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James Robertson Jr, Civil War Historian, dies at 89

Historians in the News
tags: Civil War, historian



James I. Robertson Jr., was an authority on the Civil War who published several dozen deeply researched books that humanized historical figures like Stonewall Jackson. He was an Alumni distinguished Professor of History at Virginia Tech. He died on Nov. 2 after a long illness. He was 89 years oldIn

James I. Robertson Jr., an authority on the Civil War who published several dozen deeply researched books that humanized historical figures like Stonewall Jackson, died Nov. 2 at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia. He was 89.

His wife, Elizabeth Lee Robertson, said the cause was complications of metastatic cancer. He had taught at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg for 44 years.

Robertson, who went by Bud, wrote books that appealed to general audiences as well as academics.

“History is human emotion,” he said in an interview for “Dr. Bud, The People’s Historian,” a documentary film scheduled to be released next year, and it “should be the most fascinating subject in the world.”

“You take away the humanization of history,” he added, “and you’ve got nothing but a bunch of boring facts, and history poorly taught is the worst, most boring subject in the world.”

Robertson wrote or edited many books about the Civil War, including “For Us the Living: The Civil War in Paintings and Eyewitness Accounts” (2010), which featured lavish illustrations by the artist Mort Kunstler; “Robert E. Lee: Virginian Soldier, American Citizen” (2005); and “General A.P. Hill: The Story of a Confederate Warrior” (1987).

His most lauded book was “Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend” (1997). More than 900 pages long, it was the product of seven years of research.

 

Read entire article at The New York Times

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