Megan Kate Nelson is a writer, historian, road cyclist, cocktail enthusiast, and author of the book The Three-Cornered War.
In this episode Matt Crawford speaks with author Dr. Megan Kate Nelson about her book The Three-Cornered War. An amazing story that tells the tale of how the Civil War spread to the west and the people it affected. Nelson introduces us to nine larger than life individuals and brings us along on their journey. A fresh and exciting look into the Civil War and America as a whole. Enjoy!
A fascination with Game of Thrones inspired Megan Kate Nelson's new book, The Three-Cornered War, which examines the role of the Union, Confederacy and Native Americans in the southwestern theatre of the Civil War. It's Megan's third book. Now that she is writing full time, she shows no signs of slowing down. Megan is a native of the West herself, and to write The Three-Cornered War, she traveled to the places she describes in her book. She lives in Massachusetts, but she is still fascinated by the West she grew up in. She is already working on her fourth book, on the history of Yellowstone, which is slated for publication in 2022. Are you thinking about grad school? While they both have Ph.D.s, Colin and Megan talk about the difficulties of being on the tenure track and how one should maybe consider the option of "alt-ac" careers. What do you do with a Ph.D. if academia isn't for you? Megan has shown that there is life, and success, beyond the Ivory Tower. And you can start by deciding not to write for free anymore. You can find out more about Dr. Nelson at:
What did the American Civil War look like from Diné Bikéyah and Apacheria? This is just one of the many questions that drives historian Megan Kate Nelson’s The Three-Cornered War: The Union, The Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West (Scribner, 2020), which details the Civil War’s impact on a diversity of historical actors vying for control, opportunity, and survival in the continental southwest. As both the Union and the Confederacy vied for claim to Indigenous lands, Diné, Apache, and other Indigenous nations fought back. The narratives of Juanita, a Diné woman who resisted Union encroachments upon her community and Diné lands, and Mangas Coloradas, a Chiricahua Apache chief who sought to expand and protect Apache territories, reveal the difficult choices Indigenous peoples made in the face of competitive expansion.Megan Kate Nelson is a writer and historian with a background in the American Civil War, U.S. western history, and American culture. In The Three-Cornered War, Nelson combines meticulous research in military records, letters and diaries, oral histories, and photographs with novel-like prose to tell the story of the American Civil War through the experiences of nine individuals. As Nelson shows how each of these individuals shaped and were shaped by the Civil War in the continental southwest, the result is a history of the American Civil War truly continental in its scope yet deeply individual in its impact.Annabel LaBrecque is a PhD student in the Department of History at UC Berkeley. You can find her on Twitter @labrcq. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
My guest for this episode is Megan Kate Nelson, author of Ruin Nation and Trembling Earth. If you can't tell from our conversation, I really admire Megan's work. We talk about her research, ruins, and some interesting plans she has for the future.
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Creator Details

Lincoln, Massachusetts, United States of America
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
3 hours, 49 minutes