Photo by Sharona Jacobs

Hi there! I’m Megan Kate Nelson, a writer, historian, road cyclist, and cocktail enthusiast.

And starting in September, I will be the 2024-2025 Rogers Distinguished Fellow in 19th-Century American History at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. While I am there, I will be finishing my new book, “The Westerners: The Creation of America’s Most Iconic Region.” I will also be eating a ton of tasty tacos, hiking in the San Gabriels, and saying things like, “Yeah, I took the 110 to the 10 to the 405.”

I am the author of The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West (Scribner, 2020), which was a Finalist for the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in History.

My most recent book, Saving Yellowstone: Exploration and Preservation in Reconstruction America was published by Scribner on March 1, 2022, the 150th anniversary of the Yellowstone Act, which created the first national park in the world. Saving Yellowstone has won the 2023 Spur Award for Historical Nonfiction, and is one of Smithsonian Magazine‘s Top Ten Books in History for 2022.

I am an expert in the history of the American Civil War, the U.S. West, and popular culture, and have written articles about these topics for The New York Times, Washington Post, TIME, The AtlanticSlate, and Smithsonian Magazine.

A fellow of the Society of American Historians, I am also a regular guest on radio shows and TV documentaries about western history and popular culture.

Before leaving academia to write full-time in 2014, I taught U.S. history and American Studies at Texas Tech University, Cal State Fullerton, Harvard, and Brown. I earned my BA in History and Literature from Harvard University and my PhD in American Studies from the University of Iowa.


Contact: mkn at

Representation: Heather Schroder, Compass Literary