Department of History hosts Pulitzer Prize-winning author for annual Sid Easley Lecture
By Aviva Yasgur | Aug 16, 2023
MURRAY, Ky. – The Department of History at Murray State University is pleased to host author David Maraniss for the seventh annual Sid Easley Lecture on Thursday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. in the Curris Center Ballroom.
The Department of History’s lecture series is named in honor of Sid Easley, Murray State alumnus, former Murray State University Board of Regents chair, the first Golden Horseshoe Award recipient and long-time supporter of the Murray State Department of History. Thanks to the generosity of the Easley family, the lecture is free and open to the public, with a book signing and dessert reception to follow sponsored by Easley, Ernstberger, Perlow & Naber PLLC.
David Maraniss is a New York Times best-selling author, fellow of the Society of American Historians, and visiting distinguished professor at Vanderbilt University. He has been affiliated with the Washington Post for more than forty years as an editor and writer, and twice won Pulitzer Prizes at the newspaper. In 1993, he received the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for his coverage of Bill Clinton, and in 2007 he was part of a team that won a Pulitzer for coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting.
Among his 13 bestselling books are biographies of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Roberto Clemente, and Vince Lombardi, and a trilogy about the 1960s— “Rome 1960;” “Once in a Great City,” winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Book Prize; and “They Marched into Sunlight,” winner of the J. Anthony Lukas Prize and Pulitzer Finalist in History.
Maraniss’s lecture at Murray State will be titled "Path Lit By Lightning: The Life of Jim Thorpe –Using the Drama of Sports to Illuminate Social History," based on his latest biography of Thorpe, a Native American from the Sac and Fox Indian Tribe who was arguably the world's greatest athlete. Thorpe won gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, was an All-American football player at the Carlisle Indian School, the star of the first class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and played Major League Baseball for John McGraw’s New York Giants. His life was also troubled by alcohol, broken marriages, lost opportunities and financial distress.
In his review of “Path Lit by Lightning,” Howard Bryant, author of “The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron,” wrote, “In different hands I might be dubious, but David Maraniss revives the titanic Jim Thorpe for a new generation with a surgeon’s care, the diligence of a great researcher, and the poignance and humanity that is the signature of his writing. ‘Path Lit By Lightning’ is a masterful look at this country’s first super-athlete, unflinching from what conquest did to his people, from the rousing and bittersweet journey of fame and identity, nor from an American century often far less heroic than the book’s protagonist. It’s simply brilliant.”
For more information about the event, contact Dr. Jim Humphreys, Department of History at email@example.com or Kala Allen-Dunn, Office of Development at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Department of History, visit murraystate.edu/history.
Gifts to support the Sid Easley lecture fund may be made online at murraystate.edu/giving or by check made payable to the Murray State University Foundation and mailed to the Murray State Office of Development at 200 Heritage Hall, Murray, KY 42071.