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The 2023 Arizona Author Series Dives Into the Role of the West in the Civil War

PhoenixResearcher Megan Kate Nelson will speak about her book, The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West, as part of the State of Arizona Research Library’s 2023 Arizona Author Series. The talk is at 1 p.m. MST, Thursday, January 5, and will be held virtually on Zoom. Attendees are encouraged to register at https://azsos.libcal.com/calendar/starl/jan2023 to receive the link to the presentation. After the talk, there will be time for questions from the audience.

 

 

The publisher, Simon and Schuster, provides this summary:

“Against the backdrop of this larger series of battles, Nelson introduces nine individuals: John R. Baylor, a Texas legislator who established the Confederate Territory of Arizona; Louisa Hawkins Canby, a Union Army wife who nursed Confederate soldiers back to health in Santa Fe; James Carleton, a professional soldier who engineered campaigns against Navajos and Apaches; Kit Carson, a famous frontiersman who led a regiment of volunteers against the Texans, Navajos, Kiowas, and Comanches; Juanita, a Navajo weaver who resisted Union campaigns against her people; Bill Davidson, a soldier who fought in all of the Confederacy’s major battles in New Mexico; Alonzo Ickis, an Iowa-born gold miner who fought on the side of the Union; John Clark, a friend of Abraham Lincoln’s who embraced the Republican vision for the West as New Mexico’s surveyor-general; and Mangas Coloradas, a revered Chiricahua Apache chief who worked to expand Apache territory in Arizona.

As we learn how these nine charismatic individuals fought for self-determination and control of the region, we also see the importance of individual actions in the midst of a larger military conflict. Based on letters and diaries, military records and oral histories, and photographs and maps from the time, “this history of invasions, battles, and forced migration shapes the United States to this day—and has never been told so well” (Pulitzer Prize–winning author T.J. Stiles).”

The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West was a finalist for the 2021 Pulitzer Price in History and winner of the 2021 Emerging Civil War Book Award. You can read The Three-Cornered War and similar titles for free on Reading Arizona.  

Megan Kate Nelson is a historian and writer, with a BA from Harvard and a PhD in American Studies from the University of Iowa. She is the author of four books: Saving Yellowstone: Exploration and Preservation in Reconstruction America (Scribner 2022); The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West (Scribner 2020; finalist for the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in History); Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War (Georgia, 2012); and Trembling Earth: A Cultural History of the Okefenokee Swamp (Georgia, 2005). She writes about the Civil War, the U.S. West, and American culture for The New York TimesWashington PostThe AtlanticSmithsonian Magazine, and TIME. Before leaving academia to write full-time in 2014, she taught U.S. history and American Studies at Texas Tech University, Cal State Fullerton, Harvard, and Brown. She grew up in Colorado but now lives outside Boston with her husband and two cats. 

 


This is a virtual presentation. For more information, contact the State of Arizona Research Library at 602-926-3870 or visit the website at https://azsos.libcal.com/. The library also provides information on Facebook and Twitter.

This program is supported by the Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records, a division of the Secretary of State, with federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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