David S. Reynolds

David Reynolds

Research Interests

  • American literature
  • U.S. History
  • American Studies
  • biography
  • memoir
  • popular culture
  • the American Renaissance
  • race and slavery
  • gender studies


  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

David S. Reynolds is recognized internationally as a leading authority in American literature, U.S. history, and biography. He is author or editor of sixteen books and is a regular contributor to The New York Times Book Review, the New York Review of Books, and the Wall Street Journal.

David S. Reynolds is the author or editor of sixteen books, most recently Abe: Abraham Lincoln in His Times (2020), which was selected as one of the Top Ten Books of the Year of the Wall Street Journal and among the best books of the year of the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and Kirkus Reviews. His previous books include Lincoln's Selected WritingsMightier Than the Sword: Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Battle for America, Walt Whitman’s AmericaJohn Brown, AbolitionistWaking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson; and Beneath the American Renaissance. Three of his books have been listed among the New York Times’s “Notable Books of the Year,” and one has been chosen among the New Yorker’s “Favorite Books of the Year.” He has been interviewed more than 100 times on radio and TV, on shows including NPR’s Morning Edition, Fresh AirWeekend Edition, and The Diane Rehm Show, ABC’s The John Batchelor Show, and C-SPAN’s After Words, Brian Lamb’s Book Notes, and Book TV. He is a regular contributor to The New York Times Book Review, the New York Review of Books, and the Wall Street Journal, and is included in Who’s Who in AmericaWho’s Who in American Education, and Who’s Who in the World.

Reynolds was born in Providence, Rhode Island. For much of his childhood he lived in West Barrington, Rhode Island, in a home attached to the Nayatt Point Lighthouse (built in 1828). He received a B.A. magna cum laude from Amherst College and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Before coming to the Graduate Center, he taught American literature, American studies, and U. S. history at Northwestern University, Barnard College, New York University, Rutgers University, Baruch College, and the Sorbonne–Paris III.

Awards and Grants

The Bancroft Prize, the Lincoln Prize, the Christian Gauss Award, the Abraham Lincoln Institute Book Award, the Ambassador Book Award, the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Courses Taught

American Renaissance; Mining the Archives, Reinterpreting the Past; Slavery and Abolition; Abraham Lincoln; Colonial and Early Federal American Literature; The Civil War Era