Robert S. McElvaine
Robert S. McElvaine is Elizabeth Chisholm Professor of Arts and Letters and Chair of the Department of History at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, where he has taught for more than thirty years. specializes in aspects of twentieth-century American history, emphasizing cultural, political, and sexual and gender history, and teaches courses on American culture in decades of twentieth-century America. He is the author of six books and the editor of three: Down and Out in the Great Depression: Letters from the "Forgotten Man" (North Carolina, 1983); The Great Depression: America, 1929-1941 (Times Books, 1984, 1993); The End of the Conservative Era: Liberalism After Reagan (Arbor House, 1987); Mario Cuomo: A Biography (Scribners, 1988); What's Left?: A New Democratic Vision for America (Adams, 1996); The Great Depression: A History in Documents, (Oxford University Press, 2000); Eve's Seed: Biology, the Sexes, and the Course of History (McGraw-Hill, 2001, paper, 2002), Franklin Delano Roosevelt (CQ Press, 2002), and Editor-in-Chief of the two-volume Encyclopedia of the Great Depression (Macmillan Reference, 2004).
His essay, "One Depression, Two Remedies," serves as the introduction to the chapter on the 1930s in Life: Our Century in Pictures (Little-Brown, 1999). His two earlier books on the Depression era have become standards in the field, acclaimed by historians and general readers alike. The Great Depression has been called "the best one-volume overview of the Great Depression." Two of his books have been named among the "Notable Books of the Year" by the New York Times Book Review, and three have been listed among the Editor's Choice "Bear in Mind" books in that publication.
McElvaine's articles and opinion pieces appear frequently in such publications as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Times Book Review, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, and Newsweek. More than a hundred of his articles have been published, some 60 of them in major national publications. He has been a guest on approximately 60 television and radio programs, including NBC's Today, ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, NBC Nightly News, National Public Radio's All Things Considered and Morning Edition, and BBC television and radio.
Professor McElvaine has served as historical consultant for several television programs, including the seven-episode PBS series The Great Depression. He has received many awards for his teaching, including a silver medal in the national Professor of the Year program of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and being named Millsaps College's Distinguished Professor in 2001. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching named him the State Professor of the Year for Mississippi in 2002.
McElvaine spent more than a decade developing a new expertise in several fields, including anthropology, human evolution, ancient history, and women's history, in order to put himself in a position to offer a reinterpretation of the significance of sex in the unfolding of human history. He has lectured to enthusiastic audiences around the United States and in Russia, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, and South Africa on his ideas about the central influence on human history of various misconceptions and metaphors about sex that form the basis of Eve's Seed. The book has received glowing comments from both general readers and academics, including a starred review in Publishers' Weekly. Joyce Appleby's review in the Los Angeles Times Book Review begins: "Eve's Seed is a bestseller waiting to be discovered: a package of sex, science and species' vanity nicely wrapped in sparkling prose." His ideas were also featured in an article in the Arts & Ideas section of the New York Times. The Los Angeles Times Book Review named Eve's Seed one of the "Best Books of 2001." A Chinese edition of the book was published in 2004.