Garry Wills: Historian Speaks on Gettysburg

Historians in the News

It’s not often that students hear a speech about a speech, especially not one given nearly 150 years ago.
But last night at Zellerbach Hall, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Garry Wills argued that Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address remains as relevant in the 21st century as it was during the Civil War.

Speaking to about 600 people, Wills discussed his book, “Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America,” touching on the religious and political circumstances that surrounded the president and his famous speech.

“This too is a time of great trouble in many ways. ... There have been some hellish things about religion and politics lately,” Wills said. “Lincoln was always trying to calm people down in times of religious fervor. He tried to expel fanaticism in times of war.”

Wills’ book is featured this year in UC Berkeley’s On the Same Page program. Around 6,000 copies were mailed to incoming freshmen and transfer students over the summer with the goal of stimulating campuswide discussion of a single literary work, program organizers said.

The book garnered a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award more than a decade ago.
Read entire article at Daily Californian (Berkely student newspaper)

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