Peter Wallenstein: Collaborates with students on book about Virginia history





A Virginia Tech history professor has recently released a book detailing the account of Virginia’s history.

The book, entitled “Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History,” was written by Peter Wallenstein and is the first account of modern history of Virginia written by a historian.

The book is also the product of a collaborative effort from his fall 2005 university Honors Program colloquium, consisting of nine undergraduate students. The students were brought together from a variety of majors and grade levels and researched, wrote and aided Wallenstein.

Wallenstein said the class began with an email from the office manager who schedules classes which asked him to teach a colloquium class for honors students. Hesitant at first, Wallenstein decided to make the class curriculum in an effort to help him write a book about Virginia history.

“(The class description) started with a little question: written any good books lately?” Wallenstein said. “Turned out none of them had.”

The book begins with Roanoke Island, even before Jamestown, and follows history all the way until “the day after tomorrow,” Wallenstein said. Only two books have been previously written about modern Virginia history, and they were published in the 1970s. One book was authored by a literature historian, and the other by a journalist.

“There was never a book that I wanted to use in class; there was always a problem that there was nothing I could use,” Wallenstein said. “This is the book that I would want to use in my class.”...



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