Ayers, Edward L(ynn) 1953-

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AYERS, Edward L(ynn) 1953-

PERSONAL: Born January 22, 1953, in Asheville, NC; son of Tom (an automobile salesman) and Billie L. (a teacher; maiden name, Buckner) Ayers; married Abby Brown, August 24, 1974; children: Nathaniel. Education: University of Tennessee, Knoxville, B.A., 1974; Yale University, M.A., 1977, Ph.D., 1980.

ADDRESSES: Home—1770 Dudley Mountain Road, Charlottesville, VA 22901. Office—Department of History, 201 Randall Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: University of Virginia, Charlottesville, assistant professor of history, 1980-86, associate professor of history, 1986-90, professor of history, 1990-92, Hugh P. Kelly professor of history, 1993—, dean of the college and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 2001—.

MEMBER: Organization of American Historians, American Historical Association, Southern Historical Association, Phi Beta Kappa.

AWARDS, HONORS: Grant from American Philosophical Society, 1984; fellow of National Endowment for the Humanities, 1985; finalist for Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, 1993; member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2000; winner of the E-Lincoln Prize of the Gilder-Lehrman/Gettysburg College Center on the Civil War; winner of the J. Franklin Jameson Prize of the American Historical Association; National Professor of the Year, 2003, Carnegie Foundation.

WRITINGS:

Vengeance and Justice: Crime and Punishment in the Nineteenth-Century American South, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1984.

(Editor, with John C. Willis) The Edge of the South: Life in Nineteenth-Century Virginia, University Press of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA), 1991.

The Promise of the New South: Life after Reconstruction, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1992.

Southern Crossing: A History of the American South, 1877-1906, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1995.

(With others) All Over the Map: Rethinking American Regions, John Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1996.

(Editor, with Bradley C. Mittendorf) The Oxford Book of the American South: Testimony, Memory, and Fiction, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1997.

(Editor) A House Divided: A Century of Great Civil War Quotations, Wiley (New York, NY), 1997.

Momentous Events in Small Places: The Coming of the Civil War in Two American Communities, Marquette University Press (Milwaukee, WI), 1997.

(With others) American Passages: A History of the United States, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2000, 2nd edition, Thomson/Wadsworth (Belmont, CA), 2004.

(With Robert Weise) U.S. History Documents Collection to Accompany American Passages: A History of the United States, Harcourt (New York, NY), 2000.

(With Anne S. Rubin) Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War, Norton (New York, NY), 2000.

In the Presence of Mine Enemies: War in the Heart of America, 1859-1863 (Volume 1 of "The Valley of the Shadow" series), Norton (New York, NY), 2003.

WORK IN PROGRESS: What Caused the Civil War and Other Essays, publication by Norton expected in 2005; Volume 2 of "The Valley of the Shadow" series.

SIDELIGHTS: Edward L. Ayers is a historian whose area of expertise is the American South. His books on this subject include Vengeance and Justice: Crime and Punishment in the Nineteenth-Century American South, The Promise of the New South: Life after Reconstruction, and In the Presence of Mine Enemies: War in the Heart of America, 1859-1863. Ayers once told CA: "History appeals to me because it tries, at its best, to understand the totality of a society—something no other social science or humanistic study even attempts. I am drawn to American Southern history in particular because the South is so complex and enigmatic, and because the Southern past has been filled with so much suffering and triumph over suffering. Both of those conditions have a great deal to teach us."

To demonstrate the very different effect that the Civil War had on the North and South, Ayers examined the history of two communities that stand fairly close geographically, but which experienced the war and its aftermath very differently. Augusta County, Virginia, and Franklin County, Pennsylvania, are only about two hundred miles apart, lying at either end of the Shenandoah Valley, separated by the Mason-Dixon line. The two localities shared many similarities before the war. During and after the conflict, however, great differences developed between them. In his book In the Presence of Mine Enemies, Ayers focuses on the public events of the time and the ways they affected the everyday life of these two areas. An Atlantic Monthly reviewer, Benjamin Schwarz, found the book's juxtaposition of large and small events "sometimes engrossing," yet he found that at times the author's "narrative ambitions exceed his writerly abilities." This view was not shared by Gilbert Taylor of Booklist, who wrote that "Ayers unfolds this historical process with penetrating analysis and relevant quotations, emphasizing the anxiety, excitement, and misery that the war provoked." In the Presence of Mine Enemies was also highly recommended by Carver Edwards, who in a Library Journal review called it an "original and gracefully written work, based on exhaustive primary research," and added that it "should be required reading for Civil War enthusiasts and scholars alike."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, February, 1985, D. Bruce Dickson, Jr., review of Vengeance and Justice: Crime and Punishment in the Nineteenth-Century American South, p. 217; June, 1993, Steven M. Stowe, review of The Promise of the New South: Life after Reconstruction, p. 951; October, 2001, Stephen V. Ash, review of Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War, p. 1319.

Atlantic Monthly, December, 1997, review of Oxford Book of the American South: Testimony, Memory, and Fiction, pp. 117-126; July-August, 2003, Benjamin Schwarz, review of In the Presence of Mine Enemies: War in the Heart of America, 1859-1863, p. 128.

Booklist, May 1, 1997, Brad Hooper, review of Oxford Book of the American South, p. 1475; July, 2003, Gilbert Taylor, review of In the Presence of Mine Enemies, p. 1859.

Journal of American History, March, 1985, David J. Bodenhamer, review of Vengeance and Justice, p. 882; March, 1993, Richard Lowe, review of The Edge of the South: Life in Nineteenth-Century Virginia, p. 1599; September, 1993, Earl Lewis, review of The Promise of the New South, p. 697; December, 1996, John L. Thomas, review of All Over the Map: Rethinking American Regions, p. 985.

Journal of Southern History, February, 1993, Mitchell Snay, review of The Edge of the South, p. 126; August, 1993, Howard N. Rabinowitz, review of The Promise of the New South, p. 505; February, 1997, Carl Abbott, review of All Over the Map, p. 217; May, 2003, Richard Lowe, review of Valley of the Shadow, p. 428.

Library Journal, July, 1992, Charles K. Piehl, review of The Promise of the New South, p. 98; April 15, 1997, Charles C. Hay III, review of Oxford Book of the American South, p. 82; June 15, 2003, John Carver Edwards, review of In the Presence of Mine Enemies, p. 84.

New York Review of Books, March 25, 1993, George M. Frederickson, review of The Promise of the New South, p. 40.

New York Times Book Review, August 30, 1992, Pete Daniel, review of The Promise of the New South, p. 18.

Publishers Weekly, December 23, 1983, review of Vengeance and Justice, p. 48; May 26, 2003, review of In the Presence of Mine Enemies, p. 57.

Social Science Quarterly, Randall K. Wilson, review of All Over the Map, p. 1023.

Washington Post, November 17, 1992, Ken Ringle, "Historian of the Unsung South," p. D1.