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Michael O’BrienThe Letters of C. Vann Woodward

Yale University Press, 2013

by Dan Kilbride on February 5, 2014

Michael O'Brien

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Few historians have influenced their field the way that C. Vann Woodward (1908-99) changed the writing of southern history. First at Johns Hopkins and then at Yale, Woodward's books, reviews, and mentoring turned southern history into one of the most dynamic fields of historical scholarship. These letters, edited by Michael O'Brien of Jesus College, Cambridge University, follow Woodward from his early, hesitant steps into academia to his rise to the top of the historical establishment — an establishment whose moves toward multiculturalism and specialization he came to question. Woodward was a deeply private man, and while these letters focus on his professional life they nevertheless showcase the wit, humanity, and unselfishness for which he was renowned.

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