Beginning with the May 2011 issue of Our State and coinciding with the 150th Anniversary of the start of the Civil War in North Carolina, Philip Gerard began a series of stories chronicling life in the Old North State during the Civil War. Gerard’s focus for the series is more personal and more thematic than a catalog of campaigns – addressing the lives of the common soldier, the families left behind, the slaves and free blacks caught in the cultural sea change wrought by the war.

Philip Gerard sat down with Mike Collins, host of WFAE’s Charlotte Talks program, to discuss the Our State series and the Civil War itself. Listen to the entire interview here.

More about Philip Gerard

Philip Gerard is the author of two historical novels set in North Carolina: Hatteras Light and Cape Fear Rising. He has just completed a novel about Paul Revere and his famous ride on the eve of the American Revolution.

Gerard’s nonfiction books explore topics as varied as the history of the schooner yacht Brilliant (Brilliant Passage) and the adventures of a top-secret band of artists and engineers who staged a campaign of deception against the Germans in World War II (Secret Soldiers), which led to multiple appearances on The History Channel’s military series, “From Tactical to Practical.”

Gerard is the chairman of the department of creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He lectures widely on the art and craft of writing history-based stories. His book, Creative Nonfiction: Researching and Crafting Stories of Real Life, is a standard in college classrooms across the country.

His writer’s credo: “I believe in the writer as a witness to evil, as a reporter of injustice, as a chronicler of human compassion, even on occasion of greatness, as one whose skills illuminate the Truth with a capital T, without irony. I believe it is the job of the writer to put into words what is worst — and also what is best — about us. To light up our possibilities, discover the finest lives to which we can aspire, and to inspire our readers to greatness of soul and heart.”

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