Gary Nash is professor emeritus of history at the University of California at Los Angeles and has been the director of the National Center for History in the Schools since 1994. As the director of the National Center for History in the Schools, Nash oversees the publication of over 60 teaching units on specific issues and dramatic events in US and world history, designed for grades 5 through 12.
From 1992 to 1996, Professor Nash co-chaired the National History Standards Project, which landed him in the middle of ideological debates about how history should be taught to young people, whose history should be taught, and the merits of multiculturalism in the classroom. Some said the Standards were too multicultural; others said they were not multicultural enough.
It is this type of eloquent and consistent defense of an expansive view of history and the teaching of history that characterizes the eleven books Nash has written during his career. His first book, Quakers and Politics: Pennsylvania, 1681-1726, published in 1968, won a prize from the American Historical Association, Pacific Coast Branch, for best book in American history. His 1979 book, The Urban Crucible: Social Change, Political Consciousness and the Origins of the American Revolution, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history, and it won the Commonwealth Club of California's Silver Prize in literature. In 1988, his Forging Freedom: the Formation of Philadelphia's Black Community, 1720-1840, won the prize for best book from the Society for the History of the Early American Republic. Other titles include Red, White, and Black: The Peoples of Early America (1974; also published in Spanish); The Private Side of American History: Readings in Everyday Life (1975); Race, Class, and Politics: Essays on American Colonial and Revolutionary Society (1986); American Odyssey: The United States in the Twentieth Century (1991); and First City: Philadelphia and the Forging of Historical Memory (2001). Nash has co-authored or co-edited eight books and has written more than 20 book chapters, 35 articles, and over 80 reviews, article reviews, op-ed essays and commentaries. His latest book is African American Lives: The Struggle for Freedom.