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America’s Leading Historian on the First Thanksgiving and Faith

America’s Leading Historian on the First Thanksgiving and Faith November 29, 2014

We recently had the great honor of talking with Dr. R. Tracy McKenzie about his book The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us about Loving God and Learning from History. Read my review of Tracy’s book here.

Robert Tracy McKenzie, chair of department of history, Wheaton College
Robert Tracy McKenzie, chair of department of history, Wheaton College

Tracy McKenzie is professor and chair of the Department of History at Wheaton College. His book The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us about Loving God and Learning from History was released last year from Intervarsity Press. The book explores the Pilgrims’ celebration of the first Thanksgiving, which is a keystone of America’s national and spiritual identity. But is what we’ve been taught about them or their harvest feast what actually happened? And if not, what difference does it make?

Tracy is also the author of One South or Many? Plantation Belt and Upcountry in Civil War-Era Tennessee (Cambridge University Press) and Lincolnites and Rebels: A Divided Town in the American Civil War (Oxford University Press).  He is president of the Conference on Faith and History, a national association of Christian historians, and he blogs at Faith and History, where he engages the church in reflection about how to think Christianly about our national heritage.

Civil War buffs might be interested in McKenzie’s approach to Civil War reflection. Here’s a video recording of his keynote lecture at the Civil War and Sacred Ground Conference, sponsored by the Raven Foundation and the Center for Applied Christian Ethics (CACE) at Wheaton.

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