James McPherson was born in North Dakota and raised in Minnesota, where he graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1958. He received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1963. From 1962 to his retirement in 2004 he taught at Princeton University, where he is currently the George Henry Davis '86 Professor of American History Emeritus. Several of his books on the era of the American Civil War have won prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize (1989) for Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era and two Lincoln Prizes (1998 and 2009) for For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War and Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief. He has been associated with battlefield preservation since he first joined the board of the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites back in 1990. He has served as president of the Society of American Historians and of the American Historical Association. He is currently working on a book about Jefferson Davis as Commander in Chief.