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Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  William A. Link  

Pen Name: William Allen Link

Genre: Non-Fiction

Born: August 18, 1954 in Evanston, Illinois

-- Website --
-- William A. Link on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Link was born in Evanston, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Link works at the University of Florida, in Gainsville, as the Richard J. Milbauer Professor of History.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The Twentieth Century: A Brief American History in Two Volumes
ISBN: 0882958925

Harlan Davidson. 1992

Book by Link, William A., Link, Arthur Stanley

A Hard Country and a Lonely Place: Schooling, Society, and Reform in Rural Virginia, 1870-1920
ISBN: 080786563X

The University of North Carolina Press. 2011

William Link's account of the transformation of Virginia's country schools between 1870 and 1920 fills important gaps in the history of education and the social history of the South. His theme is the impact of localism and community on the processes of public education -- first as a motive force in the spread of schooling, then as a powerful factor that collided with the goals of urban reformers.

After the Civil War, localism dominated every dimension of education in rural Virginia and in the rural South. School expansion depended upon local enthusiasm and support, and rural education was increasingly integrated into this environment. These schools mirrored the values of the society. Drawing expertly from varied sources, Link recreates this local world: the ways in which schools were organized and governed, the experiences of teachers and students, and the impact of local control. In so doing, he reveals the harmony of the nineteenth-century, one-room school with its surrounding community.

After 1900, the schools entered a long period of change. They became a prime target of urban social reformers who regarded localism as a corrosive force responsible for the South's weak political structure, racial tensions, and economic underdevelopment. School reformers began a process that ultimately reshaped every dimension of rural public education in Virginia. During the decades surrounding World War I they initiated sweeping changes in governance, curriculum, and teacher training that would have an impact for the next several generations. They also attempted -- for the most part successfully -- to impose a segregated pedagogy.

Link carefully develops the role of the Virginia reformers, never assuming that reform and modernization were unmixed blessings. The reformers succeeded, he argues, only by recognizing the power and significance of local control and by respecting the strength of community influence over schools.

Originally published in 1986.

A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

The Paradox of Southern Progressivism, 1880-1930 (Fred W. Morrison Series in Southern Studies)
ISBN: 0807845892

The University of North Carolina Press. 1997

Focusing on the cultural conflicts between social reformers and southern communities, William Link presents an important reinterpretation of the origins and impact of progressivism in the South. He shows that a fundamental clash of values divided reformers and rural southerners, ultimately blocking the reforms. His book, based on extensive archival research, adds a new dimension to the study of American reform movements.

The new group of social reformers that emerged near the end of the nineteenth century believed that the South, an underdeveloped and politically fragile region, was in the midst of a social crisis. They recognized the environmental causes of social problems and pushed for interventionist solutions. As a consensus grew about southern social problems in the early 1900s, reformers adopted new methods to win the support of reluctant or indifferent southerners. By the beginning of World War I, their public crusades on prohibition, health, schools, woman suffrage, and child labor had led to some new social policies and the beginnings of a bureaucratic structure. By the late 1920s, however, social reform and southern progressivism remained largely frustrated.

Link's analysis of the response of rural southern communities to reform efforts establishes a new social context for southern progressivism. He argues that the movement failed because a cultural chasm divided the reformers and the communities they sought to transform. Reformers were paternalistic. They believed that the new policies should properly be administered from above, and they were not hesitant to impose their own solutions. They also viewed different cultures and races as inferior.

Rural southerners saw their communities and customs quite differently. For most, local control and personal liberty were watchwords. They had long deflected attempts of southern outsiders to control their affairs, and they opposed the paternalistic reforms of the Progressive Era with equal determination. Throughout the 1920s they made effective implementation of policy changes difficult if not impossible. In a small-scale war, rural folk forced the reformers to confront the integrity of the communities they sought to change.

William Friday: Power, Purpose, and American Higher Education
ISBN: 0807846805

The University of North Carolina Press. 1997

Few North Carolinians were as well known or as widely respected as William Friday (1920-2012). Although he never ran for elected office, the former president of the University of North Carolina was prominent in public affairs for decades and ranked as one of the most important American university presidents of the post-World War II era. In this comprehensive biography, William Link traces Friday's long and remarkable career.

Friday's thirty years as president of the university, from 1956 to 1986, spanned the greatest period of growth for higher education in American history, and he played a crucial role in shaping the sixteen-campus university during that time of tumultuous social change. In the 1960s and 1970s, he confronted a series of administrative challenges, including the expansion of the university system, the evolving role of the federal government in the affairs of a public university, an intercollegiate athletics scandal, the anticommunism crusade and the Speaker Ban, and racial integration.

Link also explores Friday's influential work outside the university in American higher education, on the Carnegie Commission on the Future of American Education and the White House Task Force on Education, and in the development of the National Humanities Center and the growth of Research Triangle Park. After retiring from the university, Friday headed the William R. Kenan, Jr., Fund and the Kenan Charitable Trust. He died October 12, 2012.

The South in the History of the Nation: A Reader, Volume One: Through Reconstruction
ISBN: 031213357X

Bedford/St. Martin's. 1999

A new kind of primary source reader for the U.S. survey, The South in the History of the Nation enlivens American history for students in the South by placing it in familiar contexts. Fifteen chapters in each volume explore episodes and issues of national import with a broad swath of regional examples. More than 100 readings drawn from southern sources -- among them letters, speeches, diary entries, government records, newspaper articles, and interviews -- balance a variety of political and social topics. Because the organization and pace of the chapters parallel most major survey tests, instructors can easily incorporate the documents into the survey course without making extensive alternations to the syllabus.
Generous editorial apparatus -- including chapter introductions that identify the relationship between the southern documents and the national history, headnotes, prereading questions, gloss notes, and bibliographies -- guides students through the documents and constantly emphasizes their role in the American history survey course.

Roots of Secession: Slavery and Politics in Antebellum Virginia (Civil War America)
ISBN: 0807856614

The University of North Carolina Press. 2005

Offering a provocative new look at the politics of secession in antebellum Virginia, William Link places African Americans at the center of events and argues that their acts of defiance and rebellion had powerful political repercussions throughout the turbulent period leading up to the Civil War.

An upper South state with nearly half a million slaves--more than any other state in the nation--and some 50,000 free blacks, Virginia witnessed a uniquely volatile convergence of slave resistance and electoral politics in the 1850s. While masters struggled with slaves, disunionists sought to join a regionwide effort to secede and moderates sought to protect slavery but remain in the Union. Arguing for a definition of political action that extends beyond the electoral sphere, Link shows that the coming of the Civil War was directly connected to Virginia's system of slavery, as the tension between defiant slaves and anxious slaveholders energized Virginia politics and spurred on the impending sectional crisis.

North Carolina: Change and Tradition in a Southern State
ISBN: 0882952676

Wiley-Blackwell. 2009

In this long-awaited survey history, William Link examines the fascinating history of North Carolina through the lens of strong but seemingly contradictory historical patterns: powerful forces of traditionalism punctuated by hierarchies of class, race relations, and gender that seemingly clashed, especially during the last century, with potent forces of modernization and a “progressive” element that welcomed, even embraced, change. The result answers meaningful questions that all Tar Heels ask about the history and the future of the unique and quickly growing state they call home.

Taking the North Carolina story from moments before first contact all the way to the elections of 2008, this book provides a great new resource for all college-level instructors and students of North Carolina history.

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