An Evening with Brenda Wineapple F'97 on Her Latest Book "The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation"

02/21/2020

On Thursday, February 19, 2020, more than 40 ACLS fellows, Board members, learned society leaders, and friends gathered for a timely talk on politics and society.

Ann Fabian, professor emerita of history at Rutgers University and ACLS Board Secretary, hosted an intimate evening in her home in New York City which featured a discussion with celebrated author Brenda Wineapple F’97 about her latest book The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation (2019, Random House).

In a lively conversation with Fabian, Wineapple shared how she started writing the book nearly seven years ago, long before the historic impeachment of President Donald Trump.

“I wanted to know why there wasn’t more on this topic – the first U.S. President to ever be impeached – and how that moment in time has impacted our country to this day,” she shared.

While the timing of the publication of her book seems opportune, Wineapple was quick to note that her original intention was always to shed light on the history of Johnson’s case and how popular and even scholarly history has mostly failed in its accurate retelling. She shared of her wariness and discouragement around calls for her to participate in punditry on the Trump impeachment, as well as her desire for more people to understand and learn from what was a case steeped in racism and political deal making, rather than a simplistic good versus evil instance, as it has been most often portrayed.

“While ACLS did not invest in this project, it has certainly invested in Brenda,” Fabian mentioned.

“And I’ve benefited from that support through the years!” Wineapple concurred.

ACLS President Joy Connolly added a reminder that the evening’s event was just one of the many ways ACLS helps strengthens the humanities and social sciences and promotes a broader understanding of its scholarship as essential to coloring the important conversations facing our world today.

ACLS plans to hold additional events that invite open reflection on the work of past and present fellows. Sign up to receive invitations to future events using the form at the bottom of this page.


(L-R) ACLS Board Secretary and professor emerita of history at Rutgers University, Ann Fabian; author Brenda Wineapple F’97; and ACLS President Joy Connolly.



ACLS Board Treasurer and Joseph Straus Professor of Political Philosophy and Legal Theory at Columbia University Michele Moody-Adams and bestselling author and New York University Distinguished Scholar in Residence Jennifer Homans.

(L-R) Barnard College Professor of History Marc Carnes F’86; New York University Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, Cristina Beltrán; and author Matthew Budman.


(L-R) Former ACLS Vice President Steven Wheatley; American Schools of Oriental Research Executive Director Andrew Vaughn; and ACLS President Joy Connolly.

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Associate professor of history and American studies at Fordham University Kirsten Swinth F’07 and artist Pamela Talese. 



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  • Author Martin Fridson and Anne Parsons Bender Professor of Music at Columbia University and former ACLS Board Member Elaine Sisman.
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Three-time ACLS Fellow Morris Rossabi F’82, ’78, ’74 (left) and World History Association Executive Director Kerry Vieira (center) were among the many guests enjoying the discussion with author Brenda Wineapple F’97.
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