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American Inspiration Author Series

Steve Inskeep with Differ We Must

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Date and time
Tuesday, October 17, 2023

In this special Writing History event presented by American Ancestors in partnership with Massachusetts Historical Society, Steve Inskeep, the popular historian-author and host of NPR’s Morning Edition and Up First, discusses his new book, Differ We Must, a compelling and nuanced exploration of Abraham Lincoln’s political acumen. His presentation closes with an extended conversation about the hows and whys of writing about history.

The author of Jacksonland and Imperfect Union joins us to discuss his-just released work about Abraham Lincoln and his political times. In this fresh and compelling narrative, rich in detail and enlightening commentary, Steve Inskeep expands our understanding of the great politician, a man led by his moral compass, but also his priorities. He shows how many of Lincoln’s greatest acts came about through his engagement with people who disagreed with him.

Following Inskeep’s discussion of Lincoln and his new book, he engages in an extended conversation and Q+A session with Ryan Woods and Catherine Allgor about his process for writing histories and the importance of such story-telling. Past authors featured in the Writing History series include Nathaniel Philbrick, H. W. Brands, Eric Jay Dolin, and Stacy Schiff.

Presented by American Ancestors' American Inspiration author series in partnership with The Massachusetts Historical Society, GBH Forum Network, and Porter Square Books.

Ryan J. Woods is Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of American Ancestors/New England Historic Genealogical Society and is an appointed member of the Special Commission for the 250th Anniversary of The American Revolution in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He has played a key role in developing services and experiences to meet twenty-first-century research and information access requirements. He was the lead creator of AmericanAncestors.org, our award-winning website and the most-used genealogical society website in the world. He has fostered and managed important collaborations with commercial and nonprofit partners, including overseeing the recruitment of more than 1 billion searchable records to AmericanAncestors.org, and he was a lead staff member in the establishment of our Jewish Heritage Center. Currently, Ryan is focused on partnerships, and business planning for our headquarter expansion and the creation of a national visitor destination experience. A dedicated researcher, Ryan has authored pedagogical articles about the use of historical biographies to teach character and ethics. He has also contributed genealogical articles and several book forewords for historical and genealogical publications; he regularly presents at national historical and genealogical conferences and events. Ryan serves on several nonprofit boards and committees, including as Chairman of the Committee on Heraldry, as a member of the Committee on Pretensions of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Connecticut, as Secretary of the Society of Colonial Wars in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as a development committee member for Plymouth 400, as partner representative on the Mayor of Boston’s Green Ribbon Commission, and as immediate past-President of the Boston University School of Education Alumni Association. He is also a member of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants, the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Florida, and the Saint Nicholas Society of New York City.
The president of the Massachusetts Historical Society and is a noted historian, non-profit leader, and public history innovator.

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