Meet David Albert
Examine the Battle of Gettysburg with David Albert this fall as part of Adventures in Lifelong Learning, a membership program for individuals 50 and better.
Thursdays: Oct. 21-Nov. 18
Course: The Gettysburg Campaign
1 to 3 p.m.
David Albert is a retired U.S. Air Force officer who has been a student of the Civil War for 50 years. He has visited all major battlefields and many of the smaller ones.
He has taught Civil War courses for the old Elderhostel Program and currently teaches Civil War courses for the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.
What drew you to explore and teach Civil War history?
The first book I read about the Battle of Gettysburg when I was 18 and home on leave from the Air Force really grabbed me—I've read it two more times since. Two years later I was in Taiwan for three months with a lot of free time, and I read Bruce Catton's two trilogies about the Civil War and the Army of the Potomac. I decided I needed to know more about this period in our history. The more I learned, the more I wanted to share with other people.
What can students expect in your classroom?
Students can expect to hear from someone who is genuinely excited about his subject. Besides learning about the battles themselves, students will learn a lot about the personalities of the participants and other human interest aspects of the war. They’ll also get the chance to ask questions about anything associated with the war.
How has visiting Civil War battlefields influenced your teaching?
I think standing on the very ground where things you've only read about happened really makes them much more meaningful. We’re very lucky to have so many of our Civil War battlefields preserved and documented in ways that make them understandable and visitor friendly.
What is the most interesting controversy surrounding the battle from either side?
As far as Gettysburg goes, I feel Lee’s decision on day three to launch the attack, which became known as “Pickett’s Charge,” is probably the most interesting and controversial of the many decisions made by commanders on both sides. These are decisions that are still being argued over today, 158 years later.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a lifelong learner?
It gives you the opportunity to explore subjects you may never have had time to take when you were in school, without the stress of writing papers or taking tests. And it keeps your mind working!
Learn more about Adventures in Lifelong Learning, and sign up for a fall pilot course today.