Ouachita Baptist University’s Dr. Chris Mortenson received the 2019 American Book Fest “Best Book” Award in the “History: United States” category for the book “Daily Life of U.S. Soldiers: From the American Revolution to the Iraq War.”
Mortenson, chair of the OBU Department of History, co-edited the book with Paul J. Springer.
Released in June 2019, “Daily Life of U.S. Soldiers” is a three-volume reference work that explores the lives of American soldiers, as well as the role of minorities and women, chronologically by war from the American Revolution to 21st century conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Each conflict is also broken down into topical sections addressing different aspects of life in the military such as recruitment, training, weaponry, compensation and the myriad issues of veterans. The book can be purchased from the publisher, ABC-CLIO, or through Amazon.
“While there are a few books about the lives of soldiers in individual wars that can go into more depth, providing depth with breadth on the subject of the lives of American soldiers is unique to this project,” Mortenson said.
The Library Journal reviewed the volume as “Highly recommended for undergraduate majors and graduate students of history or military science, or general adult
history buffs.” Booklist Online and Choice also recommended the book.
Mortenson and Springer were responsible for finding authors for the volume’s 15 chapters, guiding the content and writing their own content in addition to the editing process. Each step took months, and the overall process took years to complete.
“I was quite surprised to receive the award,” Mortenson said. “The publisher, ABC-CLIO, did not let us know in advance, so we received word the same time as the public.
“In truth, the other chapter authors — Scott A. Cook, Robert Wettemann Jr., Jordan R. Hayworth, Richard S. Faulkner, Jonathan A. Beall, David J. Ulbrich, Robert T. Jones, Michael E. Krivdo, Robert J. Thompson, Ryan Wadle and Jared R. Donnelly — should receive the larger share of credit,” he added. “Their excellent chapters made this three-volume set an award winner.”
In 2019, Mortenson also released “Politician in Uniform: General Lew Wallace and the Civil War,” his first authored book, which explores the life and military career of the best-selling author and Civil War volunteer general, Lew Wallace.
The book was listed by Amazon.com as the number one new book in the genre of Midwest U.S. biographies upon its release.
Mortenson earned a Ph.D. in history from Texas A&M University, an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Kearney and a B.A. from Cornell College. He has served on the faculty at Ouachita since 2008.