Photo by Sharona Jacobs

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

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.

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 PostThe AtlanticSmithsonian MagazinePreservation Magazine, and Civil War Times. My column on Civil War popular culture, “Stereoscope,” appears regularly in the Civil War Monitor. I am also an elected fellow of the Society of American Historians and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

In the normal course, I spend much of the year on the road, visiting archives and historic sites in order to write books about America’s unloved and weird places. This past year, I stayed at home and wrote the bulk of my new book, This Strange Country: Yellowstone and the Reconstruction of America (Scribner, 2022) from my living room.

I earned my BA in History and Literature from Harvard University and my PhD in American Studies from the University of Iowa.

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.