History, Military, American, British, Military, War, Race, Social


Gregory J. W. Urwin is a military historian whose work spans the American War of Independence through World War 2. He holds his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame, and taught at Saint Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City, Kansas, and the University of Central Arkansas before joining Temple’s History Department in 1999. Urwin has published nine books, including Facing Fearful Odds: The Siege of Wake Island, which received the General Wallace M. Greene, Jr., Award from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, and his latest, Victory in Defeat: The Wake Island Defenders in Captivity, 1941-1945. Urwin is at work on a social history of the campaign that Lieutenant General Charles, Second Earl Cornwallis, conducted in Virginia in the spring and summer of 1781, and recently finished fellowships at the William L. Clements Library; Anderson House, the national headquarters of the Society of the Cincinnati; the Virginia Historical Society; and the Richard H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies.

Urwin has also authored many articles and essays. One on Civil War racial atrocities and reprisals claimed the Harold L. Peterson Award from the Eastern National Park and Monuments Association. Urwin has lectured at the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Army Military History Institute, U.S. Navy Museum, National World War 2 Museum, Philadelphia’s Union League, American Philosophical Society, William L. Clements Library, David Library of the American Revolution, Fort Ticonderoga, and U.S. Army War College. Urwin is a past president of the Society for Military History, a fellow in both the Company of Military Historians and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Center for the Study of America and the West, and general editor of the Campaigns and Commanders Series from University of Oklahoma Press. He has appeared in numerous documentaries, and assisted in making the Civil War epic, Glory. Urwin’s graduated doctoral students teach at civilian universities and colleges, and many also work for the U.S. and Canadian defense departments.


Selected Publications


  • Custer Victorious: The Civil War Battles of General George Armstrong Custer. Rutherford, Teaneck, and Madison, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1983; paperback ed., Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990; reprint ed., New York: Blue & Grey Press, 1996.
  • Facing Fearful Odds: The Siege of Wake Island. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997; paperback ed., Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002 (Winner, General Wallace M. Greene, Jr., Award, 1998, Marine Corps Heritage Foundation).
  • Co-Editor (with Cathy Kunzinger Urwin), History of the 33d Iowa Infantry Volunteer Regiment 1863-6. By A. F. Sperry. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1999; paperback ed., Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1999.
  • Editor, Black Flag over Dixie: Racial Atrocities and Reprisals in the Civil War. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2004; paperback ed., Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2005.
  • Victory in Defeat: The Wake Island Defenders in Captivity, 1941-1945. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2010.

Articles & Essays:

  • “The Defenders of Wake Island and Their Two Wars, 1941-1945.” Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives 23 (Winter 1991): 368-81.
  • “Custer: The Civil War Years,” In The Custer Reader. Edited by Paul A. Hutton. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992, pp. 7-32.
  • “’The Lord Has Not Forsaken Me and I Won’t Forsake Him’: Religion in Frederick Steele’s Union Army, 1863-1864.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 52 (Autumn 1993): 318-40.
  • “Was the Past Prologue?: Meditations on Custer’s Tactics at the Little Big Horn,” In Seventh Annual Custer Battlefield Historical and Museum Association Symposium. Edited by Ron Nichols. Crow Agency, Montana: Custer Battlefield Historical and Museum Association, 1994, pp. 22-36.
  • “’We Cannot Treat Negroes . . . as Prisoners of War’: Racial Atrocities and Reprisals in Civil War Arkansas,” Civil War History 42 (September 1996): 193-210 (Winner, Harold L. Peterson Award, 1997, Eastern National Park and Monument Association).
  • “’An Epic That Should Give Every American Hope’: The Media and the Birth of the Wake Island Legend,” Marine Corps Gazette 80 (December 1996): 64-69.
  • “The Army of the Constitution: The Historical Context,” In “. . . To Insure Domestic Tranquility, Provide for the Common Defense . . .” Edited by Max G. Manwaring. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2000, pp. 27-62.
  • “Poison Spring and Jenkins’ Ferry: Racial Atrocities during the Camden Expedition,” In “All Cut to Pieces and Gone to Hell”: The Civil War, Race Relations, and the Battle at Poison Spring. Edited by Mark K. Christ. Little Rock: Butler Center for Arkansas Studies and August House, 2003.
  • “When Freedom Wore a Red Coat: How Cornwallis’ 1781 Campaign Threatened the Revolution in Virginia,” Army History: The Professional Bulletin of Army History 20 (Summer 2008): 6-23.
  • “Glory and Me: A History Professor’s Short Love/Hate Affair with Hollywood,” North and South: The Official Magazine of the Civil War Society, 11 (October 2009): 49-57.
  • “Sowing the Wind and Reaping the Whirlwind: Abraham Lincoln as a War President.” In Lincoln and Leadership: Military, Political and Religious Decision Making. Edited by Randall Miller. New York: Fordham University Press, 2012.

Courses Taught

  • Hist 0847 American Military Culture
  • Hist 1004 United States at War
  • Hist 2216 Civil War and Reconstruction
  • Hist 2803 Soldiers, Wars, and Societies: The British Army
  • Hist 2812 World War 2
  • Hist 3296 Intermediate Writing Seminar in American History (Biopic: Hollywood & History)
  • Hist 4296 Writing Seminar in American History (United States in World War II)
  • Hist 8211 Rise of the American Military Profession
  • Hist 8807 Comparative Studies in the History of Modern Warfare