Free Forum: Thomas Nelson Professor Discusses New Book About 100 Most Influential Americans

February 16, 2018
Image for Free Forum: Thomas Nelson Professor Discusses New Book About 100 Most Influential Americans

Want to awaken your inner history buff? Looking for another approach to examining U.S. history? Need insight on little-known figures who shaped American history?  

A Faculty Colloquium at Thomas Nelson Community College featuring Ronald Goldberg discussing his new book, “The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential People in American History,” is the ticket. 

Free and open to the public, the one-hour presentation takes place at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28 in Moore Hall’s Espada Room at the Hampton campus. 

Goldberg is longtime Thomas Nelson history professor and author of four books. He will shed light on some well-known and unknown people who contributed to developing the United States by discussing the origins of his book and why examining 100 American figures is a valid approach to history. Goldberg also will explore the top 10 people featured in his book and solicit audience participation in the conversation. 

He said the book aims to show readers the focal people who made the country the way it is.  “It’s an interesting way of examining history. In the discussion, I want to explain why I took this angle. A quarter to a third of the book is about unknown or unsung heroes who are the real movers and shakers in American history,” Goldberg said.   

Goldberg worked on his book for several years after being inspired by a book about the most influential people in history.  “That book focused on the most influential people looking at the whole world,” he said. “There has never been anything like this concentrating specifically on American history. So, I thought it would be interesting to pursue the American story from this angle.”

Available on, Goldberg’s book contains 100 chapters with three to four pages on each person. He likens each “mini essay” to a lawyer’s brief.  “I had to make a case for what they did, how they fit into the times and how they changed America.  I believe this is a wonderful debate piece that is also very educational.”

Goldberg joined Thomas Nelson’s faculty in 1971, served as history department head from 1990 to 2005 and also has taught political science and geography during his tenure. His published works include the books, “America in the Twenties” and “America in the Forties,” as well as a Virginia Social Science Journal article titled “Virginia’s Silent Dove: Senator A. Willis Robertson and the Vietnam War,” to note a few. 

Goldberg has a bachelor’s degree from New York City College and a doctoral degree from the University of Georgia. Additionally, he has been awarded several National Endowment for the Humanities summer fellowships.

The Feb. 28 presentation is sponsored by Thomas Nelson’s Communications, Humanities and Social Sciences division.  For more information, contact English Professor Clarence Hundley at