ECW Names Kolakowski as New Chief Historian

Kolakowski_ChrisEmerging Civil War (ECW) has chosen historian Christopher Kolakowski to serve as the organization’s next chief historian.

Kolakowski, who has been with ECW since May 2013, is the author of several books and, on the ECW blog, of a popular series called “Civil War Echoes.” He also currently serves on ECW’s editorial board and management team. By day, Kolakowski serves as director of the General Douglas MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, Virginia.

“Chris remains a World War II guy by day, overseeing what essentially amounts to a presidential library, considering MacArthur’s role in post-war reconstruction in the Pacific,” explains Chris Mackowski, ECW’s editor in chief, “but Chris remains a Civil War guy at heart. That’s where he cut his teeth, and that’s where he continues to return when the Second World War lets him. Best of all, he sees the clear connections and resonances between the two, which continue to echo on to today.” 

As chief historian, Kolakowski will oversee quality control for ECW’s historical content. That means he’ll review book manuscripts for both the award-winning Emerging Civil War Series published by Savas Beatie, and the new “Engaging the Civil War” Series published by Southern Illinois University Press. He’ll also help evaluate guest submissions for the blog.

“It’s important to help people stay connected with the story of the American Civil War, which is why Emerging Civil War’s mission is so important,” Kolakowski said. “We have a great team of historians, so it’s going to be a real pleasure to work with so many exciting people. I love our wide array of voices and ideas, which is ECW’s real strength.”

Another of Kolakowski’s responsibilities will include assisting with ECW’s efforts to develop emerging voices in the field of Civil War public history. “If we’re going to get more young people interested in history, then we need to do all we can to encourage more young historians help tell that history,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important to provide a platform for emerging voices. That’s what’s going to help keep the field fresh and people engaged.”

Kolakowski takes over as chief historian from ECW co-founder Kristopher D. White, who stepped down to take a position as the education manager for the Civil War Trust. White will continue to write for and collaborate with ECW as his duties at the Trust allow.

Kolakowski was born and raised in Fredericksburg, Va. He received his BA in History and Mass Communications from Emory & Henry College, and his MA in Public History from the State University of New York at Albany.

Kolakowski has spent his career interpreting and preserving American military history with the National Park Service, New York State government, the Rensselaer County (NY) Historical Society, the Civil War Preservation Trust, Kentucky State Parks, and the U.S. Army. He has written and spoken on various aspects of military history and leadership from 1775 to the present, and he is widely regarded as one of ECW’s most popular public speakers.

Kolakowski has published two books with the History Press: The Civil War at Perryville: Battling For the Bluegrass (2009) and The Stones River and Tullahoma Campaign: This Army Does Not Retreat (2011). In September 2016, the U.S. Army published his volume on the 1862 Virginia Campaigns as part of its sesquicentennial series on the Civil War. He has also written a study of the 1941-42 Philippine Campaign, Last Stand on Bataan (McFarland, 2016) and is currently at work on a book about the 1944 India-Burma Campaign in World War II.

20 Responses to ECW Names Kolakowski as New Chief Historian

    Another well deserved recognition and reward for a most deserving historian and friend.
    – Don K. –

  2. Congratulations to one of our Nation’s finest public historians. NCCWRT looks forward to a follow-up on your great presentation on Waddell and the journey of the Shenandoah.

  3. As somebody who studied World War II on my own for 20 years and a Michigan for my BA in history I was wondering if you had a specific area of study concerning World War II or have a know all of just about the entire War. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts I read and studied on World War II long after college until returning from overseas needing serious physical therapy and mental therapy from a concussion I had no idea you’re also an expert in this area Dr. Well I studied basically all areas for the first 10 to 12 years, I found myself drawn to the Eastern Front for the last five until a girlfriend mistakenly at the time bought me Shelby Ford trilogy and as they say 350 civil war books later the rest is history. I still keep up with new releases what are hot topics and the Second World War and I was wondering if you had any written books on the Second World War as you provide so much information on the Civil War. Either way congratulations and keep up the great work that you guys all do and women that actually make it fun to learn and debate

    1. Also if anyone is interested in taking a look at some World War II history books by far the best multi volume for beginners would be Churchills 7 volume World War II Opus which also allows you to see a lot from the inside. The best World War II book concerning the Nazi party the rise to the power from the early twenties all the way to their collapse but have to be will shire’s the rise and fall of the Third Reich. Although only written in 1965 which was only a mere 20 years after the war ended many historians told him it’s too soon to get a proper perspective on the war when in fact working as a radio broadcaster for America broadcasting the Hitler speeches and stuff he wanted to write it before there was no longer fresh as his memory. Well reading sires the rise and fall of the Third Reich it’s hard to keep your mind on the fact that this was he for lack of a better term civilized Western Country. He does in. Speeches with Von manstein and others who had such success against the Russians smuggled out of Germany in the early days after the war and for all intensive purposes set up what NATO response would be 2 a Russian attack in Europe which is really amazing thing to think about going from running the Nazis Eastern Front 2 running NATO. But I can’t congratulate you enough Chris, it’s one thing to be as brilliant as you are on so many aspects of the Civil War but to know as much as you do about all of history so amazing you are a brilliant man dr. Chris. So congratulations and I was wondering if you had any World War II books out I’m pretty much going to be on Civil War for pry least the next year working on what I got to do but I would love to read some of your writings pertaining to the Second World War. For anyone else reading this who wants to get their foot wet in the Second World War the seven volume Church sat while extensively long probably 700 to 800 pages per book it’s not minuscule tactical fights. Matter fact you might say it’s slightly biased in terms of when it comes to Montey he turns to skim over him( as he does in Montgomery’s operation Market Garden we’re not only did Monty fail with American airpower, American tanks, but Eisenhower and the shake of keeping everyone getting along siphoned off a large portion of Patton’s gas and their power to get Mani going which obviously had the other double effect of slowing Pat and down) but if it’s anything in North Africa Churchill will make sure Montey and is 8 Army are given all the credit LOL. But if you love for you to come how can you not love Churchill probably the best 20th century War leader in the West. Either way that’s a ton of info dr. Chris and I’m really happy and proud for you that says a lot about you. Do you happen to have a similar World War blog by any chance and it’s not do you plan on publishing any of the ECW type books that you and many authors did for the Civil War? Cuz I just think the more Wars you’re involved with the better understanding the next Generations going to have of them. God bless and good luck and I hope it doesn’t cut into your time on this site cuz I love your articles and I love your pieces dr. Chris happy holidays everyone

      1. Added to my b-day list and ×-mas list. Can’t wait to read it Dr. Chris and that’s what very few historians can do: motivate people to run out, purchase, and read history.

      2. It’s great how you set it up, if you ever get the time or desire between the carrier battle groups, Gen. Mac. Coming back you can turn it into a 3-4 volume series.

  4. Dr. Chris your on your way if not there already of beiing the “go to historian”. Your hard work and persistance are going to continue to propell you to the most well known historian this country has produced in decades-i’m really proud knowing someone doing so much for America. Big-time congradulations and continued success Dr. Chris, I’m really proud to be apart of your blog????…Can’t wait to check out your Philipines book now ( who doesn’t love the mariana turkey shoot!!!)

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