Links: My Family in American History

ISBN 10: 0813037948 / ISBN 13: 9780813037943
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Synopsis: Sometimes you can go home again

“Combining the objectivity of the historian with the personal insights of a son, Bill Link has written an engaging account of his father, the eminent historian Arthur Link, and his mother, Margaret, a scholar in her own right and who with devotion and kindness raised a family of four children.  Along the way we encounter Senators George McGovern and Bill Bradley, students of the elder Link, as well as his dear friend and colleague the iconic historian John Hope Franklin.  Anyone interested in the American South, the history profession, the politics of higher education, and the triumphs and tragedies of a notable American family will want to read this book.”—Steven F. Lawson, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University

Links is a beautifully evocative, richly detailed account of the personal histories and half-century-long partnership of Margaret and Arthur Link, two remarkable individuals who happen to be the parents of the highly accomplished, clear-eyed, deeply insightful author.”—Nancy Weiss Malkiel, Princeton University

“The story of two remarkable people and their journey through life, of how they formed a unique partnership, based on a deep love and mutual respect, that enabled Arthur Link to become one of the most productive and accomplished historians of his generation.”—Charles E. Neu, Brown University

Arthur Link (1920–1998) was one of the great historians of his generation, a prolific author with a wide following inside and outside the profession. For many years the foremost authority on Woodrow Wilson, he wrote a five-volume biography of the president and edited a sixty-nine volume edition of Wilson’s papers.
     Margaret Link (1918–1996), his wife and fellow North Carolinian, was the emotional core of the family. As an activist, she helped form an interdenominational crisis ministry in Princeton that reached out to the poor with counseling, clothing, and food, and she was a cofounder and president of the Association for the Advancement of Mental Health.
     In Links, their youngest son—an accomplished and award-winning historian—offers a moving and unsentimental biography of two individuals who experienced the intense change and tumult of the South during the mid-twentieth century. Drawing from a rich trove of letters, interviews with friends and family, and unique insights, Link offers a highly detailed, evocative portrait of the coming of age and lifelong partnership of his parents. Links combines the objectivity and critical judgment of the professional historian with the subjectivity and deep emotional connection of the memoirist who participated directly in part of the story. 

From the Inside Flap:

Arthur Link (1920–1998) was one of the great historians of his generation, a prolific author with a wide following inside and outside the profession. For many years the foremost authority on Woodrow Wilson, he wrote a five-volume biography of the president and edited a sixty-nine volume edition of Wilson’s papers.

            Margaret Link (1918–1996), his wife and fellow North Carolinian, was the emotional core of the family. As an activist, she helped form an interdenominational crisis ministry in Princeton that reached out to the poor with counseling, clothing, and food, and she was a cofounder and president of the Association for the Advancement of Mental Health.

            Both from the South, Margaret and Arthur moved north, took up entirely different existences, and abandoned parochial, small-town life. Yet they never questioned the bedrock values of their upbringing, persistently expressed a strong identity as southerners, and spent their lives engaging with and inquiring about the world around them.

In Links, their youngest son—himself an accomplished and award-winning historian—offers a moving and unsentimental biography of two individuals who experienced the intense change and tumult of the South during the mid-twentieth century. He uses the lives of his parents as examples of how World War II, segregation, and the Cold War forever transformed the South and Southerners.

Drawing from a rich trove of letters, interviews with friends and family, and unique insights, William Link offers a highly detailed, evocative portrait of the coming of age and lifelong partnership of his parents. Links combines the objectivity and critical judgment of the professional historian with the subjectivity and deep emotional connection of the memoirist who participated directly in part of the story.

Stretching from North Carolina to Princeton, New Jersey, and from Evanston, Illinois, to Oxford, England, Links connects past and present, north and south, parents and child.

William A. Link is the Richard J. Milbauer Professor of History at the University of Florida. He is the author of numerous books, including William Friday: Power and Purpose in American Higher Education and Righteous Warrior: Jesse Helms and the Rise of Modern Conservatism.

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