathan Yardley, “The Forgotten Warrior”.)