Where are you from?
Grew up in Watertown, NY; I now live in Albany, NY.
Who are your favorite writers?
Which book/books have had the biggest influence on your writing?
John Hope Franklin, The Militant South
John Hope Franklin, From Slavery to Freedom
David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture
Eric Foner, Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men
David Potter, The Impending Crisis
What are your hobbies and outside interests?
Baseball, wine, food.
What is the single best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
Save frequently, back everything up.
What is your favorite quote?
"That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
What is the question most commonly asked by your readers? What is the answer?
Question: What is your favorite baseball team?
Answer: The Brooklyn Dodgers, who have not lost a game in more than half a century. But, I also follow the Yankees.
What inspired you to write your first book?
It was in response to a question in graduate school. A professor doubted Lincoln could have been serious when he said in his House Divided Speech that "we shall awake to the reality instead, that the Supreme Court has made Illinois a slave State." I believed these was a real possibility and studied the problem of slave transit in free states. The result was my dissertation and my first book An Imperfect Union: Slavery, Federalism, and Comity.
Where do you write?
At home, on planes, on trains, in my office.
Paul Finkelman; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Sean Wilentz, General Editors
The oddly named president whose shortsightedness and stubbornness fractured the nation and sowed the seeds of civil warIn the summer of 1850, America was at a terrible crossroads. Congress...