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William Forstchen

MA 1991, PhD 1994, History

Author and Professor, Montreat College

William R. Forstchen attended Purdue as a full time graduate student entering the program at the age of 38, starting in 1989, earning his M.A. in History in 1991, and completed his Ph.D. in December 1994. He was a recipient of an Andrew's Fellowship from 1989-1991. While at Purdue he served as a graduate assistant under Professors Gunther Rothenberg and Gordon Mork and as an instructor of American History. His doctoral dissertation was a first of its kind in depth study of an African-American regiment that served in the Civil War: The 28th United States Colored Troops, Indiana's African Americans Go to War, 1863-1865. It will be published in 2019 by the Indiana Historical Society.

William started out in the field of secondary education in 1978 as a history teacher in Maine, where he taught in both public and private schools for ten years before deciding to returning to school as a full time student to earn a Ph.D. in history. Since graduating from Purdue, William has been a Professor of History at Montreat College, located near Asheville North Carolina. He is currently a full Professor of History and Faculty Fellow at Montreat.

William's publishing record is rather extensive with nearly fifty books and numerous articles, op-eds, essays and short stories. William, at first, wrote in the field of science fiction, his first novel was released in 1982 by Del Rey Books, a division of Random House. By the time he started at Purdue he had published seven novels and one of his "life goals," while attending Purdue, was to gain a deeper professional background in history and research methodology. He went on to write several books about history and an award winning young adult's novelization of his doctoral dissertation titled We Look Like Men of War.

In 2009 his novel One Second After, about the threat presented by the use of Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) weapons, became a New York Times best seller, has sold over a million copies in addition to reprints in over a dozen countries and is currently in development as a television series. He wrote the book at the behest of several members of Congress and used the 2004 & 2008 Congressional Studies on the Threat of EMP as the technical foundation for what became three books on the subject. The book was distributed to every member of Congress and is credited with helping to raise national awareness regarding this significant threat to our nation's electrical and electronic infrastructure. William has made presentations on the subject of EMP at the Army War College and currently works in cooperation with the FBI to raise public awareness about the need to secure our infrastructure from external and internal threats. Nine of William's books have achieved New York Times best seller status.

William has also worked with NASA to create a novel about the development of space elevators Pillar to the Sky, and set a major scene for the book at Purdue. His next book, to be published in January 2018 by Tor/Forge Books, Forty Eight Hours deals with the issue of Coronal Mass Ejection (CME).

William resides near Asheville, North Carolina with his wife Robin who is a CPA and graduate of Clemson University. His interests include archaeology, which led him to expeditions to Mongolia, Romania and Russia. He is an avid aviation enthusiast and owns and flies an original World War II "Warbird" an Aeronca L3 recon plane, and a Marquat Charger aerobatic biplane.

As to his current success as an internationally published author, public speaker and professor he credits his experience at Purdue as the defining experience of his life with a special gratitude to professors like Robert E. May (history), Randy Roberts (history) David Flory (spanish) and especially to the late Gordon Mork who was head of the history department's graduate program and finally, above all else, to his mentor the late Gunther Rothenberg.