Drew Faust: Academia's big hit

Historians in the News

"This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War," the roundly acclaimed new book from Harvard University president Drew Gilpin Faust, is also a fast-rising bestseller.

With 35,000 copies sold since early January, the scholarly book has vaulted to seventh on the New York Times nonfiction list and recently climbed to 30th on the Amazon.com bestseller list, mainly populated by works of pop-culture icons John Grisham, James Patterson, Stephen King, and an array of self-help guides.

Those are strange bedfellows for a book academics hail as a major historical breakthrough. That is a clear sign that Faust's work has accomplished the rare feat of bridging the steep divide between the ivory tower and mainstream readers. Its commercial success has caught the eye of publishers and academics alike, who say its brisk sales and widespread public attention are strikingly rare for an academic, and nearly with out precedent for a sitting university president.

Knopf, the book's publisher, said it had returned to press six times to meet the unexpected demand, with 50,000 copies now in print.

Read entire article at Boston Globe

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