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An interest in journalism and World War II has inspired history major Michael Milberger ’02 (Scotch Plains, N.J.) to investigate Eric Sevareid’s work as a radio correspondent during the war for his senior honors thesis.

Sevareid, former national correspondent for “The CBS Evening News,” joined CBS as a broadcast journalist to cover the outbreak of the war in Europe in 1939.

“The general themes of my thesis include a character sketch of Sevareid’s personality and talents, the emergence and impact of radio during the war, and how Sevareid’s work reflected the brutal realties of modern war against the political and social backdrop of the time period,” explains Milberger.

He says the project excites him because of the opportunity to explore primary sources for a topic on which little secondary literature has been produced.

Milberger says he was also excited by the idea of focusing on one individual and trying to piece together what kind of person he was and how his mind worked, “almost in a psychological fashion.”

Donald L. Miller, John Henry MacCracken Professor of History, is serving as Milberger’s thesis adviser. Miller has received critical acclaim for The Story of World War II, a revised, expanded, and updated version of Henry Steele Commager’s classic book, The Story of the Second World War, published in November by Simon & Schuster/Lou Reda. This month, Miller will appear on The History Channel’s “Hardcover History: The History Channel Book Club” and on C-Span2’s “Book TV.”

“It is an exciting privilege to work with one of the most esteemed professors at Lafayette,” says Milberger. “I have always enjoyed his classes and found them extremely rewarding. His work in print and television is extensive and speaks volumes of his knowledge and ability. I am looking forward to working closely with Professor Miller as I begin the writing phase of my thesis this semester.”

“The faculty and staff in the history department and the library have been extremely helpful,” Milberger adds. “The small school environment is very conducive to doing personal research.”

A graduate of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, Milberger is a member of the varsity soccer team, Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, and Phi Alpha Theta, the history academic honor society. He wrote for The Lafayette last spring and participated in the alumni externship program during the January interim session between semesters, shadowing Peter T. Holran ’87, deputy general manager of the full-service government relations firm The Wexler Group, in Washington, D.C.

Categorized in: Academic News