News Archive 2009-2018

Bowdoin’s Rael on Newly Released ‘Joshua Chamberlain: A Life in Letters’ Archives

"Joshua L Chamberlain: A Life in Letters" by Thomas Desjardin


A new book about Joshua Chamberlain, Medal of Honor-winning hero of Gettysburg, governor of Maine and president of the College, has just been released. Joshua Chamberlain: A Life in Letters is edited by historian Thomas Desjardin, who taught a Civil War course at the College in 2006.

“Tom Desjardin has accomplished something remarkable, excavating afresh treasures from the heavily mined Chamberlain archive,” says Associate Professor of History Patrick Rael in a review.

“Scholars, fans, aficionados – indeed, anyone interested in the Civil War – will learn much about one of Maine’s favorite sons and a hero to many Americans. The Chamberlain uncovered in these pages is no stereotype, but a complex man, whose virtues and failings vastly enrich our portrait of him. With sensitivity and wit, Desjardin offers us a new Chamberlain-perhaps less heroic than the one we know, but ultimately far more human. In the process, he adds much to our understanding not just of the Civil War, but of American life in the Victorian era.”

The book includes a forward by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson.