Stephen A. Goldman, M.D., FAPM, DFAPA, is an independent consultant with extensive experience in academic/clinical medicine, public health, federal medical product safety regulation, and the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Goldman is a two-time past President of the North Jersey Civil War Round Table and longstanding member of the Abraham Lincoln Institute Board of Directors, and led monthly Civil War book groups for more than twenty years. He is a noted speaker at National Museum of Civil War Medicine Annual Conferences, Psychiatry Grand Rounds, and veteran, active duty, and Civil War-related meetings. He is completing a two-volume work about the impact of combat and military service on veterans’ lives, and the vital yet undervalued role of Union soldiers and sailors in support of freedom, Reconstruction and racial equality. We asked him a few questions ahead of his May 18 Foundry Series lecture.
ACWM- How did you become interested in your topic and what about your work still fascinates you?
SG- The Civil War has been a lifelong fascination, coupled with a deep, evolving interest in Reconstruction, and the ongoing struggle for civil rights and equality in America.
As for my interest in the impact of combat and military service on veterans’ lives, the Vietnam War was a personally shaping event, and during my career I’ve been privileged to both treat and work with our fellow citizens who have been under fire.
What continues to fascinate me is the interrelationship between these topics, and the greater availability of new information for study and analysis.
ACWM- What was the most significant or surprising find during your research?
SG- Given the breadth of my research and utilization of new data sources, it is hard to classify one aspect as the most significant or surprising, or avoid revealing what I hope to present in my books. However, I can say that the intelligence, political insight and commitment of surviving Union veterans, white and black, to the issues surrounding the Civil War and Reconstruction is an emphasis of my work.
ACWM- How do you see the topic of your work relating to events or issues in society today?
SG- To tell the story of the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and the emerging civil rights movement, and give voice to the men of the Union who fought for these issues in war and peace, I have completed one volume, and the second is on its way.
My books, and the presentations associated with its underlying research, are intended to foster greater understanding of our past, and where we stand today in critical areas as a result.
How Northern veterans viewed their military service, coped with physical and emotional challenges, and reintegrated into a nation changed by a revolutionary occurrence is of the utmost interest and importance in light of what the men and women of our armed forces are currently experiencing upon their return to civilian society.
Just as germane is the polarizing issue of race in America, which we continue to confront despite the great advances made since, and resulting from, the Civil War and its aftermath.