MSU Libraries book talk features acclaimed Civil War scholar and author

Contact: Pattye Archer

Portrait of Yael Sternhell in front of a bookcase
Yael Sternhell (Photo submitted)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University has become a critical resource for scholars of the Civil War and this week is hosting a timely and important live webinar and book talk with scholar and author Yael Sternhell.

The Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana and the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, along with the MSU Libraries, will host the live book talk and question-and-answer session this Tuesday [Feb. 6] at noon CST. 

“MSU’s two premier Civil War collections are partnering to bring related scholarly content to the public. In the webinar format, we are bringing this scholarship and discussion to an audience beyond the Starkville and MSU communities,” said Anne Marshall, executive director of the Grant Presidential Library.

“People can tune in from anywhere. It also allows us to engage with an excellent scholar who is located half a world away. This event is targeted to anyone who enjoys U.S. history, and especially the Civil War era,” she added.

Sternhell is a professor in both the Department of History and Department of English and American Studies at Tel Aviv University. Her interests include modern African American history, the South from Civil War to civil rights, knowledge and power in the historical archive, and new reading in the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Sternhell’s new book “War on Record: The Archive and Afterlife of the Civil War” (Yale University Press, 2023) examines the creation of “The War of the Rebellion: The Official Records of the Union and the Confederate Armies.” Known as the “OR,” scholars and citizens consider this collection of documents the defining source for the study of the Civil War, according to MSU’s Susannah J. Ural, chair of the Williams Collection of Lincolniana.

Ural said that in “War on Record,” Sternhell looks at who decided what to include and exclude in the OR, and how these records shaped and mis-shaped Americans’ understanding of the Civil War.

“‘The Official Records of the War of the Rebellion’ is the foundational source for nearly anything written about Civil War military history. Yet, scholars and the public know little about the political battles behind its creation,” Ural said. “Dr. Sternhell tells this story in her fascinating book, and we’re excited to have her share this with attendees.”

Registration is required at for this online event. For more information, call 662-325-7668.