Prologue: "The Last Battleground: The Civil War Comes to North Carolina" with Philip Gerard

May 2, 2019


Monday, June 10th

The MC Erny Gallery

See it on Facebook Live.


On Monday, June 10th, at NOON in the MC Erny Gallery, Ben Steelman of Wilmington's StarNews will sit down with author Philip Gerard to discuss his latest book, "The Last Battleground: The Civil War Comes to North Carolina."

To understand the long march of events in North Carolina from secession to surrender is to understand the entire Civil War--a personal war waged by Confederates and Unionists, free blacks and the enslaved, farm women and plantation belles, Cherokees and mountaineers, conscripts and volunteers, gentleman officers and poor privates. In the state's complex loyalties, its sprawling and diverse geography, and its dual role as a home front and a battlefield, North Carolina embodies the essence of the whole epic struggle in all its terrible glory.

Philip Gerard presents this dramatic convergence of events through the stories of the individuals who endured them--reporting the war as if it were happening in the present rather than with settled hindsight--to capture the dreadful suspense of lives caught up in a conflict whose ending had not yet been written. As Gerard reveals, whatever the grand political causes for war, whatever great battles decided its outcome, and however abstract it might seem to readers a century and a half later, the war was always personal.


Philip Gerard was born in 1955 and grew up in Newark, Delaware. At the University of Delaware, he earned a B.A. in English and Anthropology. After college he lived in Burlington, Vermont, tending bar and writing freelance articles, before returning to newspaper work in Delaware and then going west to study fiction writing at the Arizona writers workshop. He taught at Arizona State University until 1986, then taught for a brief time at Lake Forest College in Illinois before migrating to coastal North Carolina.

He teaches in the BFA and MFA Programs of the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He is co-editor with his wife, Jill Gerard, of Chautauqua, the literary journal of the Chautauqua Institution, and serves on the faculty of Goucher College's summer residency MFA program in Creative Nonfiction. He has written pver a dozen books of fiction and nonfiction. Gerard, an avid musician, incorporates bluegrass, folk, country, and original compositions into his readings, playing six and twelve-string guitar, dobro, banjo, and pedal steel guitar.