William R. Forstchen

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William R. Forstchen
Born October 11, 1950 (1950-10-11) (age 69)
Occupation historian, novelist
Title Professor

William R. Forstchen (born October 11, 1950 in Millburn, New Jersey) is an American historian and author who began publishing in 1978 as a contributor to Boys' Life. He is a Professor of History and Faculty Fellow at Montreat College, in Montreat, North Carolina. He received his doctorate from Purdue University, studying under the historian Professor Gunther E. Rothenberg, with specializations in Military History, the American Civil War and the History of Technology.[1]


Forstchen is the author of more than forty books, including the award winning We Look Like Men of War, a young adult novel about an African-American regiment that fought at the Battle of the Crater, which is based upon his doctoral dissertation, The 28th USCTs: Indiana's African-Americans go to War, 1863–1865

Forstchen's writing efforts have, in recent years, shifted towards historical fiction, non fiction and technological issues. In 2002 he started the "Gettysburg" trilogy with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (with whom he had co-written the highly-unsuccessful alternate history science fiction novel 1945 in 1995). The trilogy consists of Gettysburg, Grant Comes East, and Never Call Retreat. More recently, they have published two works on the events leading up to Pearl Harbor and immediately after that attack Pearl Harbor, and Days of Infamy. They wrote three novels on the American Revolution starting with the publication in 2009 of "To Try Men's Souls," a novel about Washington's crossing of the Delaware and Tom Paine's writing "The American Crisis," In 2010 they released a novel about Valley Forge and the Battle of Monmouth Court House. In 2011, Forstchen's doctoral dissertation on the 28th United States Colored Troops and their role at the Battle of the Crater, July 30, 1864, became the basis for a Civil War historical novel "To Set Men Free." Their last work in the series on the Revolution, "Yorktown" was published in 2012.

One Second After, Pillar to the Sky, and One Year After

In March 2009, Dr. Forstchen's novel, One Second After (Tor/Forge/St. Martin's books) was released and immediately reached the New York Times best seller list where it remained for twelve weeks. Based upon several years of intensive research and interviews, it examines what might happen in a "typical" American town in the wake of an attack on the United States with “electro-magnetic pulse” (EMP) weapons.[2] Similar in plotting to books such as On the Beach and Alas, Babylon, One Second After is set in a small college town in western North Carolina and is a cautionary tale of the collapse of social order in the wake of an EMP strike. The book was cited on the floor of Congress and before the House Armed Services Committee by Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), chair of the House Committee tasked to evaluate EMP weapons, as a realistic portrayal of the potential damage rendered by an EMP attack on the continental United States.[1]

Forstchen has been called upon for presentations regarding the threat of EMP before members of Congress, and at STRATCOM, Sandia Labs, and NASA. The book has been printed in over a dozen countries, and been cited as a significant contributing factor to the "Prepper Movement."

On February 11, 2014, Forstchen released his latest book Pillar to the Sky, (Tor/Forge Books of St. Martin’s Press). Although written as a novel, it is intended as a serious look at the building of a Space Elevator, a tower that would rise from the equator to geostationary orbit and beyond in order to revolutionize space transportation in the 21st century. Written in cooperation with NASA and advice from personnel at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Forstchen’s thesis is that just as mega-projects of the 19th and 20th century, such as the building of the transcontinental railroad, Hoover Dam, the Panama Canal, the Interstate Highway System and Apollo invigorated America’s technological prowess and economic growth, the building of a permanent transportation system to high earth orbit would reignite America’s economic and technological prominence in the 21st century. He also presented the concept of how such a tower could be used to "hot wire” limitless non-polluting energy from solar panels deployed in space and thus free earth from dependence on greenhouse gas emitting energy production.

The sequel to One Second After, One Year After, was released on September 15, 2015.

Public speaking

He is a public speaker on a broad diversity of topics ranging from historical topics, to issues of technology and cultural issues, development of space technologies and security threats.

Personal life

Forstchen resides near Asheville, North Carolina with his daughter Meghan. His other interests include archaeology, and he has participated in several expeditions to Mongolia, Romania, and Russia. He is an avid aviation enthusiast and co-owns an original 1943 Aeronca L-3B recon plane used in World War II.[3] and a 1946 Ercoupe.


Magic: The Gathering

  1. Arena (1993)[4]

The Lost Regiment Series

  1. Rally Cry (1990)
  2. Union Forever (1991)
  3. Terrible Swift Sword (1992)
  4. Fateful Lightning (1992)
  5. Battle Hymn (1997)
  6. Never Sound Retreat (1998)
  7. A Band of Brothers (1999)
  8. Men of War (1999)
  9. Down to the Sea (2000)

Ice Prophet series

  1. Ice Prophet (1983)
  2. The Flame Upon the Ice (1984)
  3. A Darkness upon the Ice (1985)

Wing Commander series

Star Voyager Academy series

Civil War trilogy

Along with Newt Gingrich and Albert S. Hanser.

  1. Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War (2003)
  2. Grant Comes East (2004)
  3. Never Call Retreat: Lee and Grant: The Final Victory (2005)

Pacific War series

Along with Newt Gingrich.

  1. Pearl Harbor (2007)
  2. Days of Infamy (2008)

Legends of the Riftwar

Along with Raymond E. Feist.

  1. Honoured Enemy (2001)

Historical fiction

George Washington series

Along with Newt Gingrich and Albert S. Hanser.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Shattered Light series

The Gamester Wars trilogy


The Crystal series

Along with Greg Morrison.


Short stories

Day of Wrath (2014)


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Signed books by William R. Forstchen - William R. Forstchen autographed books". vjbooks.com. Retrieved September 19, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "One Second After: A Book Review from a Prepper's Perspective". culturechange.org. Retrieved September 19, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. onesecondafter.com – Author Photobook
  4. William R. Forstchen. "Arena". Goodreads. Retrieved September 19, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links