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Bruce Catton (1899 – 1978) was the Founding Editor of American Heritage and arguably the most prolific and popular of all Civil War historians. He wrote an astonishing 167 articles for the magazine, and won a Pulitzer Prize for history in 1954 for A Stillness at Appomattox, his study of the final campaign of the war in Virginia.
"There is a near-magic power of imagination in Catton's work that seemed to project him physically into the battlefields, along the dusty roads and to the campfires of another age," wrote Oliver Jensen, who succeeded him as American Heritage's Editor.
Catton was offered the editorship of American Heritage in 1954 and helped define its style of “narrative history.” In the first issue, he wrote: "We intend to deal with that great, unfinished and illogically inspiring story of the American people doing, being and becoming. Our American heritage is greater than any one of us. It can express itself in very homely truths; in the end it can lift up our eyes beyond the glow in the sunset skies."
Among Catton’s books were: The War Lords of Washington (1948), Mr. Lincoln's Army (1951), Glory Road (1952), U. S. Grant and the American Military Tradition (1954), Banners at Shenandoah: A Story of Sheridan's Fighting Cavalry (1955), This Hallowed Ground (1956), America Goes to War (1958), The American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War (1960), The American Heritage Short History of the Civil War (1960), The Coming Fury (1961), Terrible Swift Sword (1963), Two Roads to Sumter (1963), Never Call Retreat (1965), Grant Moves South (1960), Four Days: The Historical Record of The Death Of President Kennedy (1964), Grant Takes Command (1969), Waiting for the Morning Train (1972), Gettysburg: The Final Fury (1974), Michigan: A Bicentennial History (1976), and The Bold & Magnificent Dream: America's Founding Years, 1492–1815 (1978).
Catton received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, from Pres. Gerald Ford, in 1977, the year before his death. Ford noted that the historian "made us hear the sounds of battle and cherish peace."