Former history professor discusses book

Crofts’s book details topics related to the Civil War. (David Colby / Photo Assistant)
Crofts’s book details topics related to the Civil War. (David Colby / Photo Assistant)

By Natalie Nunez
Correspondent

Daniel W. Crofts, a former history professor at the College, held a student panel discussion on his book, “Lincoln and the Politics of Slavery: The Other 13th Amendment and the Struggle to Save the Union,” on Thursday, April 21, in room 106 of Loser Hall.

The panelists — all former students of Crofts who helped edit the book — offered their critiques of Crofts’s novel and raved about how amazing and inspiring Crofts was as a professor. They also spoke about the impact he had on their experiences at the College.

In his book, Crofts said he made a point to depict history in a realistic sense, as opposed to portraying what students are typically taught in their textbooks. 

“We are admirers of Lincoln,” Crofts said when discussing what history meant to him.

The panelists had positive feedback about Crofts’s depiction of history.

“(The book is) the perfect combination between the familiar and unfamiliar in history,” panelist and senior secondary education and history dual major Stephanie Pappas said.

The hidden history that most people do not know is the part that stood out the most to Crofts’s students after reading the book. It pushed them to “search for a history that Americans can be proud of,” panelist and senior elementary education and history double major Sarah Drozd said.

In his book, Crofts highlighted many key aspects of the Civil War and offered a new side of history that most people would never tell.

Each student in his Fall 2013 class, HIS 460, Reading Seminar in History: Modern North America (Abraham Lincoln), read the book in manuscript form and Crofts took each student’s opinion into consideration when revising. He made a point to take notes regarding what his students wanted to see in the final form of the book.

Crofts’s book also provides a detailed physical description and background for all of the significant historical figures during the Civil War.

“As a historian, I believe we cannot underestimate the lesser known figures who played such big roles,” Drozd said.

Drozd, along with the other panelists, believed their involvement with this book taught them the importance of questioning history, and that their participation in the panel brought a new understanding of the time period and how they will learn about history in the future.