Thomas Fleming: Chosen as new president of the Society of American Historians

Historians in the News

Thomas Fleming was elected president of the Society of American Historians at the organization’s annual dinner at the Harvard Club on May 7, succeeding Eric Foner of Columbia University The Society’s membership includes both academic historians and professional writers of American history such as Mr. Fleming. The SAH was founded in 1939 by Allan Nevins and several fellow historians to promote literary distinction in the writing of history and biography. Membership is by invitation only and is limited to 250 historians and 16 publishers. Among previous presidents are David McCullough, Kenneth Jackson and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

Mr. Fleming has written more than a dozen books about the American Revolution, including highly praised biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, graphic accounts of key battles such as Now We Are Enemies, (Bunker Hill) and Beat the Last Drum (Yorktown) as well as a compelling narrative of the entire war, Liberty! The American Revolution. Three of Mr. Fleming’s nonfiction books have won the annual award of the American Revolution Round Table of New York as the best book of the year. On October 1, Smithsonian Books, a division of HarperCollins, will publish his latest book, The Perils of Peace, America’s Struggle to Survive after Yorktown.

Mr. Fleming has also written extensively on other periods of American history. These books include West Point, The Men and Times of the U.S. Military Academy, The New Dealers’ War, FDR and the War Within World War II and The Illusion of Victory, America in World War I. He writes frequently for American Heritage, Military History, and MHQ, the Quarterly Journal of Military History, where he a contributing editor.

Fleming’s novels include an eight book series based on a powerful American family, the Stapletons, which takes readers through two centuries of American history. His 1981 novel, The Officers’ Wives, about three West Pointers in the Korean and Vietnam wars, was an international best seller., as was his 1987 novel, Time and Tide, about a U.S. Navy cruiser haunted by her captain’s supposed cowardice in the Pacific during World War II .

Fleming is a former president of the American Center of PEN. He is currently the senior scholar at the American Revolution Center at Valley Forge. In 2002, Boston University gave him its Barack Award for lifetime achievement in American history. His article on West Pointers in the Mexican War won the Army History Foundation’s annual award in 2003. In March of this year, the U.S. State Department invited him to lecture in Vienna on the Civil War as part of its Distinguished Author series. Mr. Fleming lives in New York with his wife, Alice, a noted author of books for young readers.

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