Friends of the Festival
Daniel J. Sharfstein is a professor of law and history at Vanderbilt University and is a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow. His first book, "The Invisible Line: A Secret History of Race in America," won numerous awards, including the J. Anthony Lukas Prize for narrative nonfiction.
"Thunder in the Mountains" recreates the Nez Perce War through the voices of its survivors. Claiming equal rights for Native Americans, Chief Joseph was determined to find his way to the center of American power and convince the government to acknowledge his people's humanity and capacity for citizenship. Daniel J. Sharfstein's visionary history of the West casts Howard's turn away from civil rights alongside the nation's rejection of racial equality and embrace of empire. The conflict becomes a pivotal struggle over who gets to claim the American dream: a battle of ideas about the meaning of freedom and equality, the mechanics of American power, and the limits of what the government can and should do for its people. The war that Howard and Joseph fought is one that Americans continue to fight today.
For his new book, "Thunder in the Mountains: Chief Joseph, Oliver Otis Howard, and the Nez Perce War," he learned how to ride a horse. Born in Boston and raised in Maryland, he lives with his family in Nashville, Tennessee.