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Home:  >News & Events   >News Archives   >2002
John Marszaleck, Mississippi State historian, named ‘best speaker’ by national organization

June 10, 2002

John F. Marszaleck

STARKVILLE, Miss. — An award-winning Mississippi State historian recognized for his diverse publications now is receiving honors for his speaking skills.

John F. Marszalek, author of 11 books and more than 150 articles, recently was voted the highest-rated speaker for the Lincoln Forum, a national Gettysburg, Pa., gathering of scholars interested in Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War.

Forum chairman Frank J. Williams, chief justice of the Rhode Island supreme court, said Marszalek joins a distinguished group recognized by the six-year-old professional body.

“Previous audience favorites have included historians Craig Symonds, Jeff Shaara, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Jack Davis,” he said. “All combine scholarship, creativity, enthusiasm, and energy to engage and excite their audiences.”

Based on evaluations by this year’s forum participants, Marszalek rated 9.33 on a 10-point scale. Symonds, a historian at the U.S. Naval Academy, was second at 9.24. Marszelek’s presentation focused on the subject of a forthcoming book about the life of Union Army commander and chief of staff Gen. Henry Halleck.

A Lincoln Forum charter member, Marszalek recently was appointed to a 15-member national advisory committee for the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial celebration in 2009.

One of the top William L. Giles Distinguished Professors since 1994, Marszalek concludes a 29-year MSU faculty career with retirement on June 30. During his career in Starkville, he has written Assault at West Point: The Court Martial of Johnson Whitaker, which became a Showtime cable movie.

Two of his other books — The Petticoat Affair and Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order — were main selections of the History Book Club. In addition, Petticoat Affair won the Southeastern Library Association’s Non-Fiction Award and Sherman was a featured alternate selection of the Book of the Month Club.

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