Granted the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama, Edward L. Ayers is one of the preeminent 19th century history writers today. His works are frequently honored as finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and his new book “The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America” is the follow-up to the Bancroft Prize-winning “In the Presence of Mine Enemies.” Ayers is Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and president emeritus at the University of Richmond.
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