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Ohio Wesleyan to Host Military History Expert Oct. 1
Craig L. Symonds to Discuss Abraham Lincoln, Role of Navy Admirals in Civil War

September 22, 2009

Craig L. Symonds
Photo courtesy of Craig L. Symonds
DELAWARE, OH – Noted author and military history scholar Craig L. Symonds will discuss “Lincoln and His Admirals” when he presents Ohio Wesleyan University’s 2009 Richard W. Smith Lecture at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1 in Gray Chapel in University Hall, 61 S. Sandusky St., Delaware.

In 2008, Symonds published “Lincoln and His Admirals: Abraham Lincoln, the U.S. Navy, and the Civil War,” which garnered critical acclaim and earned him a 2009 Lincoln Prize, one of the most prominent awards in the United States for 19th century American history.

In discussing the project, Symonds has said: “There are so many books about Lincoln. There are tens of thousands of books. But nobody wrote about his relationship with the Navy.”

That relationship included the establishment of the rank of admiral and vice-admiral and the realization of a president that he had limited knowledge about war fought on water. “What this book is about is Lincoln’s management,” Symonds has said. “Lincoln’s great gift was the fact that he could deal with people with almost no ego investment of his own. It is his ability to suppress his ego.”

Symonds is a professor emeritus of history at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he taught naval history and Civil War history for 30 years. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Los Angeles, and both his master’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Florida.

Now retired, Symonds is in great demand as a Civil War-era speaker. He has participated in round tables in 27 states and two foreign countries, given tours of battlefields and other historical sites, and helped conduct leadership workshops based on the life of Abraham Lincoln.

In addition to “Lincoln and His Admirals,” Symonds has written nearly a dozen other acclaimed books including “Decision at Sea: Five Naval Battles that Shaped American History” and “The Civil War at Sea.” His books have won the Barondess/Lincoln Prize, the Daniel M. and Marilyn W. Laney Prize, the S.A. Cunningham Award for Literary Accomplishment, the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize, and the John Lyman Book Award.

Ohio Wesleyan’s annual Smith Lecture is named in honor of emeritus history professor Richard W. Smith, and each year features a national Civil War scholar. Past lecturers in the series, which began in 2002, include Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James M. McPherson of Princeton University and John Y. Simon, Ph.D., executive director of the Ulysses S. Grant Association.

Ohio Wesleyan University is an undergraduate liberal arts college that transforms the lives of its students through a combination of rigorous academics, mentoring relationships, and real-world experiences. Featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” the private university’s 1,850 students come from 45 states and 39 countries. Visit www.owu.edu for more information.