MACON— Nationally acclaimed historical and political writer Buckner F. Melton, Jr. is returning home to serve as Mercer University's writer-in-residence for the next five years. He also will serve as a Mercer University Press fellow.
A 1984 Mercer graduate, Melton has published three major books as well as numerous scholarly publications. His first book, The First Impeachment: The Constitution's Framers and the Case of Senator William Blount (Mercer, 1998), won him national recognition, as its publication in 1998 coincided with the impeachment hearings of President Bill Clinton. During the Clinton impeachment, Melton was called upon to advise various members of Congress and to give expert commentary on MSNBC, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, National Public Radio's Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and many other national and regional news agencies.
More recently, Melton, who has also written Aaron Burr: Conspiracy to Treason (Wiley, 2002), has occasionally been called upon by Minnesota Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Radio to discuss treason and national security law in the wake of September 11 and in relation to the John Walker Lindh episode. Melton also writes guest columns in Raleigh, North Carolina's The News & Observer and in The Macon Telegraph.
His most recent book, A Hanging Offense: The Strange Affair of the Warship Somers (Free Press, 2003), hit bookshelves April 9. Melton describes this historical account of mutiny aboard a U.S. Navy training ship in the mid 1800s as "Mutiny on the Bounty meets Lord of the Flies."
The book has already been met with much praise. Publishers Weekly calls it "coherent and absorbing," while the Wall Street Journal describes it as "swashbuckling" and praises Melton's analysis of the court-martial that followed the mutiny.
As a Mercer University Press fellow, Melton, who begins working at Mercer July 1, will assist faculty members in their writing endeavors. Melton also will teach some history and law courses at Mercer. But his primary job will be to write.
"Mercer is a fine university," Melton said. "I'm excited about returning home."
After graduating magna cum laude from Mercer with a degree in history and political science in 1984, Melton attended Duke University, where he received his master's degree in history in 1986 and Ph.D. in history in 1990. He earned his law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1996.
Melton served as a history instructor at Duke University in 1989, a visiting assistant professor of history at Georgia Southern University in 1990 and 1991, and an assistant professor of history at Elon College between 1991 and 1996. He is currently a clinical associate professor of law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.