Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sean Wilentz Gets His Act Together, Finally

Having criticized Sean Wilentz about six months ago for not having gotten around even to scheduling the release of a biography of President Millard Fillmore in the American Presidents Series, I'll give the devil his due: the volume has now at last been scheduled. The release date is May 10, 2011.

The choice of author is interesting: legal historian Paul Finkelman of Albany, most of whose writings focus on race and slavery-related topics. Will Prof. Finkelman simply rake Millard over the coals for his endorsement and signature of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, or adopt a more nuanced view? We'll find out in due course.

UPDATE: In the comments, Prof. Finkelman explains that Prof. Wilentz was not responsible for the delay in the release of the Fillmore volume.


  1. I write in defense of Sean Wilentz and the timing of the Fillmore book in his series. My father passed away just as I was beginning this book, and as a result my work was delayed. We had both hoped the book would have been out sooner.

    Paul Finkelman
    President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy
    Albany Law School
    Albany, NY

    *This is being posted from my daughter's Google account, as I do not have one.

  2. Prof. Finkelman,

    Thanks for your response - and my condolences for your loss. I'm looking forward to the book.


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