The Past’s Presence

11 May 2023
6:30 pm
Strand Book Store

Historians’ work unearthing the past offers invaluable revelations about the landscape of modern American politics. With the freedom to tell authentic histories under attack in schools across America, thoughtful, informed conversations about the way we communicate our past are more essential than ever. With nearly a dozen acclaimed biographies and texts on American history between them, Stacy Schiff and Heather Cox Richardson understand the nuances of how analysis and interpretation shape the creation of our histories and give clarity to our present. Pulitzer Prize winner Schiff’s newest biography, The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams is an honest and unflinching portrait of this revolutionary figure, proving Schiff’s mastery of building balanced and nuanced historical narratives. Heather Cox Richardson’s How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America mines our country’s founding “paradox”—of democracy built on oppression. These two esteemed historians bring to PEN World Voices a compelling conversation surrounding the impact of historical narrative, the chilling ways educational gag orders could abridge and obscure historical record—and how we might keep telling these most essential of stories.

Stacy Schiff
Heather Cox Richardson