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Authors & Writing Tradition

Authors & Writing Tradition

Many of America’s most famous historians over the past 60 years have appeared in the pages of American Heritage. Founding Editor Bruce Catton, who won a Pulitzer Prize for the Civil War classic, Stillness at Appomattox, set the tone for distinguished, literate and highly-readable essays. Allen Nevins, the much admired chairman of Columbia’s History Department and longtime chair of the American Heritage Advisory Board, helped bring a seriousness of purpose to the magazine’s writing.

In our archives, you will find then-sitting president John F. Kennedy musing about the importance of studying history. Or Herbert Hoover’s inside revelations on how he advised Woodrow Wilson during the difficult treaty negotiations at the end of World War I.

Many famous books began as essays in American Heritage. For example,


  • David McCullough wrote about the Johnstown flood in our pages while an American Heritage editor, which led to publication of his first major book.
  • Walter Lord’s piece on the Titanic sinking later became A Night to Remember.
  • The film Seabiscuit originated as an article by Laura Hillenbrand entitled “Four Good Legs Between Us” in the July/August 1998 issue.

      In just the last three years, the magazine has published writing by the following historians (* indicates Pulitzer Prize winner):

      Tom Allen
      David Blight
      Douglas Brinkley
      Richard Brookhiser
      James MacGregor Burns*
      Edwin G. Burrows*
      Colin Calloway
      Robert Dallek*
      Sally Denton
      Joe Ellis*
      David Hackett Fischer*
      Thomas Fleming
      Eric Foner
      Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
      Newt Gingrich
      William H. Goetzmann*
      Annette Gordon-Reed*
      Alan Greenspan
      Harold Holzer
      James O. Horton
      Daniel W. Howe*
      Stanley Karnow
      William Kelso
      David M. Kennedy*
      Edward Lengel
      James Loewen
      John Lukacs
      David McCullough*
      James McPherson*
      Nathaniel Philbrick
      Elizabeth Pryor
      Willard S. Randall
      Robert Remini
      James Ronda
      James Swanson
      Alan Taylor
      Bernard Weisberger
      Jay Winik
      Gordon Wood*

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