Vandiver, Frank E(verson) 1925-

views updated

VANDIVER, Frank E(verson) 1925-

PERSONAL: Born December 9, 1925, in Austin, TX; son of Harry Schultz (a mathematician) and Maude Folmsbee (Everson) Vandiver; married Carol Sue Smith (died, 1979); married Renee Aubry Carmody, 1980; children: (first marriage) Nita, Nancy, Frank Alexander. Education: University of Texas, M.A., 1949; Tulane University, Ph.D., 1951.

ADDRESSES: Office—The Mosher Institute of International Policy Studies, Texas A&M University, 2400 TAMU Blocker Bldg., College Station, TX 77843-2400. Agent—Paul R. Reynolds, Inc., 12 East 41st St., New York, NY 10017. E-mail—[email protected].

CAREER: United States Civil Service, San Antonio, TX, historian, 1944-45; Air Force historian, Montgomery, AL, 1951-52; Washington University, St. Louis, MO, instructor, 1952-53, assistant professor of history, 1953-55; Rice University, Houston, TX, assistant professor, 1955-56, associate professor, 1956-58, professor of history, 1958-65, Harrison Masterson, Jr. Professor of History, 1965-79, chair of department of history and political science, 1962, chair of department of history, 1968-69, master of Margaret Root Brown College, 1964-66, acting president of University, 1969-70, provost, 1970-79, vice president, 1975-79; North Texas State University, Denton, president, 1979-81; Texas A & M University, College Station, president, 1981-88, president emeritus, 1988—; Mosher Institute for International Policy Studies, institute program director, 1988—; Harmsworth Professor of American History,Oxford University, 1963-64; visiting professor of military history, United States Military Academy, 1973-74; Fortenbaugh Lecturer, Gettysburg College, 1974. Member of advisory council, Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of the Army, 1969-74; executive director, American Revolution Bicentennial Commission of Texas, 1970-72; chairman of the board, 1992-98, acting interim president, 1997-98, The American University in Cairo, Egypt; Member of board of trustees, United States Commission on Military History.

MEMBER: American Historical Association, Society of American Historians (fellow; councilor, 1966; member of board of directors, 1969—), Organization of American Historians, P.E.N., National Council of the Humanities (vice chair, 1976-78), White House Historical Society, Jefferson Davis Association (president, 1963—), Confederate Memorial Literary Society, Southern Historical Association (vice president, 1974-75; president, 1975-76), Texas State Historical Association (fellow), Texas Institute of Letters (president, 1960-62), Bicentennial Association of Texas (president, 1972-73), Philosophical Society of Texas (president, 1977-78), San Jacinto Museum of History Association (member of board of trustees, 1975—), Cosmos Club.

AWARDS, HONORS: Rockefeller fellow, 1946-48; Guggenheim fellow, 1955; Carr Collins Prize from Texas Institute of Letters, 1958, for Mighty Stonewall: American Philosophical Society research grants, 1954, 1955, and 1960; honorary degree from Oxford University, 1963; Harry S. Truman Award from Kansas City Civil War Round Table, 1966; Jefferson Davis Award from Confederate Memorial Literary Society, 1970, and Fletcher Pratt Award from New York Civil War Round Table, 1971, for Their Tattered Flags: The Epic of the Confederacy; Regent's Award from Lincoln Academy of Illinois, 1973; outstanding civilian service medal from Department of the Army, 1974; Americanism Award from Sons of the American Revolution, 1974; outstanding graduate alumnus award, Tulane University, 1974; George R. Brown Award from Rice University, 1975 and 1978; honorary doctorate from Austin College, 1977, Lincoln College, 1989; award from Grand Order of Filippo Mazzi, 1978; National Book Award nomination, 1978, for Black Jack: The Life and Times of John J. Pershing; Best Book Award from Texas Books in Review, 1978, for Black Jack: The Life and Times of John J. Pershing; Friends of the Dallas Public Library Award, Texas Institute of Letters, 1978, for Black Jack: The Life and Times of John J. Pershing; T. Harry Williams Memorial Award, 1985; Ima Hogg Award, 1992; President's Medal, The American University of Cairo, 1999.


Ploughshares into Swords: Josiah Gorgas and Confederate Ordnance, University of Texas Press (Arlington, TX), 1952, new edition, Texas A & M University Press (College Station, TX), 1994.

Rebel Brass: The Confederate Command System, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 1956.

Mighty Stonewall, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1957.

Jubal's Raid: General Early's Famous Attack on Washington in 1864, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY) 1960.

(With W. H. Nelson) Fields of Glory: A Pictorial Narrative of American Wars, Dutton (New York, NY), 1960.

Basic History of the Confederacy, Van Nostrand (New York, NY), 1962.

The Making of a President: Jefferson Davis, 1861, Virginia Civil War Commission (Richmond, VA), 1962.

The First Public War, 1861-1865 (address before the conference of the Public Relations Society of America), Foundation for Public Relations Research and Education (New York, NY), 1962.

Jefferson Davis and the Confederate State, Clarendon Press (New York, NY), 1964.

(With others) John J. Pershing, Silver Burdett (New York, NY), 1967.

Their Tattered Flags: The Epic of the Confederacy, Harper's Magazine Press (New York, NY), 1970.

The Southwest: South or West? (from an address delivered to the annual meeting of the Southern Historical Association, Dallas, TX, 1974), drawings by Jo Alys Downs, Texas A&M University Press (College Station, TX), 1975.

Black Jack: The Life and Times of John J. Pershing, Texas A&M Press (College Station, TX), 1977.

The Long Loom of Lincoln (from a lecture delivered at the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory in Fort Wayne, IN, 1986), Louis A. Warren Lincoln Library and Museum (Fort Wayne, IN), 1987.

(With J. C. Martin, W. T. Kendall, and James Kochan) Texas Forever!! The Paintings, Oak Creek Press (Sedona, AZ), 1990.

Blood Brothers: A Short History of the Civil War, Texas A&M University Press (College Station, TX), 1992.

(Author of foreword) The Diaries of Josiah Gorgas, New Edition, edited by Sarah Wiggins, University of Alabama Press (Tuscaloosa, AL), 1995.

Civil War Battlefields and Landmarks: A Guide to the National Park Sites (with official National Park Service maps), Random House (New York, NY), 1996.

Shadows of Vietnam: Lyndon Johnson's Wars, Texas A&M University Press (College Station, TX), 1997.

1001 Things Everyone Should Know about the Civil War, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1999.

(Author of foreword) Jill Edwards, editor, Al-Alamein Revisited: The Battle of Al Alamein and its Historical Implications, American University of Cairo (Cairo, Egypt), 2000.

(Author of foreword) James Hannah, editor, The Great War Reader, Texas A&M University Press (College Station, TX), 2000.

1001 Things Everyone Should Know about World War II, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 2002, paperback edition, 2003.


The Civil War Diary of General Josiah Gorgas, University of Alabama Press (Tuscaloosa, AL), 1947.

Confederate Blockade-Running through Bermuda, 1861-1865, University of Texas Press (Arlington, TX) 1947.

Joseph E. Johnston, Narrative of Military Operations, University of Indiana Press (Bloomington, IN), 1959.

Jubal A. Early, War Memoirs, University of Indiana Press (Bloomington, IN), 1960.

The Idea of the South, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 1964.

Contributor to books, including The American Tragedy: The Civil War in Retrospect, Hampden-Sydney College Press (Hampden-Sydney, VA), 1959; Lincoln for the Ages, edited by R. G. Newman, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1960; (with Martin Hardwick Hall and Homer L. Kerr) Essays on the American Civil War, edited by William F. Holmes and Harold M. Hollingsworth, introduction by E. C. Barksdale, University of Texas (Arlington, TX), 1968.

Contributor of articles about American and European military history to American People's Encyclopedia, 1952, Encyclopedia Americana, 1960, 1963, World Book, 1961, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1963, Encyclopedia of World Biography, 1972, Dictionary of American Biography, 1972, New Book of Knowledge, 1974, and Encyclopedia of Southern History, 1978. Also contributor of more than sixty additional articles to historical journals, and of more than one hundred book reviews to New York Times, New York Herald Tribune, Saturday Review, and historical journals. Associate editor, Journal of Southern History, 1959-62. Chief advisory editor, The Papers of Jefferson Davis, 1963—; member of editorial advisory board, The Papers of U. S. Grant, 1977—.

ADAPTATIONS: Some of the author's works have been adapted for audio cassette.

SIDELIGHTS: Frank E. Vandiver has long been a student of military and southern history, and his numerous books reflect this interest and fascination. Several of his books are biographies of great leaders and men of power. For example, Vandiver's book Mighty Stonewall is "a definitive biography of the great military genius," according to a reviewer for Kirkus Reviews. "This will stand out as a brilliant study of strategy and tactics in those campaigns in which the army of the Shenandoah bore the brunt. . . . Vandiver, a Texan, has done an exacting job of scholarship. . . . his will appeal primarily to that large market of avid armchair strategists who demand exact reportage of battles and campaigns and the men who fought them." H. T. Kane of the Chicago Sunday Tribune called the book "a major historical work, a brilliantly successful one. . . . The author is that comparative rarity, a professor who writes like a writer, with zest and deep capacity."

Vandiver is also frequently praised for his objectivity and fairness in reporting and interpreting facts. His book Their Tattered Flags: The Epic of the Confederacy, "which is intended to redress the slight, tries to atone for the literary syrup as well as the pedantry that has smothered the Confederates," E. M. Thomas commented in Saturday Review. "It attempts to compensate for the ahistorical ax-grinding that too often has glorified the inglorious, castigated the noble, and ignored the human qualities of the Confederate experience. And it succeeds. Vandiver has written a balanced, brilliant, literate history that Confederates themselves might recognize as their own. . . . The author weaved description and analysis together with a narrative that flows. Not only does [he] sketch his myriad characters masterfully, he allows them to develop with the course of events. . . . [This book] is a monumental achievement."

In 1978 Vandiver's Black Jack: The Life and Times of John J. Pershing was nominated for the National Book Award. Black Jack is a biography of General John J. Pershing, the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. Reviewers and readers alike were impressed with Vandiver's thoroughness, honesty, and accuracy, as well as with his ability to bring Pershing to life. A critic for Publishers Weekly, impressed with the research Vandiver prepared for Black Jack, observed that the book contains "more than 1,000 pages of text, a 22-page bibliography and hundreds of footnotes." "An eminent military historian," Library Journal reviewer Michel Ridgeway wrote, "Vandiver has written what may safely be described as a definitive biography of General Pershing. There is much to praise in this publication: the scholarship is extremely thorough, impeccably though not obstrusively, footnoted; the prose is lucid and readable; and the illustrations and maps are well-chosen. The portrait of Pershing that emerges is as honest and complete as could be done." Philip Terzian also appreciated Vandiver's biography of Pershing. He remarked in the New Republic: "This is one of the finest biographies that has been written of an American general, a masterful account of a military career that is both broad and deep. It is difficult to sew together the threads of character and events and to humanize the image of a totem like Pershing, but Vandiver has succeeded, and stylishly, too."

In Shadows of Vietnam: Lyndon Johnson's Wars, Vandiver "cultivates the challenging ground between scholarly and popular history," according to Richard Moser in the Historian. Vandiver drew on memoirs, oral history, archives, and secondary sources to reconstruct Lyndon Johnson's years in the White House and as commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces. In addition to providing a detailed portrait of Johnson, Vandiver also presents Johnson's advisors and military personnel. Vandiver portrays Johnson's dilemma: despite calls for a wider war in Vietnam, he was haunted by the danger of sparking a nuclear holocaust. In the end, as Moser commented, "despite political prowess and the possession of unprecedented public power, Johnson became another casualty of the war in Vietnam." Vandiver shows how this happened, giving readers insight into Johnson's character as well as into events of the time. In Presidential Studies Quarterly, Robert Previch wrote, "If you want to know precisely what went wrong in Vietnam, this is the book for you," and Previch noted, "What makes it so special is the author's ability to take the reader back to the events as they were happening."

Asked by Broadway Books to participate in the popular and acclaimed "1001 Things Everyone Ought to Know" series, Vandiver wrote 1001 Things Everyone Should Know about the Civil War and 1001 Things Everyone Should Know about World War II. The books are organized chronologically and form highly readable, entertaining works of reference for both the generalist and the enthusiast.



America, January 17, 1998, Wilson Miscamble, review of Shadows of Vietnam: Lyndon Johnson's Wars, p. 22.

Booklist, October 15, 1992, review of Blood Brothers: A Short History of the Civil War, p. 400; June 1, 1995, Joseph Keppler, review of Voices of Valor: Words of the Civil War, p. 1803; May 15, 1997, Margaret Flanagan review of Shadows of Vietnam, p. 1560.

Book Week, May 10, 1964.

Choice, October, 1968; October, 1997, review of Shadows of Vietnam, p. 359.

Civil War Book Review, summer, 1997, review of 1001 Things Everyone Should Know about the Civil War, p. 15.

Civil War History, June, 1997, Ethan Rafuse, review of Civil War Battlefields and Landmarks: A Guide to the National Park Sites, p. 161.

Historian, spring, 1999, Richard Moser, review of Shadows of Vietnam, p. 691.

Journal of American History, March, 1994, review of Blood Brothers, p. 1475; October, 1993, p. 720.

Journal of Military History, October, 1993, review of Blood Brothers, p. 720; July, 1998, review of Shadows of Vietnam, p. 679.

Journal of Southern History, May, 1994, review of Blood Brothers, p. 401; May, 1997, review of Civil War Battlefields and Landmarks, p. 462.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 1957; March 1, 1997, review of Shadows of Vietnam, p. 369.

Library Journal, February 1, 1970; October 1, 1977; October 15, 1992, review of Blood Brothers, p. 400; May 1, 2002, Mel Lane, review of 1001 Things Everyone Should Know about World War II, p. 92.

Marine Corps Gazette, October, 1997, review of Shadows of Vietnam, p. 70.

Military Review, May/June 1998, review of Shadows of Vietnam, p. 96.

New Republic, July 9, 1977.

New York Times Book Review, October 18, 1970.

Pacific Historical Review, February, 1999, Robert McMahon, review of Shadows of Vietnam, p. 131.

Presidential Studies Quarterly, fall, 1997, Robert Previdi, review of Shadows of Vietnam, p. 839.

Publishers Weekly, April 18, 1977; September 14, 1992, p. 118; April 7, 1997, review of Shadows of Vietnam, p. 84; September 14, 1992, review of Blood Brothers, p. 118.

Reference and Research Book News, February, 1995, review of Rebel Brass: The Confederate Command System, p. 12; March, 1995, review of Ploughshares into Swords: Josiah Gorgas and Confederate Ordnance, p. 13.

Saturday Review, March 28, 1970.

Social Science Quarterly, December, 1989, review of Mighty Stonewall, p. 1007.

Virginia Quarterly Review, spring, 1995, review of Ploughshares into Swords, p. 69.


Houston Chronicle Online, (August 21, 2002), Lynwood Abram, review of Shadows of Vietnam: Lyndon Johnson's Wars.

About this article

Vandiver, Frank E(verson) 1925-

Updated About content Print Article