One of the world's most distinguished historians, C. Vann Woodward was born in Vanndale, Arkansas, and educated at Emory University and the University of North Carolina, where he received his Ph.D. in 1937. After teaching at Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Florida, and Scripps College for a time, in 1946 he joined the faculty at The Johns Hopkins University, where he began producing the many young Ph.D.s who have followed him into the profession. In 1961 he became Sterling Professor at Yale University, where he remains today as emeritus professor. He has been the Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities, Harmsworth Professor at Oxford University, and Commonwealth Lecturer at the University of London. Past president of all the major historical associations, he holds the Gold Medal of the National Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and is a member of the British Academy and the Royal Historical Society. His honors also include a Bancroft Prize for Origins of the New South, 1876--1913 (1951) and a 1982 Pulitzer Prize for Mary Chesnut's Civil War (1981). A premier historian of the American South and of race relations in the United States, Woodward studies the South in a way that sheds light on the human condition everywhere. In recent years he has turned his attention increasingly to comparative history.
Edward L. Ayers is the President of the University of Richmond. He was educated at the University of Tennessee and Yale University, where he received his Ph.D. in American Studies. Previously Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia, where he began teaching in 1980, Ayers was named National Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for the Support of Education in 2003. His book, IN THE PRESENCE OF MINE ENEMIES: WAR IN THE HEART OF AMERICA, 1859-1863 (2003), won the Bancroft Prize for distinguished work on the history of the United States. THE PROMISE OF THE NEW SOUTH: LIFE AFTER RECONSTRUCTION (1992) won prizes for the best book on the history of American race relations and on the history of the American South. It was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He is the co-editor of THE OXFORD BOOK OF THE AMERICAN SOUTH (1997) and ALL OVER THE MAP: RETHINKING AMERICAN REGIONS (1996). The World Wide Web version of "The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War" was recognized by the American Historical Association as the best aid to the teaching of history. His latest book is WHAT CAUSED THE CIVIL WAR? REFLECTIONS ON THE SOUTH AND SOUTHERN HISTORY (2005).