George and Ann RichardsCivil War Era Center

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Carol Reardon
Carol Reardon

Carol Reardon

George Winfree Professor Emeritus of American History
118A Pond Lab, University Park , PA 16802

I am an American military historian with especially strong interests in the Civil War and Vietnam eras. Since I believe that the study of war requires an understanding of its political and social context–and not merely the operation of armies or combat on the field of battle–I encourage the integration of history’s various subdisciplines in researching and writing about armed conflicts. In addition, I am interested in the evolution of professional military education, the evolution of doctrine, and military theory. My past research projects have used diverse approaches. I have studied the U.S. Army’s uses of military history in officer education, the interaction of the forces of ‘history’ and ‘memory’ during and after the Civil War to examine how Northerners and Southerners shaped their various perceptions of the ‘truth’ about ‘Pickett’s Charge.’ Using the members of a naval aviation squadron that flew against targets in North Vietnam in 1972–and their families at home–I reconstructed the history of that unit’s combat cruise and, at the same time, drew in the experiences of friends and family waiting at home during one of the most heated and controversial elements of that conflict’s air war. My next major project will be an extensive analysis of the military history of the Civil War’s Eastern theater, a volume for the University of North Carolina’s upcoming Littlefield Series. In addition to traditional classroom teaching, I am heavily involved in professional military education activities for all the various armed forces; I specialize in the conduct of ‘staff rides’ to Civil War battlefields, open-air classrooms that allow military personnel of all the various armed forces to discuss in historical context such essential elements of the art of war as leadership, logistics, and decision-making.


  • PhD, University of Kentucky, 1987
  • MA, University of South Carolina, 1980
  • BS, Allegheny College, 1974

Recent Publications:

Launch the Intruders: A Naval Attack Squadron in the Vietnam War, 1972. Lawrence: University of Kansas, 2005.

“William T. Sherman in Postwar Georgia’s Collective Memory, 1864-1914” in Joan Waugh and Gary W. Gallagher, eds., Wars within a War: Controversy and Conflict over the American Civil WarChapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2009), pp. 223-248.

Pickett’s Charge in History and Memory. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1997.

Soldiers and Scholars: The U.S. Army and the Uses of Military History, 1865-1920. Lawrence: University of Kansas, 1990.

Awards and Service:

Helen Dortch Longstreet Prize, Longstreet Society (2009)
Victor Gondos Memorial Service Award, Society for Military History (2009)
George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching, Penn State University (2007)
William Woods Hassler Award for Excellence in Civil War Education, Civil War Education Association (2004)

Research Interests:

US Military History